For many installers and integrators, 2016 will present the need to make a choice. Do they embrace the potential offered by the rapidly evolving technological landscape and increase their profits (as well as gaining more work satisfaction) or do they fight harder in the shrinking pool of limited systems to try and grab a slice of ever diminishing returns? It seems odd to even ask such a question, but does ‘fear’ play a role in holding businesses back?
et’s start off with a basic and obvious fact. Technology is advancing more rapidly than at any point in the past, and it’s not going to slow down. Some people will try to ignore it, others will deny the inevitable, and those with a particular agenda to pursue will put great efforts into trying to confuse, mislead and misdirect people towards their own supply of snake oil. The future, they will tell you, will not happen.
In the security market, some of the recent technological advances seem unrelated to what we do as an industry, but they’re not. Smarter technologies, advanced connectivity, interoperability and artifical intelligence are all real, and they’re all happening today.
Most people in the security industry use these technologies in their daily business. They sell security systems to customers who use them. Unless you have a contacts book filled with people who pay for things with old fashioned pound notes, you get paid for your installations using these technologies.
Where once the great minds – Newton, Edison, Tesla, Pasteur, Logie Baird – defined the world as we knew it, today those reins have been taken up by corporations: Microsoft, Google, Apple, etc.. Whilst in the past these companies has pushed technology along at a reasonable pace, today it is accelerating alarmingly. There is a good reason for this: processing power has taken a significant step forwards, and many of the ‘theories’ can now be put into practice.
The advances in technology make today’s security industry a very exciting place. If anything, it’s not the security industry any more. There are so many benefits that our solutions can deliver, and an increasingly tech-savvy user base will invest in solutions that offer true benefits.
They are already doing so. Businesses are investing in process analytics, smart buildings, advanced data mining, shared intelligence, mobile connectivity, etc.. They are gearing up for the benefits that the Internet of Things will offer. Demand for such solutions is soaring.
Given that security solutions can enhance all of these options with streaming video, real-time reporting, personnel and asset tracking, process monitoring and a host of other secure technologies, a number of installers and integrators are already enjoying the rewards that forward thinking can bring. So what about the rest?
One comment that is often made in answer to this is that many installers ‘fear’ the new technology. Okay, there is something of a learning curve, and the first time I ever used networked solutions it was with some trepidation.
However, there are plenty of resources out there offering help and support. Fear could actually be a good thing; it focuses the mind and introduces caution. Should it stop installers and integrators from embracing what will continue to be a growing business opportunity? Certainly not!
The alternative is that installers can cling to old and limited technologies. If they’re cheap enough someone is bound to buy them. The downwards price spiral will erode margins, make profitability shrink and introduce more competition from less professional firms.
One day the customer will realise that their investment isn’t what they thought it would be. They’ll forget it was cheap, because a useless system is an expensive mistake. They’ll blame the person who sold it to them and vow to never use them again; they’ll pass on their experience to other businesses too.
Now, that is something to fear!