This month Simon Banks talks to John Piggott, Managing Director at Atlas Fire & Security.
Can you tell me a bit more about your career in the sector?
I’ve been in the intruder alarm industry since 1982, so I have extensive industry experience – starting well before we founded Atlas. I now work alongside my family to provide specialist security advice to our growing portfolio of customers. We are NSI NACOSS Gold accredited, as well asbeing a BAFE SP203 and NSI Fire Gold approved installer.
You recently had first-hand experience in the UK’s All IP project. Can you tell me a little more about this?
In the first week of October 2021, I received a letter from BT to advise that they would be upgrading my home landline to the new digital service. I was also aware that my local exchange was going into its ‘stop-sell’ phase from 13th October, meaning that any changes to my service would automatically move to IP as older options would no longer be available. I then received an email from BT on the 19th of October – 6 days after the ‘stop-sell’ phase began – to advise me that the upgrade to my service would happen just 7 days later, on 26th October. Sure enough, this all went ahead as planned, and from this date, my PSTN service was switched off and replaced with IP. Luckily, I was aware of the implications of this switch and was able to plan for my alarm system to be upgraded. But many end-users will not be aware that this change impacts their alarm system and may not notify their installation company ahead of the change. This could cause lots of issues for Installers, with emergency callouts requested as the system goes into fail.
What would your advice be to other businesses?
Having now seen for myself how home and business owners will be impacted by these changes, we are proactively encouraging all our customers to have their systems upgraded. This futureproofs their system and allows us to provide them with a better service and avoids any potential issues caused by the All IP switchover. My advice to my peers in the industry would be to act now to avoid any disruptions to your business. Although the ultimate closure is in 2025, the switchovers are happening right now with many millions of lines already completed! It’s essential to make sure your customers’ alarm signalling is futureproofed after the PSTN closure.
What other challenges do Installers face in 2022?
The two other major challenges our industry must deal with this year are the availability of products and the lack of skilled engineers we need to install them. We are well aware of component shortages impacting manufacturers across the sector and we are proactively engaging with my supplier partners to ensure we have awareness of any stock issues. To add to this, skilled engineers are in high demand. We are always looking to upskill our workforce and bring new talent into the business to complement the more experienced team members.
YOU SAID IT!
"Great products and always there when you need technical support."
Jack Barry (Milton Keynes Security) – Google Review – 16 December