14 July 2016


This month Simon Banks talks to Mark Rothwell, Managing Director of Blackbox Security who have been providing bespoke Security and Fire solutions to commercial and residential customers for over 35 years.

You have been providing Remote Servicing and Diagnostics (RSD) to your customers for a number of years, what is the main benefit?

RSD has been a massive step forward to improved customer service as well as allowing our business to save on the valuable engineering resource. The overall cost of servicing is reduced whilst also removing the need for clients to wait forengineers, so enhancing the customer experience. RSD is arguably more accurate, providing a more definitive picture. As with aviation, an autopilot removes human error. People are necessary to decipher the results but the results are better retrieved scientifically.

You have a long list of prestigious contracts, how do they differ from your existing base?

Premium accounts can be more lucrative if you can meet the client’s expectations and needs. If you are too expensive you simply won’t keep the business. You have to provide a valued service to retain customers, otherwise the price of loyalty will diminish to be replaced by a price analysis. You’ve got to make it easy for the client to do business with you. This applies to new and recurring work. Our top ten clients have been with us for more than fifteen years! This is a great challenge. We look at business as ‘time pies’ - there’s only so much to go around. We distribute it wisely and only take on work that’s of true value. We also grow with our clients allowing business to expand proportionally. We treat all our customers the same – no matter how large or small.

Do you think the skill set for Fire varies or can you share your engineering resource between Fire and Security contracts?

For the last five years we’ve held BAFE accreditation and at one point we considered a specific Fire division. Our experiences demonstrated more success training Security engineers to become multi-skilled across both sectors than vice-versa. Security engineers have to move faster because technology changes quicker, whilst Fire technology tends to move slower. We need to minimise the exposure for our business and therefore we take the installation and maintenance of life safety systems very seriously. The majority of our team have worked with us since leaving school and are still here after twenty years. This familiarity provides our customers the assurance that we’re a trusted company with integrity. In the last five years, all apprentices have stayed with us.

What are the main challenges faced by the Security industry over the next few years?

Technologies within the IT sector are similar to the installation and monitoring of CCTV. Approved Security companies using accreditations such as BAFE and NSI are frustrated when IT companies can enter the market and install products. In the Fire sector the amount of work that requires a BAFE certificate is minimal. Local authorities, Insurers and building control will accept lesser companies with lesser standards. There’s an element of commercial pressure on Specifiers to allow non-accredited Installers to complete and certificate work. Organisations such as NSI/BAFE/SSAIB need to lobby Government, Fire & Rescue Services and Insurers for tighter controls to ensure accredited companies carry out work especially where lives and property are concerned. In my opinion, less than 20% of Fire alarm installations are properly accredited, compared to more than 60% in Security.


You Said It!

@CSLDualCom Another DigiAir in today. Easy and quick set up!
Tweeted by @SonisSecurity - May 9


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