Just what is an enterprise solution and what is this market all about? Suffice to say it has a lot to do with the infrastructure and legacy equipment, the level of analog and IP video, access control and the software running at the protected premises. It's a puzzle if you will, and it's the integrator's job to put the pieces together-using existing and new equipment and software sprinkled with a good knowledge of IT-so the end user can get the solution they need with as little 'pain' as possible.
It may seem a bit daunting at first, but there lies the beauty of it. Although it's all across the board as far as what's being used and what comprises an enterprise system, it could be anything from a few regional offices to a larger commercial customer with numerous locations, maybe even spread across the globe. That means opportunities for multiple streams of new recurring monthly revenue, as well as service and maintenance contracts and upgrades and of course hosted and managed services and anything that allows for remote access via the Web browser. So what makes a true enterprise system? An expert integrator who makes it all work together.
State of the market
A good starting point is a full analysis of the systems in place. Right now the end-user overall seems to want to keep what they have and make it more efficient. They don't have much in the way of a budget, but they may be convinced to perform a forklift upgrade if they can see in hard fast numbers just how much they will save long term in deploying the system or how they can use the solution for more than security. That's where the integrator has to know what they are talking about and have the manufacturer-partners to perfect the solution.
Software that fosters integration is definitely the up and comer in this market-as it ties all sorts of physical and logical security together. Physical security information management (PSIM) solutions seem to be the rule rather than the exception for larger enterprise applications and Siemens Industry Inc., Buffalo Grove, Ill., has been perfecting this model for some time, taking the total building approach to market.
According to Carey Boethel CPP and vice president and business unit head for Security Solutions at Siemens, the recession has the end-user thinking about the real value proposition in enterprise solutions and return on investment.
"The goal is to improve and expand the value proposition to the enterprise end user," Boethel said. "Two key trends in enterprise solutions are PSIM/command and control and hosted and managed services. The economic downturn reminded us as an industry that everybody has to create value and focus on the bottom line. There comes a point where we need to build consensus and the consensus is that there's a need to share information."
Software as a service is also critical to the enterprise customer, Boethel added. "Now they can manage the enterprise through a Web portal for total situational awareness of all their facilities. Our strategy is to make it all work together-a convergence of thought processes."
Per Mar Security Services, Davenport, Iowa, handles larger enterprise accounts that are mostly regional, especially utility customers in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. According to Brad Tolliver, vice president and general manager of Electronic Security for Per Mar, these customers are upgrading access control and CCTV across the enterprise with a focus on IP. Outdoor video verification, in the way of an alarm system or detector that has video verification and sends a clip of activity to the user, is also coming on strong as customers spread across a large geographic location may not have resources to send response, so they want to verify activity first. Other requests Per Mar receives inquiries on more frequently is wireless mesh, he said.