SP&T News

How to help your customers and grow your business in 2023

March 14, 2023  By  SP&T Staff

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In the security industry, technology is continually being re-evaluated and upgraded, while the importance of great customer service remains a constant. SP&T News recently reached out to a group of security professionals and asked them: What should security integrators, dealers and related industry professionals be thinking about this year to ensure customer satisfaction and results?

The advice that came back covered everything from a solutions-focused sales approach to taking stock of economic trends and understanding how they will ultimately affect your customers’ appetite for change.




Tracy Larson, President and Co-Founder, WeSuite

Eliminate surprises! We’re still dealing with a lot of uncertainties in the market.

There are labour shortages, supply chain issues and quickly rising prices. Everyone understands that. However, security integrators must still meet customers’ expectations. Those problems can’t become an excuse for inaccurate quotes and missed installation deadlines.

Security integrators must communicate with customers, upfront, the possible challenges a project may face and establish mutually agreed upon plans to address them.

For example, are they willing to substitute parts if availability becomes an issue? Would they prefer partial project delivery even though labour will cost more? Is there an absolute deadline by which the system must be installed? The integrator must understand where there is room for flexibility and where there isn’t. Then, they must quote in a way that takes all of these considerations into account. Sales software can help. It makes it much easier to quote various options, add contingency pricing, and generate comprehensive proposals with current terms and conditions, substitution clauses, and pricing expiration dates.

Highly detailed quotes benefit everyone. The client understands exactly what to expect, while accounting and operations have clear guidelines for proceeding. Ultimately, the only surprises should be good ones, like the project delivered ahead of schedule and under budget!


Zoran Trgacevski, District Sales Manager, Canada, i-PRO

Cybersecurity continues to be a big part of the industry conversation at all levels.

Particularly for IT departments, it’s top of mind. Recent breaches like the one at a major hospital in Toronto keep the topic in the news, and people are doing their research. While NDAA compliance isn’t required in Canada, we’re seeing this come up in RFPs and conversations. This focus speaks to the convergence in security and IT infrastructure and the need to firm up that chasm.

The other driving concern among security professionals is the need to do more with less. We see two areas of advancement rising to help organizations achieve that goal — advanced analytics at the edge and multi-sensor cameras.

While the ability to pinpoint people and vehicle by attributes in seconds versus hours is a huge advancement over simple analytics, the game changer is that this advanced AI is now available at the edge — which means there can be significant cost savings and simplification in terms of server hardware. The move away from single lens fixed cameras to multi-sensory PTZs speaks to the availability of security infrastructure that takes up less space and covers more ground, requires less cable and fewer licences. These give organizations more value in a smaller footprint.


Max Burgess, Director of Global Business Development, BCD

What happens if any item in your surveillance solution fails? Are you prepared to handle any situation that comes up? In order to ensure that your customer is satisfied with the results, you need to make sure your system design is fully protected over the entire span of your warranty. Customers who are short-sighted and only focus on the cost up front tend to run into more maintenance and warranty issues in the long run. You want to make sure you are asking your suppliers and manufacturers the correct questions to avoid any potential loopholes down the road if a failure were to occur. Rarely do solutions have zero issues over the course of their warranty, but the more proactive you can be, the more likely you will have a satisfied customer, which will lead to repeat business.


Elizabeth Parks, President & CMO, Parks Associates

Security providers need to be thinking about retaining their current customers, offering new value-added services, and attracting the DIY segment.

Parks Associates shows younger generations are more likely to self-install, while Boomers and older prefer professional installation. Gen Z, Millennial, and Gen X respondents strongly prefer DIY solutions to pro installation. Gen Z and Millennial respondents have become accustomed to shopping and completing purchases without talking to sales or customer representatives. DIY solutions allow purchases to be completed with more price transparency online.

Security dealers should offer their DIY customers add-on services. Parks Associates research of 10,000 U.S. internet households show DIY customers with higher interest in subscribing to a variety of add-on services than customers with professionally installed security.

Security providers are adding value to traditional monitoring services with new lines of business. Vivint, Alarm.com, Ring and ADT all have vehicle monitoring solutions on or coming to the market. Cybersecurity services are another hot area of interest to both segments but require the development of new expertise or partnering with cybersecurity providers.

Recent advancements in video analytics, specifically face recognition software, provide another opportunity for new revenue streams for providers. Google and Wyze currently monetize face recognition capabilities for video devices. With consumer demand for advanced video analytics strong, much of the market will want to capitalize on these opportunities.

Consumers are experiencing exceptional rises in the cost of living, and high interest rates continue to depress the housing market. As the housing market slows, professional security providers will need to look to other avenues to attract new subscribers. Parks Associates shows seven per cent of pro-install security systems were acquired because “it was already in the house I moved into.”

Under these circumstances, security providers seek growth from several avenues:

  • M&A: Large security providers and monitoring centres seek to acquire smaller ones. ADT acquired IOTAS to power its growth in the MDU market. Vivint was acquired by NRG. Growth by acquisition is in full force and expected to continue in 2023.
  • Monitoring expansion: Providers are expanding into new areas such as solar, vehicle security, video storage, professional monitoring, etc. Ecobee, Brinks, ADT, Google and Amazon all have made recent moves that cross the energy-security divide, while players like Notion have added professional monitoring service options for their customers.
  • Intelligent systems: Smarter systems improve the value proposition of home security systems. AI, video analytics, and add-on smart home devices increase system pricing, open after-sales opportunities, and drive higher-priced service tiers.
  • Partnerships: ADT received an astounding US$1.2B investment from StateFarm, signaling the end of insurers’ tepid smart home trials and real investment in the possibilities of a smarter, risk-averse home.

In 2023, expect residential security providers to continue to push the envelope on product innovation and services they provide in order to increase revenue in a market of slowing adoption.


Robert Harman, Director of Sales, North America, Ajax Systems

Dealers/integrators need to continue to stay up to speed to make sure they are offering their customers the right solutions. Consumers expect ease of use, aesthetically pleasing devices — and both while offering technology that reduces false alarms. For example, the advancements in visual verification combined with ease of deployment have made it easy to offer technology that significantly reduces false alarms.

Within seconds, both the end user and central station can have multiple snapshots of what caused the sensor to go into alarm, helping to decide what action should take place. In addition, you can quickly have visual verification of smoke during a fire alarm and can share with the applicable parties. I strongly recommend you stay close to your industry associations, central stations, distributors and manufacturing partners to ensure you are armed with the latest information.



David Sulston, Director of Security, Oxford Properties (Security Director of the Year 2022)

From an end-user perspective, perhaps the most important consideration is the ability to solve a problem the client is encountering in new and innovative ways. Physical security measures play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and security of users in various settings, including homes, offices and public places. Over the years, there has been a shift in the way physical security is approached, and it has a significant impact on user experience.

The key drivers we are seeing post-pandemic are the decline of resources, both financial as well as available workforce. The possible solution is the integration of physical security measures with technology. This integration allows for real-time monitoring, remote access control and automated alerts in the case of security breaches. However, this integration also raises concerns about cyber threats and data privacy.

The ability to track an individual’s (or group’s) current and historic movement, behaviour and activity has the potential to greatly improve security, but it also raises new security and privacy concerns that must be addressed.

With the ever-changing legislative decisions related to privacy as well as the exponential growth of potentially invasive technology, the ability to walk the fine line between the protection of assets while staying attentive to solutions that may simply not be palatable to the public, will be a significant value-add to consumers and the public at large.


Sam Smith, Solutions Developer, Delco Security ( SP&T News Integrator of the Year 2022)

In 2023, we expect to see a lot of old trends continue to evolve plus some new trends become more predominant.

Of course, cloud storage and AI are expected to continue to produce novel ways to manage security. Cloud storage will move processes off site, reducing on-site IT and hardware requirements. AI will move some of the mundane tasks from humans to machines freeing up human resources.

One of the existing trends expected to continue to grow and evolve is the use of mobile credentials. Using both mobile devices like smartphones and smart watches are offering new ways to provide identity verification to security systems without issuing physical cards or other traditional RIF devices.

Another technology that is expected to continue to grow is biometric verification. Biometric verification has evolved from simply hand or face geometries to AI-driven analysis of facial patterns, gait and other forms of biometrics that do not require touch. AI systems are trained on how to recognize various forms of identity falsifications and biometrics through cameras can move verification from being just a one-time authentication as you enter a building to continuous verification as you move through any camera view.

Wireless technologies is another expected trend. As 5G ramps up with improved security protocols, expect to see a wider use of 5G-enabled IoT devices to further augment security systems in ways that might be very different and exciting.


Erin Mann, Manager, Channel Enablement, Canada, Latch (Canadian Security Emerging Leader 2022)

Achieving customer satisfaction can best be accomplished by prioritizing the customer experience at every interaction.

A deep understanding of customers is central to a successful customer experience strategy. Companies need to conduct qualitative customer insights, market research and competitive analysis to build a well-mapped and supported customer journey. Understanding the needs, wants and requirements of the customer helps organizations tailor their product and service offerings appropriately. Rarely generating the same buzz as other best practices, a commitment to customer experience ensures that customers have a positive experience with your people, products and services during both pre- and post-sale moments. Creating feedback loops for customers is critical to ensure your product is performing well and filling a need, also allowing internal teams to ideate and iterate on improvements that will help the end user.


David Sime, Executive Vice-President, Technology, Paladin Technologies

Fundamentally, our industry protects assets. However, it is built on relationships. Who knows who, and who do I trust? What technology solves my business problems and who has used it successfully before? The human element of the channel, from the manufacturer to the customer, is fundamental. As anyone who has participated in this industry knows, there is also rigor in most procurement processes. Sometimes the rigor is valid due diligence, and sometimes it’s checking boxes. AI like ChatGPT will disrupt this interaction this year. When a buyer is asking you to “describe” a process, or a quality program, or even your delivery plan, a marginally passable response can be churned out by these tools in a few keystrokes. I don’t condone using these tools, but they will be used. If you’re going to use AI to support your technical writing, use it as a tool and don’t depend on it. Use AI to inspire content, not to create it. Don’t be the first of many to get caught doing so.

Strategies for direct marketing and cold call emails will also change. Especially for sales that exist in the “long tail of the market” (high volume, low value). As an end user, how do you distinguish interactions from an AI script? Our industry will be encouraged to leverage and enforce more reliance back to our roots and real human interaction. I encourage end users to be mindful of the content that is being pushed out to you daily. Read and interact with intention. When Bob sends you an email and it doesn’t sound like Bob sent it, Bob’s reputation is ruined. We remain a relationship-based industry that leverages technology to solve complex problems. Let’s not forget the humanity in it all.


Sanjay Challa, Chief Product Officer, Salient Systems

The ongoing debate of open vs. closed systems will continue to influence end-user buying decisions in 2023. The choice between interoperable solutions and proprietary systems is often about whether end users are looking for a turnkey solution compared to a more custom best-of-breed and tailored solution. Smaller and mid-market companies will likely be more interested in the turnkey solutions provided by a single vendor, while enterprise-level companies traditionally gravitate toward investing in customized solutions that are more likely to address their unique security challenges.

This dynamic will most likely impact the deployment patterns of video surveillance systems — completely on premise, hybrid, or cloud-based — that we will see in 2023. This is driven primarily by the move to cloud, but the broader trend is the amount of effort it takes to deploy, monitor and maintain the video surveillance system. Because the cloud requires less total cost of ownership and cloud access can be intuitive, it is driving interest for solutions that can be hosted in the cloud. This also opens up a growing number of opportunities for the role of the integrator as part of the rise of cloud and Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) offerings.


Yaron Zussman, General Manager, Magos Americas

The shift in economic conditions over the last year will have definite impacts on the landscape of startups in the security market. The “free money” we have seen from investors has funded many new entrants in the market, particularly in the AI space, which has inflated valuations. Integrators can expect to see some of these companies, particularly those with weak business models previously buoyed by investors, struggle in 2023.

It remains to be seen whether these economic conditions will have any meaningful impact on the explosion of AI and Machine Learning in security, as the growth of those technologies in the market is already well underway. This is driving new levels of false alarm reduction for end users, in particular for perimeter detection, with more sophisticated ways to classify potential threats, improved alerting and better overall system monitoring.


Leo Levit, Chairman, ONVIF Steering Committee

We are seeing increased demand from end users to integrate video into larger IoT systems. In particular, building automation systems are becoming more mature and see huge value in surveillance cameras as a sensor to provide more information to the overall system. There is currently not a lot of standardization in this area, but it is an area where ONVIF specifications can help pave the way with interoperability and camera connectivity.

Helping to drive this demand is also the development of new chipsets that are making cameras more powerful and a more valuable contributor as part of the multiverse of sensors within a building.


Rebecca Adler-Greenwell, Senior Manager, Channel Enablement, North America, Genetec

For many customers, security systems represent a significant investment, yet many security teams still only use a small percentage of their physical security systems’ capabilities. When customers aren’t tapping into the full power of the solution they bought, they aren’t realizing their full return on investment. This creates a consumption gap. Finding the time to learn multiple capabilities of a security system can be time consuming. Often, taking advantage of new tools and solutions takes a backseat to the urgency of daily tasks.

Understandably, systems integrators are primarily focused on delivering reliable solutions that meet their customers’ security goals to ensure their long-term success. However, engagement can go beyond deployment.

By reviewing opportunities to bridge the consumption gap, integrators can impact the likelihood of growing the system or service renewals. This opens growth opportunities by driving deeper engagement with customers. Satisfied customers who realize the value of their investment have the potential to become long-term accounts.

Systems integrators can help customers with a training plan that focuses on getting the most value from their security system and identifying additional product features. The investment in training will pay off in closing the consumption gap and open other potential opportunities to expand existing systems with new products and services.

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