March Networks’ new play taps into cutting-edge opportunities

May 3, 2019
Non-traditional RMR options and cloud solutions dominate new approaches for integrators

If there was one recurring theme that security vendors consistently played out during the ISC West 2019 event in Las Vegas last month it was how can we do a better job of providing our integration partners additional revenue opportunities – and do it in the cloud. For Dan Cremins, Global Leader for Product Management at March Networks, the new opportunities translate into taking managed services to the next level.

Evolved solutions that offer both end users and systems integrators enhanced autonomy in slicing and dicing myriad streams of data from all their end-point devices are the future for more than 35,000 sites already managed by March Networks’ Network Operations (NOC) team daily across North America.

Insight Into a New Approach to Managing Services

Having introduced its newly released hosted service called Insight at ISC West 2019, March Networks looks to supply its clients with greater video network visibility, access control options, more robust health system monitoring, along with service level agreement (SLA) performance management all on a secure, cloud-based platform. Cremins and his team have charted a strategic roadmap for managed services that expands their footprint in the enterprise security space and strengthens it in already strong retail and transportation sectors by moving its managed services from the back office to the foreground.

“Our development team decided to take it (managed services) to the next level. We came up with something called Insight, which is a new version of our hosted managed service. We have previously handled the managed service up in Ottawa with our NOC basically doing scans on systems and providing reports to people based on that information. But we've gotten a lot of feedback that the end users want to be able to access the information themselves and at the same time, the integrators also want to access it themselves. So, we came up with this new solution where there's a self-service portal with a number of dashboards that you can splice the data any which way and we've also added additional information capabilities where you can go through and see all your products; recorders, cameras, even third-party cameras, not ours; and even see which ones are in warranty or ones that are out of warranty,” explains Cremins, adding that Insight leaves customers free to focus on their business while ensuring optimum video system performance.

Adding New RMR Opportunities

Cremins also says that March Networks’ certified solution partners (CSPs) will find that Insight will help them deliver the tools needed to serve customers more efficiently by reducing costly truck rolls and enabling partners to better document and track product warranty status, software versions and other information. The potential to add a new recurring revenue stream for their CSPs is also something Cremins and his team are excited about.

“Let's say there are 1,000 sites and 100 of those sites have issues at various stages. The CSP can see on a map view all these different sites, it's all color coded by icon, and then drill down to see exactly what's going on. So, the end user has visibility, the CSP has visibility, and we're helping each of them manage everything through the system. We get a lot of requests from our big enterprise customers, especially the banks, that need immediate verification when something happens from a site security standpoint. Their boss comes down and says, ‘I need a report. I need you to get me a report right now of the inventory of all of the products out there that potentially could be affected.’ As a security person, you're insular,” says Cremins. “Now we can provide management with an asset report where they can see 1,000 locations and, theoretically, 32,000 cameras. We can provide all that information and then we can go through and identify what firmware is on those cameras, where you must get a patch or a firmware upgrade to address that threat. All this can happen instantaneously. They don't have to contact us. They can address it all by themselves by looking at the data on the dashboards.”

Among the features that Insight figures to provide users and integrators is the added flexibility to service both large and small organizations and everyone in between. Since March Networks is hosting the service, businesses that are too small to have designated system administrators or the infrastructure to host their own servers can farm out those functions and responsibilities. At the same time, the integrator’s opportunity to leverage RMR as a SaaS partner is a nice bonus figures Cremins.

“It's a scalable solution from the very little guy, the franchise owner, to the big banks that retails at thousands of locations. We've gotten great feedback from the market, in general, and the integrators, in particular. They are excited by the capability to widen their service offerings and better serve their client. Integrators are giving us very positive responses so far,” says Cremins, who is quick to point out that Insight will be going to market strictly through their integrator partners. “We sell to the integrators, the integrators basically are selling it to the end users, and all three of us are working together. It's cool to see the flexibility you can get out of this information on your own dashboard. This is a great tool to help system administrators or big organizations do their job better.”

Retail Business Intelligence Solution Expands

Insight was not the only solutions rollout at ISC West 2019 for March Networks as Jeff Corrall, Director of March Networks’ Strategic Partnerships and Integrations, unveiled their collaboration with the omnichannel point of sale (POS) application from Shopify, a world-leading commerce platform provider. Integrated with its Searchlight for Retail software, organizations using the POS in their retail locations will be able to improve performance and profitability with video-enabled transaction analysis and extensive loss prevention capabilities. It also gives March Networks customers the flexibility to adopt a cloud-based POS system as part of a unified sales transaction, loss prevention and business intelligence solution.

“What a lot of people don't know is Shopify also has a brick-and-mortar POS solution. You put it on an iPad. If you have descriptions and images, you can have a POS up and running and selling product in about an hour. It's pretty incredible for a small business owner. And you know, we typically don't announce POS integrations, but this one's special because it's cloud-based,” says Corrall.

“The Shopify POS is cloud-based, which is a trend we're actually seeing in POS; especially with small businesses because it's removing the complexity for a small business to set up its own POS system," Corrall continues. "They typically don't need to go through the kind of configuration that one of the mainstream POSs would require. You don't need to buy customized hardware. You do it all yourself, you manage it yourself, and you're up and running very quickly. It's part of the trend where these businesses are pushing all of their data to the cloud.”

One of the new markets Corrall says is trending hot for this POS solution is the burgeoning cannabis industry. In fact, March Networks has already seen it deployed by a large cannabis operator in all of its Canadian retail dispensaries. It provides retail business owners with automated transaction activity and exception reports in the March Networks Searchlight software, along with direct links to the recorded video. Transaction data is hosted centrally by Shopify in the cloud and correlated with video from on-premises March Networks video recorders in the Searchlight software, allowing it to access data from any networked location and archive video cost-effectively.

“You've got new industries like cannabis where, like many new industries, they're selecting cloud-based POS solutions that probably would be considered less traditional. We love it because it is moving that data to a point where it's in the cloud. It also really simplifies installation. Setting up and configuring a POS system onsite at every site is really challenging. The Shopify integration simplifies that and we brought up one of the largest cannabis producers, on legalization day in Canada, 10 stores at the same time with integrated video and POS systems,” adds Corrall. “Combining Searchlight’s security, investigation and business intelligence competencies with Shopify’s POS gives our retail customers the ability to select a progressive, cloud-based transaction system without worrying about how the two technologies will work together.”

About the Author:

Steve Lasky is the Editorial Director of Endeavor’s SecurityInfoWatch Security Media, which includes print publications Security Technology Executive, Security Business, Locksmith Ledger Int’l, and the world’s most trafficked security web portal SecurityInfoWatch.com. He is a 32-year veteran of the security industry and a 27-year member of ASIS. He can be reached at [email protected]

About the Author

Steve Lasky | Editorial Director, Editor-in-Chief/Security Technology Executive

Steve Lasky is Editorial Director of Security Technology Executive, Security Dealer & Integrator magazines and SecurityInfoWatch.com.