Pam Petrow and Vector Security adapt to new technology


Technology has created a new dynamic in many businesses, and Vector Security is no exception. The pace of change, in turn, has altered how CEOs need to manage.

“Today, more than ever, you have to be able to think and adapt faster,” says President and CEO Pam Petrow. “For many years, the progression of technology was much slower, and you had a lot more time to let things roll out, see how other people did.

“I get feeds daily on new entrants in home automation, on new cameras, on new video analytics. I get stuff daily, and that was not true 15 years ago. The speed at which you need to be able to make decisions and react has changed dramatically,” she says.

For example, Vector has a three-year strategic plan, rather than a five- or 10-year plan. Even then, sometimes the company is only halfway through and making modifications.

On top of being nimbler yourself, Petrow says you have to be nimbler with your employees. They need to be kept up to speed and focused through all the distractions, which is why Vector uses tools like a product roadmap.

“Every day, new products come out, and we don’t want to chase everyone. We have to be more selective about what we’re going to look at. And then if you make the wrong bet and you pick the wrong product, you’ve got to be able to shift again,” she says.

Petrow says it’s a matter of being able to recognize it and move on. Vector even has a person whose primary job is to watch the market, looking for technology that could benefit or threaten its product line.

“The lifespan on products and services is just shrinking. It’s not forever,” she says. “I think as long as you’re nimble and you can make that adjustment, you’re in a good place.”

Get comfortable with new

Luckily, Petrow has experience to draw upon — she joined Vector right out of college and has held almost every role over the past 35 years. Since 2011, she’s led the U.S.’ fifth-largest security company and its 1,200 employees.

Security has changed a lot over those 35 years, especially recently.

Residential customers want a home automation solution on a single application. They can turn on lights, enable locks, see who is at the door, disarm the system remotely, change the thermostat, operate their garage door and watch video feeds.

“We have changed just like a lot of other industries have as the technology has become affordable and available,” Petrow says.

Residents use home automation to learn when their kids get home, if the Amazon delivery came or whether the landscapers followed their instructions, she says. It has evolved into an infrastructure where people have the ability to monitor their homes from any place via their smartphone.

Vector now interacts with its customers day in and day out, rather than just in an emergency.