SD&I magazine editor Deborah O'Mara
Adversity often breeds creativity. In fact, that’s what happened in last month’s column (see May SD&I magazine, page 10).
Predicated by a bad booth visit at ISC West, my creative juices got flowing after the debacle—and the last visit of the otherwise glorious show! Not just then, but in the wee hours of the morning, when I really got a chance to think about what it all meant, hence, the editorial which is already receiving favorable comments from the security industry and which the insiders of my editorial community have said is one of the best so far. I felt it was as I was writing that piece, but now, here I am trying to outdo the last, which I’m finding is actually quite difficult, a sobering experience all around.
What is it about adversity that gets us moving? Is it adrenaline or endorphins or just plain fear? What is it that will get the security industry righted and headed into its IT-centric future? Losing jobs to the competition? Watching an outsider take market share or, dropping your rank in a business service listing; losing profitability and credibility? Watching your subscribers succumb to pressure by others offering services you’ve been meaning to get to but just haven’t had the chance to launch?
I’ve listened to many newcomers in the industry cite opportunity— the same opportunity that’s staring us right in the face. The outsiders, many new manufacturers and small start-ups, are finding success in this industry. They have seen the writing on the wall—but why can’t we see it? Are we too close to it; too familiar; or just blinded by opportunity or too set in our past to make the moves we need? Are we fearful of comprehensive change or just plain lazy?
Why can’t we see where the industry is headed?
Are we too focused on the day to day to really understand where the industry is headed? Have we become complacent by too many years of shoving hardware down the customer’s throat or not having to work hard at all to make a profit? Aka—not seeing the big picture?
Look at some of the integrators making the right moves: Niscayah with their cloud offering; Siemens Industry with their managed services; ADT with their recent Proximex PSIM acquisition and Vector Security with their compliance program for retail customers, see story starting on page 32. Everyone is adding value; things the customers want, realizing that today—it’s much more than security. Vivint saw the writing on the wall and began to move into energy management and home automation. Protection 1, which understands that we can’t rest our laurels on the digital dialer days of the past and many more who have eased into the services and conveniences that customers crave—both large and small companies—start ups and longtime traditional providers.
Sure there will always be competition, but perhaps that’s what really moves us. I’ve found that to be the case in the print industry. I crave looking at the content of other magazines, seeing what I can adapt for my business-to-business publication that may give it the added edge. And no, despite what some in the industry may think—print is far from dead. Print is where we get in-depth, specialized content, online is where we get immediate news and results. And as always, yes, the medium is the message. But today it’s multi-fold: print, online, social media, networking and other avenues to get the message you want across loud and clear.
Think outside the box, and away from the hardware days of the past. Embrace the future; learn the business acumen you need and hire or train your technicians with the technical expertise they need; IP and video technology, software and services and much more. Sure, it will be tough at first, but once you get the hang of it, the future is yours and will most likely you’ll be rewarded with additional opportunity and profitability.
Build your team; let them know your vision, develop a business plan with an eye to the services future we all need to embrace. Train your staff, use the resources of manufacturers, partner with others and keep your eyes open for new opportunities—because they really are all around us. Network with those inside and outside of the industry; listen to the sounds of change and do something about it now before it’s too late.