An ecosystem on its own

June 2012 Security Services & Risk Management

Most homeowners buy security systems with the same lack of enthusiasm as they do new lawnmowers or fridges. They know they have to have them but they would far rather spend the money on something pleasurable!

So, imagine the unhappy scenario when a reluctant buyer, having conferred with friends and family, and researched the subject on the Internet, arranges a meeting with a security system installer only to find that he lacks training and product knowledge.

“This happens far too often,” says Neil Gillespie, training officer for Elvey Security Technologies. “The electronic security industry is advancing rapidly, with older technology constantly being replaced by newer, faster and more reliable products. Without ongoing, specialised training, installers are not able to suggest the best solutions for clients or to answer their questions. The inevitable result is not only lost business but also a loss of their own self-confidence.”

Sympathetic to people’s fear and resentment of the criminals who force them to spend their hard-earned cash on security systems, Gillespie says installers have a moral, as well as professional, duty to keep up with technology. “They cannot simply shrug off responsibility for a breach that could have and should have been avoided,” he maintains.

In its simplest form, a home security system comprises an alarm. This can be supplemented with armed response as well as a host of add-ons such as outdoor detection, infrared detectors and cameras, he says, adding that most people ready to have security systems installed have at least a smattering of knowledge regarding the latest technology.

“Installers need to be able to answer questions about the various alarm systems on the market today, the pros and cons of hardwire and wireless, the expandability of the various products, outdoor detection, passive infrared detectors with built-in cameras, and the communication abilities of the various alarm panels and modules,” he says. “They also need to be able to advise on how to integrate CCTV (closed circuit television) into their alarm panels so that they can see what is happening at home with their children while they are at work.”

Gillespie warns that empowered end-users know the answers to most, if not all, of these questions. “Without training,” he says, “an installer, technician or sales consultant will not be able to answer advanced questions. Worse, he might not even know that the technology exists.

“With training, however, he will be able to answer product-related questions knowledgeably and confidently, which will inevitably benefit the company as a result of improved morale and commitment. Nothing succeeds like success, as the old adage goes, and the success of a company lies in no small measure in a happy, loyal staff complement.”

Something else for security installation companies to consider is that training will also reduce errors at the point of installation. “Staff often make mistakes as a result of a lack of knowledge and skills, which can be both costly and damaging to the company’s reputation. It is as good as sending your client straight into the arms of your competitors!,” says Gillespie. “Far better to pair the client with a trained team, whose work will delight him and ensure the building of long-term relationships.”

How training can help your business

As a result of the economic downturn and increased competition, businesses throughout the world, whether large or small, are under pressure to deliver service, results and best value-for-money. That is according to Larry Sloley, Training Officer for the acclaimed UK-based Tavcom Training Institute, which partners in South Africa with Elvey Security Technologies.

Newcomers to the security industry can benefit from foundation courses designed specifically to introduce them to their area of operation, whether it be CCTV, alarms or access control. “These courses will help new technicians, technical support staff, after-sales support personnel and sales people to acclimatise to South Africa’s security industry,” he says.

Those who already understand the basics and are implementing the knowledge they have gained from foundation courses should enrol on more advanced courses such as CCTV Systems Planning, CCTV Installations or local area networking (LAN), all of which are designed to help improve staff output and accordingly improve company profits.

Says Sloley: “Equipping your staff with knowledge leads to better on-field problem solving. When things go wrong on site, technicians must have the ability to troubledshoot and systematically identify and narrow down the potential causes. Then they need to be able to resolve the issues properly.”

Business owners who fail to recognise that every staff member is not only an extension of his company but also an advertisement, are as short-sighted as generals sending unarmed soldiers to battle, he avers. “Whether it is to win a war or to succeed in business, you have to send out a strong, skilled, knowledgeable team.”

For more information contact Elvey Security Technologies, +27 (0) 11 401 6700,,


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