Many companies find it hard to improve efficiency due to lack of a system to easily track and extract information
Working with accurate and detailed product specifications saves time and
reduces the possibility of errors throughout a project

They’re coming from every angle. Things that zap your company’s profitability: lower hardware margins, escalating labor costs, simply the cost of doing business. So systems integrators have been looking — and finding — new ways to increase revenues.

New sources of revenue are emerging from services and even the administration side of the business. When you are more efficient in the office and in the field and can spec, quote and deliver projects faster and with more accuracy, everyone wins, especially the bottom line.

Accurate design and documentation is a critical element of a successful and profitable project, says Tim Bigoness, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, D-Tools Inc., Concord, California.

Need For Easy To Use, Interoperable Software Systems

“Today’s integrated systems often contain a myriad of products, and accessories, and maintaining consistency and accuracy of this product information can be a critical success factor and often mean the difference between profit or loss,” Bigoness says. He adds that working with accurate and detailed product specifications saves time and reduces the possibility of errors throughout a project, from the proposal and design to installation.

“Spreadsheets and Word documents can help, but manual processes always increase the potential for errors and omissions. A system that helps integrators accurately estimate the amount of labor involved for the installation as well as prompting for recommended accessories can help ensure that the project is accurate, priced right, and delivered on time and to budget,” Bigoness adds.

When looking at ways to increase efficiencies in project management, planning and design, Bigoness says it’s important to consider factors such as ease of use, accessibility, and integration with other systems, such as accounting and contact management. “Ideally, a solution should fit the way the contractor likes to work, and not force a single process – the ideal solution will be flexible, work well with other applications, and not require multiple efforts or duplicate data entry.”

How D-Tools Improved Access Technologies’ Process Efficiency

“A system that helps integrators accurately estimate the amount of labor involved for the installation helps ensure that the project is accurate, priced right, and delivered on time and to budget”

Access Technologies, Albuquerque, New Mexico, has simplified and accelerated its proposal process efficiency by 30 percent and as a result, increased its ROI, says RJ Spurr, Sales Engineer and Project Manager. Access Technologies is an integration company focusing on physical security, IT networking, wireless, WiFi, video conferencing, digital signage and voice control. It serves a variety of vertical markets, including corporate, government, education, healthcare and utilities.

Access Technologies first began using the D-Tools System Integrator (SI) software platform in 2012 as a means to better streamline their security and IT networking project proposal and estimate process. Previously, the company relied on another CRM and quoting tool, but needed a better way to create as-built documents since each project proposal was separately created after the previous project phases using Microsoft Word. “We needed a solution that would integrate and simplify the process of adding products to proposals. We can now quickly and easily build needed documents as we create proposals,” says Spurr.

Reducing Time And Error For Higher ROI

Spurr adds that software platforms need to provide complete project scheduling, resource management and reporting capabilities to ensure the job is delivered on time and within scope. “Because we are able to define users and assign roles to personnel, processes have improved, and we’ve become more efficient because everyone can access the information they require during any stage of the project. We can enter vast amounts of information in data fields that build continuity and accessibility throughout the team, further streamlining processes for our company.”

Bigoness says creating a repeatable process delivers a tangible return on investment. “Integrators can respond to a request for bid quickly with accurate, professional documentation, delivering detailed engineering drawings with an organized resource plan and schedule to save time and reduce errors on the back-end – saving money and increasing profitability on every project. Without a system to easily track and extract this information, many companies are flying blind and find it hard to improve efficiency. And efficiency equals greater profitability.”

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version

Author profile

Deborah O'Mara Owner, DLO Communications

Deborah L. O’Mara,'s dealer/integrator correspondent, is a veteran of the security marketplace, having extensive experience in security, fire alarm technology and integrated systems.

In case you missed it

Motorola Solutions Acquires Pelco For $110 Million
Motorola Solutions Acquires Pelco For $110 Million

Motorola Solutions, Inc. today announced it has completed the acquisition of Pelco, Inc., a global provider of video security solutions based in Fresno, California. Pelco designs, develops and distributes end-to-end video technology, including video security cameras and video management system software. The company’s scalable solutions and commitment to service delivery enables customers of all sizes to mitigate risk, increase operational efficiencies and enhance safety.  “Video continues to play a more powerful role in enabling safer cities and securing businesses around the world,” said Greg Brown, chairman and CEO, Motorola Solutions. “Pelco’s track record of innovation, internationally recognized brand, global channel and customer installed base enable us to further expand our global footprint with enterprise and public safety customers.”

What are the Security Challenges of Protecting the Cannabis Industry?
What are the Security Challenges of Protecting the Cannabis Industry?

The advent of a truly new market for the physical security industry is a rare occurrence. Particularly rare is a new market that is both fast-growing and provides an environment that is not just conducive to application of physical security technologies but that actually demands it. Such is the case with the market for legalized marijuana. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the security challenges of protecting the cannabis industry?

Wireless Technology Is Transforming Motion Detection
Wireless Technology Is Transforming Motion Detection

Motion detection is a key feature of security systems in residential and commercial environments. Until recently, systems have relied heavily on closed circuit television (CCTV) and passive infrared (PIR) sensors, which both require significant investment and infrastructure to install and monitor. Developments in wireless technology are increasing home security possibilities. Few years ago, these developments led Cognitive Systems to discover that the wireless signals surrounding oneself can be used to detect motion. Known in the wireless industry as WiFi sensing, this technology brings many benefits that other motion detection solutions have not been able to provide. The working of WiFi sensing At Cognitive Systems, the company has used WiFi sensing technology to develop a motion detection solution called WiFi Motion™, which measures and interprets disruptions in RF signals transmitted between WiFi devices. When movement occurs in a space, ripples in the wireless signals are created. WiFi Motion interprets these ripples and determines if an action, such as sending a notification, is needed. Enabling this functionality in a space is incredibly simple. With a software upgrade to only one’s WiFi access point (or mesh router), motion sensing capabilities are layered into one’s WiFi network. Existing connected WiFi devices then become motion detectors without detracting from their original functions or slowing down the network. Using artificial intelligence (AI), WiFi Motion establishes a benchmark of the motionless environment and learns movement patterns over time, which could be used to predict trends. This allows unusual movement patterns to be detected with greater accuracy while decreasing the potential for costly false alerts. WiFi Motion requires no line-of-sight or installation WiFi sensing and other home monitoring solutions All of these capabilities are made possible by WiFi sensing and together create a motion detection system that provides unparalleled accuracy, coverage, privacy and affordability compared to other solutions on the market. PIR integration is far more complex and imposes electronic and physical design restrictions compared to WiFi sensing. In terms of placement, PIR systems are difficult to install, requiring line-of-sight and a device in every room for localization. WiFi Motion requires no line-of-sight or installation and is also a scalable solution compared to PIR. Much like cameras, PIRs can only cover so much space, but WiFi Motion can cover the entire home and even detect motion in the dark and through walls, without adding additional devices to the home. WiFi Motion detects less distinguishing context than cameras and microphones, but more context than regular PIR sensors for the perfect balance of privacy and highly accurate motion detection. Privacy solution While cameras have been the security solution for years, WiFi Motion offers a more affordable solution that can rival the privacy and coverage capabilities of even the most high-end cameras. With such a wide coverage area, one might think that WiFi sensing infringes on privacy, but actually, the opposite is true. With WiFi Motion, the contextual information collected cannot be used to identify a specific individual, unlike cameras which can clearly identify a person’s face or microphones, which can identify a person’s voice. It is different from other smart home security options that use cameras and microphones because it only senses motion using WiFi signals - it doesn’t “see” or “listen” like a camera or microphone would. This provides opportunities for added security in spaces where privacy might be a concern and installing a camera may not be a comfortable solution, such as bathrooms and bedrooms. The data collected is also anonymized and highly encrypted according to stringent industry privacy standards. Existing connected WiFi devices then become motion detectors Additional WiFi sensing applications Since WiFi sensing technology requires no additional hardware or subscription fees, it is much more affordable than other motion detection solutions. It can be used as a standalone solution, or it can be easily layered into more complex systems. This ease of integration, scalability and relatively low cost brings a lot of potential for various applications. Motion detection can trigger other smart devices in the network to turn lights on or off In eldercare, for example, WiFi sensing can be used to help seniors live comfortably in their homes for as long as possible. With the increasing aging population and high costs associated with care homes, the market for this application is considerable. Caregivers can use an app to monitor movement in their loved one’s home and be alerted about unusual movement patterns that could indicate a concern. For smart homes and other environments that have a network of smart devices, the artificial intelligence (AI) component of the technology allows for improvements to automated features. Motion detection can trigger other smart devices in the network to turn lights on or off or make adjustments to the temperature in a room. Security for the commercial sector For office buildings and other commercial properties, it is easy to see how all of these features could be scaled up to offer a highly accurate and cost-effective motion sensing and smart device automation solution. Cognitive Systems is closely involved with the development of WiFi sensing technology, working with various industry groups to establish standards and help it reach its full potential. WiFi Motion is merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of motion sensing possibilities, but its applications in the world of security are undeniably compelling. It is an exciting time for the wireless industry, as one works with stakeholders in the security space to explore everything this technology can do.