5 Pressing Questions for Security Distributors

Representatives from distributors spoke with SSI on what product areas security dealers should focus on, as well as other topics.

WHOLESALE distributors play such an unheralded role in the supply chain, and yet their contributions are critical to maintaining and elevating the electronic security industry’s forward momentum.

Very much in the same way the circulatory system keeps all parts of the human body nourished, distributors feed dealers and integrators with the products and support they need to ensure their businesses are healthy and able to grow. In this way, distribution is resellers’ lifeblood, and several leading suppliers are stepping up their regimen to fortify their status as trusted channel partners.

Security Sales & Integration interviewed representatives from five such distributors to respond to five key questions. The participants were Tri- Ed Distribution, an Anixter company, President (and SSI Hall of Famer) Pat Comunale; PSA Security Network Vice President Sales and Customer Service Ric McCullough and Director of Sales, Eastern Region, Tim Brooks; Access Hardware Supply Western Regional Sales Manager Bill Smoyer; PowerHouse Alliance Executive Director Dennis Holzer; and ScanSource Networking & Security Senior Vice President Christie Hamberis.

The group brings a broad range of perspectives to bear as their organizations reflect varied geographies and business models. Read on to get their takes on the hottest products, opportunities, market challenges, relationship building and how their companies strive to deliver competitive advantages to their customers.

1. What are your three hottest product categories right now? What is stimulating the interest?

PAT COMUNALE: Interactive residential, IP video and cybersecurity are three very hot categories right now. People are looking for interactive services to control residential systems and video systems. Most manufacturers are already there. For cyber, several manufacturers have taken the lead, recognizing that many products are vulnerable to getting hacked, just like any other IT platform.

TIM BROOKS: Cloud-based access control, networking hardware and managed video services. Our integrators are trying to move to a managed service provider model and away from commoditized products like basic IP video systems. This is driving down topline revenue for the integrator and hurting profitability. With the move to more cyber-secure installations, integrators are also utilizing managed switches from various vendors.

BILL SMOYER: Wireless locks such as the Sargent IN120 and Schlage AD 400; motorized locking hardware such as the Sargent Ecoflex motorized strike and Schlage L909X; and server cabinet locks such as the HES KS100 and KS200. These products offer cost savings on installation and current draw by using less power. Wireless locks allow flexibility that saves time and money wiring at the door.

DENNIS HOLZER: Some of the hottest product categories right now are security, networking and home theater systems, with wireless devices in each category leading the pack. These are all intertwined because in home theater and security systems, the push now is to cut the cords. Where we used to have just one computer, people now have computers, tablets, phones, etc., so the network has to be able to handle it all.

CHRISTIE HAMBERIS: Cybersecurity is a popular product category for obvious reasons. There is becoming an expectation from end users that dealers that provide physical security solutions should also assist with or promote the cybersecurity side of the business as well. 4K cameras are a hot technology as users look for the highest-definition/highest-quality products. Wireless technologies continue to grow in no small part due to the e-rate program, which is making new wireless technologies popular in the government/education markets. And with the onslaught of the Internet of Things, users expect to have every device connected at all times and in all places.

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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