Wholesale electronic security distributors are the Johnny Appleseeds of the industry — spreading products like seeds to dealers and integrators to plant in their customers’ homes and buildings that help those businesses grow.
But it does not stop there; in fact, in many ways it’s just the spouting process. To greatly increase the likelihood of cultivating a bumper crop of successful solutions, those suppliers dig deep and rain down value-add services and support.
In short, they make the path to raking in profits an easier road to hoe. SSI interviewed representatives from eight such distributors.
Participants plowing through five crucial questions were:
Access Hardware Supply Vice President Sales and Operations John Ream
The Systems Depot Vice President of Sales & Marketing Mike Burrell
Ingram Micro Physical Security Category Strategist, Security Business Unit Dave McClary
ADI Global Distribution Vice President of Global Marketing Marco Cardazzi
JLM Wholesale Graphics/Marketing Coordinator Ana Alvarez
Jenne Vice President of Vendor Management and Marketing Patrick Howard
PowerHouse Alliance Executive Director Dennis Holzer
ScanSource Networking & Security Senior Vice President Christie Hamberis
Harvest their takes on the hottest products and opportunities, market challenges, relationship building and how their companies more effectively help their customers work the field. No tractor or overalls required.
What are your three hottest product categories and products, and what is stimulating the interest?
Patrick Howard: Within security, the hottest product categories are 4K IP video surveillance, analytics and Cloud solutions. For 4K, it is the fact that poor video is useless video. Many of our partners’ deployments are in occurrence-based environments. After an event, the end user will only pull video when it is needed, and the quality of that video will determine the amount of time it will take to resolve a situation or problem.
Analytics is simply striving to get more from the security solution. If the IP cameras can perform additional functions, and provide useful data, it enhances the ROI of the deployment. Finally, Cloud solutions can help with network efficiency, storage capabilities, accessibility of video and remote monitoring.
David McClary: The hottest product categories are video surveillance, physical access control and identity and access management [IAM] solutions. Within those the hottest products are high resolution, PoE, minidome surveillance cameras, and 13.56MHz access control credentials and readers. Advances in AI video analytics continually expand the range of applications for high resolution surveillance cameras, driving sales into a much more diverse range of applications.
Access control end users are increasingly aware of the danger of credential cloning and the necessity to encrypt communications between it and the card reader. The IAM market is growing rapidly, given the need for strong authentication of those requesting access to network resources. In nearly every security application, convenience and security are opposing forces. IAM, on the other hand, simplifies the customer experience as it protects against the most likely cause of a data breach — a compromised user-name/password.
Dennis Holzer: Our top three product categories are networking, security and commercial products. The residential and commercial areas are being taken over by the capabilities of wireless options and with that comes the need for a strong and reliable network. And, in order to have a strong network, you must have reliable networking products. The other categories fall into place.
Marco Cardazzi: We continue to see generous growth in all our product categories. Our video surveillance business is still a top growth driver for the company and continues to outpace our competitors. We have also seen consistent substantial growth in the pro A/V and smart home categories since adding them to our product offering earlier this year. Being the industry’s preferred one-stop shop has helped our dealers grow their businesses while allowing ADI to see growth that is overtaking the market in all the categories we sell.
According to ScanSource Security, its large inventory and centralized logistics enable timely delivery nationwide to dealers/integrators or jobsites. The company claims a 99.87% shipping accuracy rate.
John Ream: The three hottest categories and products are wireless locks, Sargent IN120 and Schlage AD, NDE and LE Series); access control, Vanderbilt ACP365; and low energy operators, Norton 5800 ADA EZ. The interest comes from the continuing need to satisfy security on existing buildings, meet ADA codes, and provide simple and secure access control management.
Ana Alvarez: Three hottest product categories are locking devices, including electric strikes, exit devices, electrified locksets and mortise locks; egress devices; and access control systems. We offer the latest and greatest in each category and stock the biggest name brands. Our sales team also serves as technical experts that can provide the best advice and support when using these products.
Mike Burrell: CCTV is by far the fastest growing and most competitive category currently. There are so many good manufacturers producing high quality products at very low cost. HD video over coax is what is fueling a lot of this growth. The evolution of this technology in the past few years is astounding. What’s stimulating the interest is the simplicity of installation and the ability to utilize existing coaxial cabling.
This allows a customer to upgrade a client from analog cameras to as high as 5MP cameras with little effort and cost for the dealer and his client. In past few years, we went from 720p to 5MP cameras and I can only envision even more growth in the market as the technology advances.
Christie Hamberis: Increased interest in the cybersecurity category can be attributed to the continued hacking of personal information. The physical security industry is beginning to respond more quickly than it had. Many physical security manufacturers are talking more about cybersecurity and providing hardening guides for increasing the overall security of their product.
Some manufacturers are even partnering with well-known cybersecurity companies to increase protection of their product. Analytics is not a new topic, but ISC West seemed to showcase a lot of new solutions in this area. There seems to be a trend toward more deep learning analytics, which includes anything from advanced facial recognition, detecting riots, humans throwing objects, and other specific behaviors. Some new solutions encompass tracking metadata, such as gender, hair length, clothing, size, etc. One manufacturer even has an analytic that can detect driver fatigue and distraction.
The applications are wide-spread and not just limited to security anymore. Multisensor cameras are, again, not a new topic, but we are starting to see more and more varieties of this that include moveable lenses, motorized zoom, integrated IR, etc. There is interest in being able to reduce the total camera count for applications where large areas need to be covered, while still maintaining high quality and the ability to have IR for night viewing.
What is a product area or market security dealers/integrators should focus more on and why?
Holzer: Networking products and how to install a proper network in both the residential and commercial spaces. Too often integrators feel they understand what it takes to install a good network, when in fact there are a lot of ins and outs they need to be educated on to become a true expert. It is a challenging product category to learn but definitely necessary as an installer today.
Burrell: Access control is starting to evolve as the CCTV market did the past few years. More and more manufacturers are starting to develop products as part of their offering. Dealers not offering access control should take a hard look at it. If done correctly, this can be an additional RMR stream and growth in income.
Cardazzi: Smart home is an ever-growing market, and dealers will need to be well versed in all areas of it. ADI provides smart home and automation offerings from Honeywell, Nest, Ring, Skybell, Arlo, August Home, Yale, Schlage, Kwikset, Rachio, and more. In commercial applications, focus on addressing the customer’s connectivity, networking and A/V needs for the building. The end goal is to gain more share of the end user’s wallet.
Ream: Wireless locks and mobile credentials allow flexible deployment and ease of credential management. Mobile credentials provide convenience and are less likely to be forgotten or lost.
Hamberis: Due to market changes and pressures, security dealers/integrators should be focused more on services. Offering solutions as a service and other value-add services on a monthly basis gives them recurring, projectable revenues while delivering an OpEx consumption model to the end user.
Howard: Data networking, as it is typically not the cameras that fail but the network the cameras are running on. As we deploy more 4K, run additional analytics and enhance remote access, the security integrator must understand and ensure smooth traffic across the customer’s network and adequate storage capabilities.