Integrators Discuss a Shifting Industry & How to Take Advantage of it at PSA-TEC 2011
|State of the Industry panelists provided insight into where the industry is headed and how integrators should prepare.|
PSA Security Network, an electronic security cooperative representing security system integrators, held its annual training and conference event May 16-20 at the Westin Westminster in Westminster, Colo. The event returned to PSA’s home in Colorado after being held in Illinois for the past few years. For five days, more than 200 attendees had the opportunity to participate in more than 60 training and certification courses, attend forums and roundtable discussions and network with peers, all the while sharing best practices, observed trends in the marketplace, and experiences in the field. Many new companies attended PSA-TEC for the first time this year as PSA now welcomes all security professionals to attend the event.
Dakota Security, Sioux Falls, S.D, attended PSA-TEC for the third time and brought a team of 6 people that was mostly comprised of technical staff. To Eric Yunag, president, Dakota Security Systems, attending “TEC” is very much about interfacing with manufacturers and participating in the technical education tracks, which he says has proved valuable for his team, but also is a unique event on the business strategy side.
“PSA TEC, from a business leadership perspective, is a rare opportunity to talk to business leaders and learn how to deal with both challenges and opportunities,” Yunag says. “The focus is on having more than just technician- and manufacturer- based training by also putting together forums and education centered around the business of security. The event is geared towards making PSA members successful.”
One of the highlights of the business side of the conference was the State of the Industry panel, moderated by Sandra Jones of Sandra Jones and Company and featuring Tony Whaley, registration and specialties supervision (RSS) committee chairman; Jerry Bowman, president, BICSI; Chuck Wilson, executive director, National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA); J. Matthew Ladd, president, The Protection Bureau; Paul Cronin, chief executive officer, 1nService; Dave Carter, managing director, Security Network of America (SNA); and Bill Bozeman, CEO and president, PSA Security Network. The panel discussed developments in the industry and how integrators can get an edge by sharing knowledge and keeping their businesses moving toward the future. Common threads of conversation that were echoed throughout the event included cloud computing, the proliferation of mobile applications and the potential behind social media.
A roundtable discussion on best practices continues on PSA’s LinkedIn page. Join the conversation at www.linkedin.com/company/psa-security-network.
This year, PSA introduced a new Managed Services education track, which covered topics ranging from maintenance contracts to fire door inspections, to help integrators leverage this new area of potential revenue.
Also new were 14 educational sessions prequalified for Continuing Education Credits (CECs) from BICSI and ASIS. The vendor-neutral courses enabled attendees to attend relevant, quality training while maintaining their BICSI and/or ASIS certifications. Sharon Shaw, director of education for PSA, commented that a focus on continuing education credits and vendor-neutrality was a new initiative for PSA that they are excited to continue developing going into 2012.
On a high level, key verticals covered in the education sessions included healthcare, critical infrastructure, and campus safety. A course on mass notification systems explored a new market sector where opportunity for integrators is growing.
Distinguished speakers included the State of the Industry panel as well as Jeffrey Kessler, managing director at Imperial Capital, who presented an economic outlook for the industry, and the Security Executive Council and SecuritySpecifiers.com, who provided insight on how to work with consultants and the advantages in extending that relationship to better serve an integrator’s business.
The PSA-TEC show floor this year was exclusively reserved for PSA Security Network partners and featured three new demonstration trucks in addition to Pelco’s: including Bosch’s new truck, as well as the FLIR and ASSA ABLOY trucks.
According to Yunag, one recurring topic of debate revolved around renewed opportunity. He says a lot of integrators are looking to capitalize on new opportunities created by customers returning to security and that brings up a need to find ways “to meet more sophisticated demands from end users and outside influences: regulatory, or compliance, or other stakeholders. As well as help end users navigate all of the influences that affect their security decisions.”
Several networking events complemented the conversations that sprung up during educational sessions and on the conference floor. The time-honored PSA Jam Session took place on Tuesday night and showcased a wealth of talent from attendees. The following night, attendees enjoyed a New Orleans piano night featuring pianist Paul Soniat. And a new event on Thursday evening, a bowling tournament, gave everyone a chance to relax after several days of intensive training.
To stay up-to-date on PSA-TEC, join the PSA-TEC group on LinkedIn and visit www.psatec.com.