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As the old year rolls into 2016, it’s time to consider some of the trends that have the potential to change our industry in the future.  While some of these topics may be considered as threats to security and low-voltage contractors, within each potential problem is an opportunity for astute companies to get ahead of the curve and use these issues to their advantage.  Listed below are five trends that can be leveraged into a sales opportunity with the proper knowledge and tact.

So let’s s consider five issues that will be changing in our marketplace in the New Year.

1.  Digital Signage – Everywhere you look digital signs are taking over the static billboard and sign industry.  Whether it be a hospital or a pizza parlor, institutional, religious and retail clients are looking more towards dynamic signage to attract visitors and potential customers.  The security and low-voltage industry is perfectly positioned to take advantage of this golden sales opportunity.  Most all commercial and institutional end-users already have installed security and video surveillance systems, making it incredibly easy for contractors to leverage their existing customer base in order to expand into the digital sign business.  Even better, these systems are simple to install, and service calls for large digital displays are handled by on-site factory service representatives if the displays are purchased from ADI Global Distribution.  As with any other “new” technology, the prices for these signs will inevitably drop to the commodity level, stripping the profitability from the sales.  The time is now for digital signage. Check with the ADI Systems Group to learn more.

2.  2G Sunset – Cellular companies are busy turning off the 1900 MHz band of 2G service which means thousands of existing cellular alarm communicators that operate on that band will soon be obsolete.  Unless the accounts are set up for periodic testing, security dealers and end-users may both be unaware that a security or fire alarm system no longer has the ability to send signals to the central station.  Security dealers need to redouble efforts to change out old 2G transmitters during 2016, as both the 800 and 1900 MHz bands of 2G will be turned off nationwide at the beginning of 2017. This poses an opportunity to try and sell customers on a new and updated systems that should not be missed.

3.  Smart Devices are Dominating the Consumer Market – More end-users than ever before are using “smart” IP devices as their primary Internet connection and technology controller.  The list of technology that can be controlled via mobile app continues to grow with no sign of slowing down. Thus it seems to be a short leap to the point where electronic security systems that do not offer remote keypads or smart phone app compatibility are no longer desirable to consumers. Don’t hesitate to try and up-sell new customers to systems that offer this technology or to inquire with current customers about upgrading their existing alarm system.

4.  The DIY Surge Continues – The advertising of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) security systems continues to rise with vendors spending millions on efforts to promote these DIY systems across the Internet and other media outlets.  Security installation companies must make strong statements to prospective clients explaining the potential pitfalls of these DIY systems to help retain the residential market. For one, a homeowner intent on installing a DIY alarm system may not be aware of the cost associated with false alarm fines from municipalities due to poor motion detector placement. When speaking to prospective customers be sure to articulate the benefits of a professionally installed security system.

5.  Non-Traditional Companies continue sales growth – According to a study performed this past August, 40% of new monitored alarm systems are being provided by non-traditional companies such as cable companies and telcos.  This is perhaps the scariest trend for our industry as we move into 2016. A large portion of potential new customers are being siphoned off by these deep-pocketed new competitors.  It’s important to understand two things about this situation.  First, while these companies may have large advertising budgets, these companies aren’t providing any new technology or services that traditional alarm companies are providing today.  Second, it’s important to emphasize to your customers that XYZ Cable Company is not in the electronic security or life safety business. Their primary business is delivering 250 HD TV channels, not security.  We are the professional alarm industry, and our businesses are solely dedicated to installing and servicing electronic security, surveillance, and life safety systems.

All in all it seems as though the security and low voltage industry may have some hurdles to clear in the year to come. However, if you stay educated, stay diligent and stay up to date with industry trends you should have no problem staying relevant in the industry. Wishing you a happy New Year’s celebration and all of the best in the year to come.

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