The Realities of IP Surveillance & Your Business

July 25, 2009
The path to total systems provider starts now

The time is now for the security dealer and integrator to learn the IP and IT sides of the business, and recent independent research from the prestigious Lund University in Sweden backs it up with international numbers. This groundbreaking research shows the stark reality of just how vastly the landscape of the security industry is changing, in particular surveillance, and will continue to do so as the Internet and IP permeate every part of the business.

This is the moment the industry has been waiting for and talking about—for decades. Because it’s finally through the momentum of IP and the Internet and networking that the security dealer and integrator will be able to provide the full service solution they’ve previously only dreamed about. Sure, it will still take new skill sets to find out how to integrate and what will work where, but that road is being paved right now, as standards begin to emerge and training takes precedence.

The delivery of IP solutions, it seems, will be the most difficult part. For example, nearly 84 percent of our readers, based on recent SD&I studies, find the integration of products very challenging. In addition, polls to SD&I and SIW audiences reveal some 81.35 percent say they can offer their customer more value with IP/networked technology.

That’s where it takes a total commitment to IP and IT and educating the organization from top to bottom. Because once systems and services reside on the network, installation and application possibilities become nearly endless. The extra work will be worth it, offering new ways to service customers, add value to their sites and equipment and additional recurring revenue to your bottom line—in a package that--plain and simple--is much more than security.

Professor Thomas Kalling PhD and director of the LUSAX Security Informatics Project, a four-year global economic study on the impact of IP technology on the security industry underway by the Institute of Economic Research School of Economics and Management at Lund University in Sweden, said he feels the real reason the industry has not been quick to adopt the technology and its discipline boils down to a management issue.

Success is driven from the top

“It takes a critical declaration of will by the corporate management in order for integrators to successfully move into this space,” Kalling told the audience at the recent Electronic Security Exposition (ESX) breakfast that unveiled the results of their study. “It’s time to make the decision now if you’re an IP integrator,” he said. He warned that the IT special move into this space. “It’s time to make the decision now if you’re an IP integrator,” he said. He warned that the IT specialist is ready to move into the space and some already have.

Professor Kalling has been directing the study, along with several colleagues including Paul Pierce, PhD candidate at Lund University.

“It’s not too late, but now is a good time to make a decision with regards to offering IP video surveillance,” he said. Kalling said the IT VAR or others may pick up the slack from those integrators not willing to make the commitment to the market. These resellers already have the technological foothold in the IT space, but lack the basic understanding of security electronics and the industry as a whole, Kalling added.

Integrators who only offer analog solutions in an increasingly competitive IP environment will do themselves a disservice and risk systems performance and business stability, according to the study.

Kalling said there is only one path to IP excellence, with two major steps:

  1. Creating/obtaining technological competence.
  2. Applying it to business continuously in order to increase IP competence through experience.

“These steps require formal education, on-the-job training and experience by trial-and-error learning,” he continued. “In addition to being a top management drive, the company needs to have specific plans to do IP business; measure IP performance and discuss IP performance in management meetings. In addition, integrators will need to assure supervisor-to-contractor dialog or management and employee discussions on IP as well as put incentives in place for those technicians who develop and promote IP competence.”

Another important part of success in the IP surveillance market will be directly related to the formation of alliances, according to Pierce, a head researcher on the LUSAX Security Informatics research project. Pierce said the security integrator can successfully grow their business through strategic alliances.

“Alliances and inter-firm collaboration require a great deal of attention and careful thought but are worth consideration,” Pierce said. “An alliance requires significantly less upfront costs; can produce the same growth results without overhead expenses; and with the right contracts, can be dissolved if it is not productive,” he added.

Teaming up with a partner also offers the following:

  • Expands the size, skills and scale of your business,
  • Expands the market reach and penetration,
  • Adds technology skills or services,
  • Expands your customer reach,
  • Opens networks of resources,
  • Creates a forum for knowledge sharing.

“Alliances are an inevitable part of the future,” Pierce continued. “As technology converges and systems and services run on the same networks and same communication protocols using IP, customers will expect you to work in unison with other technologies and service providers.”

The competitive edge you desire is here in the IP market. You haven’t missed the opportunity yet. The time to start is now, not later.