The security industry, as well as my own company, has experienced a rapid evolution in the technologies we use. However, in just the last few years, these changes have come faster than ever.

Perhaps the biggest change involves networks and the Internet, which provides us with the ability to transmit video around the world almost instantaneously. I remember when integrators were limited to a couple of kilometers of video cable. Those who were really smart could use a twisted pair and lengthen that distance a bit.

Double-edged sword

Improvements in technology present a bit of a double-edged sword. As the size and manufacturing quality of equipment have improved, it’s also gotten much easier for most people to install basic systems themselves.

On the product side there is also a lot of competition, so the differentiator becomes the enterprise-wide systems that demand knowledge of network infrastructure and how networks work. Integrators must have Cisco-certified and Microsoft-certified engineers on staff to deal with more sophisticated end-users.

As the technology becomes simpler and easier to use, we’ve moved up the food chain in terms of technology. Increasingly, we’re talking to the IT department, which ultimately means nothing to them in terms of putting devices onto their network. They want to talk to someone in our organization who speaks their language and understands their issues.

At present, we’re not seeing a lot of competition for jobs with IT integrators, but as we look into the future, it’s something we are conscious of. For them it’s a natural branching out although they may not truly understand how complex security is. Corporate America also is getting more global every day, and companies want standardized systems across all their facilities. This may include video with centralized video storage, a standard access control system and access cards and even centralized video monitoring. So the ability for integrators to be able to work in various locations is becoming more important.

Technology changes rapidly, and when it does, it moves around the world very quickly. As technology gets easier to install, service is going to be a key differentiator for integrators.