In our present age of constant innovation and emerging technologies it has never been more critical to ensure the smooth and continuous flow of new products into the marketplace. For security dealers and integrators, wholesale distribution is the hub that makes that happen. Distributors are responsible for providing a wide-open, unencumbered channel that allows resellers to deliver goods as promised to their customers at prices everyone can live with.
Because competition is as fierce in wholesale distribution as it is in the security installation business, today’s distributors must work harder than ever to earn the patronage and loyalty of dealers and integrators, which in turn become beneficiaries of this heightened state. Consequently, these suppliers must distribute much more than just products.
Representatives from a half-dozen of the security industry’s best-known wholesale distributors explain how their companies are bringing more value to the table with a host of tools and services aimed to help their reseller partners boost their technical, business and bottom-line success. There is much on the minds of these “middlemen,” as they also weigh in on the hottest-selling products and the most tantalizing opportunities.
Finger on Pulse of New Technology
Wholesale distributors have perhaps the industry’s best vantage point to survey the security landscape and assess which technologies, product categories, brands and models are the most popular or are ramping up. Of course, that perspective is influenced by the types of product lines and market specializations of the particular distributor.
Not surprisingly, video surveillance is the most in-demand area, one in which affordability and greater capabilities continue to progress at a breakneck pace. In addition to the continued migration from analog to digital to networked and high-definition video that fuels sales of DVRs/NVRs, encoders and cameras, software advances are expanding and deepening the market beyond core security functions.
“The technologies in video surveillance cameras are rapidly evolving and are creating new opportunities,” says Matt Powers, technical director of security solutions for Anixter. “For example, new applications such as people counting, process monitoring and live public viewing for event marketing are creating demand for electronics that support functions outside of traditional video surveillance. This includes producing higher image resolutions, operating capabilities for remote locations, such as onboard storage and unique power solutions, and on-camera software integrations for analytical functions like license plate tracking.”
Other areas generating a higher volume of orders include those associated with managed/remote services and access control, interactive and smartphone-enabled services, and for more adventurous integrators, digital displays. Intrusion detection, boosted by sexier user interfaces and mobile apps, is also robust. The basis for most of this is proper connectivity and so ensuring the integrity of transmission channels is another high-growth realm.
“Networking and wireless products continue to gain traction. Products including routers, switches and servers are becoming increasingly important for integrators that are expanding into the networking side of the business and offering more than just end points,” says ScanSource Security President Tony Sorrentino. “Providing complete solutions is helping dealers, resellers and integrators to stay competitive and strengthen partnerships with their end-user customers.”
In many instances, some or all of the aforementioned technologies are being integrated via application programming interfaces (APIs) on the network enabled by software development kits (SDKs) and, increasingly, open and interoperable architectures. These occurrences have elevated the technical awareness and sophistication of clients and hastened the need for integrators to step up their training and knowledge. These trends are paving the way for seamless, true systems integration and delivering end-user customers with total solutions, an objective in which wholesale distributor partners can assist.
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