I'm in a quandry; I'm confused; befuddled; bewildered. I keep reading about security in all sorts of publications, from the custom home installation ones to the pubs focusing on door control and facilities management. The custom install publications say their "integrators" don't lead with security; it's not sexy, it's not something folks want. That may well be the case, because some 80 percent of households don't have traditional security.
But I've also grown weary of the misconceptions, or the misnomers, especially as these folks step into YOUR territory. I feel you can lead with security, because you are the professional contractor whom the customer has come to know and respect; the one who understands it takes a full solutions approach to be most effective for business and home security. However, the type of security you lead with is important and I think video connectivity and interactive services are the right ones because those are the conveniences the customer wants. And that's just why everyone else is coming into your business-because video IS sexy, especially when you can view it on your smartphone.
A new beginning to take charge
It's a new year, a year of hope, fresh starts, prosperity and excitement. Bundle all your services to the customer; lead with security, but in a new way. Add in all the conveniences and functionality the customer wants and needs. (Think energy management and Internet safety and identity theft protection.) They don't want to go to another provider if you've been a consultant, friend, thought-leader, a proponent of the community and everyone in it. They want you if you have the services they have grown accustomed to. They want the experienced central monitoring stations who know what to do when a real alarm comes in and how to handle everything in between as well as deal with the necessary two-call alarm verification commonplace in many cities.
There are outsiders coming into this industry but that should make you work harder. And that's never going to change. We've been discussing outsiders since the breakup of the Bells in the 80s! But there are so many smart and savvy security companies that have seen the light and are doing everything they can to change to become one with this new 'interactive' and cell phone-only lifestyle. Stephen Wheeler is a fantastic testament to how a traditional security company can move to the next higher level. He's the president of Holmes Security Systems in North Carolina, which is more than 100 years old. He told me, when asked what the security landscape will look like in five years, that he too has used that as a guide and told his employees that if they don't continue to change in the way they have they won't be around in five years. And he's not going to let that happen! He's spent countless hours training staff and sales people to make the move to the next and now generation of systems and services and hired IT-centric folks too. He's spent a considerable amount of money even in the down economy. But he knows he has to if his iconic firm is to survive and thrive in the future. Read about this new wave of excitement and determination in our exclusive story on the residential market, page 20. We have other great content; a product showcase on PERS, page 18 and a story on social networking for sales written by Assistant Editor Natalia Kosk, page 30. There's much more original content you can use, so be sure to check out pages four and six to get started.
Now, some of the outsiders have talked about 'bringing sexy back to security.' They want the security and they want to bundle it, because it's a hot commodity tied to smartphone and remote connectivity and controls and integration. But you are the one in the driver's seat, if you take action now. You have the expertise and the relationships to make it happen. I wish you all the best in 2011!