It’s round two of our “Future” issue and we’re not holding back. Sure, talking about what’s to come is never easy—and there are those that don’t like to plan and live À la carpe diem. But when you’re in the security industry—heck, if you have your own business—you’ve always got to have a strategy, whether it’s a one-, three- or five-year plan. But don’t take it from me—take it from the thought leaders in our industry, who devoted their time this month to give us their take. If you missed it, turn back to page 00 and read how S2 Security continues to address and support installer’s needs; or flip to page 00 and find out what systems integrator RFI Communications & Security Systems is up to. And that’s just the beginning. The Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA) and ONVIF—the industry’s well-respected standards organizations—make it clear on pages 00 to 00: it’s up to the customers that use our technology and services who will continue to drive standards. Telular’s Shawn Welsh talks about the inevitable of 2012…the end of 2G as 3G paves the way; while KORE Telematics’ Stefan Spurrell shares some integrator tips as wireless evolution continues. Check out these industry sound bytes from leading systems integrators ADT and Protection 1; and the organization that has got your—yes you, the central stations—back, the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA). This issue has got lots to offer you so take your time, get educated and enjoy the read.—Natalia Kosk, assistant editor, SD&I magazine
“One of the things I do as chief technology officer on the commercial side is visit our customers and discuss technology with them: we try to understand what keeps the security director up at night? What are his challenges and how can we set up a cloud service that is going to help solve those problems? And while we are doing a lot of that through simple voice of the customer meetings, it’s also about confirming some of the directions that we are going in for them. We’re looking at how we can better leverage the equipment that we are putting in to drive a better ROI for our customers. We are looking at ways to provide cloud-type managed service offerings to those customers who, perhaps two years ago wanted to take advantage of some of the high-end type features that enterprise systems have but couldn’t buy those types of systems. Moving these applications into the cloud means that these smaller- or medium-sized users will start to get those high-end system advantages without having to put all the capital out. It’s a win-win for the customer and for us also because we start to generate RMR around services and offerings that, in the past, were not recurring-revenue generators, such as card access or video. As you move over into cloud-type services, the IT knowledge that integrators will need has to go well beyond knowing how to hook up cameras. If integrators thought they were crossing some threshold in learning about IP just through cameras, when you start to offer cloud-type services and managed services, it’s another step that is just as big as learning IT in the first place.
On the video side, everybody right now is trying to figure out how to be the next Brivo but nobody has figured out yet what the killer application is. Many think that it is going to be allowing customers to get rid of their DVR and move all that capability into the cloud or into managed services. That remains to be seen because video is such a bandwidth hog. And one other trend that has already started but that people are going to start noticing more in 2012 is these physical security appliance(s): an IP-connected device that performs many different functions in one box—such as managed access; it can store like a DVR; it can do video and IP audio. And that is going to be the enabler for a lot of these managed services to be done conveniently without connecting a lot of disparate parts together.”—Jay Hauhn, chief technology officer and vice president, Industry Relations, ADT Security Services.
Central Station Update—“The big thing that is happening in software development right now is that central station software providers are starting to work on—or are already in the works of—implementing the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) project, which is going to somewhat revolutionize the central station business. The ASAP program is basically a partnership with the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International (APCO) which allowed 9-1-1 centers and the CSAA to create a computer interface that works between them both. And this CSAA APCO project stemmed from full participation of The International Justice & Public Safety Network (NLETS). We’ve gone through great pains to make sure that this is a program that can be used by both small and large companies. The beauty of it is that it reaches down to every size dealer because in the end, they all need a central station somewhere to do the monitoring. We are marching into a 10-year project. But to do our very best to get the central station operators off the phone and keep them on the computer with the police and fire departments in the country is a project that is gaining steam as we speak. While the program is currently open only to CSAA members, we intend to open it up to non-CSAA members—other ETL- or UL-listed central stations—and get them involved as well. The NLETS program needs the state switches to cooperate in carrying our new message type into the state and so far we have gotten a positive thumbs-up to make the software modifications and the state switches for 23 states. And all of the changes that we are talking about have happened since June. There is more work to do. And one of the things that we are going to try to come up with is an idea for tools to make that job easier for the central station. Resisting change is going to be a bad strategy for a technology company which is really what central stations are already becoming. The alarm companies that don’t get it—that aren’t going to sell product capable of doing those things— are going to have a problem in the marketplace.—Ed Bonifas, past president, Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) and president, Alarm Detection Systems (ADS).
To get involved in the initial phase of the program and be on the network in 2012, contact the CSAA by December 31st.
The Trump Card
“More often than not, we tend to look at the industry from a manufacturer’s perspective and talk about where the technology is going to take us. Clearly, with the pace of technology and IP advancements this plays an important role. However, I personally tend to look at the industry in terms of where the customer will take us. Allowing the customer to lead, doesn’t make a company a follower—rather it makes them a listener and one better qualified to satisfy the needs of customers because they have a deeper understanding of their pain points. One step that Protection 1 has taken to focus on this is through our “Your Voice” research. Select members of our senior management team, including myself, meet with customers and prospects alike asking a variety of scripted and free form questions to get to the problems and pain points faced by security buyers. For example, when dozens of National Account buyers were asked what they wanted in the “ultimate security provider” it was not a new technology solution they were looking for. Technology will continue to be a driver but not a differentiator in our industry. Where technology will matter in company performance is how they use it to provide tools that enable their employees to deliver on what resonates with the customer experience. For new entrants—as well as incumbents in the industry—the customer trumps whatever direction we may be inclined to set. And the o ne that can deliver outstanding delivery will grow in this space.”— Tim Whall, chief executive officer, Protection 1.