[Secutech2014] a&s Live interview with major distributor from Ireland
Editor / Provider: Jill Lai | Updated: 3/21/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics
a&s spent time with Paul Hennessy, MD at Northwood Technology, one of Ireland's major distributors of CCTV Systems, IP systems, access control, and intruder & fire alarms, at secutech 2014 to talk about its business strategy of sourcing products and selecting partners.
Q: Could you briefly introduce your company?
A: Northwood Technology, the company, is from Ireland and here sourcing different security products for a whole system. We deal with around 60 percent of CCTV business. Our company has design team and also consultant team. We work with large end users and large system integrators very closely to meet their demands and also discuss the product performance that they need. We usually design the system together with our customers. So, it is important that we get good partners.
I have been in the physical security industry for more than 20 years. Northwood Technology has been 10 years now, focuses on physical security. The big growth for us is providing the equipments for protecting the perimeter of the building. It is a big market in Ireland to do the remote monitoring, from central stations. And, there is also a significant shift from conventional, analog CCTV to IP-based video surveillance. IP-based video surveillance goes really fast to change all the industry. That's also why I am here at secutech. Our company wants to do it faster to migrate from analog to IP.
Q: What is your past experience in doing business in Asia?
A: When you go to all the trade shows in Asia, it is very hard to qualify who are the manufacturers and who is the agent. That is because many companies here present themselves as manufacturers. It is upsetting sometimes. We are misled in the past. We thought we dealt with manufacturers, but actually not. Especially, whenever there are some changes on the product design, we can't get much about the new product features, if we don't deal with manufacturers. It caused many problems in our business.
So, it is very important that we have to meet some real manufacturers here at secutech for HD IP cameras and recorders. I believe Asian vendor is very strong in video surveillance.
Q: Why targeting Asian products?
A: We are looking for some Asian OEM partners who are able to provide some uniqueness in their company and also products. I think North American brands are very strong in the enterprise level. We work very closely with some of them for some significant projects in the enterprise level. We have worked with our partners, mostly from North America, for many big banks and football stadium in Ireland. But, in the low to mid-range markets, I think Asian manufacturers can create more values here with more cost-effective solutions.
IFSEC, this year, is in June. We are here since we want to progress everything earlier. We are interested to meet quality Asian companies to see their factories and also quality control.
Q: What are your criteria for selecting OEM partners?
A: We do carefully evaluate our OEM partners in terms of the product reliability, their attitude in doing OEM business, and communication with their R&D team. In terms of the product side, we are looking for some companies that are able to develop the products on their own. For example, do they do their own casing or software which you won't see the same kind in some other areas?
The people we are dealing with should be countable. We had bad experience since some companies do not control their quality. We have no interest of just bringing boxes from a country and selling them in our country. We want to build up a good relationship with the manufacturers.
Q: What about the security market in Ireland?
A: Ireland is just coming out of recession. Ireland has been in recession for the past 4 years. This year, it starts to grow. In the past, many banks collapsed, even worse than the U.K. But, this year, we call it “growth” in our economy. Real estate sector starts to increase slowly. It crashed around 50 percent in Ireland in the past. It grew 4 percent in the last 7 to 8 months. The capital also has nearly 8 percent growth. That is a good sign. So, companies start to reinvest and expand again. That is why our business has grown. So, that is why I am here.
Comparatively, Europe is still really unstable because of lots of influences from Russia and Ukraine crisis and whether the U.K. will join the Euro Zone, which also affects the entire strength of Euro Zone. And, there are a lot of banks in the Europe that are still insolvent. Europe still has many problems to deal with in the following 5 to 10 years. However, Ireland, as a standalone country, is doing okay. Even though we still have challenges but the future outlook is pretty good.
In Ireland, here, we will have the report commission in 2014. Some consultant companies will also get involved. The nation will analyze all the market sectors, in terms of physical guarding, central station monitoring, access control, and so on. Another thing is the recession brings more criminality in Ireland, which meant it brought high security consciousness. Security business is growing. Our business grew by doubt digitals last year.