“May you live in interesting times.” I’ve been hearing this phrase a lot lately related to the impact of COVID-19 and the resulting shutdowns of schools and businesses. Curious where this phrase comes from, I Googled it. It was originally attributed to a traditional ancient Chinese curse, although that has since been debunked. Regardless of origin, the notion that “uninteresting” times are easier is certainly true. But it is also true that many of society’s greatest leaps forward have come from adversity.
One of my favorite memes going around social media involves the invention of calculus by a bored Isaac Newton after he was sent home from Cambridge University due to the plague. Maybe that’s because I live with a couple of math nerds, including my 16-year-old son, who is taking AP Calculus. I also have a high school senior, whose graduation ceremony and prom are in jeopardy of not happening, or of being drastically altered. What I have noticed about him and his friends is they are mostly taking this in stride and looking forward to the future. He is busy planning for college, doing online school and keeping up with his friends virtually.
This is an attitude we should all seek to emulate. In fact, as we reach the six-week mark to the shutdown, the initial shock is starting to move into the next phase — the new normal. While no one is exactly sure what that will look like, most people agree there will be some permanent changes to the way we conduct business and life in general.
This is not all bad. There have already been positives that have come out of this. In our industry, for example, the number of free webinars, online seminars and education opportunities to help one another has been heartwarming to see and I hope this spirit of collaboration will continue in the post-coronavirus era. Some dealers and integrators have reported an uptick in projects as schools and other facilities seek to take advantage of empty buildings and proceed with or even move up project timelines.
Others, not surprisingly, are experiencing a downturn, which is reflected in the 30th annual SDM 100 report, beginning on page 30, the research for which was conducted in the midst of this crisis. As former SDM Editor Laura Stepanek writes, “The story of 2019 is told in the tables and graphs on these pages. The story of 2020, however, is still unclear. In large part it may hinge on the stream of recurring monthly revenue built up by the industry’s 100 largest companies — a result of years and years of selling the value of monitored security systems.”
It will likely take a combination of relying on existing strengths while formulating new and creative ways of attracting business to survive this; but the security industry has weathered tough times before and I’m confident we will all get through this, together.
At SDM there will also be a new normal. Beginning in August we will start delivering our magazine to you exclusively in a digital format. As we look ahead to a rapidly changing world, we anticipate more people will work remotely and even more will want their information on-the-go. But rest assured, we are committed to bringing you all the same great content, just enhanced for the digital age. These are indeed interesting times and SDM is moving forward and looking ahead to positive changes. Like my son and his 2020 classmates, we may miss some of the more traditional elements of the past, but we understand the best is yet to come and we invite you to be an active participant in this journey with us. If you haven’t already signed up to get the free digital edition, do it now so you don’t miss any of your favorite content: www.sdmmag.com/switch. If you have concerns, comments or questions, reach out to us on social media or email me at Hodgsonk@bnpmedia.com. We look forward to hearing from you!