Our security system team are featured in the October 2017 issue of Professional Security Installer Magazine.
Interview with Scott McLean - Stirling Alarms
Do you use a distributor or buy direct from manufacturers?
For intruder alarm products we mainly go through the manufacturer RISCO but for other products we use our network of electrical distributors.
Is third party accreditation beneficial to you?
Most definitely. We have been an accredited member of SELECT (The Electrical Contractors Association of Scotland) since 2005 for our electrical work. When we rebranded our security division in November 2015 as ‘Stirling Alarms’ we had no hesitation in applying for NSI membership. Just three months later we were accredited as Systems Silver and in August 2017 we were delighted to achieve NSI NACOSS Gold level. We pride ourselves in our customer service and being a member of these highly reputable accreditation bodies gives our clients the reassurance of our technical ability and good business practices and standing.
What would be a typical project for you?
Locally we are seen as a go to company for faults, maintenance and testing so we are involved in a mixture of repairing and servicing older security systems as well as our installation service for homes and businesses where we install a mixture of smartphone controlled and monitored/police systems. Our CCTV installs have also increased recently especially for the domestic market where we install a mixture of HD and IP systems. Our well-established electrical service and customer base also gives us an opportunity to increase our security system business.
Do you think there is a skills shortage in the industry? Any trouble recruiting?
In our industries it is important to employ engineers with not only the required technical skills but also excellent customer service awareness and this helps us focus in on individuals when recruiting. Making sure every person works for the whole team and not just solely for their own best interest is crucial and we look to employ for the long term so we can be selective when choosing candidates.
Are there any common requests from customers that give you problems? (ie impossible expectations).
A high number of our security system installs now come with apps on smart device and computers. While setting up these apps initially to the system at the time of install is relatively straightforward our aftersales support is increasing due to apps updating and not functioning correctly or the customer changing settings and not operating the apps correctly. All of this is out of our control but we are expected to return to site and help repair and change their phone or tablet settings as part of the original job.
What is the security industry’s biggest myth?
Some people believe our engineers are able to gain access and work on any existing intruder alarm system. If we are contacted to service and takeover a system that was installed and coded by others, we will do all we can to help but sometimes it’s just not possible.
What will be the impact of smart/home automation on the security sector?
While business opportunities in this market have already begun for installers including ourselves and it is something we are excited about, the surge in consumer retail outlets selling smart security/home automation goods has taken off and the amount of off the shelf poorer and cheaper DIY systems may have an impact in our domestic market when it comes to pricing and trying to sell professional equipment that installers know is trustworthy and reliable.
What would make your job easier?
Customers giving design specification and type of equipment more weight in they’re decision making over cost. Each install is different and we prefer to discuss and meet with the customer and give them design options which we believe to be in their best long term interest but other companies will quote with minimal equipment and less specification to win the job. We may lose out on some occasions but we believe our method is the correct way to do business.
What is your ultimate/fantasy electronic security product?
For the home environment integration between many smart home devices. Intruder, CCTV, Home Automation all voice, touch screen and smartphone app controlled. Voice activation with Apple Siri and especially Amazon Alexa is starting to play a big part in home automation and will only increase. It is possible to do all this just now by combining various systems but over the coming years systems for the mainstream will start to merge giving many security functions all within one app and system. Activation and control with voice and facial recognition will soon become a big part in our everyday life and it will be interesting to see how these are developed and integrated into security products
Will England ever win the football World Cup again?
If they do then I will hopefully not hear about it for a while because I’ll be at the top of Ben Nevis with 5 Million other Scots with no TV or Phone signal making sure we can’t hear the commentators ;-)
Seriously though, England on most occasions will always be in the latter stages of tournaments so the chance of going all the way and winning will always be close to achieving.
If you won £25,000 what would you do with it?
I plan to invest it all back into my company and team of course…. until my wife finds out.
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