Now in its second year, the SD&I Fast50 is a capsule and chronicle of America’s Fastest Growing Systems Integrators, lending insights into the specialty contracting arena we call burglar and fire alarms. But today, it’s much more than that. The industry continues to morph and change with the times and technology. Whether a dealer or an integrator, these contractors are the face of the industry and the marketplace—providing services and solutions that run the gamut from traditional intrusion detection alarms to interactive services to monitoring and hosted video and access control.
And, if the results of the second annual Fast50 are any indication, America’s Fastest Growing Systems Integrators are getting pretty good at changing their business models, learning new technologies and adapting to new revenue opportunities.
The entrants in the 2013 Fast50 program were deep and diverse in all areas except one. Most, close to 94 percent, were private companies, with the remainder public entities. That seems to be indicative of our industry as a whole; that it is comprised primarily of independent small- to medium-sized businesses. And interestingly enough, these same companies, those with 1 to 50 employees, will be charged with the bulk of video surveillance installations in the future, according to the latest industry research statistics.
Public or private, all the companies who entered the Fast50 program are to be lauded for their continued success, even in this ongoing recession we are experiencing. Coupled with massive technology overhauls and changes—and more to certainly come in the near future—the systems integration audience seems willing and able to change with the times and move to the area of new services, such as those mentioned above and certainly those which are IP based, hosted and interactive models of doing business. With this willingness to change comes new challenges—such as training employees and learning new technologies and as always—technology continues to be a major challenge among readers (according to SD&I readership studies).
Overview and insights
In addition to the fact that most of the companies are private firms, other statistics were gleaned from the entrants in the program. When asked about their business mix, close to 82 percent indicated that they focused on the commercial (including government) market with a much smaller percentage of that mix, 19 percent, involved in the residential market. Fast50 will watch that number in subsequent years of the program as the residential construction market revives and more dealers and integrators move into the realm of energy management, home automation and interactive services.
Fast50 entrants are deep and diverse in the vertical markets they do work in. Interestingly, some 13.5 percent reported doing work in the corporate marketplace. Next came education, with participating companies noting education as a market in which they do business, 12 percent, and government/Homeland Security and healthcare as the next market in which they do business, 11.70 percent for both. But up and down the vertical market chain systems integrators seem to do business almost equally in all kinds of markets and this could be indicative and reflective of the regions and areas they serve.
Also as part of the Fast50 fact-gathering questionnaire, we asked participant companies to indicate their top three fastest growing vertical markets based on revenue growth. The fastest growing vertical market was education, followed closely by corporate, and then healthcare and government/Homeland Security. Finally, nearly 67 percent of the respondents were central station companies or provided third party monitoring.