Exclusive SD&I Roundtable: What Integrators Think About VARs and Vice Versa

Some folks in the security industry may agree that there is a fine line between the goals of an integrator and those of a Value-Added Reseller (VAR). Others who define themselves as both obviously see the big picture of looking at the needs of their...


What type of integrator or VAR do you think will be most successful in the security industry as technology continues to evolve?

Miclette: Integrator or VARs who will be most successful in the security industry will be those using advanced technology and pioneering into areas that are not directly associated with the mainstream security products. Solutions should include encompassing direct communications for long-range wireless, combining a variety of security and environmental technologies--using the Internet will be the “new plateau” for tomorrow’s innovations.

Blumenson: It’s important to keep an open view of our industry and allow new players and new technology to influence how we design and build systems. It’s also true that regardless of technology evolution, the relationship with the customer is still the single biggest factor in whether or not a system’s implementation is successful. 

Kostelac: One that can easily and quickly recognize and adapt to the changes in technology, which will ultimately give them a leg up on the learning curve. This recognition and adaptation requires an integrator to be forward thinking, be able to make decisions very quickly (decentralized) and have the technical staff onboard to pull this all together. This will allow you to continue to compete against new competitive threats.

Vojta: The integrators and VARs that are doing well today will probably continue to be the pioneers in the market moving forward. We’ve found that the data companies who have added security product lines to their offerings are ideally suited to handle the changing market landscape. Traditional security vendors often have difficulty bridging the gap between analog and IP technology. The trend that’s being witnessed currently with the exodus of analog security customers and their transitioning to IP technology is only sure to accelerate.

Beckers: There is no doubt in my mind that it will be the most technically savvy that endure as the security industry evolves. IT knowledge is necessary to implement today’s IP-based security solution. The fastest way to get the IT capabilities that you need is to partner with a trusted IT savvy integrator. That way, the true security professionals can do what they do best in terms of contributing to the design from a protection and surveillance perspective. The IT integrator can design, implement and support the back-end servers, storage and software that are necessary.

Church: To succeed in this difficult economy and to be successful in the security industry is not about technology but about diversification and the ability to offer a total security solution for clients. We have seen the need to broaden the horizons of our franchisees and do so through diversity of our business model, which is a paradigm shift from the typical integrator or VAR model within the security and surveillance industry. Branding and identification is going to be an important part of the future.

How have you changed in your installation characteristics, technology and education to bring you to the next level in your business?  

Miclette: Change is important to the survival of VARs, especially if the products and services are less costly and more intelligent. The characteristics of products today in conjunction with the Internet have a long way to go--probably 10 years before the technology levels off to where it should be will be labeled as innovative. Most large companies are just beginning to realize the new market potential is via the Internet.

Blumenson: We learned to clearly delineate the roles and responsibilities of the system life cycle at the beginning of a project. We set expectations, timelines and seek buy-in from the customer.  This is all done in a Statement of Work (SOW) that we and the customer sign. On the education front, all of our people are engaged in obtaining certifications on various product lines we believe are relevant; we are also working on ASIS certifications.