The security industry is changing at a faster pace than most dealers/integrators and end users can keep up with. The growth of alliances and partnerships between manufacturers is one answer to meeting market needs. This month’s discussion focuses on the convergence in partnerships and alliances that are resulting from this new competitive arena.
Jim Gompers: What criteria are manufacturers using to make partnership/alliance decisions? What is dealer/integrator perspective on such partnerships?
Paul Bodell, Vice President Sales and Marketing IQinVision: Manufacturers should look for partners that bring the greatest value to the customer. To do this, manufacturers have to clearly understand market demands, their own capabilities and the impact of technology. In emerging markets there is no proven formula as yet, so successful partnerships can occur virtually anywhere. Similarly, dealer/integrators should select manufacturers that can add value and ultimately make their customers happy.
Gary E. Venable, CEO/Founder, All Systems Designed Solutions, Inc.: I think most manufacturers would prefer their long-term channel (the integrator) to grow and fulfill the market needs, but they have and will continue to develop other channels. As an integrator, I wish the manufacturer would be totally loyal to the integrator channel.
Mark Peterson, Director of HID Corp. “Intelligent Technology Design Resource” (iTDR) Group: Partnerships with multiple product manufacturers can provide a suite of solutions from which to choose, allowing a customized solution tailored to meet unique needs. Obviously, a key element of these types of partnerships is product compatibility that allows products to work effectively together to provide a collaborative solution. In the future, compatibility via compliance with established standards will be paramount.
Partnerships and alliances with companies that provide installation, integration, maintenance and value-add services are necessary to take products to market.
Gompers: Are the security dealers ready for converged solutions? What resources are needed to be considered a “true” integrator? Are security dealer/integrators partnering with VARs (value added resellers) to accomplish this task?
Venable (All Systems): All Systems is ready. The integrators are ready and have been building the resources needed. We have been developing software and network skills into our technical team for several years. Many traditional security technicians are very capable of learning and applying network and software based solutions. PSA is working to develop industry standard training to meet the market expectation. PSA has been a great source of product and system training and now has a very aggressive plan to meet the challenges of a converging industry.
Peterson (HID): Security dealers as a whole have been somewhat reactionary to the trend toward converged solutions. As more and more of the products they represent become IP-enabled, and their customers desire to deploy across the organization’s network, security dealers have had to out of necessity, acquire some new level of expertise.
Such preparation and re-tooling of internal skill sets requires a financial investment in training and personnel. How much of an investment and how fast to make the investment, depends on the business’s profile and market segment being served. The trend toward convergence of physical security onto the IT network is in its early stages and not all system solutions require this new skill set.
Integration now includes bringing together non-security subsystems such as: time and attendance, human resources, environmental controls, voice communications, etc. Security management systems are evolving into information management systems; with a functional security component. Expanded expertise is necessary to provide a comprehensive solution. These expertise can be deployed within the integrator’s organization or can be provided through partnership with other dealer/integrators or VARs that provide the necessary complimentary expertise.