We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Fire integration is a terrific opportunity to diversify and gain a competitive advantage in the security market.
But it’s important to recognize that integrating fire and security is not always a simple task. In fact, it can be a significant challenge for security integrators to add fire to their organizations because security and fire alarm systems often operate completely independently of each other. Mixing these systems can be complex – and in some cases, impossible – for some integrators.
That being said, though it may be a challenge, those who choose to take on fire integration and manage to do so successfully can reap significant rewards. Those rewards can include increased diversification, decreased attrition, and increased consumer demand, just to name a few.
So how do you know if your security company is up to the task of fire integration?
Here, we’ll review a handful of the challenges you may face so you can determine whether or not your organization is positioned to successfully take them on and move forward with fire integration.
Challenges of Integrating Fire & Security:
Understanding Fire Codes
This is perhaps one of the more basic challenges of delving into the fire industry, but it is well worth mentioning. Fire codes vary by area and industry, and you’ll need to become very familiar with them in order to find success with fire integration.
It’s also important to note that fire codes sometimes don’t align with security codes, so there may be some complications and obstacles you’ll have to troubleshoot when it comes to implementing and monitoring both types of alarm systems.
Integrated System Design
To successfully take on fire integration, you’ll need to design a system that works on every level for your clients and customers, meets all necessary codes, and is manageable and able to be monitored by your integration company.
Designing these integrated systems is challenging, which is why some companies simply don’t do it and prefer to stick to either security or fire, rather than trying to take on both.
Installation Supplies, Equipment & Education
Another basic point, but one that must be carefully considered when it comes to fire integration: You’ll likely need to invest in new supplies and equipment in order to install the fire alarm systems you’ll be utilizing – or invest in a trusted partner that can handle the installs on your behalf.
Aside from familiarizing yourself with new equipment, you’ll also likely want to invest in education for your team (or the team you’re partnering with) in order to establish expertise in fire installs. Before you move forward with integrating fire, you’ll want to be sure that your organization is in a position to make this up-front investment in order to help you gain footing in the fire alarm industry.
Fire integration can also complicate the logistics of monitoring. Your organization will need a program that can be used to monitor all of the systems you are responsible for – one that is compatible with both the fire and security needs of the commercial and/or residential clients your integration company serves.
If you can’t develop one system to meet all of your needs, you’ll have to come up with a strategy for monitoring various programs in order to keep tabs on all of the aspects of the facilities and/or residences that your integration company is responsible for monitoring.
Taking on fire integration will take a significant effort in terms of getting everyone on the same page. You’ll want your company, your clients, the installers, the designers, and anyone else involved – including those who will be inspecting and assessing the systems – to be on the same page.
This can be a challenge, but when it’s all put together correctly it can be a huge success both for your customers, and for your integration business.
Thinking of Taking on the Challenge of Fire Integration? AFS Can Help!
Fire integration is a great way to diversify your offerings and expand your alarm business. While there are certainly challenges associated with fire integration, if you feel your company is well positioned to take on those challenges you may stand to gain a significant advantage by delving into the fire alarm industry.
If you’re hoping to integrate fire into your security company, or you’re interested in further investigating the opportunity to do so, we have the knowledge and industry insight necessary to guide you through the acquisition process.
AFS’s Rory Russell is one of the top brokers in the fire alarm industry, and he knows what it takes to connect well-qualified buyers with sellers who have valuable alarm businesses on the market. With decades of experience brokering profitable and advantageous transactions, you want Rory on your side if you’re considering navigating a complex fire alarm business purchase and a transition into fire integration.
Looking to learn more about fire integration? Be sure to check out the following resources:
Fire Alarm Business Acquisitions: What You Need to Know – Take a closer look at fire alarm business acquisitions and review 3 basic things to keep in mind as you approach a fire alarm business purchase.
How Fire Integration Can Put Your Security Business at an Advantage – Learn more about what your security company stands to gain by taking on the challenge of fire integration.
Integration Company Sales & Insight – Gain helpful insight about security and fire integration that will help you plan your next business move.