Leading industry icons addressed the audience at the State of the Industry panel discussion, the first day of PSA-TEC. Photos courtesy Deborah O’Mara
Photo credit: Photo courtesy Deborah O'Mara
Catch up on all the highlights of the State of the Industry streamed live—to Securityinfowatch.com/SIW TV and also see exclusive videos captured by SIW at the show. (See www.securityinfowatch.com.)
PSA-TEC recently held its show and conferences at the Westin in Westminster, Colo., with more than 800 in attendance. The conference included dozens of educational sessions and training and two days of exhibits. PSA-TEC decided to go to its home grounds in Westminster in 2011 and will also stake grounds for the 2012 show (May 14 to 18) at the same venue.
“Hosting PSA-TEC 2011 in Denver was so well received we’ve decided to keep a good thing going,” said Bill Bozeman, president and CEO of PSA Security Network.
SD&I magazine and SecurityInfoWatch.com were key media sponsors of the event, with SIW streaming live the “State of the Industry Report,” kicking off the first day of educational sessions. The report was the ultimate precursor to many other sessions which focused on the future of the industry, how integrators have to evolve the business into a services model and how business management is just as important as technical prowess in the evolving market.
Moderated by Security Consultant Sandra Jones of Sandra Jones and Company, the panel included: Tony Whaley, chairman of Credentialing, BICSI; Bill Bozeman, CEO and president of PSA Security Network; Dave Carter, managing director of Security Network of America; Paul Cronin, CEO of 1nService; J. Matthew Ladd, president of The Protection Bureau; and Chuck Wilson, executive director of the National Systems Contractors Association.
Panelists gave insights into the integration market, the recession and business practices critical to future profitability. There was an overriding message that not only do systems integrators need to focus on a services model and IT-eccentricities, but need to be able to manage their businesses more effectively and learn how to approach lenders about the idiosyncrasies of the marketplace.
How to survive in a commodity world
“One of the most significant challenges facing integrators today is the financial side of the business,” said Bozeman. “Smaller integrators have cash flow issues; and each job has to be profitable,” he said. “Banks are unfriendly to the business,” he added. “So the issues are not necessarily technical. It’s a new business model; this is a technical meeting but business management is important.”
Dave Carter of Security Network of America added that protecting and growing the revenue stream in a changing marketplace can be difficult. “Comcast is entering the business with the XFINITY product, clearly coming into our space. Verizon is offering home automation; and AT&T bought Xanboo. Xanboo is cancelling all dealers in July because they want to go direct to market,” he said.
Cronin commented that attracting, developing and retaining talent is one of the key challenges he sees in the industry. “Finding the right skill-sets and leadership in sales as well is critical. We are the sum of our people,” he said.
J. Matthew Ladd concurred with the panelists that projects are coming in at lower profit margins and customers are continually bidding. “Project management is extremely important. So is the need to have multiple product lines.”
Whaley, coming from an architectural and engineering firm, said he sees the market from a different perspective. “It’s important to work with a design element to save money and time. Building information modeling (BIM) is becoming extremely important and allows you to visualize everything in a project design. AutoCad is going away to this 3D BIM modeling,” he said.
Wilson concurred that the growing use of BIM is something that might blindside integrators who aren’t aware of the software. “But the biggest challenge continues to be attaining profitability on every job. Margins are being constantly challenged.”
ESA and CSAA Race to Charlotte for ESX Show
The Electronic Security Association (ESA) and the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) raced to the Charlotte Convention Center in early June for the ESX show and the results were positive all around.
Systems integrators, dealers, manufacturers and distributors gathered for days of educational topics, exhibits and lots of fun networking events—including a pub crawl that included bull riding and karaoke.
Leading industry accolades
One of the well-known events is the presentation of the Morris F. Weinstock Person of the Year Award, which went to Michael A. Miller of Moon Security Services and the Sara E. Jackson Memorial Award, presented to LJ Lynes of Stanley Security Solutions.
The Weinstock Person of the Year Award was initiated by the family of Morris F. Weinstock to honor the lifetime work of the ESA co-founder and past president. Miller was lauded for his tireless efforts to the organization and was equally surprised when his mother and two sisters came on stage during the announcement of the awards at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Miller has been involved in the security industry since the late 1970s. He served ESA of Washington as president three times. In 2005, Miller was honored with the Sarah E. Jackson Memorial Award for his outstanding leadership as a committee chair. (The Weinstock award was sponsored by Interlogix).
“I think I can make a difference, I said to my wife, when I asked permission to take on the role of president,” Miller told the audience. “I owe a lot to my wife and my family so I could go out and take on the important role of president. My mentor, George Gunning, said to remember all my stakeholders and that’s what I did.”
LJ Lynes, a national training instructor for Stanley Works, received the 2011 Sara E. Jackson Memorial Award for his dedication and leadership as chairman of the ESA Education Committee. He was commended for his efforts to raise the standard of education across the country. He serves as national liaison director for the Tennessee Electronic Security Association. (The Sara E. Jackson Memorial award was sponsored by Honeywell Security Group.)
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