SDM editor Laura Stepanek, and associate publisher Art Neidosik, pose with NASA astronaut and Space Shuttle Commander Richard Searfoss at the first annual Rapid Response Users Group conference. Searfoss, a guest speaker, talked about reaching goals: “Do you have a long-range perspective? Envision that future. Think of the Hubbell telescope looking out light years into the darkness.”

Security installation professionals have had their noses to the grindstone all year, working hard to overcome the negatives in the economy. More than 5 million people in the United States have been out of work for more than seven months, I read recently. One systems integrator I spoke to last week said that because he downsized his staff earlier this year, he now has a four or five week backlog and is considering hiring some of those people back. I hope that many of you are in a similar position.


Soon we will be able to track the economic health of businesses like yours in more ways than ever before, as SDM’s 29th annual Industry Forecast survey gets underway this month – asking, for the first time, if you increased, reduced or maintained your staffing levels this year. This is in addition to dozens of other data points collected, including annual revenue, recurring revenue, monthly rates and average installation prices. SDM’s editor, Laura Stepanek, will be presenting the full results of this study, combined with data from the SDM 100 and Top Systems Integrators, at the upcoming Securing New Ground Conference on November 11 in New York. A demographically representative sample of the security industry will be chosen to participate in SDM’s Industry Forecast survey, and five participants will be randomly chosen to receive American Express gift cards. We thank you in advance for completing this online survey, should you be selected.


SDM representatives will also be attending two very important industry trade shows: CEDIA Expo, from September 9 – 13 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, and ASIS 2009 – the 55th Annual Seminar & Exhibits, to be held from September 21 – 24 in Anaheim, Calif. At ASIS please stop and introduce yourself or say hello to SDM’s editors, Laura Stepanek and Heather Klotz, in booth 2872.


Another hopeful sign for the security industry is a resurgence of small conferences and events, after a very slight lull earlier this year. SDM’s been at many of them – taking notes, listening and working to keep you informed about what’s going on in the industry.


In mid-August, SDM’s associate editor, Heather Klotz, attended the first forum in the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s (NBFAA) (now the Electronic Security Association) Young Security Professionals (YSP) Forum series. The first event, the Executive Forum, hosted by Alarm Detection Systems (ADS) in Aurora, Ill., was highlighted by strong attendance and support from industry leaders. Over the course of a day and a half, the event’s 30 participants shared insight and heard from the participating mentors on the topics of implementing and selling new products, effective strategies for change and controlling attrition. Most importantly, the event reflected a strong spirit of collaboration and information sharing that the industry needs to keep pushing boundaries and growing.


In late August, ADT held its 2009 ADT Media Summit in Dallas, which Heather Klotz attended as well. ADT had a lot to say and a lot to show off during the event – all emphasizing one key message – ADT’s “prowess as an integrator and a provider and a partner in the commercial space,” as Jack Feingold, ADT vice president, commercial sales, put it. ADT backed up its emphasis on it commercial efforts by making the announcement at the event that it had been awarded a collective bid contract by National Joint Powers Alliance to make security equipment, systems and services available to government, education and non-profit agencies in North America. Additionally, at the event ADT offered the media a tour of the ADT IP Technology Lab and Demo room in Carrolton, Texas, presented a security roundtable, showcased its municipal success with two case studies and highlighted how ADT pursues technology solutions as a company. “We work very hard to stay on top of all the available products and all the advancements,” Feingold said. “Because of that hard work, we can sit down with a customer and listen to their needs and goals and help them configure a system that matches those goals with available technology and products that we’ve evaluated and can guarantee that when we put a system together for a customer all of the pieces of that system work in harmony and they can be installed and maintained as promised.”


Both events carried a message of growth and the pursuit of continuous innovation, both individually as companies and as an industry.

Rapid Response Monitoring president, Jeffrey Atkins, welcomed a group of dealers that numbered more than 400, to the first annual Rapid Response Users Group conference. Through his comments as well as through a video demonstration, Atkins spoke of the monitoring station’s deep technical capabilities, as well as new services the firm is rolling out for dealers.

In early September, SDM editor Laura Stepanek attended the very first Rapid Response Users Group conference (RRUG) in Verona, N.Y. The theme was “Visioning the Future,” and every event within the conference followed that theme – from exhibitors demonstrating new solutions to help dealers grow their overall and recurring revenue; to CEU-accredited educational sessions which delved into new business opportunities such as residential systems connectivity or PERS; to guest speakers such as SDM’s publisher Mark McCourt who spoke about industry trends, and astronaut Richard Searfoss who spoke about how to achieve your vision; to an amazing tour of Rapid Response’s monitoring station and an overview from president Jeffrey Atkins about the technology and processes that go into the monitoring operations to ensure its reliability, speed and precision, and superiority.


The four-day RRUG conference, which also included special educational presentations for New Jersey dealers as well as a golf tournament and luncheon to close the event, drew 280 dealer companies, totaling more than 430 attendees and about 40 vendors. More details about the conference will be published next month in SDM.


It has been a busy summer, and at all the conferences SDM has attended across America, while attending trade shows and getting ready for upcoming trade shows and through doing industry research, SDM is finding one thing to be true -  security installation professionals are working harder than ever, have more to say, and are still chasing goals and looking to the future, which is a necessary element of success. As NASA astronaut and Space Shuttle Commander Richard Searfoss said at the first annual Rapid Response Users Group conference when talking about reaching goals, “Do you have a long-range perspective? Envision that future. Think of the Hubbell telescope looking out light years into the darkness.” The security industry is.