Cube cameras garner major support from service providers
Editor / Provider: Editorial Department, a&s International | Updated: 2/25/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics
Having the advantage of bundling home surveillance with other services they provide to homeowners, service providers are slowly gaining market share through cube cameras.
Externally, cube cameras appear to be similar, if not identical, to DIY cameras; yet, they are capable of performing the duties of professional surveillance cameras at a much more affordable price, as well as in a much more discreet manner. “Cube cameras are more like consumer commodity, which is very susceptible to prices. SMB or residential markets are price sensitive to cube cameras, and they always seek low-cost solutions,” added Ervin Wang, Sales Director of Messoa Technologies. For regular homeowners or owners of small-to-medium businesses (SMB), they want to have the option of increasing security without breaking the bank.
As much as price is an important factor to customers, price is equally important to manufacturers. “Bear this in mind, manufacturers can well balance the product price and performance by optimizing the cost control, product manufacturing, logistics, and sales channel,” stated Adler Wu, IPC Product Marketing Manager at Hikvision Digital Technology. For service providers, they are able to shift the weight of product cost to their services to balance things out. “On the other side, take cloud service as an example, the product cost can be allocated as a monthly service charge. The focus here has been transferred to service rather than product price itself.”
Different Channels, Different Requirements
Cube cameras are based on IP infrastructures so having sufficient network knowledge is vital, since most end users will likely encounter obstacles when configuring their cameras. “IT-based distributors that we target offer a completely different customer base from the traditional video surveillance distributors or installers, so this is something we certainly benefit from. Also with their IT background, they require less training and could help their customers better with their IT knowledge,” said Wang.
Aside from regular or IT-based distributors and systems integrators, service providers are now becoming major channels for cube cameras as well, since these compact devices can be easily supplied to their clients with minimum hassle.
Service Providers Become Major Players
Service providers, especially communication service providers, are now becoming major channel players as they are able to combine home security, home automation, and home energy management into one integrated service for their clients. To provide such a complete package, some requirements that service providers look for when selecting cube cameras include efficient image compression technology to ensure smooth video quality on mobile surveillance; excellent integration with platforms of end devices; easy installation and configuration for cost-effectiveness. “Considering the limited network bandwidth, efficient image compression technology is able to ensure good image quality without consuming excessive bandwidth and also to ensure smooth monitoring on mobile devices. Also, considering that cube cameras might be connected to different types of recorders with different video management software at the back end, having an excellent integration with existing platforms is important,” explained Steve Ma, Executive VP at VIVOTEK.
Service providers also take a different approach in terms of business strategy compared to manufacturers and distributors, who focus primarily on selling just the hardware. Due to the nature of how service providers operate, it is important they find a suitable supplier. “In general, telecom service providers and security service providers seek profit by charging monthly fees rather than selling products. Accordingly, they take video surveillance equipment as an extra service but not their main business. Their target is mostly the public consumers, which means ‘easy to use' should be the number one consideration for products. Due to the many different platforms or IT infrastructure they use, the products' compatibility, reliable R&D capability, and credible manufacturing image delivery are some crucial factors for them to choose their preferable video surveillance manufacturer,” added Wu from Hikvision.
For the majority of the population, smartphones and tablets are essential to their daily activities. These days, almost everyone who has a smartphone is addicted to their phones, since virtually any task can be completed with that smart little gadget in the palm of their hands. Hence, it makes sense that users want to be able to view their videos remotely from their surveillance cameras. Therefore, apps are also a major requirement for service providers. “For people who want to install security cameras at their homes or business, being able to see live video at all times is probably more important than just simply recording video. So it's all about real time. That's why the mobile phone app is a must as it provides remote live views for those who want to check on what's happening from time to time, especially when they are away. Another requirement to meet would be event management, which allows users to get informed of the event immediately as it happens,” said Wang.
Cloudy Days Ahead
In this world of rapidly advancing technology, cloud solution is quickly becoming a major demand, especially for service providers. “They always require a cloud solution, to promote it together with their broadband internet offerings, where they sometimes give the camera away for free, but charge a monthly subscription fee,” said Shau-Chau You, VP of Zavio. Some manufacturers will also offer training for their systems integrators and have a professional FAE team on hand to solve the problem for customers, according to John Wu, Sales VP at Hunt Electronic.
“Moreover, the emerging cloud service technology provides a totally new application mode for manufacturers to target end users. This service presents a bright prospect even though many challenges lie ahead. However, manufacturers still need to deploy market strategies firstly – to provide both products and service platform, or simply offer product but work together with the third-party partner to provide service platform,” stated Wu from Hikvision.
With a select package from the service providers, users only have to pay a certain monthly fee to monitor their surroundings. If they encounter any problems with their service or equipment, a simple phone call to the service providers will ensure the problems are fixed.
Taking a Different Route
Not only are cube cameras breaking barriers and establishing a presence in the market, they are also causing a shift in traditional distribution channels. Employing a slightly different strategy, cube cameras are distributed more through service providers as its major channel instead of through IT-based distributors or systems integrators. Also, service providers have a customer base that is more likely to be comprised of users from the residential and SMB sectors as opposed to the traditional channels. Now that cloud services are becoming increasingly common, it will surely drive the adoption of cube cameras. As users from the residential and SMB sectors are even more unlikely to have the network knowledge needed for IP-based cameras, it is much more convenient when all they need to do is pay a monthly service fee for service providers to install cameras in their homes or stores and fix any bugs that the system is likely to encounter over time.