Today, after more than a decade of sustained economic growth, we find ourselves in the midst of a financial whirlwind few had predicted and that, worryingly, is causing havoc in the banking system on which we depend. Banks have become increasingly reluctant to lend money to each other, never mind anyone else, with the inter-bank lending rate soaring and credit in short supply and we now have the incredible situation of the government stepping in to 'prop up' our major high street banks.
Many businesses are naturally concerned about their own prospects as governments debate the best approach to deal with the global 'credit crunch' - unparalleled in recent memory - in an effort to restore confidence in the market. In a situation, which shows no signs of abating anytime soon, companies are having to ask themselves whether they will be able to obtain the finance they need to operate as normal, and - even if the answer is yes - whether it will be at an attractive, sustainable, rate?
Against this uncertain backdrop, security manufacturers and installers will - not surprisingly - be under real pressure to demonstrate the cost of ownership benefits of the solutions they put forward, including the benefits which can be accrued beyond simply security. Trying to bamboozle customers with endless superlatives and product features in the hope that they will be hooked, which is never an ideal approach at the best of times, is simply not going to cut it in tough financial conditions. Moving forward it will be those with a strong, well-constructed, business case that are likely to win through.
|Security manufacturers and installers will be under real pressure to demonstrate the cost of ownership benefits of the solutions they put forward|
The good news, in all this doom and gloom, is that there are still real opportunities out there for providers. For instance, many potential end users have still got older time intensive and cumbersome analogue and standalone systems. By investing in digital networked solutions - and integrating some of their existing infrastructure - security providers should be able to help them realise the positive financial benefits of more efficient, central monitoring and control. It is certainly not an efficient use of resources for security officers to have to physically visit a location to retrieve vital evidence, which is still the reality on many older installations.
It is also imperative in tougher times that the temptation to cut corners is resisted and standards and best practice such as BS8418 for remotely monitored, detector activated, CCTV are followed. Properly applied, this type of CCTV has proven its worth in providing a rapid response to incidents on vulnerable sites such as metal processing plants.
The broader use of security technology such as CCTV, will undoubtedly strengthen the case for its deployment, for instance to address health and safety issues, both in and out of hours. Examples in this respect include: monitoring a lone worker in a chlorine storage room of a water treatment plant to ensure they are not overcome by fumes and using remotely monitored, detector activated, CCTV to stop children playing at night on a potentially hazardous waste disposal site.
Ironically, whilst a recession is a time when purchasers of security solutions have less money to spend, the experience of previous downturns suggests that economic uncertainty also tends to signal an increase in crime. So having the right infrastructure in place to stop criminal attacks is more critical than ever, and I am certain that this is one of the key messages that the security industry will be projecting in the months ahead.
To conclude, the upshot in these uncertain times is that security providers need to be in a position to offer a clear business case to prospective customers, highlighting the bottom line benefits of a potential solution from business protection to health and safety, and once specified to ensure that they adhere to best practice to deliver the right result on the ground.Email the author | Save | Send to a friend | Email me this article