It was magic! The third edition of the evalink Online Conference explored the latest trends, technologies, and solutions in alarm management with top industry experts. Were you looking for a recap? Here's what we discussed and learned in our first session hosted by Peter Monte and Lukas Kaiser, CEO, and CPO at Sitasys.
The first session explored the changing customer and installer behavior due to digitization and the resulting opportunities for advanced control centers and security providers. Dr. Peter Fey, long-time management consultant and member of the management board of Dr. Wieselhuber & Partner GmbH, joined the expert talk online from Munich, and Darian Haun, sales representative of the renowned CD Büttner Sicherheitstechnik GmbH from Hamburg.
Customer behaviors are changing: How can control centers address customers’ needs online?
As a starting point for the discussion, the experts used a Gartner forecast, of which around 80% of sales activities will occur via digital channels by 2025. Also, Gartner's report predicts that 60% of sales organizations will move from experience-based sales processes to data-driven sales channels by 2025. The trend is clearly toward offering customers convenient services based on data in the future. Here, the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated increased relevance of the Internet are critical drivers for the fact that digital channels will play an increasingly central role in customer interaction.
Potential customers steadily find their way into the digital world, professionally and privately. On the one hand, it was determined that it would be necessary to enhance digital security systems. On the other hand, establishing and expanding digital channels from and to customers to a security company or control center will also become increasingly important.
Since many security providers count B2B and private clients among their customer portfolios, the discussion raised how security providers can best meet these differentiated needs.
- B2B customers are more often looking for integrated security solutions (see Session 2)
- Private customers are better informed than ever, thanks to their Internet research.
- Private customers make their purchase decisions before even contacting the respective security provider.
There was widespread agreement that personal contact still represents the highest lead qualification despite increasing customer interaction on the Internet. To enable the customer to make an informed decision, helping to develop customer knowledge through an open flow of information is essential. Not only in the field of highly complex alarm management can interested parties, therefore, benefit from corporate blogs to expand their horizons and know-how.
Beyond that, the most important thing for companies is the creation of transparency: What exactly makes services in the field of security high-quality in the first place, and what is already possible today? Insights into a company’s certifications and technologies are a good reference point.
Which technology drives trends in the security industry?
How do overarching technological trends influence security technology in the long term?
Dr. Peter Fey presented one of these trends, which has received increased attention recently but is still relatively unknown in the security technology industry: The EU's Gaia-X initiative, dedicated to data standards and networks, secures data infrastructures, among others. Today, the standards for handling highly technical, security-relevant data are set.
Data-driven business models in the security industry
Recently, it has been observed that so-called "data-driven business models" are increasingly moving into the limelight, in which data becomes the critical resource of a company. Companies with a data-driven business model base their core business on acquiring, evaluating, or using data to generate added value.
Picking up on this trend, the experts at the evalink Online Conference discussed how to get additional value out of data by cleverly combining generic data from safety technology which could be used to optimize processes. Although security technology already has many sensors at its disposal that provide a plethora of data, these are still being used somewhat cautiously. Security companies today usually do not exceed classic centralized data use.
Security companies that understand how to network the knowledge areas of classic security technology intelligently and data-driven information and communications technology will make their processes more efficient in the future.
This will enable them to offer their customers optimized benefits and added value. It is of the utmost importance to handle data sensitively and in a customer-compliant manner, following current data protection ordinances and regulations on data security. To ensure this, the alarm management platform evalink was equipped with the latest technology in its recompilation three years ago, guaranteeing its users maximum data security.
Addressing the subject of networking, we noted that the importance of intelligent data exchange between security systems is constantly growing. Although security systems have traditionally tended to be compartmentalized, this does not necessarily imply that the surrounding systems should not be used. A constructive flow of information and data between the methods could be facilitated by creating defined interfaces, making the designs more permeable and controlled.
Control center viewpoints
Simplicity along with maximum high security - An impossibility?
Darian Haun from C.D. Büttner Sicherheitstechnik summed up the fact that digitization and the resulting changes in customer ideas, needs, and wishes can be quite a challenge for security providers: "In principle, it's exactly the balancing act that you have to manage: Offering a high level of security on the one hand and interfering as little as possible in everyday life on the other. There is a contradiction: the customer wants to have the highest level of security possible but wants to do the minimum in return," says Darian Haun. Particularly in the private sector, security technology is confronted with the challenge of striking a healthy balance when defining a well-rounded concept with the customer that combines the various security installations into one system.
Cloud solutions - The future of security?
However, in the commercial B2B sector, a classic heterogeneous security landscape is often the norm. It would simplify all these different systems to be connected to an emergency control center while complying with the relevant security aspects, making using cloud solutions evident. They also allow companies with multiple venues to manage their sites centrally and conveniently from their headquarters.
However, the insights into the everyday life of a security service provider, as represented by Mr. Haun, also show that even though this already works very well in practice, e.g., with Brivo on the German market, large companies in the commercial sector are still very reluctant when it comes to the cloud.
This clearly shows that large companies that have already successfully moved their business activities to the cloud are role models for adoption. Nevertheless, a happy migration to the cloud requires a certain level of user trust, which security vendors must provide. "Security isn’t automatically improved when compartmentalized," reflects Lukas Kaiser, CPO of Sitasys AG. "There have to be local systems that run even when the Internet is unavailable. But again, to improve monitoring or data analysis, that does not mean you can't use other systems in the cloud."
Thus, it is becoming increasingly important for security companies to address the issues of "ease of use" and "trust in cloud solutions" in their communications. In addition, continuity continues to play an essential role in security. "Whether connected to the Internet or not, you shouldn't rest on an illusion of security. You have to consider continually: How can I protect myself against current and future threats?" was Lukas Kaiser's concluding food for thought to the first part of the evalink Online Conference participants.