It’s June, the start of summer — the season of backyard BBQs, gatherings with friends and family, and summer vacations. But for most of us, this summer season may look different than usual. Uncertainty abounds about what the next week will bring, much less July, August or beyond. June is also a month for transitions such as graduations and weddings. But as we sit here in late May, those rites of passage are drastically changed or on hold for many.
I wrote last month about my soon-to-graduate high school senior. Like so many others in the same situation, we anxiously awaited what plans our school district would offer in lieu of the in-person ceremony we knew would be canceled. Now we have learned of a four-step celebration that will combine online celebrations, honors ceremonies, senior salutes via radio and a (hopeful) in-person cap and gown gala where they would get to see their friends and walk across a stage. Friends in other states have also shared their areas’ solutions, which have included appointment-only individual ceremonies, drive-in celebrations, car parades and more. School districts have really had to think out-of-the-box to come up with the best way to move forward and celebrate this key milestone.
The security industry, too, has been faced with uncertainty and has risen to meet the challenge. This issue features the State of the Market: Security, Monitoring & Smart Home — the third in our series of four this year, and the first written entirely during the coronavirus crisis. “This article was written in April — an especially volatile time in the COVID-19 pandemic. As businesses across the country were forced to close, at least temporarily, security professionals’ outlook changed from week to week,” SDM Associate Editor Courtney Wolfe writes in the article beginning on page 34.
However, as Wolfe notes in both the cover story and in an exclusive look at Clear Seas research focusing on the security and critical infrastructure industry during April and early May (page 57), while the general outlook may fluctuate, there is no doubt the security industry is not only determined, but well positioned to survive this crisis, particularly coming from a position of strength from several years of good growth. This is especially true for those willing to get creative in their approach. For example, while hybrid DIY has been talked about for several years, the idea of a professional virtually walking the customer through the installation and getting the professional monitoring on the back end has never been more appealing.
Others report changing their outlook or method of communicating and interacting with their customers as a result of the situation. “Our sales and marketing teams have shifted to a 100 percent remote approach with a focus on social media, email, phone calls, video chats and webinars,” Christopher Denniston of Rapid Response tells SDM. “It’s also changed hiring, training and how we all interact.”
Blake Kozak of Omdia (formerly IHS Markit), says change is the key. “Alarm monitoring companies that continue with a business-as-usual approach could be hit harder than those that can be more agile in terms of getting in front of customers and offering professional services in new, creative ways.”
What new or creative ways are you marketing, installing or servicing your customers? We would love to hear your answers on our Facebook, LinkedIn pages or by email. And speaking of getting creative, if you haven’t already heard, SDM is going all digital later this summer! If you haven’t already signed up to get the free digital edition, do so here: www.sdmmag.com/switch. And if you have ideas for creative new digital content you would like to see in SDM, I would love to hear your thoughts. Contact me at Hodgsonk@bnpmedia.com. We look forward to hearing from you!