Everyone has an opinion on the merits of surveillance. For critical infrastructure protection, nothing comes close to what’s possible with cameras and wireless backhauls. At a recent ADT Media Summit in San Francisco, SD&I got to see the latest analytics at its best (read more about it in news). ADT pulled out all stops--one of which was a view of the Golden Gate Bridge without the usual fog—as well as an inside look at the port and city of Richmond, located in the bay area. Here’s the opinion part—public safety versus privacy, again. At what point is surveillance obtrusive and at what point is it a lifesaver? That discussion is ongoing and part of the problem is that it’s extremely difficult to provide hard and fast stats on video successes.
Sir Chris Fox, a veteran of the U.K. police department who is now a private consultant (he spoke at the media summit), pointed to an ongoing oxymoron: privacy in a public place and a balance between safety and security. In fact, in the U.K., Sir Fox said that they refer to CCTV as “community safety cameras”—kind of makes it easier to swallow, doesn’t it? Interestingly enough, the local media that covered the ADT event in California couldn’t resist involving the local ACLU in their write-up, quoting a representative who proceeded to say that there was no measurement that cameras do work. It’s an ongoing debate and battle that the alarm industry and the integrator community is going to have to face in order to change the perception of cameras by the general public. Which brings me to the integrator side of the story—ADT has done a phenomenal job showcasing the application value of cameras in the port and the city. But it was the integrator, Jeffrey Gutierrez, national accounts manager, Pleasanton, Calif., who caught my eyes and ears during this event. He was excited about the work he has done on behalf of ADT in educating both the port authority and the city on the value of video. He admits it was a big learning curve to get both to understand the concept and what it would bring to the table. It wasn’t luck or being at the right place at the right time, it was experience and creativity that won the job. It wasn’t a plug and play solution, but one which was custom-tailored and painstakingly adapted to the application. Integrators today are certainly more than sellers of hardware. They present real solutions to their potential customers and do it with a sense of pride. And they are also selling value, which brings us to our in-depth story on page 72 by Associate Editor Greg McConnell, who investigates that new phenomenon: integrator or value-added reseller (VAR)? Times are changing and again, it’s those integrators who can embrace change who will succeed. Our content this month goes a step further on page 82 with a roundtable discussion on IT VARs and how they fit into this whole scheme. There’s also a discussion of network video recorders versus digital video recorders, page 84, and much more.
If you don’t change and adapt, success may never come your way. This issue has so many ways in which the industry is changing and adapting and making things work.
I’ll never forget the sparkle in Gutierrez’s eyes when I asked him about the city of Richmond—that’s what the business is all about—feeling excited about what you do and making things work, whether that means changing or adapting in ways never thought possible.