This month, ST&D editor Steve Lasky caught up with the bigwigs at seven leading video technology companies to discuss the current state of security video and their ideas for the future. Their opinions vary widely in some cases, but all expressed two common desires: to work with security executives to find the best solutions for individual needs, and to educate them on new technologies. Want to hear more? Read on.
ST&D: Security executives are faced with a barrage of options for cameras, storage, and video management solutions. What advice do you have for users trying to choose the right solutions for their applications?
Allan Lamberti, director of U.S. Sales for TOA Electronics Inc: The first questions we always need to ask are: What are you concerned about? What are you trying to observe? Has a risk assessment been completed? The answers to these questions determine what solution is developed and recommended to the security executive. Selling technology for the sake of technology is not only foolish; it most likely will not offer the client a usable solution. The responsible supplier will always seek to first understand the application before developing a system recommendation.
William L. Stuntz, CEO of BroadWare: Build in flexibility. Surveillance technology is changing rapidly and new capabilities are constantly being developed and refined … Choose a system that allows you to plug in new technologies and to integrate products from multiple companies—a system that will expand as your operations or requirements grow … Given that there are so many choices in the marketplace, it's equally important that security executives look for solutions that promote vendor independence. Proprietary technologies are a problem that most manufacturers try to sweep under the rug. This ends up costing end users a lot of money, since they end up being locked into one manufacturer or standard.
Frank Abram, deputy general and vice president of Sales and Marketing for Sanyo Security Products: Use the services of a trusted dealer or consultant. Their first priority should be to provide the end user a solution to the application rather than representing a particular product and/or product line. Look for expertise in the dealer's or consultant's ability to draw best-of-class product from different manufacturers and industries and bring these products together into a complete systems solution that is designed to address a unique application.
Frank DeFina, president of Panasonic Systems Solutions Company: Professional security systems integrators and/or dealers can be valuable resources to help with needs analysis and to provide practical solutions. It is also important to research the dealer or systems integrator who will be selling and installing the system to ascertain that they have the capabilities and solutions you need. Ask for references of similar installations to help you select the company that's most appropriate for you. Another great resource available to security professionals is manufacturers of pro security equipment. At Panasonic Security Systems, we have a staff of professionals who can assist with systems planning and design, and we also offer extensive training and education on the latest technologies and developments affecting the industry. Information is readily available on these education programs on most manufacturers' Web sites.
Jon Mitchell, marketing manager for Crest Electronics Inc.: The first thing that I would recommend to a security executive is to stay away from the cutting-edge, unproven technologies. Remember, we are talking about security, not consumer electronics. If you buy the latest TV, PC, or MP3 player for your personal use, and it does not meet your expectations, no big deal. However, if your security equipment does not meet your expectations, you have a major problem on your hands. There are plenty of options out there for the discerning security executive to get exactly what they need for their facility that has already been proven to perform as it is supposed to in security applications. Let someone else be the guinea pig.