Roundtable: Distributors Power Products Through Despite Pandemic
As essential workers during the pandemic, security dealers and integrators were fortunate to have essential partners in their wholesale distributors. A roundtable of top suppliers offers a state of the industry.
What are the top challenges facing security distributors today? How is your company dealing with it?
Choate: Security distributors are facing supply chain disruption and inventory challenges. As a supplier and a manufacturer, we are fortunate to have a greater level of control of our supply chain. Throughout COVID-19, we have increased our commitment to stocking levels and broadened our local reach throughout the country to make sure partners got product on time. With over 23 local stores, as well as a robust ecommerce portal, we can help deliver product quickly.
Aarnes: Technology is changing quickly and dealers depend on their distributor to help with product selection and design — so it’s imperative our team remains up-to-date. We’re proud to have some of the most knowledgeable and well-trained professionals in the industry. Our ADI University internal training program provides our sales team with comprehensive education on the newest products and market trends. Short term, logistics and supplier material shortages are top of mind across our industry.
The chipset shortages have resulted in extended lead times on a variety of manufactured goods both in and out of our industry. This situation has been further aggravated by container shortages in China and significant price increases from freight vendors. ADI works very closely with our supplier partners to monitor our inventory levels and quickly identify any potential shortages.
Another challenge is the ability to offer a consistent shopping experience across channels, namely in the digital space. We need to ensure the buying experience fits the customer’s business model as more offer Cloud solutions, remote connectivity and service offerings. Our investment in the Digital Branch focuses on doing just this.
Sorrentino: Suppliers continue to come up with more and more Cloud solutions and offerings but there is still a challenge in the reseller community to deploy and transact in this new model. Our goal is to continue to educate our partners on the different manners of deploying solutions and providing the solutions in the manner in which their end users want to consume them.
Irrespective of the pandemic, what are the hottest product categories right now? What are some of the top products in those areas?
McClary: We’re seeing Cloud-based products gaining traction, in video surveillance and access control categories. Then, like everyone else these days, we’re encountering elevated interest in back to work/school occupancy management solutions. On new video surveillance system projects, AI analytics capabilities are paramount in our customers’ minds. On access control projects, there’s more interest in biometrics — especially touchless. We’re also enjoying strong growth from AI-enabled, nonvideo solutions that support use cases requiring audio and environmental surveillance capabilities.
Wild: Video analytics is being stimulated by end-user needs for actionable video and data so that they do not have to spend days looking through video for specific past events, items, people, LPR issues and other things that drive their business at an abundant man-hour cost. Public safety situations like mass shooters and bombings are driving analytics to be better, and to produce more actionable data. Everyone wants to know if a suspicious package is left behind or if that bang you heard was a gunshot or car backfire.
It also is being driven by the end user who wants to be able to make money on their investment with heat mapping and actionable resalable data they can sell to their management. Companies such as Hanwha have integrated up to 16 analytics on the edge of their cameras, and do not charge a fee for any of the analytics. We also are receiving rave reviews on Panasonic i-PRO’s facial recognition and ID platform FacePro. Those products are also robust from a cybersecurity perspective, as is Razberi, which has won awards for its firewall-like offering.
TOP 3 REASONS TO PARTNER
▶ ADI GLOBAL
- Wide selection and availability of products from 1,000+ suppliers
- Configured solutions and system design support
- Industry expertise including integration & installation tips
▶ INGRAM MICRO
- Partner technical enablement and market training services
- Professional design and deployment services
- Leadership in financial services
- Uncomplicated policies, no bureaucracy
- Privately owned, decisions in best interest of customer
- Look for reasons to say yes to challenging opportunities
▶ POWERHOUSE ALLIANCE
- Quality service and support
- Success made a priority
- Several convenient ways to access product
- Help partners win with team of experts
- Industry-leading suppliers
- Resources and programs for profitable growth
- Industry’s leading one-stop shop for pro installers
- 5,000+ innovative, high-quality products in 28 categories
- Protect partners’ margins and their needs are highest priority
Holzer: Earlier this year, a PowerHouse Alliance members cited networking, displays and surveillance as the top product categories they expected to see increase throughout the year. With an increase in time spent at home, homeowners relied on networking equipment to provide the work and learn from home experiences they desired without network disruption. Consumers also spent more time than ever before streaming entertainment from the comfort of their home.
As a result, the demand for better, larger TV displays increased. Along with those upgrades came an increase in demand for security devices that protect the home and the family, especially indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras. Consumers are increasingly relying on surveillance devices to notify them when a package arrives or see who’s knocking at the front door.
How are leading-edge technology trends like 4K video, wireless, 5G, IoT, PSIM/VMS, smart homes, Cloud/interactive services and AI impacting your business?
Aarnes: New market trends are stimulating growth opportunities as customers want to expand and upgrade their current products. We continue to monitor these trends and collaborate with our supplier partners to ensure we’re providing our customers with access to the products they need to capitalize. Our sales team is trained on the latest development so as to recommend the right solutions for each installation, and our systems design team is prepared to help with design integration.
Additionally, we’re focused on providing new opportunities for our dealers with new services offerings. These services will help them create new revenue streams and provide more value to their customers. For example, we recently kicked off a partnership with Defendify to help our customers protect their own business and also offer a cybersecurity solution that provides recurring revenue opportunities. Defendify is an all-in-one cyber-security platform that helps identify gaps and improve network defenses.
Wild: Jenne, in partnership with Hanwha, has realized great success in the launch of 4K multisensor products, their VMS and advanced edge analytics. This has helped us grow security resellers’ and integrators’ revenue sources outside of the standard camera and record model. It has helped them enable their end users to derive more value and data from their video surveillance.
We also are having great success with Cambium Networks as a vendor, because 5G is now a reality and will dramatically affect market bandwidth for wireless connections. Given the expense of trenching and pulling cable, as wireless technology advances are implemented into new markets it is driving down the total cost of ownership. We have seen a big uptick in inquiries on wireless connectivity.
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