This week finds me in Ft. Lauderdale, FL for IP camera manufacturer Mobotix' national partner conference. Yesterday was loaded with networking opportunities, giving me a chance to speak with security integrators about the challenges and opportunities that they face on a daily basis. At the end of the day, one conversation about IP video really stood out.
I asked one integrator how stiff the competition was from traditional analog dealers in their area who hadn't shifted to IP camera technology. The integrator sort of chuckled and explained that, generally speaking, dealers with analog backgrounds have trouble wrapping their minds around IP technology and all that can be done with the cameras. "You can tell if a dealer is analog-focused just by looking at their web site," she explained. "An analog dealer site typically just lists the cameras they sell, along with the associated specs." How do integrators selling IP cameras differ? "Integrators who know IP cameras know that today's cameras can be used for so much more than video surveillance. Rather than just listing models, integrator web sites typically talk about solutions and the ways IP cameras can be connected to other systems and be used to accomplish unique tasks." At the recently held ISC West, the physical industry's largest trade show, I was shown countless examples of really cool IP video implementations that went far beyond simple surveillance.
So, here's the lesson: don't think of IP cameras as just more expensive (than analog) surveillance. Rather, today's IP cameras are just another tool in your bag of tricks to solve a customer's problem. But, you know what? To say "just another tool" is to sell IP cameras short. The fact is, today's cameras can do amazing things. Things the manufacturers didn't even dream of when they were making the products. It's the open-mindedness and problem-solving ability of integrator's that's driving the exciting changes taking place in this industry.
Truly, the sky is the limit when it comes to creative uses for IP cameras to solve customer problems. If you're running your business the way it should, building solutions for your customers and solving their problems is job #1. If you aren't currently including IP cameras in your solution set, you're doing you customers -- and your bottom line -- a huge disservice.