Products are irrelevant

September 2010 News

Regular readers will know we often harp on about convergence and integration. Our belief, based on customer input is that the old way of doing security in silos is on the way out and being replaced, if it has not already been replaced by integrated solutions. Moreover, the benefits of the Internet Protocol (IP) are obvious and this networking technology is quickly consuming market share; just take a look at the growth of IP or network cameras when compared to analogue sales.

The IT industry went through this cycle years ago when it was forced to stop selling products and start offering customers solutions. Today the IT industry is even further along and with cloud services becoming more realistic, it now offers customers services. Why install a big accounting system in-house when you can let someone else pay for the hardware and software, assume the responsibilities of constant maintenance of both, while you make use of the software remotely – as a service.

These services are all built on the back of an industry-wide adoption of standards, such as IP. And it is not always the best or most efficient technology that wins. And, of course, there are issues of data privacy incorporated in these services, but it seems that privacy is getting more airtime these days, but less respect.

The growth in remote monitoring services in the security industry echoes this move. As standards are adopted and customers are no longer interested in service provider A delivering a bunch of guards each morning while service provider B handles the perimeter, alarm and intrusion side of things and someone else doing the armed response service, we are seeing the security industry moving in the same direction.

Of course we will always need technology and products to work for us, but advances in technology will soon ensure that the top few products are pretty much the same except for the brand name. You can buy a Dell, HP or Acer PC these days and you get pretty much the same functionality and warranty from each. What makes the difference and will make the difference in the security world are the solutions you design for the customer.

It is the old cliché of having one number to call when something goes wrong and seeing the value in a solution or service, not just the cost of a grudge purchase. You will see traces of this growing phenomenon in various articles in this issue. I would like to hear what the various industry players think about the idea of solutions and services. Drop me a note at [email protected].

All the best, Terry

We recently carried a small article noting that Terry Scallan was not standing for re-election as chairman of SAIS. To end off this column, below is a note Terry sent to me thanking the industry for its support.

“To the Board of Governors, members and friends of the South African Institute of Security, I would like to thank you all for your friendship and support during my term of office as the chairman of the SAIS Board of Governors.”

We wish Terry all the best. The new chairman has his work cut out for him. My suggestion is that his first order of business is to increase the amount of red wine at SAIS lunches.

Andrew Seldon, Editor



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