Mike Tennent is CEO of Tavcom which in 2014 is celebrating 20 years as the leading provider of security systems training. Mike is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. He is also a board member of the Association of Security Consultants (ASC), a member of both ASIS and The Security Institute, as well as technical consultant for the CCTV User Group.
In this article Mike encourages installation companies and system integrators to invest in training for their sales teams in order for them to capitalise on the growing demand for Video over IP systems by being able to speak the language of network managers.
“I spoke recently to a security manager friend of mine about his opinion on the latest advances in IP Network based video surveillance technology and whether they could justify a replacement of an existing analogue system that might be in good working order, particularly at a time when there is a squeeze on capital budget expenditure.
“As expected my friend understood the many and varied benefits of a Video over IP system. He was confident that he could make the business case for making the switch from analogue to an IP Network based video surveillance solution but saw the challenge of persuading his company’s network manager to cooperate as the main barrier to change, rather than the cost of doing so. IT/Network managers are understandably apprehensive about anything being added to a company’s network which may interfere with the transmission of important data that could be crucial to the smooth operation of a business.
“The lowest common denominator in solving this problem is likely to be the sales person representing the installation company. If they are not trained to talk the language of network managers, regardless of whether we are talking about sharing an existing network or creating a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or a totally dedicated network for the video surveillance system, they are likely to encounter ‘don’t even think about it’ resistance. Although experienced and confident in all matters analogue, a salesperson is less likely to pull a proposal out of their briefcase if they have previously been torn to shreds by a network manager who understandably wants to question the impact of video streaming over the network.
“Large projects are more often than not subject to a specification/tendering process, where perhaps a consultant has laid down the basis of which a Video over IP system will or will not work with an existing network, but for the small to medium size projects it is likely to be the sales person who will have a major influence on whether the end-user will be persuaded they have nothing to fear. They therefore need to speak the language of network managers. Many of the UK’s installation companies have invested by way of employing sales and pre-sales support technicians who already ‘speak the language’, e.g. Cisco trained/ certificated.
“There is however good news for smaller installation companies who want to equip their existing sales team with the ability to quell the fears of network managers. Many of the leading manufacturers of video surveillance equipment now provide training courses which address some of the key issues relating to the design of an IP network based solution, whilst at Tavcom we have recently announced the upgrade of our training centre. We have set out our new CCTV training facilities to make it easy to educate installers on how to extend the life of an existing analogue system by introducing hybrid solutions, whilst starting on the process of migrating to a Video over IP solution.
“Warning signs and opportunities Traditional installers of security systems have been warned of the need to embrace IP network based products and technologies ever since the ‘cloud’ became available to the security industry as an alternative method of transmitting video.
“It was prophesised that the consequences of not doing so was that the door would be opened to competition in the form of network installers who already understood such diverse issues such as VLANs, router protocols, IP addressing, subnets and port address translation, and who did not fear taking on board the knowledge needed to design, specify and install access control and video surveillance systems.
“To some extent the prophesy has been fulfilled in that a small number of network system integrators have been successful in winning significant contracts to install video surveillance solutions. The door however is still wide open for installers emanating from the traditional electronic security industry to take advantage of the huge opportunity to capitalise on the growing demand for network based integrated security solutions.”
Tavcom Training’s 2014 Prospectus can be viewed online at www.tavcom.com, whilst a printed copy is available upon request: email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Prospectus provides information on over 70 accredited classroom and distance learning online courses including which collectively cover a diverse range of subjects including CCTV system planning, CCTV Installation, CCTV Repair & Maintenance, Video over IP, Control Room Management and a specific course in respect of the Operational Requirement.
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