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When IP Continues to Boom, Education Converges Channels

Source: Jill Lai | Date: 04/12/2012

- Partners should have the knowledge or skill set to support network solution. Otherwise, it might result in low-margin business.
- The product should be carefully designed to simplify installation, which eases the learning curves for distribution partners.
-The better the network skill and knowledge of the integrator/installer, the more successful is the implementation of the project.

IP continues to boom, and channels will be affected, as more try to understand IP and join the movement. Over these years, we can clearly see the migration from analogue to IP-based technology. It also affects the product's distributing channel. Traditional security distributors take on network equipment product lines and hiring in expertise in network field. Traditional network distributors are taking in security product lines and expertise.

Network video channels have been tricky to navigate in recent years, as traditional distributors may not understand IP issues. IT resellers may know about networking, but lack security experience. Training and education are continued efforts for the convergence of security and IT channels.

All about IP
Professional networking know-how is the key. Partners should have the knowledge or skill set to support network solution. Otherwise, it might result in low-margin business. Take IP cameras. “Sales Revenues of IP cameras have overtaken analogue cameras. However, analogue cameras still win by the sales quantity. Analogue product sells like a consumer product, which always exists in the low-end and price-sensitive markets. The existing routes of selling analogue products are likely to need to undergo certain changes in the future in order to stand out from the routes of selling IP-based products,” said William Ku, Director of Brand Business Division of Vivotek.

Product Design to Simplify Installation
The product should be carefully designed to simplify installation, which eases the learning curves for distribution partners. “The security installations of end customers should be at the cutting edge,” is highlighted by Ray Mauritsson, CEO, Axis Communications. To bridge the technology gap between analogue and IP takes continued investment of R&D and also partners with different expertise, by strategic alliance and corporate acquisitions. “Avigilon is different than most companies. We are a technology company with security expertise. Working directly with our partners to design systems help fill knowledge gaps. Since our staff wears both hats, technology and security expertise, we're able to pass on that knowledge to resellers and end-users so they have a system that captures the highest quality images with low bandwidth and storage,” said Alexander Fernandes, CEO of Avigilon.

Tailored Training Program
Now some traditional security players pick up IP knowledge very fast. In the market, they are seeing the convergence of IP and traditional security sales channels due to the continued training and education. Axis started its partner training program in 2005 and more than 25,000 participants have been trained. “Apart from offering a base choice of programs and an advanced choice, Axis can tailor training programs for larger customer segments, among others. During 2012, strong focus is being placed on offering more diversified training programs that meet the new needs in the market,” said Mauritsson.

“The better the network skill and knowledge of the integrator/installer, the more successful is the implementation of the project. - This is something we have often observed in the past. And, precisely because network (IT) skills seem to be especially crucial in delivering successful projects, we have added special training courses in this field to those we offer at our Geutebruck Academy,” said Katharina Geutebruck, CEO, Geutebruck.

Value Selling
Some companies started to focus on in-depth training toward IP technology and how it turns to business value. Milestone together with Connex International, Inc., to create a visionary training initiative for the company's global network of authorized partners: an in-depth course on Value Selling. It makes up the ‘backbone' of knowledge that is important for understanding both the IT and traditional physical security perspectives. “Attendees learn how to apply Value Selling practices by going through real-world sales situations so they can create consistency in the sales process, to develop a sales/coaching culture and to model sales skills that bring success,” Lars Thinggaard, CEO, Milestone Systems.

“Milestone sees more ‘green fields' or brand-new implementation projects – those being built from the ground up for new sites, new buildings or wings – choosing to go all IP with open platforms and comprehensive features. They are putting in the latest in IT networks and understand the value of distributed architecture with central management and remote/mobile access flexibility, standard equipment (as opposed to proprietary) cost efficiency, and future-proof scalability with integrations to other systems.”

Overall IP-based Security Solution Benefits
IndigoVision has seen a huge leap forward in the knowledge and understanding of IP amongst their partners and end users over the past few years. “In the early days we had to train our partners in basic IP and networking. Nowadays, successful partners will have a strong relationship with a network provider who will advise them on network design for specific tenders. Many of our top partners have such networking expertise in house, for example having Cisco qualified members of staff. Previously our sales team would spend significant effort explaining the general benefits of IP before going on to the specific benefits of our solution. Today we can begin the sales process at a much higher level focusing on security benefits. The need, costs and benefits, of a suitable network is understood by the customer,” Marcus Kneen, CEO, IndigoVision.

Avigilon also highlights benefits IT resellers and customers get when using Avigilon solutions.“Our training and education efforts are focused on the benefits IT resellers and customers' get when using Avigilon's solutions. As an industry-leader in high-definition video surveillance we provide free education through formalized training programs, webinars, support documentation and writing articles in industry magazines. This helps our partners and distributors gain networking knowledge and facilitate conversations with IT departments when planning security projects,” said Fernandes.

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