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What's in manufacturers' partnerships for the end user?

Security customers increasingly prefer solutions over individual devices. This has prompted several manufacturers to enter into partnerships to expand their footprint. For distributors and systems integrators, this opens up an array of new opportunities, but perhaps the real benefit goes to the end users.  
 
The integrated solutions that are often products of successful partnership between manufacturers would, first and foremost, allow end users to achieve more value for their money. Larry Reed, CEO of ZKAccess, elaborated on this point as he cited the cases of his company’s tie-up with Delta Turnstiles and Imron.
 
“For ZKAccess/Delta customers, reduced capital budgets no longer prevent customers from affording reliable and stylish turnstiles,” Reed said. “For ZKAccess/Imron customers, the savings derived from lower hardware costs will allow customers to invest in other security projects which further safeguard their employees and business assets.”
 
Budget benefits aside, partnerships also present end users with more choices.
 
“By offering integrations with different card reader, intercom, video management, camera, and other types of companies, the end user has options to deploy a more comprehensive total security solution,” said David Ella, VP of Product Marketing at AMAG Technology. “For example, with the Salient Systems partnership, the end user benefits by receiving unprecedented security management and situational awareness.”

 “By offering integrations with different card reader, intercom, video management, camera, and other types of companies, the end user has options to deploy a more comprehensive total security solution.”

-David Ella, VP, Product Marketing, AMAG Technology.

But while these benefits do assist distributors attract end users, partnerships always pose a crucial question. What happens if the partners decide to break the tie-up? From a customer’s perspective, it is important that the products they invest in receive technical support throughout its life term. This means distributors and SIs should read the fine print that comes with a partnership.
 

Protecting the interests of the customer

While manufacturers would strive to ensure their partnerships last as long as possible, it is common to see them end due to various factors. Ella pointed out that in most partnerships that integrate security products, the individual products are serviced by the partner that made them, and hence a break in partnership does not necessarily mean problems for the customer. But difficulties arise when product upgrades come in.
 
“Problems can occur when product versions change causing integrations to ‘break,’” Ella said. “End users need to select products from manufacturers which have programs like AMAG’s Symmetry Preferred Partner Program which are designed to minimize the risk of these things happening.” The program certifies partners who meet the customers’ critical requirements.

 “Above and beyond any additional revenue, market share, or notoriety derived from partnering, the primary business asset of any manufacturer is their respective reputation.”

-Larry Reed, CEO of ZKAccess

Reed pointed out that given the company’s reputation at stake, partners would have to reach an agreement on this before deciding to close a venture.
 
“Above and beyond any additional revenue, market share, or notoriety derived from partnering, the primary business asset of any manufacturer is their respective reputation,” Reed said. “And the only way to ensure your reputation is maintained is by taking care of the customer. Customer loyalty is priority number one. So regardless how long the partnership remains in effect, both parties have a vested interest in keeping the customer happy. Product warranties and service contracts will not be at risk, although eventually an equitable agreement between the two manufacturers needs to be made.”
 
Other manufacturers suggest various options to solve this issue. Andy Shen, Channel Director for Global Market at Hikvision Digital Technology, said that products from his company are serviced by local agencies in various regions that operate as independent businesses. This ensures the products that are released as part of partnerships continue to receive warranty benefits and service even if a partnership ends. Vladimir Eremeev, Director of International Business at Ivideon said his company provides service for their customers, regardless of whether the product belongs to them or their partner. Adlan Hussain, VP of Marketing at CNL Software, said the company makes sure it does not have to deal with such a problem at all, as their partners are chosen carefully to ensure longevity and resilience. 
 

The trend of partnerships to continue

Most manufacturers believe that strategic partnerships are inevitable to succeed in today’s market. Reed said that his company continues to constantly analyze market requirements and if they come across demands that are beyond the company’s core competencies, they would look to new partnerships. Ella echoed similar thoughts, adding AMAG is already working with several new biometrics companies including manufacturers of face readers.
 
Companies like Dahua are looking ahead to new and emerging technologies, where they can leverage their expertise. Tim Shen, Marketing Director of Overseas Business Center at Dahua Technology indicated the company remains keen on partnerships where both partners can benefit, especially in fields like the Internet of Things (IoT), home automation, cloud solutions, etc. 
 
For distributors and SIs, it’s all good news. More partnerships among vendors promise more opportunities of extending better, cost-efficient solutions to the end users. And as the industry moves forward to newer technologies, this would help resellers cope with the changes in market requirements. 
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