Avigilon enters Russian security market

Canadian-based surveillance solutions manufacturer Avigilon announced this week that it is expanding into the Russian security market and has hired Pavel Zhorin as its sales director in the region.

According to Keith Marett, Avigilon's vice president of marketing and communications, the company's foray into Russia is a part of their overall expansion plans. Late last year, Avigilon raised just over $20 million through an initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange, which company President and CEO Alexander Fernandes said would be used to help the company grow.

"Really what we're doing in our strategy right now is growing our global expansion and Russia is on the list of countries that we're expanding into, just one of the numerous areas," he said. "Previously, we announced that we expanded our European sales force and had grown in particular countries – staffing up in the UK for instance. We've also expanded into South Africa and this is just a continuation of that expansion."

The Russian market is expected to see continued growth in the sale of surveillance solutions. According to IMS Research, sales of network video products in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) markets are expected to grow by more than 30 percent in 2012. In addition, the country will play host to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, which is also expected to create a further demand for surveillance solutions.

Being a new player in the market, Marett said that Avigilon's biggest challenge will be creating brand awareness.

"Just like any new company entering a new market, that's their number one that they have to get awareness of their product and their brand," Marett explained. "We're going to overcome that by leveraging local events. There are a lot of local security tradeshows and vertical tradeshows. We are going to be actively advertising our products there as well and as we expand our efforts, we will consider other avenues, such as online advertising and direct mail programs."

Marett added that the hiring of Zhorin should also help build brand recognition in the region.

"Our plan right now is to seed the market with Pavel. He'll start building our awareness there based on his solid reputation and then we will back him up with all of our marketing efforts. Culturally, we've always had a philosophy that we hire local experts... and we've had tremendous success with this," he said. "Other companies will use third-party companies and such to go into a particular market, but what we've found is that hiring local, high-talented people that are Avigilon people really have the best effect for the company."

Though they are not entering the market solely because of the Olympics, Marett said that they could lend their expertise to organizers there, having supplied the city of Vancouver with cameras for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Marett also said that they are not focusing on any particular vertical market at this point.

"Right now, it's just a general awareness play," Marett said.

Though they do not have an office in the country yet, Marett said they could open one there in the future depending upon the market's promise and growth. The company is also looking at expanding into other countries, as well as increasing their presence in regions that they already serve.

"We're actively looking at numerous areas and one, in particular, is Latin America. That's one of our active focus areas that is potentially going to follow the same path as Russia," he said. "And we've even expanded in markets that we're in right now... such as further growth in Germany, which is a huge market, and then further growth in places like France."