9 May 2019

Editor Introduction

What is a business, or an industry, but a collection of people and the results of their work? People make all the difference in the destiny of a business or industry. And the people involved in a business reflect the impact of demographic changes – and the passage of time. The security industry has been largely built by Baby Boomers, who are getting older and increasingly stepping aside to make way for younger folks. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: Is there a “new generation” of employees and managers entering the physical security marketplace, and what will be the impact?

Evan Morgans Gallagher Security

There is no doubt a “new generation” of employees and managers entering the physical security marketplace and, in our experience, they can essentially be categorised as “millennials.” From a technology company like Gallagher’s point of view, we are encountering the differences this new generation’s presence brings to the industry. They are more connected in the cyber world, they are more willing to take risks and face the consequences later, and they are more purpose-driven and socially-conscious. While this provides some challenges within the security marketplace, there are also great benefits. Being more connected, millennials are highly interested in what others are doing and that sees many organisations raising their game in terms of industry best practices. Being more willing to take risks must be tempered with advanced consideration of possible outcomes and consequences. A desire to make a difference means that as manufacturers we must clearly communicate our sustainable processes.

Ron Virden ACRE, LLC

There is certainly a new generation of employees and managers coming into the marketplace, and their impact is one that is both transformative and valuable. This generation has grown up through the digital revolution, leveraging innovative technology in their everyday lives, and therefore has different expectations than we’re used to seeing in the security industry. These new employees and managers are demanding proactivity and urgency, convenience in performing tasks and the use of their mobile devices in every fashion possible. And it is now up to us as leaders in the security industry to bring these expectations to life. Mobile credentialing technology, for example, stands to revolutionise the way access control is implemented and performed in various industries. Though there are many factors and challenges to consider, we can undoubtedly learn from this new generation and truly evolve the industry with their influence.

Brendan McFall Northland Controls

Absolutely! It’s hard to believe, but within the next couple of years we’ll have young professionals entering the workforce who were born in the 2000s. These are people who have grown up “connected” – having been surrounded by the internet from birth. Understanding this new generation will be paramount for companies and industries alike – especially ours. These young professionals are exceptionally resourceful. Having grown up with a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips, they are experts at finding answers to questions. Don’t be afraid to give them tougher tasks or challenges that traditionally may not have been given to younger employees. As for the impact on the wider industry, this new generation will continue and accelerate technological advancement. Young people are interested in the Internet of Things, facial recognition, drones and other gadgets and cool features. I’m excited to see what the new generation has in store for all of us.

Richard Brent Louroe Electronics

There is no denying that a new generation is moving into the security market, filling both junior and senior roles. As more young people enter our workforce, we are seeing the landscape of the industry change in a very positive way. This new generation, like any, is bringing with them innovative thoughts and ways to tackle problems that plague our industry. The move towards digital has been one of the largest changes we have seen, with everyone from publications to manufacturers to integrators working to bolster their online presence. There is also a greater focus on creating leadership opportunities for younger professionals. We see this with the Security Industry Association’s RISE Committee – a community designed for security professionals who are under 40 – who will host its new AcceleRISE conference later this year. Finally, we’re seeing more security companies invest in and hire more Millennials.

This new generation of security professionals is changing how we communicate and disseminate information. There’s been a distinct shift away from print publication and a strategic move toward digital asset creation. Short, interactive videos are replacing long-form white papers and case studies. Online product training is favoured over more costly onsite seminars. Lead acquisition is taking place through email, web and social campaigns versus cold calling. This has resulted in increased direct interaction with customers. From an industry perspective, the physical security marketplace demographic is changing. Millennials are bringing a more prominent voice and influence as Baby Boomers retire. More women are in the industry than ever, and more women are holding executive and senior management positions. All of this results in greater diversity, not only in the workforce, but also in the formation of new ideas. For security, these changes will accelerate the industry’s growth, and strengthen its resilience.

Editor Summary

The Millennials and later generations are poised to change the physical security industry drastically – and for the better. New blood brings new energy. New ideas expand opportunities and shake loose conventional or outdated business practices. There is a new generation of security professionals coming along just in time to lead a successful and exciting future for our marketplace.