Security 50 Annual Summit: Convergence in 2012
Jill Lai | Date:
Going IP is a clear trend in security. In Asia, the migration from analog to IP is just about to take off. More new solutions, services and business models are being introduced to the market, which inevitably bring more opportunities as well as challenges. For the first time, a&s International planned and organized the Annual Security 50 Summit at Secutech 2012 in Taipei from April 18 to 20, where top solution providers, including Axis Communications, Bosch Security Systems, Fermax, Honeywell Security, Milestone Systems and Verint Systems, had a roundtable discussion on convergence, market drivers and innovative ways to overcome business hurdles. At the summit, seasoned panelists shared their experience, viewpoints and modus operandi in further advancing the security industry. Here is a summary of the event highlights.
Fan Look, VP of North Asia, Axis Communications
James Feng, Mid Segment Product Marketing, Business Leader in China and Director for APAC at Honeywell Security
Kenneth Tsang, Director of R&D and Product Marketing, Video Intelligence Solutions of Verint Systems
Koen Rommel, VP of Sales for the China Region, Bosch Security Systems
Mads Bo Frederiksen, Director of Sales and Marketing for Asia, Milestone Systems
Wilson Teo, MD of APAC at Fermax
Education is Key
Education for Market Awareness
Axis and Milestone originally came from the IT industry. Axis invented their first IP cameras in 1996 and Milestone was founded in 1998 to be an open platform VMS provider. Verint was founded in 1994, with Actionable Intelligence solutions. These companies have advocated the advantages of IP solutions in security industry for a quite while. They provide education to help their partners and the security market bridge the technological gap from analogue to IP.
Dr. Kenneth Tsang, Director of R&D and Product Marketing, Video Intelligence Solutions of Verint Systems, pointed out “The CCTV platform is not open. With the introduction of IP technology, we are able to create an open platform now, which makes a great difference between CCTV and IP. We spent time educating our partners and the market what IP is. Now, we also would like to call attention to the situational management for the flood of information nowadays, and how IP solutions could support you to make a quick decision on large amounts of information from a variety of systems and sources.”
“Lacking enough education is the biggest barrier to the technology migration in the market. In North Asia, we spent much more time educating the market why IP cameras are better than analogue cameras. Now, we often talk about why Axis products are better than others. As one of the global leading IP camera manufacturers, we quite focus on the education toward our partners, end customers, consultants and the market as a whole,” said Fan Look, Vice President of North Asia, Axis Communications.
Education to Get IP Competitive
For the traditional security solution providers, the challenges come from not only the market awareness but also how they acquire the IP knowledge and mindset to adapt to the IP trend. Bosch has well developed their complete IP product lines ranging from video surveillance, access control to intrusion alarm and fire by recruiting new staff with IT background. Koen Rommel, Vice President of Sales, Bosch Security Systems, China also stressed that they had overcame the gap and acquired the full knowledge of IP through the training programs toward their internal (R&D) teams and sales teams. After that, they are able to focus on education toward their customers, system integrators and end-users. The 2nd phase of their training focus will be more about management software--how to adopt open standards to make their products easy to be integrated with and compatible for other security devices.
Honeywell Security Group acquired their IP technology around 2005 to 2006. Again, James Feng, mid segment product marketing director APAC and mid-segment business leader China of Honeywell Security Group, mentioned about the importance of their multi-education program-- towards internal employees and also partners. The multi-education helps their partners know not only what IP is but front-end transmission, storage, large screen display as well as security system integration technologies. Besides, they also focus on how to co-work with their partners to succeed in market space with the IP integrated solution.
Feng said they would ask their partners to understand what customers really need first, which proves to be more likely to generate results when customer needs are taken into full consideration. Honeywell would not just emphasize the advantage of IP but tend to give their partners the full knowledge about what system could be most suitable for them—analogue, hybrid or IP. “We should really understand our customers and help fix their problems along the way.”
Global Presence with a Local Touch
The more converged the market gets, the more technical supports the customers need from you. Multi-national companies may win with the global resources and knowledge, but may be weak at building the local networks. Delivering the right products and services to the specific market should be key. To fulfill specific needs for markets, Milestone regularly congregates regional partners from different countries to understand their actual demands and problems locally and then adapt their local sales and marketing strategies to special markets. “Every country is different. Compared to European and US markets, Asia has more high-rising residential projects and asks for more new functions in the products. The conventional system could not fulfill this demand. Fermax, with its core business in intercom, developed a new IP-based intercom, able to integrate with home automation systems, in just one single panel, which will be the real value added for Asia,” said Wilson Teo, Managing Director of Fermax Asia Pacific.
A multi-national company with global coverage and leadership can easily leverage their experience in the matured markets, such as the US, to Asia. “We should pick and choose the right content from the global to the local markets. Our local team also speaks the local language to meet our client's requirements,” said Look.
Localization is also the ability for customization. In addition to choosing the local languages used in local marketing materials, software and training, the level of customization directly reflects the ability for integration too, pointed out by Dr. Tsang. “We should make sure if we could provide the right and compatible vertical solutions for local vertical market sectors,” added Rommel. “When the client comes to us, we never say no. We have to fulfill every end-user's requirements. With the open platform, our local teams can respond fast locally to deliver the right solutions for our local clients,” continued Dr. Tsang.
Honeywell concluded that in order to serve better our local customers, the company needs to “be locally competitive” as a team--including sales, R&D, marketing and technical support as well as customer service teams—close to local customers, listen to the voice of customers and drive speed-to-market of innovative new products and solutions.
Addressing the Needs for End Users
The converged security market attracts more new players from IT industry. Security suppliers also quite welcome all the new partners from both IT and security fields. How well can the companies implement IP technology in security industry and how soon can they deliver the right products and services to their customers should always be considered before the sales. For system integrators, it is important to understand end-users' needs. Through education and training, system integrators can learn how to address their problems and fulfill their needs by the right technology. That would be the foundation for the long-term relationship with customers.
“The future for security is definitely IP. It is important to catch up with this trend and be well prepared for the IP future. Whatever you prepare for, you need to prepare for your end users. During the transitional time, you have to stay on the same page with your customers and end-users. You have to understand more about the existing situation of your customers and their future operation plan to keep the same pace with them. Therefore, you should not only serve your customers on single project base, but instead you need to build the long-term relationship with your customers,” Feng concluded.