The security industry is racing forward with new technology solutions. In nearly a decade we have gone from grainy black-and-white analog images stored on VCRs to high-quality, digital, streaming video viewed from anywhere in the world over a wired or wireless network and stored in a variety of ways.
Technology is driving new dimensions and when you combine this with the increased risks of the last decade, it has raised consumers’ expectations for security, especially in the world of video. It appears that we have endless possibilities for creating video solutions. The pressure is on to step up the integration of technologies, to produce interesting new solutions that not only increase safety, but also improve life styles.
The security industry has been fairly risk-averse — not wanting to go out on a technology limb; waiting for solutions, technologies and new ideas to be very well tested by other industries before jumping in. Where does this leave you in an ever-increasing competitive technology landscape? The backbone of competition in this industry has been service; however, this has contributed to pricing pressure, as dealers and integrators are competing with very similar offerings in what has been a poor economic time. New technology and integrated solutions for all levels of the market can provide opportunities that drive sales and growth.
With new technology comes an ever-increasing demand for networks or data delivery, software and new storage solutions. What was once just our security industry is now an integral part of the IT industry. We may not be supplying the security on the network — although some do — but we are using and managing these new technologies and solutions, which require that you know networks not just basically, but intimately, because what we drive across them is far more complex than what a standard network person would drive. Not understanding networks puts your systems’ success or failure into the hands of others. You are at a disadvantage if you cannot assess if the network you’re using is capable of managing the tasks, or know if your system is having problems due to the network or your technology, or cannot troubleshoot the network if it is experiencing issues. It is not enough to be simply a security company anymore.
Video surveillance will continue to play a vital role in every aspect of security and risk reduction, in applications from homes to the most complex commercial, industrial, institutional and government facilities. The complexity of the network expands in proportion to the complexity of the system. Applications for video are in their infancy, and growing rapidly. Accepting that the communication system for video is the core to your success, can you afford to leave this part of the solution in somebody else hands?
New entrants to the market have roots in structured cabling, telecom, wireless, and the IT world. They are very comfortable with technology, communications systems and software, and they are quickly embracing security. Many security industry professionals believe they will fail, as some did before, but timing is everything. The learning curve in understanding security is easier than the learning curve in network infrastructure, especially at the level required for video applications. This is a contentious statement, I know, but your acceptance or rejection of this idea may have a big impact on your long-term success.
I suggest you acquire networking skills if you haven’t already. Add networking costs to your service package. Will you review your customer’s network before you deploy solutions; provide them with detailed network requirements ahead of time, offer to troubleshoot issues for a fee after the fact, or all of the above, and for what price? Start small and work through it. The customer’s network may be your customer’s problem, but if the system you installed does not work on their network, then you’re the one who will pay the price for it one way or another. Grow your business and your competitiveness with networking and new technology solutions.
Carol Enman is a business growth consultant with decades of experience growing businesses in the security industry, as well as in other industries. She can be reached at www.whengrowthmatters.com.