Technology and the future of security installation in South Africa

Issue 6 2022 Editor's Choice, Integrated Solutions, Security Services & Risk Management

If you’re old enough (like me) to remember the world before mobile phones, you’ll probably cringe at the sloth-like pace things used to get done. First came mobile phones, then software, smartphones, the cloud and apps. Today there is an app for (almost) everything. How the world works – and how people work across it – has changed, and continues to change at an exponential rate.


Charles Freedman.

So what does it mean for the security installation industry in South Africa? What are the technologies and trends shaping installation, service and maintenance teams globally, and how will they shape South African businesses today and in the future?

At ServCraft we spend our days thinking deeply about how suppliers, distributors, installers and end-users can benefit from technology to create more value for themselves and the industry. We see four steps playing out over the next few years that represent both our vision for the security installation space and how we see it evolving.

Step 1: Blissful isolation

This level should sound familiar. Customer leads scribbled down on paper. Paper job cards handed out physically. Scribbles turned into quotes and invoices generated on your accounting system or Excel. Email and WhatsApp used to manage teams and suppliers.

It feels clunky because it is. Sage estimates that South African security installers spend an average of R750 000 on administration. In spite of marginal gains in efficiency and effectiveness using emails, WhatsApp and accounting software, activity remains disjointed within and across businesses, suppliers and customers. Opportunities fall through the cracks and it takes too much time to win work, order and collect stock and get paid, whilst customers have a mediocre experience.

Step 2: Optimised individualism

Now we’re talking. Software takes things to a whole new level. Leads, jobs, quotes and invoices are captured and managed in one place, helping you to win more work, get paid faster and have happier customers. Integration with your accounting software means real-time insight of your financials and no double entry. Automated communications keep customers in the loop every step of the way. Customer payments are made from digital invoices straight from their phones.

This isn’t the future. It’s today. In the United States, 48% of field service businesses use job management software – and 90% of those say they’ve experienced growth as a result. At ServCraft, we estimate that less than 10% of South African security installation businesses use software to power their operations. The opportunity to create value and differentiate is real.

Step 3: Meaningful connections

Here’s where things get interesting. As more security installers adopt technology, there’s a growing opportunity to connect them with suppliers. Today, technicians tell administrators what to quote on, they generate quotes and then purchase orders are sent by WhatsApp and email. Customers complain about having to wait days or weeks to get a quote. Integrating installers’ software with suppliers will give installers access to price and availability of items in real time. Installers can raise and approve quotes, buy stock and schedule deliveries – while standing in front of the customer.

It may seem farfetched but it’s not. Companies like snap-it (https://www.snap-it.app) are transforming plumbing in the UK, reducing the time and effort to order and collect parts for plumbers. It won’t be long before security businesses will be able to focus on the jobs rather than spend hours driving and queuing for parts.

Step 4: Platform-led partnerships

Technology platforms allow different companies to plug in products and services from one place. They aren’t new. Uber is a platform connecting cars, scooters, couriers, drivers and restaurants to end-users. They don’t always own the service, but they connect it to people who get value from it.

Imagine this for security installation. Imagine installers tapping into lead generation, marketing, customer relationship management, job management and learning tools. Imagine seamless transactions between installers, suppliers and customers. Imagine access to working capital and invoice finance to grow your business. Imagine offering ‘buy now, pay later’ options.

This vision of the future is not science fiction. The technology to achieve it exists today. Advancing the industry requires closer collaboration across manufacturers, suppliers and installers. We need to stop operating in isolation and ask not only

“How do we take bigger slices of the pie?” but also “How do we make it bigger for everyone?”

Charles Freedman is the CEO of ServCraft (www.servcraft.co.za), a South African-designed and -built job management software for security installations and other field service businesses.




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page



Further reading:

Smart water management
Axis Communications SA CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring Integrated Solutions
South Africa is currently facing a water crisis, with scarcity and inefficient water management posing significant challenges to sustainable, consistent access to water. Smart technology and powerful partnerships may offer a proactive solution to SA's water crisis.

Read more...
Is AI the game-changer for streamlining anti-money laundering compliance?
Financial (Industry) Security Services & Risk Management
In the aftermath of South Africa's recent grey listing, companies are now confronted with the imperative to address eight identified strategic deficiencies, while simultaneously reducing their financial crime risk through anti-money laundering compliance processes.

Read more...
What South Africans need to know about smart devices
Technews Publishing Editor's Choice
We live in a world surrounded by smart devices, from our pockets to our driveways and living rooms.

Read more...
Client satisfaction boosted by 85% at Thungela Mine
Thorburn Security Solutions News Security Services & Risk Management Mining (Industry)
Thorburn Security, a division of Tsebo Solutions Group, has announced its recent collaboration with Kwa-Zulu Natal security company, Ithuba Protection Services, as part of its Enterprise Supplier Development (ESD) initiatives across Africa.

Read more...
Empowering Istanbul’s public transportation
Dahua Technology South Africa CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring Integrated Solutions
Dahua's intelligent transportation solution, using technologies like DSM and AI-based passenger flow counting, has facilitated an intelligent system upgrade for nearly 6 400 minibuses and electric buses in Istanbul.

Read more...
Migrating to the cloud? Beware the many hurdles
IT infrastructure Security Services & Risk Management
While there are undoubtedly many benefits, there are also numerous hurdles to cloud adoption. Some of the biggest challenges revolve around managing cloud spend, understanding the cost components of cloud infrastructure, and how those costs can scale.

Read more...
Key strategies for businesses in the face of cyber threats
Cyber Security Security Services & Risk Management
Businesses face severe financial and reputational consequences due to data breaches and daily website hacks, and not all organisations are adequately prepared to combat these escalating threats.

Read more...
Collaboration delivers integrated and holistic security
Guardian Eye CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring News Integrated Solutions
Guardian Eye and Lytehouse have partnered to integrate their speciality solutions and provide a holistic security offering that overcomes the fragmentation of security systems and services.

Read more...
From overwhelm to oversight
Editor's Choice Cyber Security Products
Security automation is vital in today’s world, and Microsoft Sentinel is a widely adopted, but complex answer. ContraForce is an easy-to-use add-on that automatically processes, verifies and warns of threats round-the-clock.

Read more...
Protecting South African systems through XDR cybersecurity
Cyber Security Security Services & Risk Management
Carlo Bolzonello, Country Lead for Trellix South Africa, discusses how the country can protect its valuable digital assets through the artificial intelligence-enabled Extended Detection and Response (XDR) cybersecurity approach.

Read more...