Roundtable Focuses on Technology as a Tool to Better Help Customers Achieve Goals

By Scott Goldfine

LAS VEGAS — Taking care of the customer and adapting to new technology were two of the prominent and reoccurring messages delivered at ISC West’s State of the Industry Keynote presentation on Wednesday.

The roundtable, which preceded the opening of the exhibit floor, included Mike Howard, general manager/CSO, Microsoft; Carey Boethel, vice president, Siemens Building Technologies Inc., Security Solutions Business Unit; Jamie Rosand Haenggi, chief marketing and customer experience officer, Protection 1; and Bill Taylor, president, Panasonic System Networks Co. of America (PSNA). Sandy Jones, principal of Sandy Jones and Co., served as moderator for the standing-room-only, hour-long session.

“Engaging the customer to drive home the benefit of a professionally designed, installed and monitored system is critical,” said Haenggi. “You have to build a relationship and help them see the value. We have to update how we deal with customers and not be afraid to wake sleeping dogs.” The latter point addresses the reluctance on the part of some security dealers and systems integrators to reach out to existing customers for fear of losing the business.

Howard, as a high level end user, reinforced that perspective. “What value-add can you bring to the enterprise beyond security? Are you really understanding the DNA of the business being served? Integrators must understand each business and their unique challenges as an enterprise. You have to take a holistic approach,” he said.

When the conversation turned to technology, Taylor indicated the digitization of all information is accelerating advancement in all areas and emphasized how key it is to keep up. “Wireless and machine-to-machine technologies are changing communications,” he said. “This trend will help move security beyond just threats to total solutions for enterprise, retail and other applications. But security has to do more with standards, which I think will also be a trend not unlike what took place in the computer space. It also went through its own evolution so don’t be afraid of it.”

Continuing with the technology topic, Haenggi offered, “Designing the user experience for consumers similar to that of smartphone and other apps will be key. And we are not being measured only among what’s available in security but across all industries.” She also downplayed the increased attention on home automation for security dealers and urged remaining committed to core security services. “We need to really own security and add services around that. We have to understand how to bundle around that.”

Boethel spoke of the cloud, or hosted services, as being the most exciting new technology arena and predicted it becoming more pervasive in the near future. “It’s not about the product but about the utility. You have to be creative and find new ways to deploy technology. You accomplish this through partnerships that maximize value.”

Boethel also touched on another topic as both a challenge and an opportunity for integrators. “Regulatory compliance is an area where we and other integrators can do a better job,” he said. “Doing so can raise your value to the customer. But it is a tough road to navigate and you need a subject expert. It is becoming more pervasive.”

Before wrapping up, participants offered their top piece of business advice. “Be passionate about everything you do,” said Haenggi. “Be proud of what you do, about making a difference and saving lives.”

Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief for SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. He can be reached at (704) 663-7125.

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