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Axis cameras bring zoo live web-streams to the living room

Axis cameras bring zoo live web-streams to the living room

Editor / Provider: Axis | Updated: 5/20/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

The Zoological Society of Milwaukee provides support for the Milwaukee County Zoo in southeastern Wisconsin. The zoo features a wide variety of animals including brown bears, jaguars and penguins. To expand its reach, the zoo wanted to stream live video of its most popular and charismatic animals. Yet, each animal enclosure was a unique environment due to the diversity of needs presented by different species. The zoo needed a flexible camera solution that could work in a range of habitats.

Solution
Digital Design Services, Inc., along with Axis partner Camera Corner Connecting Point, recommended Axis network cameras due to their easy, plug-and-play installation capabilities and versatile product line. Outdoor-ready AXIS P5512-E PTZ Dome Network Cameras were used in the low temperature penguin exhibit and high definition AXIS Q6035 PTZ Dome Network Cameras were used to give intimate HDTV-quality views of animals such as brown bears.

An AXIS M5014 PTZ Dome Network Camera was fitted with a custom underwater mount for an exhibit featuring local fish. The high degree of customization was made possible by Power over Ethernet features enabling the ability to plug directly into the network without additional hardware.

Result
The web-streams became a hit, and the zoo continues to bring more animals online. After a landing page was created, the zoo was averaging 24,000 views per month. Following the birth of two jaguar cubs, the zoo used the cameras to give fans a behind-the-scenes view of the first months of their lives. The jaguar stream received 100,000 views over two days following a newspaper article. Zookeepers also use the footage to help them monitor the animals remotely and discover critical information should an animal become sick or injured.

Curling up on the couch with a tiger
The Milwaukee County Zoo is home to over 2,500 animals including tigers, lions, jaguars and bears on 200 acres in southeastern Wisconsin. To reach a wider audience, the zoo wanted to stream videos of their most charismatic animals on the web. “We wanted to bring the animals we have here to people at home or further away from our region who aren't able to attend,” said Dominic Schanen, Director of Technology and Membership Services. But with a variety of enclosure environments, the zoo needed a flexible camera solution to address a range of needs. Based on past experience, Digital Design Services, Inc. knew the ease of installation offered by Axis network cameras would be the perfect fit.

“The zoo and I agreed that the Axis products made it much easier for us to set them up on the zoo's system,” said Joe Rugowski, president of Digital Design Services, Inc. “They are plug-and-play easy, and they work.”

Up a pole, underwater and in the cold
The ease-of-install features allowed Digital Design Services, Inc. to design custom mounts and enclosures to meet the unique requirements of each animal holding area. To stream video of local fish from the “Lake Wisconsin” exhibit, Digital Design Services, Inc. engineered a custom underwater enclosure for an HDTV 720p-quality AXIS M5014 PTZ Dome Network Camera. They selected outdoor-ready AXIS P5512-E PTZ Dome Network Cameras for the chilly Gentoo and Rockhopper penguin exhibit because the construction could withstand the constant 40 degree temperatures. For the brown bear exhibit, the zoo wanted a crisp, intimate view of the massive animals, so Digital Design Services, Inc. attached an HDTV 1080pquality AXIS Q6035 PTZ Dome Network Camera onto a ten-foot high steel pole at the edge of the exhibit. “We mounted the camera so that we are looking almost into the eye of the bear,” Rugowski said. The various feeds are connected to a Dell PowerEdge 2900 rack mount server by fiber through Cisco 3500-CG switches. They also use Ubiquiti wireless access points to connect to the polar bear camera. For streaming, they push the video out to a Dell PowerEdge 2950 server running streaming software.

Keeping watch after dark
The Zoo uses AXIS Camera Station software to record on motion detection, and footage is saved for two weeks. Zookeepers often use this footage as a resource to monitor the animals or verify incidents. The cameras also perform well in low-light situations, so zookeepers can check in with their charges at night. “I've been surprised by the zoo's interest in using it more as a monitoring device to remotely observe the animals' behavior,” Schanen said. The zoo also utilizes cameras for security purposes.

Jaguar cubs meet the world
The most popular web channel they opened documented the birth and development of a pair of jaguar cubs. When the feed went live, the cubs were not ready to be put on public view, so the web streams provided a rare behind-the-scenes look at the first months of their lives. Following a news article, the live stream received nearly 100,000 views in a two day period. To deepen the connection with fans, the zoo added a link to an online store with a list of toys and enrichment items for the cubs. The zoo then placed purchased items in the enclosure, so the buyers could see the cubs play with their new gifts.

In the two years since their launch, the streams have become a web hit. The zoo is averaging 24,000 views per month, and they continue to open up new channels on a regular basis.

“We get a lot of feedback with people saying, ‘Thank you for providing the cameras and allowing us to be able to view these animals at home,'” Schanen said.

 

Paul Smith retail stores upgrade to Milestone IP Video solution

Paul Smith retail stores upgrade to Milestone IP Video solution

Editor / Provider: Milestone System | Updated: 2/26/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Milestone XProtect Corporate open platform IP video management software (VMS) with XProtect Smart Client and network cameras from Axis Communications are being deployed across all of Paul Smith's 45 stores as part of the UK-based retailer's first comprehensive, company-wide IT refresh. Initially the new digital video system is being used for loss prevention but once it is fully implemented worldwide by the end of 2015, Paul Smith plans to use it for business intelligence to assist retail operations management.

Paul Smith is an early adopter of IP and cloud-based services. In 2001 it was the first large UK-based company to migrate to IP telephony, installing a Cisco IPT network. Embracing the latest IT management approaches (including use of open-architected and Microsoft-based systems), the company has been able to maintain a relatively small network services team despite very rapid growth. Paul Smith has a retail presence in 35 countries.

This approach means that when new IT challenges present themselves, Paul Smith's Head of IT, Lee Bingham, looks for standards-based solutions that are capable of scaling quickly and effectively. He specifies that new systems and services must last a minimum of 10 years because he simply does not have the manpower or budget to support continual replacements of devices and software.

Paul Smith's legacy CCTV had grown organically as the group expanded around the world. When the IT department was asked to take over running Paul Smith's video systems, Lee Bingham insisted that it must be moved to IP video and be visible on the corporate network: "If it's not IP then it's not IT, and therefore it made no sense to move it from our Facilities Management team over to the IT department unless the CCTV system was going to be accessible on the network by authorized managers from their desktops."

The company backed the IT department's three-year global migration plan from CCTV-to-IP video surveillance. The installation and networking of the new video platform is being carried out as part of a global IT infrastructure upgrade, along with new retail Point of Sale (POS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.

Paul Smith's IT department researched the market for robust, scalable IP video hardware and software. After a painstaking evaluation process, they chose Milestone XProtect Corporate video management software and Axis network cameras. Axis video encoders were selected to bring some existing analog CCTV cameras onto the corporate network ahead of the full IT and IP video upgrade.

Lee Bingham said: "The fact that Milestone XProtect is built on an open platform architecture using Microsoft Active Directory makes rapid roll out possible, as well as cost-effective maintenance and support. Selecting Milestone enables us to migrate the whole CCTV estate onto a single platform to establish uniformity and consistency."

"Milestone fits our model perfectly. The open platform allows us to scale and add new services. We can control which managers can see cameras from which stores through our standard IT technologies. We can log in via the Milestone XProtect Smart Client front-end to view live and recorded video from all the cameras anywhere in the world. If there is a problem, we can generally fix it via the network from Nottingham without getting on a plane. This saves management time and reduces our company's carbon footprint.

In the future Bingham expects different managers in specialist areas like Visual Merchandising will want to proactively access the cameras to assess whether agreed store layouts are being observed and working well for customers. There will also be a higher demand for mobile device access to the video which Milestone Mobile can provide.

"Our objective, as the Milestone-based video systems have been rolled out globally, will be to build on this investment by extending its value beyond loss prevention," concludes Bingham. "We plan to work closely with our retail management team to explore the power of the new IP video system - potentially deploying techniques such as facial recognition, heat mapping and dwell-time analytics that enable us to better understand and serve our customers."

Europe's first security consultant to graduate from Axis Certification Program

Europe's first security consultant to graduate from Axis Certification Program

Editor / Provider: Axis Communications | Updated: 10/22/2013 | Article type: Security 50

The newly qualified Axis Certified Professional is based at CornerStone GRG, an independent global and UK-based security consultancy, and becomes the inaugural Axis architect and engineering partner to successfully complete all the rigorous requirements of the Axis Certification Program; the global industry standard to validate IP video expertise.

Commenting on the achievement, Jon Roadnight, director of CornerStone commented: “Axis certification has really helped us to set ourselves apart from our competitors by validating our expertise to prospective clients – not only with Axis cameras – but also with network video in general. It's the global industry standard in the network video world, very much like the Cisco certification of the IT world – a real unique selling point for us.

Axis has been keyed in the continued drive toward the convergence from analogue to digital video surveillance and has recognized that IP technology offers different challenges to consultants and installers in the surveillance and IT industries.

It recognizes that there is a need for professionals with these skills to be able to validate their credentials across the industries, making it easier for specifies to source the right expertise and reassuring end users. It has therefore added the Axis Certified Professional program to its learning academy.

Atul Rajput, regional director, Northern Europe at Axis Communications explained: “In a similar model to Microsoft and Cisco's certified professionals in the IT world, Axis is keen to help individuals and companies prove their competence and skills in network video surveillance and help them validate this advanced level of knowledge.

Data centers: Security without compromise

Data centers: Security without compromise

Editor / Provider: Tevin Wang, a&s International | Updated: 9/19/2013 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Digital information is becoming ubiquitous while connected devices proliferate with ever-faster transmission speeds. These factors continue to influence rising demand for data centers. Cisco forecasts global data center traffic to grow fourfold and reach a total of 6.6 zettabytes annually by 2016 and global cloud traffic to grow sixfold with a 44 percent combined annual growth rate (CAGR), to reach 4.3 zettabytes by 2016. The growth does not stop at data traffic.

 

According to IDC Research, the size of US data centers will increase significantly, growing from 611.4 million square feet this year to more than 700 million square feet in 2016. Data center security has become one of the highest network priorities. Companies that operate their own data centers will spend an average of US$17 million on security products in 2013, according to Infonetics Research.

 

Main concerns

The main concerns of a data center are the intentional acquisition of personal or corporate data by unauthorized people, according to Kenneth Mara, President and CEO at World Wide Security. Sabotage, theft, and uncontrolled access to a data center's assets pose the most immediate risks.

 

Patrick Lim, Director of Sales and Marketing at Ademco Far East (an Ademco Security Group Company) agreed. “The main concern is the amount and variety of people that access the data center. In an Internet Data Center (IDC), there are many different customers, each with their own staffs accessing the data center and racks. To make matters more complex, some of these data centers have their own contractors for equipment and technical support. All these varieties of activities and visitors create massive access control challenges.”

 

Another primary concern for a data center is the upstream and downstream fiber, which must be protected as well as the protection of the environmental systems which support the data center such as power, backup power, heating and cooling systems, added Jeff Slotnick, CSO at OR3M.

 

Perimeter security

The primary goals of the outer layer of data center protection, perimeter security, are the three D's: deter, detect, and delay. As an example, a perimeter fence equipped with sensors can serve as the first detection point for intrusion. This perimeter fence detection system can be integrated with intrusion alarms, limited access control points, high-definition video surveillance, and motion-activated security lighting. Security personnel will then be able to pinpoint an intrusion and immediately access the network's security system.

 

Vehicle and personnel barriers are adopted to prevent physical access to the data center while personnel barriers can be used to prevent unauthorized entry, including tailgating, added Benjamin Butchko, President and CEO at Butchko Security Solutions. For instance, retractable crash barriers can be used at vehicle entry points. In situations when extra security is needed, barriers can be left up by default, and lowered only when someone has permission to pass through.

 

Besides site-hardening strategies, a perimeter video surveillance system can also be used to detect potential threats and intruders. Cameras can be installed around the perimeter of the data center, at all entrances and exits, and at every access point throughout the building. Motion detection technology, for instance, can trigger alarms, while video content analytics can identify objects left behind to quickly spot potential threats. These technologies make the surveillance system more proactive to detect potential security breaches. Furthermore, video footage should be digitally recorded and stored offsite.

 

Security inside Data Centers

Although data centers house the data, applications, and access critical to many businesses, the layout of most large data centers is similar. “There is a security/reception area that the user enters to gain access to their system. Upon check-in, they go to the lobby. From there, they go through a sally port to get into the secure common area,” said Emily Flink, Marketing Manager, Biometrics, Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies. “What this means is that, at the end of the lobby, they must be identified as authorized to enter the sally port room. Upon entering it, the door is closed. At the end of the sally port room, there is another identification authorization performed before they can go through that door to the secure common area. At this point, they can go to their own cage or vault, where they will again be identified as authorized before going through.”

 

If a breach has occurred at the perimeter or from inside, the layer of protection for facility control is created to prevent further access, “Data centers typically have a large number of infrequent users. This is especially true of independent data centers which have large numbers of customer users who only occasionally visit the site. Therefore, the system has to be easy to use but cannot rely on cards which can be easily transferred from person to person,” added Flink.

 

RSVP Only

A solid visitor management system compliments and is a precursor to the physical access control system. “Visitor management includes all workers and visitors being issued badges that have

built in access codes for various doors and areas on each badge. This prevents accidental access to areas,” Mara said. “It is very important to have those working in the facility pass background checks prior to employment.”

 

Mere access control is not enough. Indoor surveillance for identification and monitoring, as well as multiple ID verification methods are a must. Surveillance deployment and integration with access control can inhibit illicit activities and provide an extra layer of security. An integrated system can rapidly verify tripped alarms, which allows for a speedier response. “Integrated video is a standard demand now for data centers,” Lim said. For example, video surveillance can verify the identity of a person entering an unmanned access control point by capturing video as the person swipes his access card. It can also account for instances of tailgating.

 

Computer Room and Cabinet Control

While the physical security layering makes unwanted entry from “outside” a data center facility more and more difficult, inner layers are often ignored. “Personnel security programs are generally not robust in private industry for employees or contractors. Gaining data center insider access is a fundamental strategy for industrial espionage attacks,” Butchko said.

 

The insider threat is huge, especially in areas such as government or corporate espionage. A survey by Cyber-Ark showed some stunning numbers:

*  85 percent of employees admit to knowing that downloading corporate information from their employer is illegal.

*  25 percent of employees say they would take the data anyway, regardless of penalties.

*  41 percent of employees admit to having taken sensitive data with them to a new position.

*  26 percent of employees say they would pass on company information if it proved useful in getting friends or family a job.

 

Although the insider threat can be the most elusive, security within the inner layers of data centers, such as the computer room and cabinet controls, can help secure the core of data. This starts with people recruiting. “Good internal security starts with hiring the right people. This requires a strong Human Resources program working in conjunction with the Chief Security Officer to insure proper and complete background checks are accomplished on all employees, contractors, and laborers which have access to sensitive areas of the facility. In my opinion, a good upfront background check, in most cases, will prevent a majority of internal breaches,” Slotnick said.

 

“Another area of consideration when dealing with the internal threat is how the Human Resources Department and the Security Department work together to insure terminations with dignity to prevent workplace violence or a malicious system attack. Part of the process for a quality access control program is to know which employees, contractors, and service personnel are no longer employed so their access permissions can be removed or modified. This includes the return of all access control and identification cards. In my opinion, this is a significant communications gap in most organizations where someone's status has changed and the security personnel have not been informed or kept in the loop.”

 

Enhanced Security with Multi-Factor Authentication

Inadequate authentication methods lead to sensitive information being compromised. Ultimately, the primary concern of core data center security is access control to the server farms. “The large halls which contain the servers need to be closely monitored to ensure only authorized individuals are permitted entrance and then only at authorized times” Slotnick said. “This requires a

complex system of easy-to-use access control features.”

 

“At data centers, assured authentication begins by accepting the reality that no one single form of authentication by itself is 100 percent. Even biometrics (including DNA matching) is not perfect,” said Phil Scarfo, VP of Worldwide Sales & Marketing at Lumidigm. “Statistical error rates, however, are substantially reduced when multiple forms of authentication are employed. The use of biometrics as an additional tool or second factor greatly enhances the ability to get closer to 100 percent in the continuum to assured authentication. The reason for selecting biometrics as one of the two factors is clear. Knowing ‘who' is the goal of assured authentication and biometrics is the only form of authentication that is focused on the identification of the individual, not something they have or something they know.”

 

Lightening Up

Preventing a fire is crucial in a data center. “There should always be a business contingency plan for emergencies. Advanced fire systems, which detect heat and smoke, long before a fire breaks out should be part of a company's fire safety plan. These advanced warning systems can reduce the overall cost of repairs and downtime,” Mara said. “Backup servers off-site at multiple locations will help to protect against a fire which could not only pose a threat to overall operations but also to an operational shut down for periods of time.”

 

Technological advancements in security devices, such as surveillance cameras, video management and recording platforms, and intelligent access control hardware and software have enhanced the possibility of a totally secure data center. However, successful implementations of a central management system rely not just on subsystem integration, but also on effective communication throughout an organization.

 

Market dynamics urging differentiation on business models and products

Market dynamics urging differentiation on business models and products

Editor / Provider: a&s Asia | Updated: 9/12/2013 | Article type: Hot Topics

No market is too small. That seems to be the talk of the year amid the reincarnated financial and economic uncertainty. Markets that were once overlooked are now back on some solution providers' plates.

Take enterprise access control specialist Pacom Systems for example; the U.S. and Europe used to be the focuses. This year, the company has hired a Cisco veteran to expand activities in the Southeast Asian region. “The financial sector is our forte, with more than 20,000 reference sites to back our claim,” said Giri Ramamoorthy, Director of Sales and Business Development for Asia. The company's network-centric solution designs are particularly well-suited for multisite enterprises that require centralized yet easy-to-use security management, and the new banks and commercial real estate boom in Southeast Asia, China and India are Ramamoorthy's business development targets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home security specialist Chuango Electronic from China, on the other hand, is shifting its ODM approach to focus more on solution design and market expansion in North America and Western/Northern Europe. “We are participating in more consumer electronics shows to show that solutions from China can be different and of great taste,” said Ken Li, CEO.

The same goes for distributors. Viewtech in Malaysia and Facility Management (FM) in Thailand, for example, are both in search for solutions that can do wonders and are better designed and reasonably priced. “Adding smart home and cloud capabilities to our portfolio is a must,” said Alex Ng, MD of Viewtech. Pichai Sihsobhon of FM is also diversifying his distribution-only model and looking to add solutions and services through joint ventures.

At the end of the day, “differentiate to survive” rings true.

 

 

IT-centric players on the rise

IT-centric players on the rise

Editor / Provider: Hayden Hsu, asmag.com | Updated: 2/26/2013 | Article type: Hot Topics

Advances in physical security technologies and system migration to IP networks have ushered in a new breed of IT-savvy distributors and system integrators, while blurring the distinction between the two at the same time. With a more in-depth understanding of network capabilities and software development and deployment, these “new players” are offering more possibilities in terms of solution offerings, applications and business models, which are particularly appreciated in times of uncertainty and slow growth. This feature looks into one such player that is able to bring more to the table — and perhaps something to be modeled after.

An IT systems integrator and managed services provider in Germany and a value-added distributor worldwide, Controlware made physical security part of its portfolio since 1997 when owner Helmut Woerner invested in a German company called VCS. VCS was a developer of IP video products known for Videojet encoders, network cameras and Vidos management system, so this was a natural progression for the company. IT security and communication solutions are still the core of Controlware; the introduction of physical security solutions was more of an extension to the core products and services than a transitional move, since both sit happily side by side.

Adding value to both worlds is the ultimate goal. Controlware is not a “box mover,” but with value-added services and support engineers. The Controlware ethos is about helping integration and installation partners deliver advanced systems that meet customer expectations on all levels. It is all about assisting partners as much as possible and making them look good in the eyes of their customers and end users. Dedication to IP-based security systems and the specialist IP knowledge and experience developed over the course of more than a decade set Controlware apart from the others. It does not have its own branded product range like some distributors, which allows it to be more agile and provide independent, best-of-breed solutions for installers and integrators.

Not only does Controlware provide products from well-known names such as Axis, Bosch, Cisco, Genetec, JVC, Samsung, Sanyo, Siqura and more, but it also adds value with system design and support services. Controlware also has IT specialists for networks, security, IT management, applications, operation and service.

Riding the Wave
Controlware's internal strategies and policies are highly flexible and constantly adapted to meet actual business requirements and conditions. Inventory levels have not had to be altered as a consequence of the recession, since agility in the back end of the business has been a fundamental ingredient for Controlware from Day 1. Continuity and long-term customer loyalty, as well as varied/extensive know-how in information and communication technologies, are crucial to ensure that it has the flexibility to meet challenges head on.

Building long-term relationships with customers and understanding user requirements allow Controlware to identify the products and solutions that are truly needed. This is achieved chiefly through its value-added services that include design and consultancy. By working alongside installers and integrators and adding value and support services, Controlware gains a better understanding of the solutions that users require than traditional distributors and box movers. Controlware also maintains close relationships with suppliers, by understanding what its solution partners' products can do and how they fit into the overall project while meeting customer needs.

Controlware bench tests hardware and software rigorously in order to understand them thoroughly and identify their strengths and weaknesses. This enables the company to identify at what level to position the products and specify the correct product for clients. It often arranges hardware “shootouts” or soak testing in challenging environments to prove or disprove manufacturers' claims. It actively tests and retests equipment in different scenarios to see how equipment performs and what the limitations are.

Ironing out the Kinks
Obviously, adoption differs from region to region. In high-density markets, such as the U.K., which have large amounts of legacy analog equipment, adoption is slower due to equipment churn. In real life, IP-based systems are not for everyone. For very low camera counts, there is still room for cost-effective DVRs or recent HD-SDI products; but for the majority, IP-based systems and the benefits they bring are the way to go. A couple of years ago, one manufacturer claimed that IP surveillance systems are expensive and unreliable compared to analog/hybrid CCTV systems. According to its marketing material, an IP-based system for 750 cameras would cost US$2.9 million, and the hybrid system proposed would only cost $1 million. Controlware put these claims to the test by developing a new system based on the components and products specified in the article. The result was a much more cost-effective IP system than the proposed hybrid system, with a new control room fit-out on top.

That is not to say everything with IP is fine and dandy. Too often, we have manufacturers blaming the bit of kit that does not have that manufacturer's name on it, like the switch for instance; so, we would like to see more interaction between complimentary manufacturers such as switches and servers/storage on one side and camera manufacturers on the other, for approved/certified compatibility. Also, IP-based video surveillance must become more plug-and-play as sometimes manufacturers make products too complex or add too many features, and they think that is the only way to make the products stand out from the crowd. There should be more interaction with other IP devices, as too often security systems drop into silos of their own fields rather than thinking about how they can work together to better alleviate end-user headaches.

Winning Combo
After 2009, the company has seen a few projects put on hold, but continued growth in the physical security sector is still anticipated as the market continues to move to IP-based systems. Positioned with the right business model, the right skills, and the right people and experience, Controlware will continue to incorporate new ways and hardware/software to help installers and integrators take advantage of the benefits of converged technologies.

Revenues are expected to grow in line with the general growth of the IP market share. Users are starting to see the benefits of IP but are not being given clear guidance and direction due to a massive knowledge gap in the industry from some consultants, system integrators and installers. The Controlware IP product line will also be expanded through the additions of IP access control and other IP-enabled technologies, such as ALPR, VCA, intrusion detection and unified management systems, so that it continues to ensure that the needs of its customers and its customers' customers are met.

10 under 40: security unlocks next generation of excellence

10 under 40: security unlocks next generation of excellence

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 1/24/2013 | Article type: Hot Topics

a&s salutes young leaders in security for our inaugural “10 Leaders Under 40” feature.

Security attracts people from all walks of life. We recognized 10 up-and-coming security professionals under age 40 who are in executive positions, either in manufacturing, distribution or system integration. They were invited to share their experience as well as secrets for success.

Our coverage spans the globe, with an average age of 31.1 years. This list is by no means exhaustive, as there are many qualified young people in the field. The youngest person was 25, while the oldest person turned 40 in February. While most did not study about physical security, at least two start-ups — Fluidmesh Networks and Keeneo — were founded as a result of graduate research. Both companies have since been acquired, while retaining the original leadership.

Physical security may not be a formal academic discipline, but it certainly doesn't hurt to have top marks. The Class of 2012 is dominated by engineering majors, along with finance, business and oceanography. Most were unaware of the security industry before graduation, but this is changing with more internships and college recruitment. As IP blurs the line between IT and security, the industry is ready for new blood.


 

 

 

 

 

Avigilon
Andrew Martz, Former COO
Age: 28
Family: Married
Education: High school degree, studied three years at the University of British Columbia
How you got involved in security
I met Avigilon's CEO, Alexander Fernandes, while working at a company he started prior to Avigilon. I put university on hold and joined Avigilon as a developer in 2005. I am responsible for the product development, manufacturing and customer service departments. I stayed in the security industry because I believe in Avigilon's mission and get the opportunity to work with incredibly talented and passionate people in a dynamic, high-growth environment that provides exciting new challenges every day.

Has your age ever been an issue?
Youth brings a fresh perspective. What I have found in my career is that age won't matter if you perform and deliver great results.

Worst business move to date and what you learned from it
There have been small mistakes along the way, but there is no single move I would take back.

Best professional decision
The best decision I ever made was taking a risk to help start Avigilon while I was completing my postsecondary education. It was a big risk but it has been an incredibly rewarding experience.

How you want to be remembered
When Avigilon becomes No. 1, I would be happy if I am remembered for being an important part of making that happen.

Ways to attract more young people into security
The security industry is on an exciting path, which will attract more talent. Young people are drawn to industries where they can work with cutting-edge technology, create change in the world and enjoy the rewards that come along with that.


 

 

 

 

 

Axxonsoft
Evgenia Ostrovskaya, Global Business Development Director
Age: 31
Family: Divorced with a child
Education: Master's degree in mathematics and mechanical science from Moscow State University, studying for a master's degree in business administration at Vienna University
How you got involved in security

Right after university, I was a developer and programmer, then entered ITV. It was spun off as a new company under Murat Altuev, AxxonSoft President. I started in 2003 as quality assurance engineer. Now, I handle global business development, including sales, technical support and presales service.

Has your age ever been an issue?
No. Even if you're young, age isn't an issue in conversations. The experience and the expertise are what really count.

Worst business move to date and what you learned from it
I worked on expanding into a new market for nine months, only for the local partner to walk out. What I learned is before you start a business relationship, you need to understand the partner's mentality, attitude and background. It helped me to be careful in countries where you don't know the native language or traditions.

Best professional decision
The people I hire would be the best decisions I make. Creating a team with transparency and an inspiring atmosphere is the base of the company's success.

How you want to be remembered
As a successful top manager of the world's leading IT company in security management.

Ways to attract more young people into security
As we continue to move toward IP, more young people will be naturally attracted to the security industry. Besides, it's fun to work in the industry of James Bond!


 

 

 

 

 

Fluidmesh Networks (CarrickBend)
Cosimo Malesci, VP of Sales and Marketing
Age: 29
Family: Single
Education: Master's degree in ocean engineering from MIT
How you got involved in security

Malesci and his brother Umberto Malesci started the company while studying at MIT in 2004. We were able to create a niche. It was good timing and there was a need for it.

Has your age ever been an issue?
Age was actually one of our strong skills. We're promoting an innovative technology and people expect us to be young and know about it.

Worst business move to date and what you learned from it
One mistake was not dreaming big enough. If I had to do it again, I would have risked it all in the beginning to achieve growth. It's the only way to make the company successful.

Best professional decision
The best thing is to stick your neck out. When we threw wireless into the security industry, people were skeptical. They said the video looked crappy and the network could only support five cameras. Now we have hundreds of cameras and HD. If we had listened to the guys in the first place, we wouldn't have developed these things.

How you want to be remembered
We can be remembered as guys who decided to revolutionize security with wireless for video and voice. We want to be a professional wireless company that makes it reliable and affordable for people.

Ways to attract more young people into security
If you like technology in security, that will bring young people and help speed things up. [NextPage] 

 


 

 

 

 

 

IP Vision (a Hymatom company)
Nicolas Jdanoff, Sales and Marketing Director
Age: 31 Family: Married with a son
Education: Master's degree in international business from Jean Moulin University Lyon 3

How you got involved in security
I entered electronic security in 2004 after graduation and a three-month internship at Sorhea. Sorhea's CEO offered me the position of regional sales manager to cover a third of France's territory. I've been with IP Vision since 2009. I'm based in Morocco and manage a team of four salesmen in the development of our system integrator activity.

Has your age ever been an issue?
Age has never been an issue, once the ice was broken with customers.

Worst business move to date and what you learned from it
I've made mistakes in delivering a quote to a customer, forgetting an item, ordering a noncompliant product on a specific project, but every time I learned a valuable lesson, which evens it up for me.

Best professional decision
The best decision I've ever made was not to compromise myself, my company and my set of values to gain a project, even though pressure was sometimes high.

How you want to be remembered
People who know me can attest I'm a dedicated individual with integrity.

Ways to attract more young people into security
Attracting young talent will be done naturally, as managers reach retirement age and need to be replaced with younger people.


 

 

 

 

 

Johnson Controls
Brandon Arcement,Security Products Sales Manager
Age: 30
Family: Married with a daughter and another child due in July
Education: Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin
How you got involved in security

I was originally introduced to the physical security industry while being recruited by Johnson Controls as a college senior. I accepted a sales representative position. After a few years in integrator sales, I transitioned to manufacturing.

Has your age ever been an issue?
I recognize that a young face makes people question experience and credibility. I address lingering questions by dressing conservatively for business. And I establish credibility virtually by phone or WebEx prior to an in-person meeting.

Worst business move to date and what you learned from it
Early in my career, I did not invest in developing my skills, aside from the training that was made mandatory by my supervisor. Now, I always set aside time at the beginning of the year to evaluate my career development path and select activities which will enhance my development as a business professional and leader.

Best professional decision
The best decision I've made professionally has been to grow within Johnson Controls. I've developed relationships that make me a more credible colleague, a more impactful leader and a more valuable asset.

How you want to be remembered
I'd like to be remembered as someone who leads with integrity and a steady focus on the customer.

Ways to attract more young people into security
The best way to attract more talented young people to the security industry is through college and university recruiting programs.



 

 

 

 

 

 Digital Barriers
Benoit Georis, France MD, CEO of Keeneo until acquired in 2011
Age: 34
Family: Single
Education: Doctorate in computer vision, Inria (National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control)

How you got involved in security
When I was a Ph.D. student, I found a good technology that no one had commercialized. I've always been interested in transforming this industry into a modern industry.

Has your age ever been an issue?
It could have been, but I managed to surround myself with a team of older people.

Worst business move to date and what you learned from it
Two years after incorporation, we decided to address the Chinese market. However, we were too young and couldn't support distant customers. Thanks to this experience, we made our software compliant with Chinese characters.

Best professional decision
The best decision was to have sold my company Keeneo. Digital Barriers was the perfect match between a technological company and a strong financial institution.

How you want to be remembered
As the guy who introduced intelligent analytics to the industry. Our main asset was customer service. Simplicity of use is another asset, because there is no setup of parameters.

Ways to attract more young people into security
The most important thing for me is making every effort to attract students for a six-month internship. The second thing is to make security attractive to young people. With super resolution or 360-degree cameras, it's exciting stuff.


 

 

 

 

 

Livedarshan
Vivek Bagri,CEO
Age: 31
Family: Married
Education: Bachelor's of engineering in computer science, University of Mumbai
How you got involved in security

I founded Livedarshan while I was still in college. Initially the company was just me, and we specialized in webcasting solutions for temples and mosques. After I graduated, I diversified into physical security with a project from the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. We set up cameras and software to monitor truck movements at Mumbai's dumping grounds.

Has your age ever been an issue?
Yes. My father Prakash Bagri handled relations with senior officials, while I provided technical solutions and service.

Worst business move to date and what you learned from it
My worst business move was when I relied heavily on the success on a single government project. I learned the hard way that one should not invest everything in a single opportunity and should keep working with an open mind on multiple projects.

Best professional decision
The best decision I ever made was to become an entrepreneur, found Livedarshan, and not give up when things were difficult initially.

How you want to be remembered
I want to be remembered as an honest, hardworking person who contributed to the betterment of the security industry.

Ways to attract more young people into security
Education is an important part of any industry and I feel security has a dearth of an organized education programs to train young talented people. Security companies should also have internship programs, where young graduates can get firsthand experience in the industry. [NextPage] 


 

 

 

 

 

Merit LILIN
Mark Hsu, Director of Overseas Sales
Age: 32
Family: Married with a child
Education: Master's degree in business management from California State University-Los Angeles
How you got involved in security
Merit LILIN is a family business. My father is C.C. Hsu, President. I went into R&D and studied management While LILIN is a family business, I wasn't pressured into joining the company. It was a match for my interests.

Has your age ever been an issue?
If you work hard and improve your professional expertise, you will prove yourself.

Worst business move to date and what you learned from it
As I manage overseas branches as the president's representative, I sometimes find an imbalance between what the president wants and what the branch office wants. At first, I noted their concerns but did not truly manage these offices. Now, I will respectfully listen to their opinions. If they say I don't know their market, I will go there to learn.

Best professional decision
The best decision I've made is to shake up LILIN internally.

How you want to be remembered
My dream is for Merit LILIN to be internationally recognized. We're well-known overseas, but we could become even greater. We want our brand to be identified by high-end quality solutions.

Ways to attract more young people into security
The fastest way to attract young talent is for security companies to work with universities. Once you train interns, the best ones will join your company.


 

 

 

 

 

Secure-I
Brian Lohse, Cofounder and VP of Business Development Age: 25
Family: Single
Education: Bachelor's degree in economics, Loyola College in Maryland

How you got involved in security
My background is in investment banking. I was approached by Eugene Szatkowski, cofounder and VP of Operations for Secure-I. I took a leap of faith and left banking. It was the best decision I ever made.

Has your age ever been an issue?
In the Mark Zuckerberg generation, new technology is expected to come from young, ambitious talent. Persistence and industry participation have allowed me to succeed despite my age.

Worst business move to date and what you learned from it
Before, I was focused on the technology, product and features. That was a mistake. What I learned was to sell the business model. You have to understand the customer's business.

Best professional decision
The best thing I learned was to trust my employees to do their jobs. When we started, it was just the three of us. Now, we've got a larger team. When they have ownership, they feel good about it.

How you want to be remembered
I would like to be remembered as an innovator and a thought leader.

Ways to attract more young people into security
I think it's a good industry that's not going anywhere and is bound to get much bigger in a short amount of time. The biggest and most successful security companies don't have fancy offices. But people are happy, and the ownership can make good money.


 

 

 

 

 

Xtralis
Samir Samhouri, President and CEO
Age: 40
Family: Married with three children
Education: Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from McGill University and executive education in business administration from the University of Pennsylvania

How you got involved in security
I left a public company in the U.S., after doing a company turnaround from a low valuation to a high valuation. Once you do that, you get interest from companies. One of the companies was Xtralis. I thought it was an amazing company that protected almost every important infrastructure in the world.

Has your age ever been an issue?
My age has not been an issue for me since I became a CEO four years ago. I was promoted to be a GM of multimillion dollar division in Lucent Technologies at 28. I hope to provide such opportunity for young people in my business.

Worst business move to date and wha t you learned from it
The biggest mistake many business leaders made 10 years ago was that we did not prepare for tough economic times. The lesson is to always prepare for the worst and plan for the best.

Best professional decision
Never compromised our core capability. Removed everything else and focused on what differentiates Xtralis. That resulted in much stronger position after the market collapsed and came back a little bit.

How you want to be remembered
My dream and hope is to make Xtralis the Cisco of security. It's not so much I want it to be a multibillion-dollar company, but it's to change how business is done in the safety and security niche.

Ways to attract more young people into security
No industry is too old to grow, as long as you have a niche and differentiation.

8 ways to enter the connected home

8 ways to enter the connected home

Editor / Provider: By Tevin Wang, a&s International | Updated: 11/29/2012 | Article type: Tech Corner

ZigBee, Z-Wave and X10, among others, are currently the most widely adopted protocols for connected-home/smart-home/home automation (HA) applications. While appearing to be futuristic and unreachable, HA and its real-life deployments have been around for decades. For example, X10-based devices first hit the shelves of RadioShack and Sears in the U.S. in 1978, and 10 million nodes are estimated to be in US households. Products based on X10 are still the most utilized because the technology is relatively cheap and relies only on a house's existing power lines.

Commutation and networking technologies continue to advance by leaps and bounds, and the emergence and confluence of broadband Internet access, supercharged smartphones and tablets, home networks and controls, and the digitization of entertainment and media services have sparked new interest in ways to tie all the system components together. Technologies, such as ZigBee and Z-Wave, are looking to dethrone X10. While both are based on low data rate, wireless RF, ZigBee has managed to garner more press ink, largely because it is based on an open specification (IEEE 802.15.4) and has “unionized” all stakeholders: chipset providers, solution providers, telcos, alarm-monitoring stations and even large end users.

In response, the proponents of the Z-Wave technology also formed a Z-Wave Alliance, consisting of roughly 60 members that develop conformant products and ensure cross-vendor interoperability. Designed for executing quick and simple tasks, the two protocols only require very little power and are ideal for residential use within closed quarters.

For easier reference and comparison, a snapshot of eight common protocols for HA and controls can be found on the next page.

Home Networking Technologies
ZigBee
ZigBee is a specification for a suite of high-level communication protocols using small, low-power digital radios based on an IEEE 802 standard for personal-area networks. The name refers to the waggle dance of honey bees after their return to the beehive. ZigBee devices are often used in a mesh network to transmit data over longer distances, passing data through intermediate devices to reach more distant ones. Any ZigBee device can be tasked with running the network. ZigBee is targeted at applications that require a low data rate, low cost, long battery life and secured networking. Chip suppliers typically sell integrated radios and microcontrollers, with 60-KB to 256-KB flash memory.

Z-Wave
Z-Wave uses a low-power, wireless radio embedded or retrofitted into home electronics and appliances, such as lighting, access control, entertainment systems, HVAC and refrigerators, remote controls, smoke alarms and intrusion sensors. Z-Wave operates in the sub-GHz frequency range at 900 MHz. Each Z-Wave network may include up to 232 nodes and consists of two sets of nodes: controllers and slave devices. Nodes may be configured to retransmit the message in order to guarantee connectivity in a multipath environment inside a residential house. Each Z-Wave network is identified by a network ID, and each device is further identified by a node ID. Nodes with different network IDs cannot communicate with one another.

X10
X10 is an international open standard for communication among electronics used for HA. An early technology developed by Pico Electronics of Glenrothes in Scotland back in 1975, it primarily uses power line wiring for signaling and control, where the signals involve brief RF bursts representing digital information.

 

Wi-Fi
At home, Wi-Fi allows for direct device communications without an intermediary wireless access point/hub. This mode is popular with multiplayer handheld game consoles, digital cameras and other consumer devices. The Wi-Fi Alliance also promotes a specification called Wi-Fi Direct, for file transfers and media sharing.

 

HomePlug
HomePlug is a family name for various power line communication (PLC) specifications that support networking over existing electrical wiring. HomePlug specifications were developed by the HomePlug Powerline Alliance. The HomePlug AV specification, which was introduced in August 2005, provides sufficient bandwidth for applications such as HDTV and VoIP. The HomePlug AV2 specification was introduced in January 2012, and is interoperable with HomePlug AV and HomePlug GreenPHY and is IEEE1901-compliant. Some HomePlug specifications target broadband applications, such as in-home distribution of low data rate IPTV, gaming and Internet content. Other applications focus on low-power, low-throughput and extended operating temperatures for applications such as smart power meters. In November 2011, the HomePlug Green PHY specification was adopted by seven key automobile companies as a connectivity standard for plug-in electric vehicles: Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche and Volkswagen.

 

HomePNA
HomePNA is a wired, home-networking technology. The HomePNA Alliance develops home-networking specifications for distributing entertainment and triple-play data over existing coax cables and phone wires. HomePNA promoters include AT&T, Cisco Systems, K-Micro, Motorola, Pace, Sigma Designs and Sunrise Telecom. Using frequency-division multiplexing, the technology puts computer data on separate frequencies from the voice signals being carried by the phone line. The latest version, HomePNA 3.1, was developed for entertainment applications, such as IPTV, which require consistent high performance, and is used by service providers for commercial triple-play (video, voice and data) service offerings. HomePNA can be used without interrupting normal voice or fax services, with data rates up to 320 Mbps and capabilities like remote management and diagnostics. Ethernet over coax is also possible, to overcome phone jack location limitations.

LonWorks
Local operation network (LonWorks) is a networking platform built on a protocol (LonTalk) created by Echelon Corporation for networking devices over media such as twisted pair, Ethernet, power lines, fiber optics and RF. It is used for the automation of and control over various functions within buildings, such as lighting and HVAC. LonWorks includes more than 170 data types. Each LonWorks node includes local processing and I/O to process input data from sensors, handle control of actuators and interact with other devices. Each node also includes the capability to communicate with other nodes because it contains the LonTalk protocol in firmware. Instead of moving data through a master device, any device can exchange data with any other LonWorks device on the same network. Network data exchanged on LonWorks is configured by a network configuration tool. This operation (“binding”) ties an input of one device to an output of another device, independent of the operation or application software in either device.

 

Insteon
Insteon is a system for connecting lighting switches, thermostats, motion sensors and many devices without extra wiring. Designed by SmartLabs, it is a dual-band mesh home area networking topology employing existing AC power lines and an RF protocol to communicate with devices. All Insteon devices are peers, and each device can transmit, receive and repeat any message of the Insteon protocol, without requiring a master controller or routing software. Automatic error detection and correction are included in compatible products. The power line protocol uses phase-shift keying and is designed so that the repetition is synchronized: All repeaters repeat the same message during precisely defined time slots, so while the repetitions collide, they do so in harmony in a manner that preserves the message. The power line AC frequency is used as the synchronization source.

Avigilon appoints Senior Director for APAC and Regional Director for DACH

Avigilon appoints Senior Director for APAC and Regional Director for DACH

Editor / Provider: Avigilon | Updated: 10/23/2012 | Article type: Security 50

Avigilon, a provider for high-definition (HD and megapixel video surveillance) solutions, announced its further expansion into the growing surveillance markets of Asia Pacific and Northern Europe with the appointment of Randolph Oudemans, Senior Sales Director in Asia Pacific and Stefan Bange, Regional Sales Director in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, referred to as the DACH region.

“As a company we have reached a new milestone in our global expansion,” said Alexander Fernandes, President and CEO, Avigilon. “Asia Pacific and the DACH regions present significant potential for Avigilon.”

According to IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS, the video surveillance equipment market in Asia is projected to grow to over $10 billion by 2016. Its analysts are also projecting healthy growth for the market in the DACH region. The region consisting of Germany, Austria and Switzerland is forecast to almost double by 2016.

A veteran of security sales and business development, Randolph Oudemans will be responsible for the company's expansion into Asia. This will include strategic planning, building the local sales team and channel partners, as well as penetrating new markets within the region. Before joining Avigilon, Mr. Oudemans held senior sales and business development roles with Cisco's Physical Security business unit, Crockett International and Pelco by Schneider Electric.

An experienced security sales veteran, Stefan Bange will be responsible for managing our existing business, creating new sales growth and expanding the team in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Mr. Bange joins Avigilon from Advancis Software and Services, a PSIM manufacturer, where he served as director of international sales. During his tenure at Advancis, Bange increased international revenue by 400 percent.

Channel positive energy into ASEAN

Channel positive energy into ASEAN

Editor / Provider: Hayden Hsu | Updated: 9/12/2012 | Article type: Hot Topics

Compared to the other markets in the Southeast Asian region, Thailand's channel structure is rather mature. One can easily find capable master distributors/integrators that have a nationwide network of consultants, dealers and installers, serving respective cities or regions with different solutions tailored to specific project requirements. As the prospects of an integrated economic community emerge and become clearer, some are already looking to expand their reach over the borders and export their expertise to neighboring, underserved countries.

In Thailand, a rapid transition from employing guards or guarding services to deploying electronic security systems, due to drastic rises in minimum wages (from an average of around US$600 per bilingual guard per month to $835), can be easily palpated, said Henny Beeber, CEO and CTO of AES Group. “A timely example would be the ongoing metro system expansions (purple, red and blue lines); the construction sites now rely more on security electronics for 24/7 monitoring than posting guards.”

Traditional guarding services have also evolved, due to increased competition. “Security services, and providers of such, in Thailand have come a long way,” said Vallop Kingchansilp, CEO and President of Guts Group. “Back in the 1980s, there were only foreign companies (such as Chubb and Secom) operating locally. We started as a guarding services company with less than 100 people, and have grown to be a force of more than 15,000 (thanks to assistance and support from our friends at Certis Cisco in Singapore), encompassing guards, personal protection and investigation teams, and system distribution, integration and installation. We expect to double our revenue from systems in the next five years. Our target verticals would be the ones where we are already strong with our physical presence, such as industrial and military sites. Spurred by legally mandated increases in guards' minimum wages, we will see a rapid switch to electronic security systems and solutions in these and other sectors.”

In Thai security, the business culture is such that relationships between local partners and local governments or users are valued most, stressed Suwich Chitkasemsuk, MD of Digitalcom. “Other than the three southern provinces that are experiencing social unrest and are directly monitored (via thousands of cameras) by the central government, solution providers or distributors are advised to foster and build rapport with individual provincial governors, city mayors and managers, police chiefs and local system integrators/installers/resellers. To facilitate proper channel development and communication, the Thai Security Association (TSA) was founded in April, of which we are one of the founding members.” The key mission of the TSA is to bridge all the gaps, through face-to-face events like seminars and road shows, among solution providers, channel partners, large users/buyers and academia.

Just like doing business in other sizable countries like the U.S., China and India, there is no one company in Thailand that can cover the entire geography alone. Various collaborative or business development models are thus adopted. “As a master distributor of Axis, Milestone and many other brands, we actively work with hundreds of dealers, resellers and integrators throughout the country, to compete in city surveillance, traffic/transportation, border crossing and commercial/enterprise projects,” Chitkasemsuk said.

National Reach, Targeted Approach
Having a national presence is pivotal, especially when many solution providers are moving toward system- and service-based models, Kingchansilp said. “Our four monitoring stations and 10 solid dealers throughout the country put us ahead of our competition (consisting of more than 2,500 security distribution, integration, installation and consultation companies). City surveillance is a national directive, and we, together with our partners, will focus on the increased funding in the north, northeast and south.”

When Smartcomputer started the distribution operation 14 years ago, no one would have thought that the Thai security market would get this big, shared Kittichai Samittiwuttikul, President of Smartcomputer Group (SMC). “Now, we have two separate teams, analog systems and IP solutions, servicing different clients with varied requirements. The IP team was formed three years ago, to cater to increasing market demand and to demystify that network-based security technology was too costly, too difficult to install and configure, and too cumbersome for operators or end users to handle.” IP shipments today account for 15 to 20 percent of SMC's sales revenue, of which government projects make up about 40 percent; it has been a significant rise from less than 10 percent three years ago.

Another IP-focused distributor agreed. “Over the last two years, growth in the adoption of IP-based security technology has been phenomenal; for example, one of the brands that we represent, Vivotek, has experienced 400-percent local sales growth, particularly in government projects (city surveillance, transportation, buildings), retail and department stores, and manufacturing and commercial sites,” said Sakchai Somsuk, MD of TSolutions. “To properly service and sustain this growth, we have a dedicated system integration team, offering training demos/courses and project design and commissioning support.” Affordable, easy-to-install/use systems and customizations fit for specific vertical markets are also offered.

In Thailand, where network infrastructure is shaky in most parts of the country, having an IT/IP background definitely helps. “When Advance Integrated Technology (AIT) was established in 1993, the company started as an IT system integrator, providing customized hardware, software, solutions and services,” said Nisakorn Charintharawuti, MD. “In 1997 as the Asian financial crisis hit, we shifted our focus to digital surveillance, working with Korean and Taiwanese DVR brands. One of the first prominent projects during the transition was a national bank with 600 branches, paving our way and reputation for the next 10 years. In 2009, global recession, fierce competition, low margins and heavy service loading pushed us to do something different. We began to focus on one brand, Mobotix, because of its pure IP approach and durable, reliable products. What Mobotix provides are turnkey solutions, not simple box cameras, so we took the time to educate the integrator and installer community on overall TCO and ROI through road shows.”

As the market matures and competition intensifies, change is in order. “The system integration market in Thailand was already a red sea, so we decided to focus on the distribution business, per agreement with Bosch Security Systems,” said Kritsada Phanbamrung, MD of CCTV Thailand. “In addition to the government, high-end hospitality and industrial sectors, we are beginning to serve mid-end hotels, banks, schools and retail shops with Bosch's new budget line (Advantage), both within greater Bangkok and the surrounding regions/provinces of the city.”

Another great example of transformation is Bangkok OA Coms. “We started in the 1970s, selling office automation products (hence the company name). About 15 years ago, we began to dabble in physical security, with Samsung Techwin cameras,” said Dej Churdsuwanrak, MD. “It was not easy selling the security surveillance concept and breaking into new market segments, so we approached hotels and condominiums with existing, old equipment (mostly European, American and Japanese brands) that were looking to replace or upgrade. Then came an opportunity for change; the Bank of Thailand issued a mandate requiring all commercial banks to install security cameras and systems. We won two projects, each with about 900 branches nationwide, and became known as a system integration specialist in physical, electronic security. The success stories helped Bangkok OA secure other prominent retail accounts with national presence, and the boost of extra cash flow also allowed the company to extend its reach into neighboring countries Laos, Vietnam and Bangladesh in 2000. Three years ago, another change came as Samsung restructured internally; we transformed from a system integrator to a value-added distributor, by providing even better project support, knowledge transfer and profit-sharing models. We will also be working closely with Vantech from Vietnam, to promote the brand throughout the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC, Thailand and Indonesia first). The partnership can even go beyond security, to other home appliances and electronics.”

Multitiered
To cater to a huge market like Thailand, sealing deals requires a multitiered approach, in both partnerships and solution offerings. “The key brands that we represent (such as AVTech, CNB, Dahua and Nuuo) ensure that we have the right solutions at the right price points for each market segment, from small residential to large city surveillance applications,” Samittiwuttikul said. “For example, there are currently more than 3,000 villages nationwide undergoing ‘safe town' projects, with an average financing package (from the central and municipal governments) of $30,000. This is just Phase 1, as Thailand strives to become the center of the AEC by 2015; the ultimate goal is to rid the country of drug problems, starting from schools and town centers, before and after the borders open up. We design various systems that are fit for different budget ranges to help our dealers (more than 600) compete in project bids. It is about having functional, manageable, reasonably priced system solutions.”

While Pacific Technology Distribution (PTD) is a pure distributor, it takes a system-based approach, offering the ammunitions (surveillance, access, intrusion, scans and fire safety, bundled in every way possible) that its integrators (about 100, medium-size) need to build relationships and win projects, said Phitsanu Tamphanuwat, MD. “For the government and financial sectors that we excel at, European, American and Japanese brands, such as Bosch, OnSSI, Panasonic (Sanyo) and UTC, are still preferred. We also have other ongoing industrial (factories and oil/gas), high-end retail and hotel, and residential projects.” Software and services are where Tamphanuwat sees the most growth and where the company will invest more resources in.

A friendly competitor, Digital Focus, agreed on the service approach. “We have been around for more than 10 years, and currently partner with more than 150 dealers nationwide,” said Somchai Prajaksoot, MD. “We also work with system integrators on financial, highway and military projects, and with three types of retail outlets (Fortune Town, Digital Gateway and CCTV Outlet) for direct sales. Multiple brands (for example, AVTech, Hikvision and Honeywell) and multiple channel partner types ensure our reach to every segment of the Thai market, as a true total solutions provider.” And being a pure distributor in this market is simply not enough; the company is looking to provide monitoring services through an in-house, ISO9000-certified central station.

As an integrated solution and service provider that recently merged with Tyco Thailand, Takachiho focuses on offering everything that its Japanese clients and Tyco's global accounts in the country would need, said Bussakorn Kaewmorakot, Security Business Manager at Takachiho Fire, Security & Services. “We have been around for about 17 years, so we know those needs and the key decision makers well. For the clientele that we serve, individual brands don't matter too much; it's about delivering the right overall solution and getting the best result (from both business and security operations) possible.”

Beyond Boundaries
AEC is a hot topic right now, and Thailand is preparing itself to be the center and propeller of it by 2015. “Two thirds of our revenue comes from system integration work (the rest being distribution) within the region, especially in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar,” Beeber said. “It definitely helps having long-standing, cross-border relationships. For example, Gallagher Group, one of our technology partners, introduced us to a building project in Cambodia, as it has had close ties with one of the decision makers for almost two decades (since his school days); the entire project was worth $150 million, almost the same as another embassy project we had in that country. We are also working closely with a number of multinational mechanical and electrical companies active throughout the region.”

Digitalcom is considering setting up joint ventures in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, to help the region advance with appropriate security technology, and is also looking into cloud offerings with the right infrastructure, telecom and camera partners, Chitkasemsuk said.

“Chinese brands have significant penetration rates in AEC, but we believe it's a very high-potential market that can fuel the emergence of local brands like Vantech,” Churdsuwanrak said. “We have the upper hand in local knowledge, connections and credibility. Thailand comes first, but the region is for us to grab and grow.”

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