Far-sighted business plans and betting on digital video surveillance can be measured on the bottom line.
The security industry is undergoing major re-shufflings and facing a big change in the coming years. It is no longer enough to target the same areas where it's been easy to make money, and boast about having 30 years of experience in the business. The IT revolution has finally caught up with this industry.
"The security industry at the moment is fast on its way to converging with the IT industry. Today, we say we are a security company that does IT projects. In five years, we will be an IT company that does security projects," foretells Bent Schwartzback from AC-Sikring A/S in Denmark.
Until three years ago, AC-Sikring was a company like most others in the security industry. It was founded in 1988 with just a handful of employees handling many activities from security monitoring to guard patrols and the sale of mobile telephones.
In 2000, however, they saddled up for a new path in their journey to success. Ownership of the company was increased to include Schwartzbach and another four employees, as well. A new business plan was defined, with a strategic focus on IP video surveillance solutions.
"We staggered a bit in the first year. Digital video surveillance was just beginning to be available, and we had a hard time deciding whether we would bet our resources on new hardware or software solutions. The result was that we bought too much hardware. Then we got in touch with the IT developers Milestone Systems, who developed network based software solutions - and that's where we could really see big potential," says Schwartzbach.
Currently AC-Sikring has 19 employees plus 6 in a subsidiary called Security Point that runs an operations control center service. This started when their gas station customer called Uno-X requested a new type of security operations control center to service their carwash facilities from a central location.
Financial reports of the last three years show an average growth of 121%, so one can say that AC-Sikring is succeeding in their business strategy.
"In the beginning it wasn't much fun to go out and try to sell the system. Nobody understood what we were talking about!" admits Schwartzbach. "But then IT managers at the customer companies began to open their eyes to the possibilities. Now we are seeing that the IT managers have a greater influence on the purchasing of security solutions than the security managers."
Today, digital video surveillance is gaining even more ground, and competition in the market has gotten tougher. But the early bet has placed AC-Sikring almost two years ahead of their competitors. The next challenge is to hold on to that leading position.