Polaroid Moves Into Surveillance Market, Launches Dealer Network

By Ashley Willis

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. — Polaroid, the longtime provider of consumer electronics, will enter into the security space by rolling out a full line of analog and IP cameras, NVRs, DVRs, hybrid video recorders and video management software (VMS).

Effective June 1, the company will launch the products through its new, independent security division called Polaroid Professional Security Products (PPSP), owned by holding company PRD International. As part of its portfolio, the company will release IP cameras with up to 20-megapixel resolution, analog cameras featuring 700TVL resolution, cameras featuring license plate recognition (LPR) analytics and 14-megapixel 360° fisheye cameras.

What prompted the 75-year-old company to enter the security space?

“We wanted to expand our range of products in not only the consumer and photography markets, but also in the professional field,” PPSP Executive Vice President and COO Nathan Needel tells SSI. “We think some of the players in this space may be struggling, so there may be a vacuum that Polaroid can move into. We are very optimistic that the growth in the CCTV market will be there.”

Needel, a 25-year industry veteran who previously served as vice president of sales at Infinova, notes that PPSP will target the corrections, education, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, government, retail and transportation vertical markets. One tactic to reach the distinct market niches will be through the firm’s integrator network, which will offer each member a protected territory.

“For example, from San Diego to Los Angeles, I imagine only having a handful of integrators,” Needel explains. “That way, when we bring a project to an integrator, they can feel comfortable bringing projects to Polaroid. They’re not going to have to compete with everybody that can go to big name distributors like ADI or Tri-Ed to pick up profits.”

Currently, PPSP has the resources to support roughly 50 integrators. In time, however, the dealer network expects to have as many as 100 installing security contractors throughout the United States and Canada. Polaroid expressly limited the number of integrators in the network to ensure participants are thoroughly trained to install and support its products. Members will be required to complete CEU-accredited, two-day training courses. Each of the hands-on sessions will have a maximum enrollment of 14 students.

Needel explained a typical training scenario in which students will have to create a network from scratch, starting out with no bandwidth and low-resolution cameras.

“We’ll put everyone in pairs and then they’ll development their own small network. Then we will tie all those networks together to be one network with about 50 cameras on it. We’ll put a lot of pressure on the network by having the students change the resolution and frame rate to where it’ll break down and there will be really bad video.”

Given that the market is all but saturated with CCTV providers, Needel realizes Polaroid cannot solely rely on its consumer brand familiarity to differentiate itself from the pack.

“We look at the camera as a sensor,” he says. “When you look at it from that perspective, you can ask the end user questions that don’t specifically relate to security.”

Needel discussed two beta projects that illustrated this point — one at a museum in Sarasota, Fla., and the other for a major hotel chain.

Because the museum received federal funding based on attendance numbers, the museum had employed three individuals to track the number of visitors. After experimenting with Polaroid’s people-counting technology, staffers discovered that the human counters were only 85% accurate. Meanwhile, the cameras had a 98% accuracy rate.

The hotel used the people-counting technology to manage the number of guests in front-desk queues. And because strangers were piggybacking into the facility after hours, the hotel deployed a camera at a back-door entry.

“If someone is hanging out at the back door for more than three minutes, the camera sends an alert to the manager, prompting security personnel on the situation,” Needel says. “In the first place, [the system] is proactive in customer service, and then it’s also proactive in securing the property.”

Ashley Willis is associate editor for SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION magazine. She can be reached at (310) 533-2419.

Tagged with: Industry News

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