Any system will do - but not for long

October 2002 Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection

There is an alarming trend among installers in the South African security industry - one that shouts out "any old system will do". Just as long as the end-user buys the link-up response set-up.

Our recent visit to Ademco in New York revealed a market sophistication in the American security industry that left us wanting. A lot of local installers would not last a day in this market where there is a nonnegotiable demand for excellence and accountability in every element of the installation.

How do we address this serious flaw in our own marketplace? There must be a more balanced approach in the sale. Yes, response is important, but this must never be supplied at the expense of the system.

Ever-increasing potential

Perhaps the best solution to pulling up our socks as high as our American and European counterparts is education and training, which includes system design and wiring, as well as selling techniques.

A few years ago, the South African security industry actually presented a far more balanced approach, where the sale incorporated equal emphasis on features, benefits and response link-up. Somehow this approach has become skewed to the point where it is a case of 'response link-up uber alles'. This is very worrying when you look at the large emerging market currently approaching the security industry as first-time users.

What is happening is an ever-increasing potential for enormous insurance claims facing the insurance industry as a result of thousands of inadequately protected South African homes and businesses. So what if the response company is properly alerted to a break-in? - by the time they arrive the perpetrators and the goods are long gone.

If this trend is allowed to continue, soon even the most affluent will not be able to afford even basic insurance. The SA Insurance Association is not unaware of this gathering storm and it is heartening to know the Association is hard at work alongside the South African Intruder Detection Systems Association to introduce minimum specifications into the intruder detection industry and to monitor installations to ensure compliance.

Sadly though, when these minimum standards are released there could be huge repercussions for home and business owners who, through no fault of their own, do not meet these standards. Their claims will simply not be paid out.

New customers must hold their security company to account for what they are installing, so that they will not find themselves having to finance costly upgrades after the fact.

Remember the good old Afrikaans adage - "Goedkoop is duurkoop".

For more information contact Frank Fowles, Honeywell-TeqTrader, 011 805 1201,

About the author

Frank Fowles is sales and marketing manager at Honeywell-TeqTrader.

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