Live from Miami at the Americas' Fire and Security Expo 2006: Day 2

Security Dealer’s Peter Harlick reports in live from day two of the AFSE show

According to Tri-Ed's James Rothstein, systems integration is the best performing area through 2006, with CCTV, access and intrusion being brought together in one package. Rothstein added that when broader consumer markets drive the IP technology, then the demand will catch up to the product development occurring in the security industry. He added that prices needs to come down for new technologies, like the drop in price that's been seen in the DVR market. Regarding how technology is shaping training, Rothenstein said that product development will always lead training. "A DVR is a network appliance," said Rothenstein, "and [these technologies] are forcing dealers to become more IT savy and to better understand IP."

We've also included a short section of pertinent quotes from of the discussion that Security Dealer's Susan Brady had with Rothstein during the distribution panel discussion.

On bringing aboard new products...
"Pioneers always have the arrows in their backs. We ask what is important to the existing dealer, and can they use it? Or does it sound good, but not really bring any value to the dealer? The company has to have the right technical support and training to support the product. The company must be strong and must be ready to work with the distributor and the dealer. There are four key components to success in our industry. 1) You must have a good product. 2) You must have a solid company with strong support. 3) You cannot saturate that product category. 4) You must maintain the relationship between the manufacturer, the distributor and the dealer."

On providing more than just commodities...
"Many distributors have the same products on the shelves with the exception of some access control products. It's all about solutions -- what access products work well with video and so forth. The systems solutions group can help distributors become more than just a commodity."

On the issue of training...
"Training is key from a sales and technical point of view. Successful dealers are very technology focused. How do you market a solution.? If you have a successful sales and marketing approach, it takes price out of the equation. Price becomes less important when it becomes a solution sale. The sales staff must lay out the value proposition."

On the role of protecting the channel...
"Quality distributors try to protect the channel and protect the dealer. If the product can be found on the Internet we won't take it on. This is the difference between a short-term sale and a long-term commitment. Part of our duty is to protect the professional installation company."

After wrapping up the distribution and channel discussion, and as day two came to a close, I had an opportunity to catch up with Aida Cardenas, the marketing manager for the Quantum Group, a manufacturer of carbon monoxide detectors. Aida felt the show was fairly strong with a great showing from the Latin American market. She said that, 90 percent of the attendees she met with spoke Spanish, and "those who have approached us already know our company." Cardenas said he learned a good deal about new regulations that have come to bear in the Latin American market that are OSHA-like in comparison. For example, she said, in Ecuador homes are now mandated to have CO detectors because of the recent volcanic activity.

As I close up my thoughts on day two at the Americas' Fire and Security Expo, it's clear to me that the Latin American and South American markets have become more important to U.S. manufacturers. With the recent launch of the ISC Brazil tradeshow, plus the success of Expo Seguridad, and global commitments for training and sales that companies like HID Global are making, we can expect this market to heat up even more over the next few years.