Video Surveillance: Integrators' perspective on the year ahead

An exclusive Integrator's Roundtable

How does 2010 look from a video surveillance perspective? Some of the country's leading security integrators recently took a look at several of the major issues facing the surveillance industry in this exclusive roundtable: Video Surveillance -- The Year Ahead.

Our five-integrator panel -- which includes Sean Ahrens of Schirmer Engineering, Ray Bernard of Ray Bernard Consulting Services, Bill Bozeman of PSA Security Network, Jim Coleman of Operation Security Systems, and Bob Stockwell of Niscayah -- had some diverse views regarding which technology will have the greatest impact on the video surveillance industry in 2010. Two of our integrators, however, agreed that managed and remote monitoring services will have the greatest impact.

"The industry has alluded to technology for remote diagnostics, remote system heath checks, network attached video storage and a host of other remote services that, until now, were not readily available," Stockwell says. "With the technological advances in Management Remote Video Offerings, customers can take full advantage of their existing investment in video equipment while reducing costs and avoiding significant capital outlay."

Remote monitoring has can also be seen as a money-maker for business: "[Remote monitoring] has been a revenue-increasing move for the business -- not just a security improvement," Bernard says. "I don't know what the impact on the industry as a whole will be, but for many individual businesses both large and small, remote monitoring is able to make a significant contribution to the business."

All of the integrators found some common ground, in that video analytics is finding more traction in the marketplace -- although some believe progress is still slow in coming. "The improvements in the last 24 months have been noteworthy," Bozeman says. "Video analytics can now be deployed by the traditional security systems integrator in an efficient and profitable manner -- this has not been the case in the past, as deployment has been difficult, resulting in projects that were not profitable for the integrator."

Much of the attention in the video surveillance industry these days is focused on IP video. This is especially important for integrators, who may need to receive training from the various manufacturers to deploy the systems. On the whole, the integrator panel thinks the manufacturer community has done a good job in providing the necessary training. However, a wide range of new products entering the marketplace, and a predicted rise in IP video deployments are two issues that integrators should be thinking about. "Training opportunities are aplenty," Coleman says. "Investing in each of the products that seems promising is the problem. Integrators need to make choices on which lines they can support."

But the explosive growth of IP video still will not overshadow the analog market -- according to the integrators, the rumored death of analog video has been highly exaggerated; however, future-proofing efforts are still centered around the newer technology. "The only thing that was exaggerated is the time-frame," Ahrens says. "End-users are building infrastructure to accommodate IP in the future. I know -- I am designing it!"

Finally, an increase in mergers and acquisitions in the video surveillance industry is definitely a positive sign, according to Bozeman. "The activity of the M&A market is an indication that we are in an exciting growth industry the big money sees a future in," he says. "I see this as a very positive business indicator for our industry. This is not to say that when a large corporation acquires a small entrepreneurial company that everything gets better for the end-user and the integrator, as this has proven not to be the case, but you cannot argue that the big money smells roses in our niche."

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