Helping channel partners get the most from IP based CCTV systems

March 2, 2011

CCTV channel interview with A&S International feature concering how Controlware can help CCTV installers and integrators get the most out of IP systems.

Q1. In what capacity do you work with traditional installers specializing in analogue technology? How do you complement each other?

Controlware: Due to our experience and skill set with IP video built up over the last 15 years we can offer the missing knowledge or support that the traditional analogue installer doesn’t have – This could be system design, commissioning, hardware sourcing (switches, servers etc.) or maintenance.

 

Q2. What are the usual problem areas (such as technology integration and installation techniques), and how do you solve them? How are compromises made?

Controlware: The usual problems are either around migration and leveraging legacy equipment and correspondingly any proprietary issues that might be faced such as telemetry or integrating hybrid systems.  The compromise is usually to either to have a managed migration plan that may involve additional hardware on a temporary basis or to accept reduced functionality for a period.

 

Q3. Has there been any case/project where it was simply easier to go all analog or all IP? Did you? Why or why not?

Controlware: We are currently rolling out a project for process control / improvement with a utilities company where, due to their IP VPN, it was easier to implement IP as all the WAN transmission infrastructure was already in place.  Therefore we could save costs and still improve remote site functionality and Health and Safety.

 

Q4. What can traditional installers do to better learn the IP/IT language?

Controlware: If installers wish to learn more about IP / IT then they should work with a trusted partner who has experience in IP and can help them develop their skills by working closely on projects and can then continue to help them in future opportunities through improved pre / post sales support.  This type of relationship is core to the Controlware partnership ethos.

 

Q5. What are you doing to better learn the analog/installation language?

Controlware: We understand the challenges that our installer partners face and we have a good knowledge basis on analogue implementation through undertaking industry recognized training but as we see IP as the future we don’t feel the need to invest heavily in this area.

 

Q6. What training programs are offered by manufacturers? What training programs are offered by IP/IT specialists like you?

Controlware: One of the challenges with manufacturer led training is that they are very product specific to that manufacturer whereas what the industry needs is wider IP / IT training on system design and networking such as switching technology, server specification or operating systems.  Within the Controlware group of companies we have a dedicated training organization called ExperTeach to provide exactly this missing link to our partners.

 

Q7. Is there any other support available, from manufacturers and from you?

Controlware: Most manufacturers can help with system design but again this tends to be limited to their own products and misses components like servers or switching or integration with legacy equipment.  Controlware are able to supply a complete consultancy, design and implementation service to what level the integrator requires.

 

Q8. How is effectiveness measured — number of new customers?

Controlware: This is difficult to measure – What I think you are seeing is different types of engineers coming through which allows traditional installers to bid on more and more IP based projects.  This in turn is opening up more business to them in different areas / verticals.

 

Q9. What is the working dynamics like between your company and the manufacturer partners when it comes to after-sales customer service/maintenance/troubleshooting of integrated, IP-based systems?

Controlware: We are able to provide 1st, 2nd and even 3rd line technical support as we understand IP completely and test / train all our pre / post sales engineers on all the products we supply and additional training on software and networking qualifications and undertake a lot of testing and systems approvals before signing over a project.  This is backed up by a full test and evaluation lab where we can fault find in the event of issues being highlighted by our integrators.

 

Q10. What issues can your company handle on itself, and what issues get referred back to the manufacturer partners?

Controlware: Due to the high level of training, test equipment and experience we can handle most problems ourselves and only refer back issues with things like firmware / software faults or clearly faulty hardware.  Most times we are able to give these manufacturer partners detailed feedback on the issues such as how and when the fault occurs and can be replicated, additional logging information or isolation testing to be able to eliminate other factors.

 

Q11. For customers who have come to adopt IP-based security products, what were the top three driving forces?

Controlware: I would say the drive is improved functionality and reliability, IP being seen as the technology of the future (increased deployment of structured cabling, remote communications etc.) and not having to rely on proprietary equipment.

 

Q12. How was the higher cost justified? How was ROI proved or improved?

Controlware: While the item to item cost maybe higher IP based systems have been shown to have a lower TCO than analogue and also RoI is shown through higher uptimes, greater resilience / redundancy and improved functionality and flexibility in deployment.

 

Q13. Among your customers, what verticals lean more toward using IP-based security equipment?

Controlware: Education is a key adopter of IP as they tend to be more forward looking but we are seeing more and more utility suppliers and infrastructure partners looking at IP as they upgrade networks and also Healthcare are looking more and more at IP.

 

Q14. Any specific vertical(s) that your company wishes to break into with networked security products? Why?

Controlware: Retail is always of interest due to the size of the estate and deploy base.  I also think that, with proper planning and implementation, that IP has a lot to offer in both legal compliance, health and safety and marketing as well as traditional security.

 

Q15. What are some issues that need to be addressed in order for networked security products to gain further traction and adoption?

Controlware: The knowledge base is a key point both in the installer base and system specifiers as is the entry price point of IP in certain areas.  Recording platforms / hardware also needs to be reviewed to make IP easier to adopt for both end users and the installers.

 

Q16. Any other anecdotal success stories? For the geographical markets/regions that you are active in (please identify which), what kind of growth in IP-based security systems are you expecting for 2011?

Controlware: We expect to see good growth in IP through 2011 but it is difficult to put an exact number on it due to the challenging global conditions in different regions.  What we are seeing, however, is not only a migration of traditional security to IP but also projects around process control and health and safety compliance – IP fits these types of installations due to their flexibility and reduced TCO costs as they are easier to install, integrate with existing infrastructure and provide far better redundancy options and these arguments can be carried back into the traditional installation base.

If you are interested in becoming a Controlware channel partner sign up here.

 

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The security industry and CCTV surveillance systems need standards

November 25, 2009

Mike Tolley, Principal Consultant at Cogent (fm) Solutions, looks at the issues that concern the CCTV industry. Today Mike argues the need for standards.

I still believe that there are huge amounts of good business to be had, but it is all too often like an old western out there on the streets. Sales companies are fighting to the death and, ultimately, it will lead to the death of their companies.

The surge of cheap CCTV products being offered, are being lapped up by the cheap CCTV installers and it is killing the industry.

The margin is reduced in sales, so the service cannot be offered; engineers are not trained and maintained, vetted or provided with the right tools. And the real loser in all of this is the end user … they get a cheap CCTV system by a cheap CCTV installer who cannot provide the service and back up to support the system.

There should be a specification of minimum standards of equipment adopted by the industry and its regulators. This will assist the un-knowing end user in getting a level playing field based on service and competitive pricing. You can buy CCTV cameras from some distributors for as low as £25. You cannot tell me there is any quality standards of manufacturing that have gone into that product.

Installation companies that wish to be accredited by SSAIB / NSI should sign up to this and fit only equipment that meets these minimum standards. Installers should be made to erect the correct DPA (Data Protection Act) signage and provide a DPA policy with every system. Compliance packs are readily available so it should be part of the system.

Too many end users still don’t know that CCTV is covered by the DPA. Maintenance policies must be taken out with every installation. It can’t be left as an option to be taken out later; it is stated within the DPA rules on CCTV. To be sold, all products must have a detailed specification sheet, not on a pretty picture and a made up specification.

Do you agree with Mike? Let us know what you think below.

For more comment and insight about CCTV  click here to read CCTV articles.