UK Security Market(2-2): Hot and crowded

UK Security Market(2-2): Hot and crowded

The UK security market carries some special features; the most notorious is its large number of legacy analog systems. In addition, bearing the consideration over extra cost of re-cabling and labor, complexity of different projects, and requirement toward high quality, UK customers naturally take extra caution in making purchases and adopting new technologies, such as IP. Over the years, the IP adoption speed has picked up dramatically for a country with high resistance to IP; however, it is still comparatively slower than the US, Middle Eastern, and Scandinavian regions. According to different vendors' comments, the ratio of analog to IP installation in the U.K. is around 50-to-50 or 40-to-60. Steve Carney, Director of Video Product Line Management at Tyco Security Products, dissected the IP growth momentum and said, “The price of IP security products has become more challenging over the past 12 months. It pushes the higher-end IP market to generate more values, such as embracing more intelligent video and mobility in security systems. It also helps stimulate the traditional, cost-driven, analog market (such as the U.K.) to adopt more IP.“

Fully Supports Different Technologies
In a country with widespread legacy systems, companies in the U.K. pay extra attention to developing different technologies, such as encoders/ switchers or hybrid systems to fulfill the requirements for fusing analog and IP systems together. Gerard Otterspeer, Regional Marketing Manager of Video Systems for EMEA at Bosch Security Systems, suggested, “The U.K. has a large base of legacy systems. So, there is always a need to make sure if your systems are able to integrate with legacy systems. We feel that the UK market is going IP quite fast; roughly, 60 percent of our projects here use IP. When providing the IP products here, we also have to ensure they connect with other analog systems too.” In addition, “It is very important to have full product portfolios to support the large legacy market. We do have a wide range of products, such as encoders, and also HD hybrid cameras supporting IP and analog,” he highlighted.

This was also echoed by Axis. Andres Vigren, Product Manager for Axis Communications said, “The U.K. has a history of analog. We are coming from IT. It is very important to have a complete portfolio also including encoders and media converters, to make sure that customers can easily upgrade from analog to IP. Media converters are easy to deploy which you can still keep your coaxial cables.”

Looking to another group of companies, they bring a different statement in appropriate solutions to this market by highlighting the major benefits of using hybrid systems. Carney said, “We have heavily invested in the migration solutions, particularly hybrid solutions that employ a mix of analog and IP technology. I think the encoder market has disappointed some people in some aspects since it costs more for hardware and software for further upgrade. Some people expect encoders could be the transition point, but I would say the transition actually begins with hybrid NVRs and DVRs.” He further explained, “Tyco's American Dynamics and Exacq hybrid NVRs have IP and analog inputs. So, just because in the future the customer fully upgrades to IP, the processing power remains the same whether the device is handling analog or IP video."

March Networks also focused on hybrid NVRs, Stefano Torri, European Sales Director at March Networks said, “Inside the hybrid NVR is a box of encoders, so you can connect it with IP cameras and of course support analog. It is one well set-up alliance, embedded with video management software and added in video analytics. We develop our own video analytics, which we called ‘business intelligence.' We provide a very strong video analytics and value-added software for transaction integration with POS and ATM systems, particularly for big commercial, retail, and banking sector.”

End-to-End Solutions to cater to SIs
Due to the aforementioned considerations of UK customers and extra cost over installation, companies usually have to cater to what systems integrators really need and also bring more added values. Therefore, the total cost of ownership (TCO), return on investment (ROI), and ease of installation are most often evaluated when selecting products and designing systems.

The number of companies who provide end-to-end solutions rise in the market to further ensure systems have seamless compatibility and interoperability. Andrew Myung, Director of Strategy & Planning Team for Global Business Division at IDIS emphasized, “To optimize the values of total video surveillance solutions, education to customers is very important. The obvious example is especially when the retail customers have chain stores around the country; it carries extra time and cost to upgrade their systems within all their branches. Therefore, what we propose is the simplicity of IP systems with the idea of ‘plug-and-play,' which is very similar to the old, analog systems. Since what we provide is a very wide, end-to-end product line, the hefty increase of installation and maintenance time, labor and difficulties can largely be alleviated.” In the U.K., brand awareness and quality are important. What is worth noticing is IDIS, well-known in the OEM business for a long while, spent a very short timeframe preparation to complete its full IP video product lines and market its own brands in the U.K. and other European regions. This year, it has already launched 4K cameras, NVRs, and also monitors.

Full Video & Access Control
Integration to Simplify Work for SIs Solution providers are also working on developing integrated systems. Avigilon, another end-to-end solutions provider, this year, further demonstrated its integrated access control platform, which is able to manage an alarm from access control and video in one single platform. “Our most recent version of access control software includes the introduction of an appliance, which is an ideal solution for up to 32 readers, to address the physical security needs of small to mediumsized sites. It simplifies security with a cost-effective, all-in-one appliance,” said Ian Povey, Director of Product Marketing and Product Management for Avigilon, in a press release.

Carney continued, “Tyco also invested very heavily in integration of our video and access control systems. Both of our video and access control now are able to be integrated into one single platform, which we see as being a requirement for the middle to high-end market. These integrated solutions can better manage the work flow and cost, and provide better service.”

Since the UK market is quite crowded, companies are looking for more added values to differentiate their security systems. Meanwhile, end users no longer want standalone products but integrated solutions from a single company. Andrew Dicken, GM of System Solutions Group of Panasonic System Communications Company Europe said, “The market trend we have seen over the past five years across the EU, not just the UK, is a move toward integrated systems. Panasonic's System Solutions Group has engineering teams working globally on projects that integrate numerous products with proprietary or third party software and total security technologies.”

On the manufacturers' side, forming partnerships over technologies or strategic alliances is a common approach to develop integrated solutions. Panasonic's entrance into the European access control market is a very obvious example. To become a total solution provider, Panasonic Europe expanded its access control product line by forming a strategic alliance with Bravida Fire & Security, a leading access control and intruder alarm company based in Scandinavia. Dicken commented, “Through this strategic alliance, Bravida is able to use Panasonic's video surveillance and fire platform, and Panasonic uses Bravida's access control and intruder platform. Two companies are forming an alliance, a synergy of two major brands in Europe. We are designing products together and also are integration partners. Besides, we are able to share the market intelligence as well as engineering and sales resources.”

Third-party Partnership Calls for Open Platform
To cater to what systems integrators and end users need, some companies work on third-party integration and partnerships. Peter Ainsworth, Head of Product & Marketing at Samsung Techwin Europe said, “What we are highlighting this year is the processing power of our latest DSP chipset that is incorporated into our latest generation of video surveillance cameras is such that we can offer customers complete freedom and flexibility to choose the edge based video analytics App, which best matches their individual requirements. The DSP chipset has the ability to run multiple applications simultaneously and so, in addition to utilizing video analytics for security or business intelligence purposes, customers have the option to run a wide range of other types of Apps such as, for example, cloud storage.”

Another example is PSIM, which benefits most large enterprises, is able to integrate more non-traditional security sensors into the solution to get more operational benefits and save money to increase ROI, according to Jamie Wilson, Marketing Manager of Security of EMEA at NICE Systems. One case is PSIM collocates with VMS in building management systems to control lights, ventilation systems, and lift management. The integration enables the data from other systems to come in PSIM.

Constructing Security ecosystems
Telling from the latest development in the UK security market, it won't work if companies just follow the traditional way to do security business. Even manufacturers need to leverage the strength from other manufacturers to create new business and markets, not to mention other channel players. We can expect in the future for many security ecosystems to be built up. Again, companies working hard in the U.K. provide valuable examples for other markets, too.

Related Article:
UK Security Market(2-1): Hot and crowded



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