10 months ago


OPINION Businesses

OPINION Businesses should morph and change every four or five years to avoid sinking. This is a mantra that all business leaders should live by (from previous page) systems to their arsenal, offering it as part of their integrated solutions when speaking with their clients. With these new technologies comes the need for a new set of skills. In a world where cloudbased systems, IoT and Bluetooth technology is set to dictate the direction of the industry, maintenance will be carried out off-site. This will lead to outsourcing of services taking more of a lead with more specialist skills being required, causing a talent war within the industry. Winning the talent war The biggest challenge the industry faces today is recruitment. There has been a significant decline over the years of educational courses that are specifically catered towards producing security engineers. There used to be apprenticeships and night classes for such a vocation. Youngsters don’t go to college thinking one day they want to be an engineer for a security company. There needs to be a real concerted effort by the sector to attract people into the industry, with a particular focus on finding the technicians with the skills required for the technology in play. With such high demand comes greater competition. We have seen some of the big names starting to build their own academies to tackle this issue. But even this comes with its challenges as they are effectively creating engineers for their competitors. Keeping hold of this talent means that you need to adapt to the demands of the workforce and perhaps look at things like flexible working or other incentives to keep hold of the talent that you have nurtured. Again, it is about adapting to the shifting security industry landscape. Businesses should morph and change every four or five years to avoid sinking. This is a mantra that all business leaders should live by and return to when making those business decisions. The security industry is one of the most competitive around with a number of big name players competing for business. Potential customers (and existing ones) will want to work with the supplier / manufacturer that is the most agile, and that they feel comfortable will always provide the most up to date security. Adapt or die. It’s as simple as that. Digital Surveillance & IP CCTV Specialists Security PANOVU Full 360 Degree coverage from a single camera Up to 16MP Ultra High Definition resolution Integrated 1080p autotracking PTZ dome Award Winning Design both iF & GIT Security Safety THERMAL Unique Imaging sensor High resolution images unhindered by environmental challenges Incorporated Intelligent Analytics Engine Perfect for boundary protection applications Monitoring VIDEO WALL Integrate Multiple sites into a single centrally monitored solution Complete scalable Solution 4K Ultra High Definition Camera Support Unit 4, Iceni Court, Icknield Way, Letchworth, Herts SG6 1TN Tel: 01462 708 820 Email: ONLINE STORE:

together raising standards Meet the installer Security life with David Barnes of Black Box Security Alarm Systems “Black Box is a family company that has been operating for almost 40 years and I am part of the new senior management team driving the business forward after working on the operations side here for nearly 25 years” Name: David Barnes Job title: Managing Director Time in security/fire: 30 years Company: Black Box Security Alarm Systems Location: Head Office in Chorley, with operations nationwide Areas of expertise: All aspects of electronic security and life safety systems Accreditations: NSI Gold and BAFE Do you use a distributor or buy direct from manufacturers? The majority of our purchases are through distribution; however we do have some direct accounts. We offer keen pricing to all our customers so this varies dependant on demand for specific systems. Is third party accreditation beneficial to your company? Most definitely yes, the security industry has been well regulated through NSI for over forty years. However, we have found that the introduction of the equipment-grading scheme has meant that lower level grades are more commonly requested than they were prior to this benchmarking. This move has had an adverse effect on the quality of the systems especially with the signalling transmission unit. Prior to the introduction of grading most systems had a RedCARE/GSM or DualComm transmission device, which would now be equivalent to grade 4 signalling transmitter. The insurance companies need to get a hold on this, and start specifying not only the grade of the system but also the grade of signalling device. Insurance companies now request grade 2 or grade 3, which are lower priced and, of course compliant, however standards should be driven by insurance companies and the monitoring device should be the equivalent of a grade 3 or a grade 4. Regarding life safety systems, there is much work to be done here by the regulatory bodies and the industry in the way of education and benchmarking. Even though a fire alarm system protects life, anybody can install a system and create their own certificate, which will be accepted by most insurance companies and local building control offices. We are very rarely asked for a BAFE/LPCB certificated system and after what happened at Grenfell and other residential buildings, we must act now and regulate so that all fire systems should have a BAFE or LPCB certification. What would be a typical project for you? We work across the public, residential and commercial sectors and so all projects are different in scale and requirements. We are currently working on a number of large residential apartment blocks in Manchester city centre, however we also carry out works in a large number of education campuses, FM companies, blue chip companies, NHS buildings and a wide range of national retail outlets. Do you think there is a skills shortage in the industry? Any trouble recruiting? I have recruited trainee engineers for over 20 years who have all gone on to become fully accredited technicians and over 90% of them are 39

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