SIW Exclusive Interview: A Q&A with GVI's New CEO Steve Walin

Walin discusses the company's focus, new product lines, and what his integration background can mean for the company

We also have an access control system, and typically the access control is the center of the integration of video and other applications. As you see our technology roadmap roll out, you'll see more and more integration between our video products, our access products, our rapid turnstile RAPOR door and our other products.

You bring an extensive background in the industry, with years at the Security Technologies Group (STG), an integrator that was later acquired by Siemens, and then serving at Siemens in an integration format. What are some of those insights and experiences from your time as an integrator that you bring to GVI and how can those insights affect GVI?

It's key that when we develop technology that we put ourselves in the shoes of our integrators, who, at the end of the day, are really our key customers. At the end of the day, it's the integrators who have to in turn sell, integrate and maintain these products. So what we are really going to be focusing on is the simplicity of the sales team's ability to describe a solution to an end user. We'll be providing materials to our channel that makes it easy to explain and show our products, but also making the products as easy to install as we can for our integrators.

That obviously is one of the challenges that integrators have today. In addition to having to come up to speed on all the new IT technology and networking technology, they often find themselves having to struggle with products that are difficult to install and therefore burn some of their labor, and thus reducing the profitability of their jobs. So we'll focus on making products that are easy to install and easy to service. Highly reliable products are key, and the software systems have to be easy to use for the end user customers. They have to be intuitive; they have to be user friendly, and they have to be simple. So to sum up my view as a former integrator, and what I would ask the manufacturing community is "Keep it simple," because that's what helps them be more effective for their end user customers.

Do you feel that there is sometimes an education gap between what manufacturers are able to develop and the education level of the installation and sales staff, and if so, how do we get beyond that?

I think there is a gap, but I have to tell you, I think it is closing. As technology continues to evolve, it will be the race that we never reach the finish line on in the integration community, and it's the same in the IT space. It's just that commitment to continue to develop your people and train your people for evolving technology. We offer training to our integrators to help them.

I know there's training available from the general environment. You can go out and get your people trained, get them Microsoft certified and earn various different types of certifications and training in the open market. And then I think there needs to be commitment in the channel to keeping their people up to speed on the core applications that they're out there providing to end users. That's an incremental piece to having to understand the underlying technology which we have been challenged to keep up with as we get to be more network centric and more IT centric.

But as I said earlier, I think the gap is closing. I speak to many dealers and integrators now who have several people on their staff who are Microsoft certified and who have other network certifications, and I think the channel in general is getting it, that in order to compete today, they've got to have staff understand that technology and be able to support it.

Moving from the integrators' perspective to more of an end user approach, when it was announced that you were joining GVI from General Electric, one of the things you said was that today's new technologies not only need to improve security but also reduce operating expenses. How are today's new technologies doing that?

I'll give you one example. With our SerenityONE product line where we remotely monitor and record video in the retail sector, for instance, we are not only providing security to customers by watching their stores for theft and cash register misappropriations, but those customers are also using video for defining how well their Point of Purchase stands are working for customers. They're actually using video as a productivity solution whereby they're able to monitor the length of lines at cash registers, and able to monitor the appearance of their employees, and even in some cases, by using the pan, tilt and zoom features of their system remotely, are able to see how stocked the shelves are.