Business & Marketing
Three customer requirements that can be satisfied with IP
There are plenty of great training programs throughout our industry on how to install IP surveillance systems. But there seems to be one training aspect that’s harder to find: how to sell IP surveillance.
I am often asked for tips on selling IP. It’s a good question as everyone assumes that you need different skills for selling this emerging technology. But the fact of the matter is, selling is selling.
If you can uncover a customer’s known (and unknown) needs, it’s easy to craft a solution they will believe in. There are three specific areas that can be uncovered in the investigative part of the sales call that will compel the customer to choose an all digital solution for their camera system. I say “camera” system instead of surveillance because, in today’s network video world, we are really selling customers on what they can do with an extra pair of eyes (cameras).
Redundancy (business interruption proof)
If your customer is very concerned or even slightly concerned about a failsafe system, it’s actually to your advantage to specify an all IP surveillance system. It is easier to provide full power redundancy to your entire security system with IP. Since the network is the lifeblood of most companies, routers, switches and servers already exist in safe environments and, with best practices, are attached to UPS (uninterrupted power supply) systems. With PoE being possible for almost all network cameras, you can provide full power redundancy to the camera itself — something that isn’t done with analogue. During a power outage, an end user is most vulnerable and network cameras are perfectly suited to be up all the time with a UPS.
A second option, cloud-based recording, enables the video to be stored in multiple places as well as offsite. What is the first thing a criminal does when robbing a store? They grab or destroy the DVR or other recording device. Not only will there be no onsite device to steal, using cloud computing with the right video hosting partner means that the data centre housing your critical information has multiple Internet vendor feeds, UPS, power generators, and very strict physical security and access.
Additionally, data can be easily recorded in multiple areas at the same time thanks to the IP feature of multi-streaming. In the rare event of a network failure, you can program the video to be stored directly on the camera’s SD card. This information can be linked back to the rest of the metadata once the network is restored.
In short, network video can be accessed via a secure Web browser even if its recording device is down. With an analogue system, your entire security system is down if the DVR fails.
Your end-user client may not know that camera systems can be used for more than just security or safety. Retail is one vertical that has discovered multiple uses for surveillance across different departments within the company.
Retailers are using camera systems to assist the loss prevention department, the marketing department, and even inventory and stocking departments. In this case, it makes a sales person’s job a bit easier in pitching solutions with higher price tags as the total cost can be borne across several departments — which is a great selling point since many companies tend to scrimp on LP management when looking to cut costs.
While using cameras for loss prevention is pretty obvious, you might be surprised how marketing departments can utilize surveillance video. Traditionally, in order to protect and maintain their brands, companies will send out marketing “investigators” to ensure that store layouts and promotions are consistent across all stores. This is so when you walk into one store in B.C., it looks exactly like the store in Prince Edward Island. By utilizing an IP system, the marketing team can ensure, for instance, that their Halloween display is consistent across the county from the comfort of their head office.
Retail departments responsible for inventory or store layouts can ensure that the shelves are properly stocked while recording traffic patterns with IP surveillance systems that utilize analytics. These metrics can help a retailer save money and increase sales, which in turn helps defray the costs of the system and makes it easier for LP departments to keep their systems state of the art.
Retailers aren’t the only ones using cross-department functionality. Campus environments can use IP surveillance video data to open a new parking garage when another becomes full. Amusement parks and public spaces can use it for people counting to avoid crowd problems. Even schools can use the cameras for distance learning.
Many corporate IT departments have complete control on what is put on their network and in their data centre. You may hit roadblocks when suggesting a proprietary analogue system or even an IP system if your recorder hardware is not compatible with the IT department’s requirements. We all know people who love Linux, Apple or Windows, and the same applies with IT department’s standardization on certain hardware platforms. In my experience, if your hardware is not the same brand as their preferred hardware, the door is virtually closed on that sale. With an open IP-based solution, you can load the recording software onto their server brand of choice.
Stay tuned in for future articles on selling tips for IP surveillance. In the meantime, happy, successful selling.
Robert Moore is Canadian country manager, Axis Communications