It was at ASIS 2004 in Dallas, Texas, that Stanley Security Solutions was announced to the security world. While the news may not have been a huge shock to those reading between the lines of recent acquisitions in the industry, the announcement puts a large operation on the forefront of security.
According to Bob Finnance, vice president of marketing and product management for Stanley Security Solutions, the new company doesn't fit the traditional model of dividing your company into the task at hand - whether that's making products, designing systems, installing systems, or operating the systems. With manufacturing, integration and installation abilities, says Finnance, the company has switched to a "direct-to-end-user" model that pulls together all of the company's attributes.
The model works well considering Stanley's acquisition and/or ownership of nine companies working in the security arena. Under the Stanley Security Solutions umbrella you'll now find Best Access Systems, Blick, C.J. Rush Industries, Frisco Bay, Integrator.com, Intivid Solutions, Senior Technologies, Stanley Access Technologies, and Stanley Hardware.
According to Finnance, the move to offering integrated security services was a natural fit.
"It began in 1999 with our people studying sensors on automatic doors," says Finnance.
"There was a need to consider other sensor options to increase safety and reliability. It led us to start considering digital camera technologies on these automatic doors, and that opened our eyes to the world of surveillance with some of our larger accounts who saw the value of better sensors."
"We started looking at a door as more than just a door," explains Finnance. "Since 9/11 we have started thinking of the door more as a security and retail management product."
Following that "eye opening" experience, the company moved ahead with acquisitions. Best became part of Stanley Works in 2002, and Blick and Frisco Bay were acquired by the company last year. With the major acquisitions in place - acquisitions of "industry leading companies," explains Finnance - the past summer became the time to decide how to focus the security group.
With Stanley Works involved heavily in retail, institutional and industrial service - they've been quietly doing a lot more than making the tools you can buy at Wal-Mart or Ace Hardware - the company's execs have decided to leverage existing expertise into their new security business.
Thanks to existing accounts at schools like Villanova, Yale University and the University of Tennessee, the company has been able to take simple physical hardware accounts and move toward the "big picture" of security.
Along the way, says Finnance, Stanley Security Solutions designers don't get caught up in the fact that the company has its own products, from doors to access control and video.
"We have our own products in key areas," says Finnance, "but when we're working with a client we try to select the best solution, no matter the manufacturer."
Still the company's products usually make it into the final installers.
"Even if there's a lot of technical integration [in the security system], you never get rid of security mechanicals like locks, doors and hinges."
But he says the integrated option is working.
"The trend occurring in retail is continued consolidation," says Finnance. "Retail customers are growing by leveraging buying power and the ability to open new stores at minimal costs. By centralizing our activities, we talk to 'higher ups' and try to show them more than a simple spec and bid. If they like our product can hopefully get to a point where provide them more services."
For now the company has 50 field offices that already exist, thanks to existing operations of companies like Best, Frisco Bay and Stanley works. The company is in the process of re-branding all their divisions - so the "vans" you'll soon see will be Stanley Security Solutions vehicles, and not marked as representative of the previously acquired companies.
But the road ahead won't be as seamless as a well-integrated security system. First there's the training that will take current company workers who know their own product line well - such as BEST or Blick or Frisco Bay - and educate them to the complete offerings of the Stanley Security Solutions company. There's also the issue of walking into a maturing market where the entire lines of operational duties have been blurred due to the physical security vs. IT security push-and-shove that has come about as access control and surveillance systems have become IP-addressable.
But Finnance says that despite such industry factors, they're expecting a rather positive future. The company's analysis of the physical security market puts growth at 8 percent per year after tracking Frost & Sullivan and investment banking research. And there are plenty of options for growth left for the future, with DVMD and biometrics open to a great deal of integration in coming months and years.
As far as what's to happen next for this new addition to the security solutions market, Finnance says the company is still in the acquisition mode and will focus its work on the retail, education, healthcare, financial and industrial markets.
"The goal is to grow our business to be about half of Stanley," he adds.