ADI, PSA Security, Other Distributors Discuss Dealer Support
This SSI roundtable brings together execs from ADI Global, PSA Security, Jenne, PowerHouse Alliance and more to talk about how they are better serving security dealers and integrators.
The best wholesale equipment distributors play a role in the electronic security industry not unlike that of an experienced traffic cop placed at a super-busy intersection — expertly directing products so supply channel traffic flows as smoothly as possible from the manufacturers to the dealers and integrators and on to the end customers.
Skilled distributor expertise and support along with timely delivery are essential for keeping everyone on the road to satisfaction and success. Of course, the logistics, demands and challenges of inventory management and distribution are a bit more complex than waving vehicles to stop or move on.
New technologies both on the products and supply side, services, business models, competition, commoditization, consolidation, economics and other significant changes and catalysts are continuously in play nowadays.
Security distributors must remain on top of it all while maintaining an uninterrupted flow of dealer/ integrator solutions that nurtures long-term relationships based on responsiveness and trust.
“Dropping price points and margins are impacting the industry as a whole,” says ScanSource Networking and Security Senior Vice President Christie Hamberis. “Everyone in the channel needs to find ways to diversify by offering different services, support programs and solutions. Our goal is to deliver the highest-quality products, exceptional logistics, valuable services and tools, and, most importantly, an experienced team that can support our customers and serve as their trusted advisor.”
Along with Hamberis, SSI interviewed representatives from seven other distributors to help resellers select their preferred partners.
They share which product categories are doing gangbusters, what markets are bringing new opportunities, tools for success, the benefits of collaboration and navigating channel conflicts. See the included directory to learn more about each company.
What are your three hottest product categories right now? What is stimulating the interest?
Christie Hamberis: We are seeing great interest in all-in-one NVR solutions that come loaded with VMS and have integrated switches. Many of these are natural replacements for customers that are going back into their existing installs and pulling out older DVRs.
IP-based access control systems seem to be gaining traction faster than a couple of years ago.
With many of the major VMS companies now offering solutions to tie in access control to manage it along with the video streams, it is now not a separate solution but a piece of the total solution.
Lastly are solutions that in some capacity leverage WiFi for video transmission. Since the adoption of 802.11ac, it isn’t as burdensome as it once was to leverage the higher throughput and other features to successfully deploy a solution with some of the video streams transmitted via WiFi.
Craig Patterson (Director of Vendor Management, PSA Security Network): Enterprise access control, Cloud-based access control and video management systems are the three rather large and key product categories for our integrators.
Enterprise access control solutions open up a number of additional sales opportunities to capitalize on.
In the Cloud access product area, there are a number of new players who are making a play to gain market share and having some early success, which we see increasing going forward.
And we’re still seeing steady growth within the VMS category, mostly with open platform and enterprise offerings.
Nick Scarane (President, eDist Security): Fire and life safety, such as products and solutions from Fire-Lite, Silent Knight and System Sensor.
This category is mostly code-driven. Second would be IP and HD video, such as Hikvision, FLIR and Vivotek. That is mostly price-driven, although these brands are very good quality products.
Thirdly would be wireless intrusion and home automation, such as Interlogix, DSC and Qolsys. All of these products provide good value and quality. They all also offer the ability for the dealer to sell enhanced services to customers using the Alarm.com platform.
Bill Brennan (Vice President of Security Solutions, Jenne): The hottest are 4K IP video surveillance, analytics and Cloud solutions. 4K sales have been a robust part of our business, which is encouraging, and an example that the end user will pay more for quality video.
As for analytics and Cloud, they are not driving the largest share of revenue, but they are the “hottest” topics. Analytics are creating a great deal of conversation.
If the IP cameras can perform additional functions, and provide useful data, it enhances the ROI of the deployment. However, outside of LPR [license plate recognition] and a few other solutions, there have not been a large number of deployments to date.
Cloud solutions can help with network efficiency, storage capabilities, accessibility of video and remote monitoring.
Dennis Holzer (Executive Director, PowerHouse Alliance): Wireless networking has been quickly growing, with mesh networks products and wireless extenders being the hottest products. The race is on to cut the cords.
In the security category, surveillance devices and cameras are in high demand. Consumers today want their family and property to be secure. They can now have peace of mind and monitor any activity on their property via smartphone apps from home or afar.
High-end TVs are also of particular interest, specifically for sizes above 65 inches. Because customers are spending more time at home, larger high-end TVs for entertainment are in demand.
Bill Smoyer (Western Regional Sales Manager, Access Hardware Supply): The top three areas would be wireless locks, motorized electric strikes and exit devices, and power-efficient locking solutions from brands like ASSA ABLOY, Allegion and Stanley.
Customers are buying power-efficient locks for the return on investment in energy savings. Motorized exit devices help healthcare facilities comply with new noise requirements and provide energy efficiency.
What is a product area or market security dealers/integrators should focus more on and why?
Stu Tisdale (Vice President, Marketing, ADI North America): Home automation is ever growing, and dealers will need to be well versed in all areas of it. ADI provides home automation offerings from Savant, Leviton, Lutron, Logitech, Honeywell and more.
In commercial applications, the focus is on expanding and improving their networks and their A/V needs for the building. The end goal is to gain more share of the end user’s wallet.
Patterson: Ground-based robots are becoming an excellent growth segment of the market. They create additional sales opportunities for equipment, maintenance agreements and support services.
Pro A/V and digital signage are also excellent adjacent/crossover markets to security integration.
Holzer: Focus more on upgrading residential networks. With many new wireless security products arriving daily, the network has to be strong enough to handle all of the devices being added.
The more devices added to the network, the greater the strain, and the increase in likelihood that the network will slow and be inefficient.
Security dealers and integrators can take advantage of this opportunity by selling security devices to a customer, while at the same time installing new products to improve their network.
Brennan: Data networking, as it is typically not the cameras that fail but the network the cameras are running on. As we deploy more 4K, run additional analytics and enhance remote access, the security integrator must understand and ensure smooth traffic across the customer’s network and adequate storage capabilities.
Hamberis: Moving more toward a service model is where dealers should focus. Finding a way to ease some of the burdens of the end-user customer managing their own traditional security solution, perhaps through a Cloud offering and/or some type of service agreement, will help solidify dealers’ relationship with the end user, while also providing them with recurring monthly revenue.
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