Security Summit Canada 2022 Recap: Future of security and business growth
SP&T News hosted the annual Security Summit Canada virtual event on Feb. 17, featuring expert speakers and panelists from across North America who provided insights into today’s alarm and security markets.
SP&T News editor Neil Sutton, hosted the virtual event which drew almost 300 registered attendees.
The event was sponsored by ASSA ABLOY, Tag Dispatch, Alarm.com, SimPRO, SecurTek Monitoring Solutions, GardaWorld Security Systems and the Canadian Security Association.
Keynote Presentation: Dean Drako, CEO of Eagle Eye Networks
Cloud continues its gradual overtake of on-premise systems as customers, according to Eagle Eye Networks CEO Dean Drako, adopt cloud more and more quickly in light of its advantages. Among these, Drako emphasized a reduced workload for the end user and cost efficiency.
“In the cloud world, you have a company that is 24/7, continuing your up time, doing continuous delivery, monitoring, making sure everything is running,” Drako told the virtual audience.
“If you want to do that yourself, there is a significant overhead to do so.”
As Drako explained, the vendor takes on most of the responsibility in a cloud environment. For instance, the vendor carries out all of the penetration testing and ensures all necessary patches are applied. In an on-premise scenario, much of the responsibility falls on the customer.
AI, Analytics and Cloud adoption
According to Drako, part of the appeal of cloud-based systems versus those on premise is the ability to take advantage of AI and analytics with the “click of a button.”
He predicted that cloud will be a major driver of the video surveillance market over the next 10 years. The second greatest driver will be AI and analytics where companies are using AI to assess and interpret videos.
“We now know how to do that. We are actually getting quite effective at doing it,” added Drako.
He told the Security Summit that while there may be many future uses for AI and analytics in the years to come, two categories will be most widespread — AI video searches and AI notifications and alerts.
Drako demonstrated how AI and analytics have been integrated with video surveillance systems to enable users to sift through hours of surveillance footage using terms just like in Google searches.
AI notifications and alerts will serve to detect and produce notifications for incorrect or dangerous behaviours like falls or non-compliant behaviours such as missing hardhats in construction zones.
“There will be other deployment cases, but I believe that these will be the two that will drive real revenue for resellers where you can make money and you can explain to customers the value that this brings to them, charge them and increase your revenue,” said Drako.
Panel discussion: Opportunities for integrators
Helen Perry-Raycraft, vice-president and CEO of Brigadier Security Systems and Elite Security Systems; Mark Gill, security solutions account executive with Vipond; and Doug Penson, president of My Managed Security and SecurU joined Sutton in a discussion on their experiences as integrators in a pandemic and a changing technological landscape.
Sutton kicked off their discussion with a question on the hottest technologies most wanted by companies and areas for growth according to their perspectives.
“For us, the obvious is hands-free, touchless technology,” said Gill.
“Things like access control, which you know, there has been a big surge in those kinds of access technologies. The next kind of major thing is AI.”
Gill explained that current discussions with clients around AI show that they are mainly concerned with the cost of implementing such technology in comparison to traditional systems. Clients are also particularly concerned with where and how data is stored.
“They want it to be stored in Canada, or wherever they are located,” he said.
He also said that many clients have expressed interest in a more unified security system which could be either cloud or on-premise as clients are moving away from having different types of systems across different facilities.
For Penson, cloud-based access in the commercial market has been an absolute hot spot for growth with many workplaces going remote.
“Invalidating cards, modifying access level, maybe changing unlock schedules on doors, that has certainly been a great and busy part of what is keeping our time occupied on the commercial side,” said Penson.
He later added that clients of his business are also interested in working with more unified platforms as Gill previously stated.
Next, Sutton asked how cloud adoption has changed the way they approach their clients.
Perry-Raycraft said that they are getting away from machines on site and collaborating with IT groups more.
“We’re getting out of their network and onto the cloud, so they are able to manage this remotely,” said Perry-Raycraft.
Perry-Raycraft described the knowledge required from security technicians as being more IT and network focused than it would have been 20 years ago.
Panel discussion on the changing world for alarms dealers
Victor Harding, president of Harding Security Services and a regular SP&T News columnist, served as panel moderator, and invited five leaders from the alarm industry to discuss their challenges as well as potential areas for growth.
The panelists were Sean O’Leary, president at SafeTech Alarm Systems; Anas Mustafa, CEO at Canadian Security Professionals; Ivan Spector, president at Alarme Sentinelle; Michael Bloom, owner at Alert Security; and Kevin Leonard, chief operating officer at Huronia Alarm.
Harding’s first question focused on the alarm account market and whether companies could pursue profits in this area.
For Spector, commercial clientele remained robust but residential clients were more difficult to get through during the first year of the pandemic.
Moreover, Spector emphasized the importance of upgrading accounts regularly and maintaining close and consistent communication with clients.
“if you’re not keeping close to your customer base, you are not communicating with them on a regular basis, you are going to have a problem,” said Spector.
Another way to stay engaged with the customer base, according to Spector, was to specify an app as more and more customers want to engage with a single app on a single interface for all of their security needs. He warned that customer bases can quickly become stale in the absence of offering this component.
“They want one app to rule all of these devices as much as they can. It’s an easier user experience for most customers,” he noted.
For O’Leary, growth during the pandemic has been quite tricky as lockdowns and remote work have significantly reduced the demand for alarms.
Still, initial account set-ups have served as excellent opportunities for client retention. More attention to detail is required with account setups due to the increase in home automations, wireless alarms and interactive services.
Keeping up with the “TELCOs”
As several of the speakers noted, large telecommunications service providers present some major challenges to their line of business simply because they have more resources at their disposal.
“They’re putting in $1,500 worth of equipment for free. Are we gonna go down that road?” O’Leary commented.
Bloom noted another problem brought forth by large telecoms — bundles.
Large corporations can offer to their clients television, internet, cellular phone, home phone all on one big bill.
“By the time they bundle or offer the discount to the customer, the alarm system goes in basically for free,” said Bloom.
Harding introduced Leonard, noting that his company had become a top player in two Ontario markets.
While bundles pose problems for the average alarm dealer, Leonard said he has been able to ensure some growth by offering his own sort of combination of services to clients who need to upgrade their systems.
“We’re getting more money per account,” said Leonard.
“Instead of growing by the number of customers, we’re growing off of each customer.”
At the end of this panel, Sutton thanked all guests and speakers for their attendance before closing this year’s Security Summit.
All of this year’s presentations, including a bonus presentation on the M&A market for security, are available on-demand. Click each presentation to view the full video.