Evolution of technology is something that we all expect, and usually it’s a significant benefit for those in the security industry. However, what happens when a basic product doesn’t actually ‘need’ an upgrade? Should manufacturers watch their products slide gracefully through their life-cycle, or should they develop new features and functions for the sake of having something new?
There are two schools of thought: those who believe that any change which does not improve performance is pointless, and those who think that if technology stands still it will inevitably stagnate. Getting this balance right is critical if manufacturers want to retain the support of installers and integrators.
It is important to understand that change for the better is a significantly different thing to change for change’s sake. Some technologies deliver all that installers and integrators need, and do so without any major issues. Whilst manufacturers like to be seen as innovative, and new features and functions can offer a boost in sales for a well-established product, there are times when we have to accept the old adage: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
In the past 12 months the team at Benchmark has been taking a closer look at some of the developments which have surfaced in the industry. Whilst many of these undoubtedly deliver benefits both for installers and integrators, and add value for their customers, there are some that raise questions over their necessity.
For a development to be of value to installers and integrators, it should allow them to implement a system element (be that an integration, a feature or function, or a specific task) which could not be previously realised, or to make such an implementation a simpler and/or quicker job.
Alternatively, it should enable them to carry out an installation or maintenance procedure quicker, safer or more efficient manner. Indeed, if it adds the benefit of reducing installation and maintenance costs, then all the better.
For a development to be of benefit to end-users, it should either enhance performance or save money. In an age where customers are seeking added value from their systems, we are thankfully seeing many such developments in the security sector. With an end-user base that has a growing understanding of technology and what it can offer, trying to blind them with technobabble isn’t a great idea.
There is, of course, a third party that can benefit from technology-based developments, and that is the manufacturer. In today’s economic climate it makes sense for all manufacturers to consider how best to cut overheads and streamline production processes. Nobody would deny them the chance to create a more efficient business, especially if it does not impact on the performance of the products and systems they provide.
Where issues can arise is if manufacturers change established products and introduce elements that serve their needs, and then market and promote these changes as being benefits for installers and integrators and their final customers. No one will argue the manufacturers cannot make their processes leaner; they will, however, put up vociferous arguments against are being ‘sold’ something that they do not see as necessary.
The security industry is driven by innovation, but in order to ensure it is respected for its technological expertise, it is important that economies introduced by manufacturers and suppliers are not heralded as breakthroughs for the good of the customer base.
Such an approach is the quickest way to belittling the good work that a growing number of companies are doing in the security sector.