With the growing demand for convergence and the interoperability of security solutions, particularly where smart buildings are concerned, pioneering contractors are beginning to explore the prospect of security system integration in order to develop their business and stay ahead of the competition.

IFSEC International is encouraging electrical contractors to expand their skill set and expertise. The need for integrated security and IT systems to efficiently manage a building requires a fully comprehensive building management system, which is increasingly including elements such as access control, CCTV and additional security systems.

Whilst sustainability is a major driver for the electrical contracting industry, the security market offers a wealth of opportunity for the electrical contractor of the future. Pedro Cantinho, Anixter’s vice president of sales for security solutions in EMEA, stated recently, “With the shift to IP, non-traditional security companies are moving into the security space. Networking companies and electrical contractors are looking to expand into new markets and the natural progression for these businesses is IP-based physical security.”

Opportunities lie with the electrical contractor who is willing to take advantage of existing and emerging technologies in the years ahead and adapt to these changes.

As indicated by the NICEIC/ECA, 2021 Vision: The future of the Electrical Contracting Industry report, ‘Building Regulations will demand that buildings are increasingly energy efficient, creating opportunities to install renewable energy systems. Crossover of trades will create opportunities for electrical contractors who are prepared to add new skills, but will marginalise those who are not.’

The same applies where security installation is concerned. Charlie Cracknell, event director for IFSEC International, said, “Electrical contractors and wholesalers should not rule out the significant demand around keeping a building safe and secure. With competition on the increase the opportunity for electrical contractors to develop new skills and industry knowledge is paramount.

“Testament to the developments across the industry and our aim to provide the most up to date and relevant industry information, IFSEC International is bigger than last year and will see a brand new comprehensive, free, education programme. Featuring four education theatres and a number of key feature areas including the Intelligent Integration Zone, sponsored by Intergrated Security Manufacturing (ISM) and the ipAssured Education Zone, hosted by Anixter, focussing on the latest product developments and installation trends.”

An online survey completed in March 2011 by electrical contractors and related installation professionals who are members of the ECA or clients of NICEIC concluded that:

94% consider the emergence of intelligent buildings and integrated control systems to be an opportunity for the electrical contracting industry.
92% consider new skills required for installation and maintenance of new technology to be an opportunity for the electrical contracting industry.
76% consider greater use of wireless technology to be an opportunity for the electrical contracting industry.

Further research conducted with installers that attended IFSEC international in 2011 also suggests that there is optimism in the market, with installers believing the market is buoyant, citing Internet Protocol (IP) as a clear example of the opportunity to develop into new industry areas.

In order to further expand their expertise and make strides in the electrical sector, electrical contractors and wholesalers must diversify – and consider adding both a security and fire offering to their portfolio in an effort to adapt to the changing environment and secure new revenue streams.

Share your views now by taking part in the IFSEC International online poll – CLICK HERE

Taking place from 14th – 17th May 2012 at the NEC, Birmingham, UK, IFSEC International will see approximately 700 exhibitors and more than 25,000 professionals, including key representatives from the electrical contracting sector, come together to discover the latest security innovations within the security and fire safety industry.