Bright Ideas: Smart Strategies to Upsell Video

The increasing adoption of IP-based video solutions is providing dealers and integrators a breadth of new upsell opportunities. Strategies include offering customers hybrid systems, megapixel cameras, video management systems and more that present newfound ROI and TCO propositions.

<p>End users look for hard metrics to justify any expenditure on technology. Integrators should crunch the numbers and provide a real-world case for return on investment (ROI) and lower total cost of ownership (TCO) that is specific to the customer’s business. Photography ©</p>Megapixel cameras — The customer needs to upgrade their surveillance images. Your strategy is to implement new high definition (HD) or megapixel cameras for better image clarity.

Simply put, today’s network cameras are better than yesterday’s network cameras (or yesterday’s analog cameras). One big reason is that they have higher resolutions, thanks to megapixel imaging and HD video formats. Any IP networked system that uses VGA resolution is a candidate to upgrade to HD or megapixel cameras.

Cameras can be upgraded at specific locations to address application needs, or system-wide for a higher-resolution system. Megapixel cameras can also be used to view larger areas; in some cases a single megapixel camera can take the place of several standard VGA network cameras. The image clarity of these new cameras may virtually sell itself once an end user sees the superior HD images.

Always be realistic in helping the customer ensure adequate bandwidth and storage resources to handle the needs of megapixel cameras. New H.264 high profile encoding helps to minimize the impact on network resources of using megapixel cameras.

ROI/TCO: Ask the customer to consider the economic benefit of increasing the system’s capabilities. How important is it to read a license plate number or to see a suspect’s face clearly? What is it worth in terms of boosting system performance? Also, consider the economic impact of using fewer cameras to cover an area (and associated costs such as fewer cables and camera mounts, less labor, etc.). Make sure any ROI estimates include any needed upgrades to network resources to accommodate the higher resolutions (and larger data files) of megapixel cameras.

The pitch: “Take advantage of newer state-of-the-art equipment using your current system.”

Video management system (VMS)/system front-end — The situation here is a custome
r’s current IP system has limited functionality. Your strategy is to upgrade the front-end to achieve more capabilities and better integration.

New NVRs and VMS that expand system capabilities are coming out every day. New developments include systems that are easier to use, offer additional functions and are integrated with a wider variety of related systems. New front-end systems also enable end users to leverage more of the enhanced functionality of network cameras at the edge. A new front-end can also increase system size and capacity, making a system more scalable and paving the way for future expansion.

ROI/TCO: The biggest argument for ROI of a new front-end system is more efficient operation, which can require fewer personnel to operate in addition to making the system better.

The pitch: “Improve how your operators use the system for better overall results.”<p>Extending the usable life of an existing system, or even some sections or components, is a strategy that offers many benefits for relatively little cost. For example, a hybrid approach uses video encoders connected to existing analog cameras to transition the analog signal onto a network.<br />Photography ©</p>

Video analytics — This technology offering is for most any a customer, large and small across a wide range of market verticals. The strategy is to introduce automation of video functions.

Video analytics has come a long way and is now more capable and robust than ever. Video analytics is also less expensive than ever, and many analytics functions are included as features on new, smarter network cameras. Embedding technologies into edge devices (as opposed to using centralized platforms) makes it easier for integrators to install and set up video analytics solutions.

Intelligent network cameras now offer face recognition, advanced motion detection and auto tracking, among other functions. Video analytics inside cameras on the edge of the network can identify objects left behind or track customer traffic patterns, count crowds, etc. These functions at the camera level can be integrated into systems that provide additional functionality. DVR/NVRs can now work with smart features inside IP cameras to provide functions such as people counting, relative age and gender estimation and face matching.

ROI/TCO: Many functions are in the camera, which lowers costs. Using automation to decrease manpower needs can save on labor costs. Instead of paying operators to watch a video screen, fewer employees are needed to respond in case of a video analytics alarm. Additionally, the analytics themselves can address a wide range of business issues from shoplifting to tailgating and more. Knowing your customers’ needs and potential needs gives you many opportunities for upselling here.

The pitch: “Make your system proactive as well as reactive.”

The Measure of Success

Upselling really comes down to fulfilling the basic function of any supplier — to serve the customer’s needs. Successful upselling is a function of a maximum understanding of those needs combined with product and market knowledge that equips installing security contractors to guide the customer to meet them.

Staying up with technologies is a challenge in the realm of video surveillance, but successfully answering that challenge also prepares you with an ever-expanding number of ways to earn, and to retain, satisfied customers. For your business, the measure of success will be a healthier bottom line.        

Mike Dixon is National Sales Manager, Video Solutions, for Secaucus, N.J.-based Panasonic. He can be contacted at [email protected].


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