Get IT – don’t be left behind

Thursday, May 1, 2003

Publisher, Security Systems News

Our industry is in the midst of an incredible evolution.

We have gone from a small self-contained market, to being a leading player in the stock exchange at a time when the market’s soft! We’re the most visible industry in the nation and in the international media. And three of the most powerful companies in the U.S. (Tyco, GE and Honeywell) have bought, or are buying, many of the premier security product manufacturers in our country. Add to this the stake that Siemens, one of the largest companies in the world, has invested here...along with Assa Abloy, Ingersoll Rand, Bosch, Securitas, Group 4, Stanley Tools, and now Leviton with OnQ.

Even IBM is strengthening its reach in security and there are others right behind them. And IBM offers their software codes so that anyone can write software so their product will be compatible or functional on an IBM system! Are we talking interoperability here?

We’re simply in a new era.

Facts are that security is becoming a larger and larger part of the information systems business, both commercially and residentially. In looking at security as information, we can bring our customers far greater flexibility and additional value. Cameras, perimeter security, audio and access products working together, sharing information, while hanging on a communication network and using software to provide the end users with what they want or need…well, this is pretty exciting. The choices for what information can be garnered are vast…as vast as the mind can conceptualize!

This and the other information that we collect will provide end users with new efficiencies - lower operating costs and increased safety for everyone. These and countless other benefits can and will be provided to buyers, firmly solidifying our role and our products into everyday life. And there are more products coming that will add more features and benefits than we have to offer today. These are exciting products that detect dangerous gases, increase lighting abilities, and communicate further and faster.

Networks are the backbone of communicating information and software is the organizational system for how this information is provided. If you don’t know how to work with information or to network products currently, then I strongly suggest that you learn how to do this. If this intimidates you, then buy these skills somewhere. There are college graduates with degrees in computer science that can’t find work. Hire them. Send an employee to computer networking classes. Go along with them. Learn to talk networks and IT language because it’s the future, and in many cases it’s now. The information we gather will be transmitted and managed by networks and software.

What industry or job task has not been affected by computers and networks today? Are there any left? Kids send pictures over cell-phones! They surf the net, write CDs, and watch DVDs on their laptops on the school bus. They’re having no trouble adapting to today’s world…their world…our world.

Manufacturers are very excited about the possibilities here and they’re going to make it happen. They have invested an incredible amount of money in this concept. They’re taking the message to a broader and broader group of end-users and other channels in order to stimulate buying. Embracing this, being a value added reseller, will both strengthen your current customer base, but also open the door for a much broader base of customers. Plus it will help you expand your business and even open the market up so there’s more work for you and for new players.

You, the current installation channel, own the majority of the country’s security customers already. Your customers are who the manufacturers are taking these messages to. Work with it. No one is better prepared than you are. You know wiring, systems design, liability and hopefully your customers’ business and their needs well enough to add additional products, features and functions for them, without much difficulty.

Obviously there’s a great deal more to discuss on all of this. What is the financial formula to make this work? What new technologies will be the successful driver of this? How quickly do I need to adapt? Do I really understand what the future looks like? We need to start and continue to have these discussions. There are many choices that you can make, directions to go in, and ways to position yourself. But these discussions are exceptionally important to the future of your business.