Expansion Coupled With Some Growing Pains

Oct. 27, 2008
p>Dear Readers:

New technology and the busy exhibition season that is underway are helping to drive up the Business Confidence Index to a high equal to January 2005 and the second highest Index since the measurement began in 2000, says SIA. Security Dealer readers are reporting increased margins on the systems they are installing, fueled on the commercial side by hybrid access control systems, DVRs and IP cameras. Based on the fact that penetration levels of residential systems are still relatively low, dealers are also making money in this market segment.

The recent SIA 2006 Research Update from the Security Industry Association offers the uplifting news on business confidence, however, not everything in the document is complementary to a robust security industry. Unfortunately, according to two separate reports, U.S. businesses are unprepared for disasters and so are call centers.

According to a recent report by AT&T and the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), nearly one-third of U.S. businesses surveyed do not have business continuity plans in place. Even worse, North American contact centers aren't keeping up with their counterparts in other areas of the world when it comes to security and disaster preparedness, according to a recent study from Dimension Data. The 2006 Merchants Global Contact Center Report found that North American contact centers ranked as the slowest in answering inbound calls.

Only 29 percent of North American contact centers had tested disaster recovery plans, according to Dimension Data. And, the report indicates, just 37 percent of respondents in North America authenticate customers on some or all calls.

“In the event of a disaster, often the first point of contact that a customer will make is a call to the contact center,” says Cara Diemont, global marketing director for Dimension Data's customer interactive solutions group. “These are the times when customers want to address their concerns with a live agent and not via other electronic, self-service channels.”

Back to the good news, The First Quarter 2006 Index of 78.6 compares to

The Index in the Fourth Quarter 2005 which was 76 and the First Quarter 2005 Index which was 78.6. About 76 percent of the security executives contacted for The Business Confidence Index, rated current business conditions as excellent or good. No one ranked conditions as poor.

When asked to rate their expectation of their firm's aggregate level of capital spending over the next twelve months, 68 percent of the respondents to the Security Industry Business Confidence Index survey believe spending will increase. About 82 percent of respondents expect business conditions for their company to be much better or a little better over the next three months.

Susan A. Brady
Editor In Chief