“I just finished reading MoneyBall,” said Barnes, the novel about the upstart Oakland A’s baseball general manager who used statistics and metrics to quantify the worth of his players. “A lot of those ‘metrics and quantitative’ data can be used in our industry. We are poised for growth, but we have had to up our game to provide potential investors reasons to get in the game.”
Yet as traditional alarm dealers and monitoring companies transition technology and service to meet the demands of a savvy new customer, there is an ogre under the bridge waiting to disrupt this rosy future. Thy name is cable providers!
Gearing up for this frontal assault are telecom and cable giants like AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner to name a few. The battle plan here is to leverage their tens of millions of existing customers now receiving cable television, Internet and telephone services and seamlessly migrate them over to the security, fire and electronic home entertainment arenas.
While always deemed a potential threat simply based on their reach, most executives at the conference share Barnes’ feeling that these communication behemoths aren’t ready to make the leap quite yet.
“I don’t think the telecoms have an inherent advantage to make a successful move into this space. But you have to remember how quickly they went from strict offerings of entertainment to telephony packages,” he said. “The big issue these large cable and telecom companies are going to have as they try to leverage their base is whether there be the kind of EBITA most of their boards will require to satisfy the shareholders. They have a history of throwing a lot of money at ventures like this failing to see them pay off enough to stay the course.”
In the end, Barnes and his colleagues agreed that the continued infiltration of larger new players into the alarm industry is good for business. He contended it demonstrates the overall health and vibrancy of security as an investment.