BY DEBORAH L. O’MARA
Winds of Change Blowing Strong
NEW DELIVERY METHODS OPEN MARKETS FOR SECURITY
At ISC West 2016, the security indus-
try’s largest annual tradeshow, it was evident
the winds of change are blowing within the cat-
egory of physical security.
For electrical contractors (ECs) with low-
voltage divisions offering security, it’s important
to note these changes will yield tangible value
to the business, closer ties to the information
technology (IT) world, and new and exciting ways
to present security, video and monitoring services
Forget the move to internet protocol (IP) cam-
eras and super-high-definition images. Sure,
those are still there, but now there are other
phenomena that present additional opportuni-
ties in numerous product categories.
New options and customer markets
For those who have been involved in the low-voltage industry over the last decade, it’s
common that projects don’t command the profit
margins they once did. With competition from
every corner, including customers who shop
online and an influx of low-cost products from
overseas, that trend will continue. It’s up to the
EC to find ways to deploy security and integrated
systems in new areas that add profitability and
convenience for customers.
Digital Monitoring Products (DMP), Springfield,
Mo., recently unveiled ways to offset dwindling
profit margins while entering new markets. Its latest service, The Company Store, has integrated
web applications and a product delivery engine,
according to Mark Hillenburg, executive director
“This gives the installation contractor more
access to the new millennial marketplace and the
do-it-yourself [DIY] market,” he said. “The con-
sumer can start building their own system online,
and the contractor chooses their pricing through
an easy administrative dashboard. End-users
may navigate the website directly for equipment
options and choose their contract, based on what
the security installer chooses to offer.”
Customers visit the user-friendly website,
which prompts them with the message “Let’s
build your system” and then selects their
monitoring. Customers get specific about the
system, providing names for the zones that
DMP then programs automatically through a
cloud-hosting service. Should the customer
decide to rename the zone, they can do it at
the keypad or through the cloud with a DMP
browser-based solution Virtual Keypad (www.
Hillenburg said the idea is to give contractors
ready access and participation in the burgeoning
DI Y market while keeping the customer connected to and invested in the service company. For
customers that want more flexible options in
professional central station monitoring, there are
choices. DMP’s OnDemand Monitoring provides
the length of service determined by the customer,
without a long-term, multiyear agreement.
OnDemand Monitoring is a configured option
that security contractors can also provide through
Virtual Keypad on the end-user’s browser. Users
schedule the exact monitoring times they want
and pay a per-day rate, which the installation
company sets. End-users configure their system
to monitor on days they will be away from home
and have the option to turn off monitoring when
“Perhaps users want to schedule monitor-
ing only for a day,” Hillenburg said. “It gives
the consumer the ability to choose when they
want monitoring, during vacation or at other
times. We enable the communications to the
central station and then can disable it when that
time period is over. It’s seamless to the central
monitoring station. Users may also decide to
migrate to full-service, long-term monitoring if
they like the service. It’s a good tool to bridge
the gap and either win back people who were
thinking of cancelling monitoring altogether or
those you want to attract to more comprehen-
It also works for those who install their own
system yet want it monitored.
A recent industry report from Gartner Inc., Stamford, Conn., noted that, by 2020, more than 80
percent of software vendors will change their
business model from traditional license and maintenance to subscription, regardless of whether the
software resides on-premises or in the cloud.
Offering software-based video management
systems may have been cost-prohibitive in the
past, but that too has changed, opening cost-competitive opportunities. Genetec, based in
Montreal, has a subscription program that gives
installers and customers pay-as-you-go licensing
for its on-premises video management system
called Genetec Security Center.
Subscribing customers pay on a monthly or
annual basis, as opposed to purchasing the entire system upfront. This also translates into a
more palatable monthly operating expense that
can be easily budgeted, rather than a large capital outlay that may be unattainable.
Andrew Elvish, vice president of marketing
and product management for Genetec, said the
subscription program is a game-changer, making
it accessible to more customers and markets.
“Previously, we were known as perhaps only
playing in the high-end enterprise space, but now
the software is available at a security contractor
upfront cost of about $3 per camera,” he said.
As part of this subscription model, Genetec also introduced Security Center Compact,
an entry-level software platform. It supports up
to 25 cameras and provides an easy “no training
required” option for customers with basic video
management requirements, making it a good fit
for smaller sites. Users whose systems grow can
update their plan and purchase a higher edition of
the software-as-a-service platform.
New options to deploy security services to
customers assist the user and provide installing
contractors with more ways to generate addi-
tional revenue and enter nascent markets.
O’MARA is a journalist with more than two decades experience writing about security, life safety and systems integration, and she is the managing director of DLO
Communications in Chicago. She can be reached at dlocommunications@gmail.
com or 773.414.3573.