Security industry professionals and business owners must see the opportunities in a changing technology landscape and embrace those changes. That was the message from a diverse group of industry experts participating in a recent panel discussion at the San Diego Security Association’s May luncheon. The topic was “Re-Tooling and Future Proofing your Security Business ” – a timely subject in light of the rapid shift in the industry over the last couple of years. The growing “Do it Yourself” (DIY) movement and encroaching cable and telecommunication companies have altered the market and left many industry business people feeling vulnerable.

Four panelists gave their best advice to people looking to stay profitable and competitive in the throes of transformation. They included Gavin Bortels, president of the Kepler Networks (data communication networks); Ted Marx, vice president of Network Video Technology (IP, analog and PoE video transmitters/receivers): Rick Downey, video surveillance expert at Spectra Logic (deep storage solutions) and Dario Santana, president of Layer3 Security Services (security integrators).

The group agreed there are disruptors touching the industry particularly in residential and small commercial security. DIY products and apps proliferate in the market and can be bought off the shelf with the promise of easy setup and monitoring. But as Bortels of Kepler Networks pointed out there are always going to be people who want to do it themselves until they try and realize the value of having professional installation and monitoring.

According to Bortels, data suggests that for decades penetration in the residential security market has remained 18 – 24 percent.

“So the fact that more people want to add cameras to their homes is going to help the security industry grow more than anything in the last 30 years,” he said. “People are going to need help and guess who is going to be there to help them?”

Santana of Layer3 said changes in commercial security are different from those in residential. He said rapid technology change will accelerate and continue. That means security professionals must keep up with those advances. He challenged the audience to continually look inward at what makes them different, what are their core competencies and how they can use them to take advantage of opportunities.

“Disruption and opportunity can be one in the same,” he said. “It is a threat, but it is also an opportunity for your business and making it even more profitable.”

Santana used the cable industry as an example, citing that at one time cable was in 90 percent of U.S. homes. Now, that number is closer to 50 percent, but cable companies are making more money than ever because they are selling other services like broadband.

“The industry was threatened and disrupted, but through segmentation and leveraging market strengths, it survived and profited,” he said. “That’s what we all have to do.”

During the panel discussion Rick Downey of Spectra Logic talked about the growing problem of video storage. He said that a 1-megapixel camera creates over 2 billion frames of video per day and when you multiply that by a client with 800 cameras — storing video for a year — it becomes a massive, unwieldy amount of data. But here is where the opportunity comes in, according to Downey. He said that commercial clients are desperate for help and they don’t know where to turn.

“If you can step up to the plate and take on the video surveillance side, you will literally have more clients then you can keep track of, because they don’t know what to do with this massive amount of data,” he said. “They don’t know how to handle it, store it or manage it.”

Ted Marx of NVT boiled down the advice from the panel.

“We need to start looking at how we can embrace change,” he said. “We need to embrace it before it embraces us.”