Standards-based, IT-centric security products will create opportunity to integrate subsystems to provide comprehensive solutions easier than ever before. Limitations of integrating traditional stovepipe system configurations increase the effort necessary to make subsystems work together. Proprietary transport/communications protocols and data formats require a considerable amount of customization effort to make one product or system communicate effectively with another. Moving data distribution towards the network edge enables data to be more easily shared across subsystem solutions; thus reducing cost associated with integration.
Bodell (IQinVision): While it may be called something else or may not be specifically mentioned in a process, just like every other industry ROI drives the security industry too. The security industry protects personnel and property and there are many ways to do this. Ultimately the solutions that accomplish this in the most effective manner with the best return on investment, win.
Gompers: How are the manufacturer alliances and partnerships changing their approach to the dealer/integrator market?
Venable (All Systems): We see manufacturers consolidating and making alliances that allow them to grow at rates greater than the current security dealer/integrator. Ultimately, if we do not adjust our strategy, others will have our customers.
Binder (Tech Systems): I haven’t seen too many vendors reaching outside the traditional security industry to create partnerships, but I have seen activity within the industry. Surprisingly, I don’t see a lot of change in the way manufacturers with alliances are approaching the integrators. In fact, it doesn’t seem that promoting such alliances is the priority I would have expected. I usually don’t find out about partnerships/interfaces unless I ask—vendors don’t come into our office touting their latest partnership. My sense of it is that some vendors, even the independents, are working toward offering more of their own pieces of integrated total solutions (video, access, intrusion) so perhaps they are less focused on promoting alliances with others.
It seems that for many, the alliances may be a “stop gap” until they can introduce their own technologies or complete integrations with products under their own company umbrella. Large conglomerates with huge R&D staffs and other divisions (such as consumer electronics) would appear to have the advantage due to their ability to utilize technology developed for other uses.
Bodell (IQinVision): Many of the newer, leading edge security companies recognize that their manufacturing partners are both Security and-IT based companies with different dealer/integrator networks. This will likely require different go-to-market strategies, marketing, services and products for success in both market sectors. While the two markets are slowly converging, they are still different. Manufacturers need to offer unique value propositions to both channels.
Gompers: Is the security market being educated as a whole as to what convergence is and what it brings to the end user’s operation?
Bodell (IQinVision): The successful companies of tomorrow are educating themselves on the benefits of convergence and the visionaries in the industry see convergence for what it is: opportunity. Convergence means new products, new services, new technologies, new manufacturers and new partnerships. Forward thinking “security” integrators will no longer be pigeon-holed into Fire/Burglar Alarm/Access/CCTV; instead, they will offer a more diverse and comprehensive suite of products and services. This will create more opportunities for growth and further drive consolidation and change.
Binder (Tech Systems): In the past 3-4 years, it seems like the security industry has been flooded with information about “convergence.” If you ask someone, they will tell you they know what convergence is, though it seems to mean different things to different people. Video manufacturers are, in my opinion, definitely taking the lead with networkable and IP-based product lines, and more software-centric solutions than ever before.
On the other hand, most integrators seem to be embracing convergence only when the need arises, such as when large project opportunities dictate the need for such expertise. Those who rely heavily on existing clients with existing (expanding) systems have perhaps not yet seen the need to jump on the convergence bandwagon as much as those who are playing the bid market and seeing the demand for a great deal of new technology.