Blog | September 17, 2013

What Smart VARs Know About Video Surveillance

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By Mike Monocello, editor-in-chief, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @monocello

BSM-IP Cameras Blue Sky

I’m excited! And, depending on your line card as a VAR/ integrator, you might be, too. For a couple years now, we’ve been writing about how IP video surveillance has reached a tipping point where the technology has improved and added capabilities which dramatically add value and ROI to an implementation. At the same time, the cost has been coming down.

Based on conversations with readers and interactions at recent trade shows, it seems like many VARs and integrators that have added IP video surveillance solutions to their portfolios are reaping the rewards. In this month’s issue of Business Solutions (on page 24), we interviewed Levy Acs, president and CTO of American Integrated Security Group (AISG). The company was founded just six years ago and does nothing but IP video surveillance. Last year, the company had $18 million in annual revenue. Acs is projecting to hit $27 million this year. For those of you struggling to grow or even to just tread water and stay flat, here’s a great example of how much opportunity is in this market.

In our August issue, we featured Cash Register Sales & Service (CRSS), a retail and restaurant VAR that’s doing quite well with its video surveillance add-on sales. Indeed, Susan Tutt, the company’s owner and cofounder said that 90 percent of CRSS’ liquor store customers and more than half of its restaurant customers are currently running the surveillance and security equipment the VAR sells. Imagine upselling 90 percent of your customers on a surveillance system. Wowsers!

“But IP cameras are too expensive!” you might say. This myth must be dispelled. If you still believe that, you really need to take an afternoon and do some research on a modern IP surveillance system. Here’s a head start. In this issue, we also included a product comparison of six 360-degree IP video cameras. This review is different from others we’ve done in the past because I knew some of you would need more of an explanation of the cameras’ capabilities. Turn to page 14 to learn what smart integrators already know — how these 360-degree cameras can be installed to replace four to six crummy old analog cameras. The capabilities and costs are staggering (in a great way). For instance, one of the lowest-priced cameras we reviewed, the Axis M3007-PV at $649 MSRP, also produced the best results image quality-wise.

If a bare bones install is all your customers need, the unit can save video directly to a 64 GB MicroSDXC card stored inside the camera. No need for a DVR. Oh, and the camera also ships with its free video management software. No need for that extra cost. Again, this is a basic setup, but very realistic and able to be upgraded when the time is right for your customers. So, that’s $649 for the camera, maybe another $50 for the SD card. Divide that by the six analog cameras you’re replacing, and you’re at a little more than $100 per camera. Now look at the benefits. You have a pure IP system at 5 MP of resolution. Your customers will actually have usable video footage in the event of loss. Once you’re on IP, the ability to view video remotely opens up as well. Not to mention all the analytics and fancy things you can do with the video that just layer on ROI to the install.

“But IP cameras are outside our area of expertise,” you also might say. Integrators like AISG are laser-focused on security and do it well. That doesn’t mean you can’t add security to your line card. Smart VARs hire someone with experience. Smart VARs work with their distributors to get training. Smart VARs find a camera manufacturer that will train and provide sales help. These resources are available, but you need to make the investment in time.

Don’t let your trusted advisor status be underused by not selling your customers all the technologies you could be. Smart VARs have learned that in today’s competitive world of IT sales and implementation, you need to be offering your customers total solutions, not holding to a line card from 10 years ago.

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