To be able to compete in today's cutthroat environments requires much more than production prowess; R&D capabilities and experience are equally pivotal. “Hitron has been around for 30 years and understands perfectly that IP is not just about product sales; software development and training are equally, if not more, important,” Jung said. “Even with standards like the ONVIF, vendors still have their own interpretations and different development road maps. That's why public ‘plugfests' are needed, as a reality check to ensure that everyone understands and follows the specifications correctly, and Hitron is an active contributing member of the ONVIF.”
ITX started in 1998 and currently has more than 40 percent of its personnel dedicated to R&D. “After going public in 2009, we now own our own manufacturing facilities and can focus on fine-tuning smaller details like automatic bandwidth control and perfecting the balance among product functionality, reliability, quality and price,” Lee said.
For Innodep, “our R&D team is composed of senior engineers from the manufacturing community, with an average of eight to 10 years of product development experience under their belt, so it's really easy for us to communicate and get the ball rolling,” Joo said. “We were late coming into the ‘game,' but it allowed us to think deeper and clearer.”
During the recession, HDPRO managed to advance its material and component forecast system and started to adopt a multisupplier approach. “Our purchasing and material department has also been making a concerted effort to lower our BOM cost by leveraging our ever-expanding sales volume,” Kim said. “With increasingly fierce price competition, it is vital to make technology differentiation clear, through proper marketing promotion and company image maintenance.”
Price competition in the market is really tough. “We're trying to squeeze our production cost by improving
production and purchasing methods (with mass quantities and cash payments) and securing ICs in advance based on an early yearly production plan,” Han said.
With more than 60 percent of its personnel devoted to R&D, iCanTek is more than prepared in the competition against newcomers that offer products with merely acceptable specifications at very low prices. “The extensive experience and knowledge of IP ensure our system functionality, stability and quality,” Lee said. “Customization and support services also set us apart from the competition.”
In 2011, Sevo will be expanding its R&D team to continue to work on its remote client software and ONVIF-compliant network cameras, to be bundled with the HD hybrid DVR. “With unique product offerings and a competitive BOM cost advantage, the company is well-positioned to take on the Tier-1 titans,” Kim said.
Simplicity has also been highly demanded, given systems are getting larger and more complex. “As one of the top analog camera OEMs, C-Pro Electronics enjoyed 12 percent of growth in 2010, with huge orders and projects rushing in in the second half,” said Rhea Jang, Assistant Manager in Overseas Sales. “Needs for IP and ease of installation/use are on the rise; for example, we have a series that can accommodate multiple modules and allows for one-screwdriver installation and housing design.”
Product needs from new buildings are always changing; recent requirements included features such as ecofriendly, remote health care, 10-inch panels and Android interfaces, said Kim of Seoul Commtech. “Integrated functions — such as video door phones or intercoms on TV screens, door controls on remote controllers or cordless phones, and gas and utilities meters on intercoms — are in ever-increasing demand, especially for markets that are more receptive to newer technologies. We are also developing a multimedia kiosk with intercom and street lamp functions.”
This year, ITX will have a fuller range of megapixel cameras and recorders, hybrid DVRs and NVRs, to cater to IP and integration needs from newer buildings and installations. “In analog, we will have 650 TVLs and HDcctv ready,” Lee said.