Navigating the Web of IP Opportunities
Transition From Physical Security to IP Is Not Embraced by All
Positive forecasting aside, according to several experts, the road forward is moving less like the autobahn, and instead, at times, something more akin to rush-hour traffic on a Los Angeles freeway.
Among the impediments to growth in IP-based surveillance, a dearth of appropriate integrator training looms large.
As Freeman reported in his October column in SSI, manufacturers are of the mind that after years of installing analog solutions, “integrators are only slowly absorbing the idea of IP video.” Indeed, a survey of manufacturers by Newton, Conn.-based J.P. Freeman Co. found a lack of integrator training the chief limiting factor for user acceptance of IP video.
An informal questioning of integrators by SSI’s “Enterprising Solutions” columnist Robert Grossman, president of Egg Harbor Township, N.J.-based R. Grossman and Associates, seems to concur. Grossman led an educational session attended by about 40 systems integrators on “CCTV: Designing for the Future Using Today’s Technology” at the recent ISC East in New York.
“[During the seminar] I asked them ‘How many of you have heard that IP cameras are the way of the future?’” Grossman recounts. “Roughly, all hands went up.” The follow-up question — “How many of you are actually working with or using IP cameras?” — received a telling reply. “There were two positive responses,” he says.
Proponents of IP video who are eager to hasten convergence commonly lament that systems integrators have become complacent due to the boon from selling and installing DVRs the past several years. The conjecture: some systems integrators are disinclined to espouse a further shift in technological advancement.
Network Acumen Vital to Be Successful in Era of Convergence
In order to seize new IP video revenue opportunities, systems integrators should feel compelled to begin acquiring a greater degree of IT acumen, says Don McInnes, manager of government sales, national accounts, with ADT Security Services in Brookfield, Wis.
“Integrators need to make a determination if the marketplace they are going to be operating in — if the demand in that market is going to be for convergence — then they need to start educating themselves now,” says McInnes, a member of SSI’s Editorial Advisory Board. “If they don’t, they are going to be selling their operations. Or the IT integrators are going to come in and take the business. And we are going to become nothing more than toolboxes.”
To gain a secure foothold in the era of convergence, the options for traditional physical security dealers are plain, McInnes says. They must become educated about network technology, employ new technicians with IT skill sets or partner with IT experts in order to meet the increasing demands of the IP video surveillance market.
The transition to convergence will not be an easy proposition for many traditional physical integrators, McInnes says, but there is a logical road to educating oneself.
“Contact the vendors, the manufacturers of the products that you use. You should be talking to your people and ask, ‘What do I need to do to get myself onboard so I can properly put your equipment in?’” McInnes says. “They are going to tell you the expectations regarding the product. There are all kinds of available training.”
Not understanding network technology or the accompanying IP products will likely draw the ire from what should otherwise be an ally of the integrator.
“Think about this,” McInnes
says. “You are a manufacturer that sells historically analog equipment, and you are migrating into the IP platform — you don’t want your dealers misrepresenting your products because that impacts your sales. You are going to make sure the people representing your product are properly installing it.”
Integrators can expect that vendors are going to demand more and more certifications or accreditations to be able to sell their networked products. Plain and simple, it becomes a matter of survival of the fittest.
“When you are in the bidding market, you try to do things to set yourself apart. You are competing. Factory trained or having integrators certified or carrying accreditation becomes very critical,” McInnes says.
Security Is Our Business, Too
For professionals who recommend, buy and install all types of electronic security equipment, a free subscription to Security Sales & Integration is like having a consultant on call. You’ll find an ideal balance of technology and business coverage, with installation tips and techniques for products and updates on how to add sales to your bottom line.
A free subscription to the #1 resource for the residential and commercial security industry will prove to be invaluable. Subscribe today!