Security Industry Association (SIA) member System Surveyor provides intelligent system design software designed for video surveillance, access control, fire alarms, IT, building automation, audio-visual, Internet of Things, communications and more. The company is headquartered in Austin, Texas, with employees working remotely worldwide.
SIA spoke with Christopher Hugman, PE, MBA, founder and CEO of System Surveyor, about the company’s history and offerings, the security industry and working with SIA.
Tell us the story of your company.
Christopher Hugman: As a system integrator in the security industry for over two decades, I was frustrated that there wasn’t an easy way to design and manage physical security systems. So many of us were (and still are) using pen and paper, taking photos with our phones and emailing pdfs back and forth. Not only is it frustrating and time consuming to work this way day in and day out; it leads to a poor customer experience and impacts the profitability of running an integration company.
System Surveyor is a mobile, cloud-based platform that enables everyone involved – system integrators, end users, subcontractors and even technology manufacturers – to collaborate on the design, installation and management of a physical security system. Security professionals drag-and-drop system elements on a visual, digital floor plan, capture related photos and collect requirements all in one place, then can securely share the design with all parties involved. Our customers have experienced increased sales, faster project completions and higher satisfaction using System Surveyor.
What solutions/services does your business offer in the security industry? And what makes your offerings/company unique?
CH: System Surveyor revolutionizes the way that everyone involved in designing and maintaining a physical security system works together. It provides a “single pane of glass” to everyone involved. Both end users and system integrators benefit through collaboration in the design, installation and maintenance of systems.
This industry is an ecosystem, and System Surveyor enables integrators with a greater national and global reach like never before. Our mobile and web-based solution enables digital engagement between system integrators, subcontractors, manufacturers and customers – meaning they can share plans visually and elevate their collaboration.
System Surveyor is unique in the ability to capture a site survey and customer requirements in the field with the ability to automate a bill of materials (BOM). Never before has this been able to be done so early in the customer journey with dramatic benefits to everyone in the supply chain.
While various manufacturers offer design tools limited to their own products, System Surveyor allows system integrators to design comprehensive systems with products and technology from multiple manufacturers.
What is something we might not know about your company – or something new you are doing in security?
CH: System Surveyor’s users are rapidly becoming their own vital community within the industry. They are reaching out to each other share ideas on how to collaborate, reach new geographic markets and share best practices. This is when you know that it’s more than software – it is a way of doing business and enhancing relationships. It is the true definition of the benefit of digital transformation.
Some people may not know that a variety of manufacturers have made their catalogs available for free to upload into System Surveyor and that any manufacturer can join the program. Our users love it because it dramatically streamlines their ability to order and procure the right products for their customers. Given the tough situation on the supply chain front, accuracy is more important than ever.
What is your company’s vision, and what are your goals for the security industry?
CH: System Surveyor’s vision is to incorporate customer data with visual graphics to provide quick and easy access to customer system information for everyone involved. Whether this is the conceptual stage or well after the system is implemented, System Surveyor will provide an always up-to-date record for everyone who needs to know.
What do you think are the biggest opportunities in the security industry?
CH: At System Surveyor, we think one of the biggest opportunities is for the industry to create more of a digital engagement across organizational boundaries between end-user customers and their system integrator service providers and vendors. Whether it is for geographic coverage needs or to optimize the expertise of different players, the old ways won’t serve the future of the industry. If we can get digital and capture data at the earliest part of the process and engage others visually and collaboratively, the industry can go much farther to adopt new technologies and elevate the customer experience as well as the security levels that we are all expected to provide.
What are your predictions for the security industry in the short and long term?
CH: One prediction is that organizations will standardize on software platforms and technology and integrate the best in breed. In order to meet the potential for growth, the industry will continue to adopt technology and improve processes and those who hold back may have more challenges to meet their goals. Based on our recent Benchmark Report, 43% of end users want to do some of their own design but want to also collaborate with their system integrator partners.
What are the biggest challenges facing your company and/or others in the security industry?
CH: Like many other companies, finding great talent is always a challenge but also a great opportunity. We strive to hire the best and retain our fantastic people and ensure a mutual success mindset. We welcome interest in System Surveyor and encourage those looking for a new challenge to reach out to our team.
More generally, our industry faces the challenge of effectively delivering sophisticated new technology to the market in a cost-effective manner. In many cases, great technology is defeated by lack of training, poor system design or inappropriate implementation.
What do you enjoy most about being at your company – and in the security industry?
CH: Outside of the health care industry, I can’t think of a business sector that contributes more to the well-being of individuals and society than the security industry. And we have the privilege of working alongside the great people across our industry committed to this cause. I know this to be true within System Surveyor. Everyone who serves at the company is service-oriented to each other and our user community. We’re a diverse team with a wide range of expertise and backgrounds. We take our core values seriously while having fun in the process.
What does SIA offer that is most important to you and your company? And what do you most hope to get out of membership?
CH: The SIA membership represents the leaders and innovators in our industry. Being able to connect with industry leaders through SIA has been a tremendous benefit. Of course, the opportunity to share our story and solution through SIA sponsored webinars, events, articles and other mediums allows us to leverage the strength and credibility of the SIA organization overall.
How does your organization engage with SIA? What are your plans for involvement in the next year?
CH: SIA does a phenomenal job of making a lot of opportunities available to connect with our broader community. We are committed near-term to getting involved in the following ways:
- System Surveyor is a proud sponsor of the 2022 taking place Aug. 1-3 in our hometown of Austin, Texas (we recommend to dress cool and eat tacos!).
- We participate in SIA webinars and virtual events.
- Of course, we’ll be there in a big way at ISC West 2023 in Las Vegas and for years to come.
- We attend SIA Women in Security Forum breakfasts and other special interest groups.
You have a partner program. Can you tell us more about how you are working with the manufacturer community?
CH: Manufacturers are a big part of our community. In fact, many of our manufacturer partners came to partner with us based on requests from our customer community, so it’s really a win-win for everyone. Our open, affiliate Manufacturer Partner Program allows any manufacturer to join and participate.
What is the single most important benefit that you deliver to customers?
CH: We help system integrators sell more profitably and serve their customers more effectively. While there are many other benefits to our platform, the bottom line is that our customers close more deals with higher value by using System Surveyor.
The views and opinions expressed in guest posts and/or profiles are those of the authors or sources and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Security Industry Association.