We are Enablers

Hot on the heels of a stellar Electronic Security Association (ESA) Leadership Summit, I'm still blown away by the level of expertise demonstrated in discussions by your peers-and that's just what the organization intended in its revamped 2011 format. SD&I magazine led three different panel discussions, with Ed Bonifas, vice president of Alarm Detection Systems in Aurora, Ill., and Steven Ipson, director of Advanced Dealer Development for Diebold Inc.,Uniontown, Ohio, on managed services and that golden and coveted phrase-recurring monthly revenue (RMR). Another SD&I-moderated session focused on the successful residential market forays of Todd Broyard, president of Black Lab Alarm, Woburn, Mass.; Michael Pope, president of Safety Technologies, Medina, Ohio; and Richard Perry, CEO of Security Networks, West Palm Beach, Fla. Another session led by SD&I publisher Carol Enman included a presentation by Ray Navarro, account manager of Kratos, Carrollton, Texas, (recently purchased Henry Bros.) and Steve Daughtery, president of Current Technologies, Downers Grove, Ill. They spoke of networking, consultative selling and lots of ways to add value to business.

One of the key phrases that came up repeatedly was enabling or enabling technologies. As defined, and explained in the meeting, it's "equipment and/or methodology that alone or in combination with associated technologies provides the means to generate giant leaps in performance or capabilities of the users." And even more important to the definition, explained by BusinessDictionary.com: "the coming together of communication technologies, Internet and groupware that has leveled the field so that even smaller firms are able to compete in areas where they otherwise could not."

Joe Nuccio, president and chief executive officer of ASG Security in Beltsville, Md., chair of the Leadership Summit Advisory Board, kicked off the conference program and said the industry is moving into one of the most exciting times-because of enabling technologies. "New technologies are enabling smarter homes and allowing companies to move, store and analyze security information at higher speeds, via mobile devices." He added that while equipment prices are down, functionality is up, bringing more value to the systems integrator's services and the customer.

Daughtery also bantered about the phrase. His company is an IT- and wireless-centric firm that's helping municipalities with surveillance systems that equal more 'boots on the ground.' Enabling technologies, Daughtery said, allows Current Technologies to help a small police department work like a much larger force. "IP is enabling the best of breed from technologies to present the right solution to the customer," he said. He added that traditional security companies can get entrenched in enabling technologies, but they must consider whether or not they are ready to take on the investment of creating an IT company that understands the overall theory of network infrastructure design-or create a relationship with a company.

ESA worked hard on executing the peer-to-peer model, said Charles "Dom" D'Ascoli, president of ESA and Smoky Mountain Systems Inc., Franklin, N.C. After all, who do you want to hear from? Others with experiences, pains and challenges like yours, or those who have no mind whatsoever of how to run a business in the systems integration industry? The industry has progressed from motion sensors to managed access and video and mobile connectivity-in the blink of an eye. Whether you take the time to listen to your peers and attend critical ESA events and run with the concepts is up to you and your future success. I hope to see you at the finish line, as a winner!