Guest Column | September 25, 2013

Four Reasons Why Selling Physical Security Makes Sense

By Tom Burns, Director, Physical Security, Ingram Micro

Between cloud, mobile, and other technologies, there is so much disruption in the IT channel that many traditional resellers are overlooking the growing opportunities surrounding physical security and IP surveillance. The truth is, there’s more than meets the eye where security offerings are concerned today, and forward-looking resellers will find they can add a profitable new dimension to their businesses if they take a deeper look at the new realities shaping the market. With that in mind, here are four ways security technology is driving a valuable ROI for the channel:

  1. Security on Steroids. Today’s IP surveillance systems are so much more than a camera connected to a computer. The usability and security of these systems has improved immensely from the early days, and the video quality has increased exponentially as well. They are also offering new built-in features that enable users to eliminate steps when it comes to manipulating and sharing video content — such as capturing a screen shot and then emailing that image from within the security platform. On top of that, new analytics capabilities have made today’s IP surveillance systems much more valuable from a business standpoint. For example, they can be integrated into point of sale systems to provide insight into which end caps and displays are drawing the most interest over time in a retail setting — and which are being overlooked. And, they can be integrated with POS systems to help retail managers stem fraud by identifying employees who fail to drag products across the scanner to ring up a sale. Business can also use analytics to measure the flow of customer traffic and gain an understanding of peak operating hours, which facilitates the scheduling of employee hours, lunches and breaks. While these new, more intelligent security systems provide an opportunity for you to sell a higher-end solution to your customer — one equipped with both business analytics and security — don’t forget about the margin to be made with more advanced and emerging technologies. The fact is, your customers are most likely too bogged down with the day-to-day demands of their businesses to get the most out of today’s IP surveillance solutions. They need you to get it done, help them achieve their business goals, and plan for the future.  
  2. Broad-Based Horizontal Opportunity. IP surveillance and security solutions have made inroads into every facet of the market, from Fortune 100 firms to residential neighborhoods — and everything in between. There’s no limit to the sales opportunity and the vertical markets that are ripe for the taking including government, retail, education, small business, banking, and more. A reseller that takes the time to invest in a security products portfolio will have a nearly unlimited potential for sales if they gain the expertise required to understand the nuances of the technology.
  3. Natural Transition from Digital Signage. Resellers that already have knowledge and expertise in digital signage will find that security offers an excellent complementary offering. In fact, it operates in the reverse of digital signage: security systems capture video to expose what those in front of the camera are doing, while digital signage uses video to broadcast information out to an audience in order to influence their behavior. Both technologies make use of power sources, storage, and networking technologies. With so much synergy, it makes sense for most resellers to have both solutions in play. Ramping up from one area of expertise to the other isn’t overly complex, particularly for those with strong camera/video knowledge, which means the path to revenue and profits can be less complex as well.
  4. Upsell/Cross-Sell Opportunities. Speaking of complementary technologies, everyone knows that the challenge with video is its huge file size. When it travels across the network it can complicate and slow down processes, and when it comes to storing video, especially over time, hard drive space is quickly consumed. That opens the door for resellers to upgrade and enhance existing network infrastructure and sell more storage — either cloud or on-premise — especially to those customers for whom security solutions are integral to their business.

So if you think you know all there is to know about security systems, take another look. Today’s new IP surveillance solutions are opening the door to a broader base of opportunities and driving ROI for the channel like never before. 

Tom Burns is director of physical security for Ingram Micro and has spent more than 20 years in the distribution and retail channel, with most of those being in the technology industry.