Your competitor last week will be your good friend and partner this week. That’s how security systems integrators will go after projects as they face a whole new world with tremendous opportunities.

These opportunities bring both challenges and changes. Yesterday’s business model won’t succeed today. The only way security integrators can meet these new opportunities is by embracing this paradigm shift with new ways of thinking and working.

Rising to the challenge

As a multitude of technologies including access control, video surveillance, intelligent video and fire alarms as well as peripheral systems like telephony and nurse-call converge into one platform, integrators are finding it more and more difficult to have the skills, knowledge and expertise needed to meet the requirements.

Some of the larger, more complex systems are taking longer to converge to one platform. We’ll only have seamless integration when products are truly integrated. Remember, products that need an interface are not completely integrated. Luckily, total convergence will not happen overnight but the day is coming. Integrators will need to rise to the challenge.

Between new technologies, new opportunities and installation standards that governments and insurance companies are developing, investor’s view the security industry as mature and solid. This promising financial outlook means more integrators will enter the security industry space to grab their piece of this quickly growing pie. There has always been competition but now it will come from IT and building automation integrators and others who haven’t traditionally dabbled in security.

Partnership approach

The one way to ensure survival in this new world is by partnering with others in and out of the industry. End-users will find such partnering more attractive for regional or national jobs.

Many larger security integrators are looking for partners to work with on government contracts and who can give them technical expertise in remote areas where they may not have an established presence. Large manufacturers are also going to be looking for partners because many of them don’t have their own field service staffs.

Surprisingly, smaller to mid-sized integrators who have developed a niche in special products are often the most technically capable of installing integrated systems. They are ahead of the game and in a prime position to partner.

The good news for security systems integrators is that IT integrators don’t seem to be very interested in learning the ins and outs of the security industry. They have no problem selling equipment and making sure it works with an IT network. They’ll even provide network security. But when it comes to installing and servicing that equipment, which is code-driven, they’ll most likely look to partner with security systems integrators.

Even PSA is partnering. Although we have more than 200 premium security systems integrator members in the United States, we’re looking for partner opportunities of our own. As a business, we must also assure our stockholders and members that we will not only stay in business, but we will thrive.

In addition to facilitating partnerships, PSA is responsible for researching and delivering new products and technologies from around the world, as well as providing training for the new techniques.

Even if you’re not a PSA member, you won’t have to worry going forward in meeting these challenges. We’ve opened up our conference to non-members to take advantage of the tremendous training opportunities. We’re also forming new limited liability companies (LLCs), which are companies that fall under the auspices of PSA but provide products and services to non-PSA members. In spite of the changes and challenges, these are exciting times for security.

2006 PSA-TEC

With a new name, new dates, new city, and new venue, the 2006 PSA-TEC, PSA Security Network’s spring conference and trade show, offers both members and non-member security systems integrators more benefits and training opportunities than ever before.

The 2006 PSA-TEC, for Training, Exhibits, and Conference, is May 10-13 at the Pheasant Run Resort & Spa in St. Charles, Ill. It is preceded by two days of pre-session technical training. Training continues Wednesday through Saturday, May 13. Education tracks feature a broad spectrum of training – including IT networks, technical security certification, project management, and business acumen – taught by industry experts.

Welcome & Keynote Address will be presented by Bill Brooks. As one of the world’s premier advisors to sales and business leaders, Bill is known for his success as a corporate coach, sales visionary, consultant, speaker and entrepreneur.

During the Vendor Appreciation Awards Banquet, PSA presents awards to its vendors who furnish the PSA Security Network and its members. Winning vendors are those who achieve the highest scores on a survey completed by members and staff.

More information in PSA-TEC at http:// www.psasecurity.com.