The security landscape is constantly changing along with new technologies, and also does security services. Therefore, many companies that are not able to adapt, disappear. These are words from Daniel Banda, CEO of SoftGuard Tech Corp. He also says in an interview that the smartphones of the clients must be the main focus of security services.
He also says in an interview that security services’ main focus must be the smartphones of the clients.
– How does these times of deep changes in technology and the way we use it in security look like to SoftGuard?
We are living in a time of technological Darwinism and this invades all systems-based services so monitoring is not the exception. Those who do not adapt to the changes, disappear. Remember Kodak had 175,000 employees in 1998 and 3 years later they stopped revealing photos to paper around the world. The largest hotel company in the world, AIRBNB does not own a single room. The largest taxi fleet on the planet does not own a single taxi. If your company is developing a service that is not based on the cellphone or complements it, do not waste time.
-SoftGuard defines itself as the comprehensive alarm and video monitoring software. Which services does the company provide exactly?
SoftGuard Tech Corporation is a North American company that has presence in 40 countries. Nowadays, the number of licenses is over 7.000, covering many segments such as private security companies, public security organisms and the corporate range: banking, finance, retail and condominiums.
Our services provide the integrated management software for the reception and processing of fixed, mobile and human targeted events in four different modalities: perpetual license, leasing, renting and SaaS cloud.
– The company was founded in 2002. How has it evolved from its beginnings until the present day?
SoftGuard’s corporate DNA defines it as a hyper dynamic company that changes along with technological advancement faster than its competitors. This industry is defined by its technological level; therefore, there is no way a centralization and event management software can be separated from state of the art equipment. So we are dynamic as a result of the needs the market demands. We are constantly developing new services that, in private security companies, creates new sources of recurring incomes as well
-Even though the security market is still in crisis, how do you expect the future of SoftGuard and the environment of its sector to be?
We strongly believe the crisis only reaches companies that do not adapt or change their services. Both stagnation and decrease of monitoring services cannot be reversed with conventional formulae, with stronger sales force or costs reduction. It requires mental and Business agility to make the client stop focusing on the negative part. We must change the whole marketing process, switch our minds.
-What are the main commercial goals the company has set for this 2018?
Our goals for this 2018 are set to grow our installed licenses base in a 15%, that is more than 1000 new clients and we are currently surpassing our numbers for the first quarter. Our main focus is the sale of APPs for smartphones, especially in SmartPanics which already exceeds 800.000 in less than 3 years.
– Why does a company settled in the Unites States have grown so much in Latin America and Spain?
Apparently because of the nationality and prior knowledge of the Latin markets that most of the group’s directors have. Although our company forces us to think like citizens of the world and understand that business cannot be dissociated from cultures, and therefore, each region has its own rules, we have focused first on developing throughout South America and then move towards a global vision.
-SoftGuard operates in the markets of several countries, specifically in Europe and America. What is the company’s strategy for both Spanish and international markets?
Our strategy aims to switch the monitoring agents’ minds, to show them that the world changes faster than their capacity to adapt and invite them to put their trust in that the management and centralization software can guide them in this path of growth while adapting to the permanent change of scenery. The only constant thing is change.
It is a matter of concern to review new contacts from expositions or even visit companies and see that the services they don’t provide are a result of not having the right tools to do it. One must choose which service to offer in order to earn money, grow, adapt and choose the right tools to do it correctly. It is also concerning to see the amount of companies merging or being sold because they have stuck and stopped growing for years.
-Regarding the alarm management, where do you think traditional CRAs monitoring is currently going with the insertion of Human Monitoring in the business?
Without a doubt, the changes that are taking place are creating a new monitoring scenario, totally different from the one we know. Although in the industry there have been deep changes, such as micro processed alarms, the insertion of IP and networks in monitoring, video verification among others, here we are talking about something that mutates the DNA of the business completely; a change of forms and methods and a multiplication of not less than eight times the size of the market. In the world there are as many cell lines as there are inhabitants, more than seven billion, and by 2018 50% of them globally will be smartphones. What are you going to offer them to improve their security?
-So, what must alarm monitoring companies do to face this new era in the best way and how?
Companies that can dismiss old fashioned and strict speeches like “it should be done this way, because that’s the way it has always been done” prevail over the ones that don’t. That’s the way companies like Uber or WhatsApp think; a way that changed the business completely. People are no longer interested in buying cameras or alarms, nor hear about that. Families want to hear a proposal about closeness, longevity, presence, and wellness. And that’s what our sale must be focused on.
-However, companies see all of this as something distant. Is this distance real?
This is the reason they’re falling. They still don’t understand that if their security service is not on their customers’ smartphone, the business is no longer sustainable. Do you still have a GPS system in your vehicle? Do you still watch films in Bluray/DVD player? Do you go to the bank to ask for your account balance? Do you make a phone call to book a table? So, we need to understand that we are selling something that the client does not want it that way anymore.
-Why do companies lose monitoring accounts?
This is essentially because they have set apart from what the user actually needs. The main problem some companies deal with is that they don’t know how to move their clients’ demands from one place to the other and they don’t know how to generate new ones when it comes to these different environments. Of course, self-monitoring alarm panels managed from an app have taken accounts from the market and will continue to do so, anyway any sales strategy well thought for 20 minutes would be able to revert several of its inefficiencies as a system. Video systems including apps for the clients’ self-control also take away accounts, but can really someone spend hours watching their cameras from a football match or during a break? Can they and do they know how to ask for help from the public forces? Are they able to do so during a nervous crisis caused by the event? The market makes a lot of excuses, but actually, the first step to move forward is to accept what we have done wrong. There’s only one chance to make things right, then you are on your own
-Taking all of this into account, what growth models exist for monitoring centers in this new scenario? What technological trends will be next?
Without a doubt, to aim to services that aren’t focused on that little percentage of potential users that our sector owns. Limits are imposed by the costs and the services that we provide.
A service that protects you only while being inside your house or your vehicle is not enough anymore because emergencies can occur anywhere at all times. 15% to 20% of the wealthiest group of the population of each country is a very small market in relation to the quantity of service providers. It is necessary to enlarge our point of view, and this can be possible by generating a wide range of services, with costs adjusted to the possibilities of each segment.
We need to think about domotic, the Internet of Things, and the permanent connection with the monitoring center. This means providing a service anywhere, at all times, fomenting customer loyalty so that it’s not that easy for them to lose such benefits.
-To sum up, alarm management has experienced a great evolution in these last few years. How do you think its future will be?
The future of this field is not hard to see. In fact, among our customers base, we have companies with a drastically different level in their evolution. Up till today, we see a lot of companies walking the path of cutting-edge technology, and many others that are still in prior stages.
The most belated ones could find their way and evolve or they could disappear or stagnate without even growing. Our role is to always advise them, show them concrete success stories, and give them the tools they need. The final decision and bet is always on each of them.