Invigorating Intrusion

Bosch Security Systems is defying those who think intrusion detection is all about mundane things like door contacts and motion sensors. A top executive explains how the manufacturer is making terms like intelligent detection, IP connectivity and wireless communications part of the intrusion vernacular.

Having soared into the security industry on the mighty wings of Detection Systems (DS), which it acquired in 2001, Bosch continues to fly sky-high as a brand synonymous with quality and innovation. This is particularly true in the area of intrusion detection, where Bosch is adding to the rich legacy of DS, itself bolstered by its 1996 Radionics acquisition.

During a time when flashier offerings like access control and especially video surveillance garner the lion’s share of attention (and even that has been tempered by the economy), Bosch is keeping intrusion interesting. The company’s ongoing commitment to dedicating resources toward research and development (R&D) are evident in its new product introductions, such as the Conettix IP module, Professional Series detectors and Commercial Wireless devices.

Bosch’s commitment is not going unnoticed as a recent report by IMS Research shows the firm has outpaced all but one of its top 10 competitors in market share growth since 2006. SSI caught up with Gregor Schlechtriem, vice president, Global Business Intrusion Detection Systems for Bosch, during a recent Intrusion Workshop conducted at its Fairport, N.Y., North American headquarters. He shares the inside line on the manufacturer’s tireless pursuit to deliver technology and opportunity to its channel partners.

Bosch recently increased its intrusion market share. How is it doing so?

Schlechtriem: On the product and technology side, I see two elements. One is the sensors. I think that our sensors are really succeeding in the marketplace because of their superior technology. They are proving that people are willing to spend a little extra to get a higher quality sensor. The other area I think is a pretty good offering for us is the Conettix IP stuff. These are two areas we are especially strong in.

The other aspect I think is certainly giving us a boost is that we’ve got [President of Sales, Americas] Jeremy Hockham now. He’s addressing and reaching out to our dealers for realigning our sales force. I believe this gives us a larger footprint in the U.S. We also have some appealing cross-selling opportunities.

Bosch recently hosted an Intrusion Workshop for dealers and manufacturer reps. What was the goal?

Schlechtriem: As I said, we feel we’re pretty strong in sensors, but how do we communicate that? How do you create an environment to show that you’re strong in sensors? To accomplish this we started using the lab environment within our Fairport, N.Y., location to present shootouts that show off our sensor technology.

The lab provides controlled conditions to fully demonstrate how we outperform the competition. Otherwise, it’s difficult to defend our findings or prove our claims. It also shows that even when products that everyone thinks are pretty stable and sufficient, living up to expectations, that there is still room for improvement. There is still new technology and ways to make products a little bit better. And that can be proven in this environment.

So that’s why we started these workshops. Prior to the one we just had for our U.S. customers, we had two other workshops with people from Europe. They were so interested that they flew over to participate at our U.S. location. They were from the top segments of the marketplace, such as banks and so on. These people were so impressed that some of them immediately changed their specifications to our sensors.

It’s been a great success and it shows we have a story to tell here. Some of it has been translated into our show booth, the one we used at ISC West. I think it communicates some of the story, but the lab is even better. So this is what we want to accomplish with these workshops.

What would you most like dealers to know about Bosch in terms of its intrusion innovation and support?

Schlechtriem: First of all, Bosch is a very stable organization. In these times it is very important to make this statement. I’m pretty convinced we’ll be around in 10 years, in 20 years, in 30 years to support any product that we supply. I think that’s the one message in these times that is very important. Second, we are continuously improving our portfolio. We’ve seen the sensors, we’ve seen the IP products. We’ve been supporting a lot of products for quite some time but we’re also still looking into new technology. So our support offering is great, and we’re working on developing new products.

Getting back to the first point, even in the economic times we’re in right now, R&D is so important to Bosch that we’re still investing in technology development and new products. We’re continuing to look years down the line, and we’re not cutting back on R&D. You need to take the position that you will grow after this crisis is gone. Don’t slash off your future.

We’re not allowed to reduce training costs because we need to keep people trained, so we have to be very creative. Of course we all have to save costs, but be creative and don’t dissect your future. I think it’s a very reasonable approach and it’s in line with a long-term strategy that Bosch is applying to a number of things. The challenge for us, and we have challenges from all of our higher-ups, is to make the right investments.

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About the Author

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Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at [email protected].

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