Technology still top challenge for alarm companies, new ESA president says

John Knox takes helm amid advances that are reshaping the industry
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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Competition from telecoms and cablecos is drawing a lot of attention in the security world, but keeping pace with technology is still the biggest challenge facing alarm companies, new ESA President John Knox said at the Electronic Security Expo.

Knox, owner and president of Life & Property Security Systems in Knoxville, Tenn., was installed as president of the Electronic Security Association during the group’s annual membership meeting here on June 28. He has been a member of the ESA Executive Committee since 2006, serving as secretary and vice president.

Knox said the alarm industry typically has dealt with 20-year cycles when it comes to technological change and the need to update equipment, but now the time frame is closer to three years.

“It’s 2G, 3G, 4G … the radios are being forecast to be here for three years, and then what?” he told Security Systems News. “That’s going to be a challenge physically with hardware changing but financially as well, being able to support that and provide service to our customers.”

Advances in technology could also redefine the way alarm companies traditionally have operated, Knox said, and one of his goals is to make sure the ESA is prepared for that day.

“We now have three-year cycles, and that could even change,” he said. “Knowing that there’s something that could totally change the way we operate—is that possible? Yes. It’s not here today, but it could happen. We’ve got to really have a process and program in place to understand the way communications are going to be and how they’re going to change, and how we’re going to change with them.”

Knox said that another goal during his two-year term as ESA president is to reach out to smaller companies that might not feel connected to the organization because of their size.

“I want to work with them and show them that they can make a difference, especially at the local level,” he said in an ESA news release. “I also understand larger companies and the kind of things they need to take away from their [ESA] membership. But if we can somehow motivate the smaller companies, it’ll grow the association.”

The ESA also announced the following appointments at its annual membership meeting:

—Roy Pollack, director of compliance for Devon Security Services of Hollywood, Fla., was elected to a one-year term as vice president.

—Marshall Marinace, president of Marshall Alarm Systems of Yorktown, N.Y., was re-elected to a two-year term as vice president.

—Robert Michel, president of Valley Alarm in Sun Valley, Calif., was elected to a two-year term as vice president.

—Bill Cooper, industry liaison manager for ADT Security Services in Louisville, Ky., was re-elected to a two-year term as secretary.

—Jon Sargent, industry liaison for ADT Security Services in Pleasanton, Calif., was elected to a two-year term as national company representative.

—Ken Nelson, regional director for Interlogix in Moorestown, N.J., was elected to a two-year term as an associate member representative.

The terms began on July 1. Dom D’Ascoli, immediate past president of the ESA, will serve in that capacity for two years and will continue to be a member of the Executive Committee.