Magazine Article | November 15, 2013

Leverage Your IP Expertise To Win Security Installs

By The Business Solutions Network

An IT integrator’s networking expertise helps it win a $280,000 IP video surveillance install with a K-12 school.

When the leadership at Netech Corp., a large network technology integrator, made a choice to extend its IP networking capabilities beyond its Cisco unified communications and collaboration practice to include a physical security business unit, some may have been surprised. After all, the $150 million integrator was already running a very successful practice. What drove Netech into physical security was simply recognizing that its customers’ physical security needs were very much tied to the IP networking expertise the company already possessed — and there weren’t many video surveillance companies that had this same expertise.

Although the process took several months to identify the right resources, including hiring physical security expert Rick Zimmerman as its director of physical security, Netech’s decision has paid off. Today, nearly 10 percent of the integrator’s now $225 million annual revenue comes from physical security sales. Equally impressive is the advantage Netech now has over competitors that lack IP networking expertise.

Analog Video Is Costly, Limiting
A recent case in point that illustrates this differentiator started as an RFP from a large K-12 school in the Indianapolis, IN, area that was looking to protect its students and facilities from harm, ranging from theft, vandalism, and bullying to fires and other worst-case scenarios. “The school already had an analog CCTV-based camera system in place, but it was outdated, and the system used in each building operated as a separate silo from the other nine facilities,” recalls Zimmerman. “For example, if school authorities wanted to view video footage captured in one of the buildings, they had to physically go to the specific building and view the video in a designated area.”

While one of Netech’s competitors responding to the same bid proposed an updated CCTV system that used proprietary video communication protocols, Netech had another idea in mind. “We had installed the school’s networking infrastructure a few years prior, and we knew that with minimal upgrades to their network it could accommodate an IP video surveillance system,” says Zimmerman. “We also recommended that they use an open standards system, which would not only be less expensive than a proprietary system, it would also give them more flexibility with selecting the components for the system, and it would expand the overall capabilities of the system.”

The Winning IP Video Bid Enables Project Expansion, Greater Functionality
Within a month of submitting the bid for the school video surveillance project, Netech discovered it won the project, and that its $280,000 proposal came in quite a bit under the school’s allocated budget. “After meeting with the school administrators, and further discussing the scope of the project, we helped them expand their plans to include 50 additional cameras throughout their 10 facilities, which enabled greater coverage.”

The solution Netech sold and installed for the Indianapolis school included 250 Sony DH110T and DH260 IP cameras that the integrator had preconfigured by its value-added distributor ScanSource Security. “This decision shaved a few weeks off the implementation time by allowing our technicians to simply hang the cameras, connect them, and turn them on,” says Zimmerman. “We also sold and installed two video storage appliances from OnSSI, which included video management software [VMS] and 25 TB of storage.”

The IP-based system offers the school significant advantages compared to its legacy analog-based system. For example, school administrators are no longer restricted to viewing video footage from the building where the video is captured. In fact, the cameras can even be accessed and viewed remotely using a secure log-in via a tablet or smartphone. “This is much more practical in an emergency situation, where you want to be able to hand first responders mobile devices showing live footage within the school facility, so that they can more quickly and easily make informed decisions about how to best protect the students,” says Zimmerman.

Not only is this win another confirmation to Netech that its decision to move into physical security was a wise choice, it has had other benefits. “Besides the fact that this school serves as a good reference for physical security opportunities with other schools, it’s gratifying knowing that we’re able to provide solutions that are less expensive than many of our competitors while, at the same time, offering a solution with greater functionality,” says Zimmerman.