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Putting the pieces together

Is your organization ready for the changes to come?

May 13, 2016  By  Richard McMullen

The electronic security industry has deep roots and an impressive history to be proud of. From humble beginnings to being entrenched in society, we continue to evolve as technology advances and change help propel our industry forward. Change is inevitable and should be embraced and managed.

The status quo, while appearing more comfortable, may not be so sustainable. I was recently reminded that there have been many changes in our industry, most notably some of the acquisitions and mergers we have observed in the Canadian market. I would argue that this type of change is not a new phenomenon.

In 1983, the small independent alarm company that I worked for (Golden Triangle Alarms) was acquired by Honeywell-Amplitrol. Three years later, Honeywell-Amplitrol acquired another Ottawa based alarm company, and founding CANASA member, Universal Alarms Limited.

This trend continued throughout the 1980’s, 1990’s and beyond. In 2000, ADT Security Services Canada Inc. acquired the Canadian business operations of Honeywell Protection Services Division. ADT recently acquired Montreal-based Reliance-Protectron. There are of course dozens of other examples across our industry: Kaba acquires Keyscan; Anixter acquires Tri-Ed Distribution and the list goes on. Change has been part of our landscape for as long as I can recall. I predict that there will be more changes to come.


Our industry may be in a constant cycle of change. What can we do to manage the impact of these changes? How can we embrace change and adapt as organizations and team members? Adaptability is certainly a quality that will help in this endeavour. Perhaps as important, having a positive attitude can help one effectively navigate the changes ahead. Focusing on the opportunities that develop from change will position you and your organization for success. Taking advantage of these opportunities will also have positive impact.

Growth is also a product of change. Managing growth, especially in uncertain times, can be a challenge. Developing an intimate understanding of the situation coupled with planning are crucial.

Effective implementation of a tactical plan can help mitigate risks and help you reach your desired outcome. Knowing when to hire, when to re-organize and deploy resources is a vital element to success. Due diligence and having a clear understanding of the situation will also impact success.

Integrators seem to be well positioned for the changes to come. We are a segment of the security industry that focuses on implementing change with a variety of technologies. Enhancing security with video surveillance, access control and intercoms are just a few examples.

Many facilities have maintained security checkpoints with security staff to validate and control access. These checkpoints have often been enhanced with turnstiles and access control systems to help manage secure and convenient access. The resulting deployment of technology has also had an impact of security staffing requirements.

Video analytics continue to play a role in the changes to security staffing requirements. The installation process and deployment of technology has also seen tremendous change. Image quality, wireless technologies and the adoption IP technology are a few examples.

Our security solutions will continue to evolve and adapt to meet the needs of our clients. I am confident that future generations of security professionals will look back with pride at our time in this vital industry.  

Richard McMullen (@Richard_FCi) is partner, security solutions, FCi (www.fci.ca), and national president of CANASA (www.canasa.org).

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