Shelly Binder, Vice President, Tech Systems Inc.: Security dealers are more than ready for alliances and partnerships that provide interfaced or integrated solutions because they create an opportunity to sell more sophisticated systems to existing and new clients. “True” integrators are those that can integrate multiple systems into one GUI, including such things as video, access, intrusion, point of sale, data storage and retrieval, and other related systems, sometimes requiring the need for custom programming or configuration.
Though Tech Systems partners with many types of companies in order to deliver the desired solutions to our clients, we haven’t said, “Our goal is to partner with VAR’s in order to accomplish true integration and focus on convergence.” Most integrators will do so as the need arises or when opportunities for new business are presented by VAR’s or by clients wishing to utilize the services of VAR’s. In other words, we are more reactive to the trend than proactive.
Bodell (IQinVision): Some security dealers are ready for converged solutions; in fact, many are driving these advanced solutions. A “true” integrator is someone who provides a one-stop shop for the end users and can solve customers’ problems on their own using their own employees or with reliable sub-contractors.
Gompers: What is needed for traditional dealers to achieve continued business success?
Binder (Tech Systems): The more sophisticated software-based security solutions require a much higher level of technical expertise than before. We are seeing many more certification requirements from the manufacturers before they will sell their higher end product lines. These certifications will not be offered to every security dealer, nor will every security dealer possess the resources and staff to obtain them. Having said that, there will always be a place for traditional dealers. Not every facility requires a state-of-the-art, integrated, high-end solution. Security dealers offer value in that they understand how to analyze risk, design a security system, position cameras, install door hardware, pull cable and handle other security-specific tasks.
Peterson (HID): Traditionally, the line between security dealer and integrator has been blurred as the terms have been used loosely. There is a market need for the less sophisticated security solution, and probably will be for the foreseeable future. However, this does not mean that security dealers will not need some level of IT-centric expertise. Even home burglary equipment is now often deployed to report to central stations via the internet, or the expanded use of digital video verification for mitigation against false alarms, require some level of network knowledge to configure and provision the equipment. Security dealers will have to acquire the necessary level of expertise to survive as more IT-centric products are introduced into their product mix.
Gompers: With all the new vendors coming into the security market causing confusion amongst the dealer/integrators, what should they look for and look out for?
Bodell (IQinVision): They should look for companies that develop their own products, not simply private label other products. The products should be highly differentiated so they are not stuck fighting a commodity war. They should also look for companies that have responsive, regional customer support and those companies that come out with new products regularly and have a management team that understands the market. They should also be able to easily reach a senior manager of the company.
That’s the positive side, there are also warning signs to watch out for: Beware of web sites that promise the world; beware of companies where you don’t get a response within 24 hours; beware of companies that sell products based on the lowest price in the market and beware of any company that does not own its intellectual property.