In any case, Bosch Security returned with a vengeance this year with more than 100 product introductions at ISC West. What was the ramp-up process like for that?
Hockham:As you can imagine a lot of things came together all at the same time, hence the big impact there. Obviously you don’t develop new products overnight, so many of these things have been in the works for a long time but actually came together at the same time to enable us to make this big bang at ISC West. With the market changing as well, there’s increased urgency and pressure to speed up the development activities. There wasn’t suddenly some massive change, more the things came together rather successfully, we hope, with a large number of new launches.
Is there concern if you launch too many at once some might be overlooked?
Hockham: That’s always the case. Our goal with what we did at ISC West, and with the feedback we’ve had I think we’ve achieved that, is previously Bosch was viewed as higher end, if you will, in the best category. If you visualize good, better, or best. We’re very much at the high end of the marketplace. Our goal was to illustrate we have a very broad offering and that we have cost and technically effective solutions in the good, better or best categories. In many ways, part of the message was to show the breadth of the offering and that we’re a relevant player. It is more important than ever to operate effectively in all the new spaces, not only with a diverse range of technologies but also diverse form factors.
That in itself was what we were daring to achieve, but your point is exactly right. The challenge now is to make sure everybody understands what’s in the offer, what’s important to them, and also making sure everybody within our organization is fully up to speed on it. That requires lots training for our own people as well as for key customers, to make sure they understand the products, and within that broad range of offering the things that are relevant to them and important for their business. We need to follow that up and make sure they understand the details and things that can be special for them.
If you had to pick three to five of the most significant of those recent product introductions, which ones would they be and why?
Hockham: That’s a difficult question because it depends on who you are and what part of the marketplace you sit in. As I see it, the power of the offering is its breadth in terms of price point, functionality and form factor. But if I was forced, one I think would shift the needle a bit is our new IP 2000 range of cameras. They’re targeted at bringing in quality IP cameras at analog prices, and really shift the perception in terms of what’s available there for small to medium-sized businesses. That’s particularly relevant to both our existing distribution partners at Tri-Ed, ADI, Anixter and our new IT distribution partners as well.
The IP 5000 family also brings better quality HD and megapixel imaging. That’s a robust mid-priced portfolio. And of course we’ve got our higher end products with our Starlight cameras, for instance. Also there’s the expansion of our intelligent video analysis and smart deployment of that technology into content-based imaging, which enables us to give superior imaging while being very economical with bandwidth. These are very impressive, specific products.
Finally, our new DIVAR IP appliances, which are all-in-one video management solutions, are really changing the recording world. They enable us to bring some really powerful and easy-to-use solutions that are very scalable for small to medium-sized systems. There’s a lot of exciting things, but those might be the ones I’d hone in on.
There are so many exciting things happening in security technology. What is a couple you are especially keen on and why?
Hockham: As we demonstrated at ISC West when we gave people a sneak peak on 4K video, it is a very exciting innovation that will come to our market soon. The solutions are expensive but enable us to start doing things the industry until now has not been able to. There are a lot of high-resolution and high megapixel cameras around but there are no standards. 4K imaging is an 8-megapixel resolution that conforms to the SMPTE HD standard. It brings best of both worlds; increased resolution and frames per second in the HD standard everyone knows and uses. Expect more news from us around this topic as I think we’ll look back on it five or 10 years from now and see it’s made some quite significant changes in our business.
As well, cloud security services is still a very interesting area. If we look at the intrusion business, it very successfully operates powerful recurring revenue models that are useful both for the dealers and all players involved. That’s yet to really materialize in the video space. Cloud security is clearly a way in which we may be able to bring additional and new solutions to the marketplace. We’re currently running through and trialing some solutions in Germany that we’ll bring to the U.S. shortly to see how we can exploit the marketplace there for the benefit of our partners and ourselves. Those are the two technology areas I am most honed in on right now.
What do you see as some of the top drivers to get end users to invest in today’s security solutions? How do they affect what Bosch does strategically, and how does that translate to the integrator channel?
Hockham: Historically, end users may have recognized that security was maybe a cost they had to bear. Now more than ever they’re looking for some return on their investment, and that’s particularly important in video systems. What else can we do with this system? What else can we get from it? How do I reconcile the cost of this to other costs I’m saving or other benefits I’m getting?
Interestingly, if we look back to the past five to seven years or so, actually lots of new technologies have come along that for the most part haven’t 100% replaced the things that were there before. So what we have is a wide range of imaging technologies, wide range of transmission technologies. Some of the many dealers I talk to see that as a threat and a concern, but the vast majority actually see it as an opportunity. With that diversity of technology available, it means if you spend the time to really understand your customers’ needs and wants you can create differentiated solutions.
Those are the things that are real drivers here, and the complex landscape we have from the technology point of view gives a lot of opportunity to our integration partners to create those differentiated solutions. There’s opportunity for growth for them, for return on the investment for the dealer, and growth for us. Our goal in that of course is to have a good portfolio, and hence my comments earlier about the breadth of our solutions being almost as important as the individual technologies themselves.
What are the vital competencies for a security integrator to possess today; what is the formula for success?
Hockham: Today’s wealth of technology in itself is not the end; it’s a means to the end. For an integrator to be successful they really have to work with us to understand what they can do with that technology and how that can help solve the end customer’s problem. The first step is they’ve really got to understand the business opportunity the technology creates for them and work with our team to realize that.
The next thing is understanding their end customers’ needs, the problems they are trying to solve, the pain points they face and how the technology can be used to create a return on investment. There’s more opportunity than ever to create differentiating solutions. Understanding how to leverage the technology is the key to success.
The last thing an integrator wants is merely to be going into a job and basically selling his labor with everybody having the same equipment. In today’s world, there are lots of options if you can differentiate your solutions from the broad range of the technology around you. But you really need to understand how to deploy that technology and how you can solve customers’ problems for that. To do that you need to rely on the resources of organizations like Bosch. We have highly technical and competent sales teams and support staff that can help you really realize how to exploit that technology.
Those are the key ingredients. Of course, you also need experts within your integrator organization who understand bits and bytes.
Bosch is a uniquely structured, philanthropic-oriented entity, especially compared to most commercial U.S. companies. How does that affect the way Bosch conducts itself and influence its approach to the security industry? How important is it to be perceived as part of the security community for the common good of all?
Hockham: As a major player in this industry, we recognize not only its importance but we also have a responsibility to help move the industry forward.
We started ONVIF [Open Network Video Interface Forum] and that was part of that initiative. I’m currently on the board of SIA [Security Industry Association], we’re also members of PSA [Security Network], and CSAA [Central Station Alarm Association] and CAA [California Alarm Association], and so we have representatives serving on those committees. I did an internal survey recently and we have something like 380 industry touch points across our organization where we’re supporting either local chapters of ASIS [America Society for Industrial Security] or all the organizations already mentioned. So we support the industry at both a senior level and at a grassroots level.
On the philanthropic side, we endeavor as an organization to be responsible citizens of the communities we live in and we have a number of outreach programs. Next month myself and a number of other people here are off to help build or renovate a house for people in need in our local community here. We’re endeavoring to do our part to support the local communities and take a responsible position in the places that support our businesses.
Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine has spent nearly 15 years with SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. He can be reached at (704) 663-7125.
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