LC: By not selling them but rather teaching them what their options are and taking the time to walk with them on the path from analog to IP and making sure they understand what each technology is ideal for. The most important thing we can do is create the right level of expectation within our customers as to the quality, performance and complexity level of our systems. If we do not, we will always fail.
FA: I believe the answer has to be education. As the industry moves to IP-based product, manufacturers have a responsibility to provide education with regard to product and the capabilities and limitations of the network, just as we did in the early years of CCTV. Whether through industry organizations such as SIA or marketing tools such as FAQs, brochures or Web sites, it is only through knowledge that the end user will become comfortable with the concept of IP-based products. I believe the consequences of not providing this information will potentially result in a delayed evolution of the industry.
WS: Choices for buying and maintaining analog systems will decrease as an ever-increasing array of IP-based options becomes available. Fortunately, it is becoming much easier to move to those IP-based products. You don't have to understand networks or how IP works, but you should take the time to understand what it can do for you. For instance, many companies have policies in place regarding the duration and frame rate of video that they archive. Many of these policies were developed to meet the limitations of the video equipment. Those constraints disappear with IP systems—archiving policies can now be created based on what best meets business requirements and budgets. Once established, IP-based systems also allow these policies to be easily modified over time.
FD: The industry has clearly chosen to take this path, as it has proven to be the most effective and efficient means of managing digital data from the myriad devices now associated with integrated security systems. It is also important to remember that most mid- to large-size businesses have IT professionals on staff. They can be of tremendous help in planning your security system, since network technology is basically the same across different business system applications. There is also an increasing number of opportunities available to learn about IP/Ethernet through industry associations, publication-endorsed expos and seminars, and also the manufacturers themselves.
JM: The first thing I would say is you are not alone. The whole concept of IP/Ethernet can seem like a daunting new world filled with terms and acronyms you might never have heard of, but when you get down to it, it is still a very simple way of doing things. I would then go on to say that if you can surf the Internet, then you can use most of the new security systems available on the market.
ST&D: With a traditional IT-based company like CISCO getting into the physical security space, how do you see this changing the dynamics of the industry? Does their presence worry or excite you?
AL : As strange as this may sound, I enjoy competition and am excited to see new players. When a powerhouse like Cisco enters the game, it assures me that we are in the right place.
WS: Cisco's presence will not change the dynamics of the industry as much as accelerate them. Their entry in the market validates the long-term potential of IP technologies in security, and signals that the momentum has now reached the point where the large players outside the traditional security industry are taking interest. It's a very exciting time for the industry. This means we can also expect to see other companies from outside the traditional security industry entering the sector. They are recognizing opportunities within a very large industry (currently well over $100 billion)—one going through a very significant change as it migrates to IP technologies.
LC: We believe this is a good thing. For years we have benefited from the developments in IT. Now we might see some IT developments specifically targeted to our industry. We believe that years will still pass until the dynamics of our industry change. We all need to understand that the IT space is occupied by a small number of very large players today and this has led to better management of standards. If you look at our industry, the consolidation we are going through does resemble the end result of a few large players—the dynamics will be interesting.