Self-Assessment: Are You Ready To Sell IP Security?
By Mike Monocello, editor in chief, Business Solutions magazine.
First, a little questionnaire. Check any boxes that apply to your business and then read on.
- Do you currently sell and install networks for your customers?
- Do you currently sell and install point of sale (POS) solutions to retailers or restaurants?
- Do you currently sell and install VoIP (voice over IP) solutions?
- Are you looking for a higher-margin solution to sell?
- Are you interested in upselling your existing customers?
If you checked any of the above boxes, it might be time for you to consider this exciting technology segment. Here’s why in a nutshell. In the past, video surveillance and access control solutions were analog, but now things are shifting to digital (IP). The traditional sales channels for analog solutions are the alarm and security dealers out there who pretty much just stick to security. With the advent and adoption of IP (see IMS Research’s findings on the next page), the potential sales channel opens up dramatically to include people like you who read Business Solutions magazine.
If you are a networking integrator, you’re in a great position to begin selling IP security because you understand complex networking concepts like virtual LANs, segmenting, throttling and shaping traffic, etc. Additionally, you kind of hold the keys to the network and already have existing relationships with your customers. Essentially, you’re a trusted advisor entrusted with the backbone of your customer’s IT system. Traditional security dealers are not and will need to get you involved if they sell your customers the latest IP security solutions. Why let someone else win this business?
If you’re a POS VAR, I hope you already have a good idea of how your customers can use video surveillance. There’s a good chance you’ve been passing potential business on to a local security dealer for years or helping a local dealer integrate their video with your customers’ POS. Stop today! The latest IP solutions are pretty easy to set up (see my article “An Idiot’s Experience With IP Video” at www. bsminfo.com), and your customers already trust you with their most important business system — the POS. Just as you are well-positioned to be selling credit card processing to your customers, you’re also well-positioned to be selling and installing video. Additionally, the latest video solutions can do some pretty amazing things for your customers (e.g. access video via smartphones, people counting, age and gender identification). In short, video isn’t just for loss prevention anymore. Get your imagination going, and start putting video, digital signage, and POS together to create truly dynamic solutions that your competition cannot.
If you sell and install VoIP solutions, you already have many of the networking skills necessary for IP security. Cameras sitting on the edge of a network are no different from IP phones sitting on the edge of a network. Also, many of the same things you need to do to ensure good call quality will directly translate to IP video. Chances are, you’re already selling some form of video conferencing. Security is only a short step away.
In all of the above instances, your first security sale might be closer than you think. I speak to readers on a weekly basis who are just completing their first installs. Thus far, I’ve seen two primary methods of entry into this space: Either hire someone with security know-how, or partner with a vendor who’s got a good education program. While I can’t speak for how long it might take you to make a good hire, I can tell you that from people I’ve spoken with who’ve gone through the training — and from my own experiences in tinkering with IP cameras — your first install of these technologies could be measured in a couple of months.
If I’ve even slightly piqued your interest, I urge you to read on. For the second year, we’ve compiled a great collection of advice from leading vendors in this space to help get you started. As always, if you have any questions that aren’t addressed in this supplement, feel free to get in touch with me, and I’ll do my best to find the answer for you.