The Integrator of the Future is No Integrator

Published Feb 11, 2010 00:00 AM
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That security integrators will get better at IT is simultaneously boring and misses the point. It is boring because it's both obvious and the continuation of a multi-decade process. It misses the point because the real disruption will come from low skilled installers combining with managed/hosted video to marginalize traditional IT and security integrators. We think this is a decade long process and will only gradually happen. However, we think this is the most powerful force at work for the integration industry.

For the case of better stronger, more IT focused, security integrators, read SSN's editorial on 'the integrator of the future' that talks about integrators doing "everything from product installation to software development to policy consulting"

We disagree. While a small number of integrators will pursue this route for the highest end of the market, the real future (and risk) lies in integrators being disrupted and eliminated by those using managed/hosted video.

Signaling this trend is Envysion's disclosure in a recent SSN article that, "Envysion is largely making sales directly to the end user." While they also note that Envysion is beginning to employ channel partners, the design of a managed/hosted solution makes the provider much less dependent on integrators.

Managed/hosted video solutions eliminate the need for (1) configuring DVRs/NVRs/VMS on-site, (2) configuring IP cameras on-site, (3) establishing remote access to video surveillance equipment, (3) setting up or maintaining centralized servers, (4) having the integrator update the system or user settings. The main thing an installer needs to do is (a) know where to put the cameras, (b) focus the cameras, (3) cabling the cameras. On small sites (especially those with the same layouts - think Quick Serve Restaurants or apparel stores - this can be planned out, 'kitted' and performed by non-security integrators with minimal IT skills.

We do not think the sky is falling. However, we believe this will put continuous and growing pressure on the low to mid end of the market making it much harder for many smaller or 'traditional' security integrators to be profitable. 

While security integrators can 'join' this trend and offer managed services, we believe this will further strip them of their competitive advantage as larger companies that specialize in mass installation can likely do this at a lower cost and larger scale.

If you are concerned about the future of integration, focus on the impact of managed/hosted video.