Has the electronic security industry ever had to operate through more challenging times? The pandemic has created stresses and strains throughout the supply chain, with system integrators, distributors and manufacturers all having to adapt the way they operate, to ensure colleagues, as well as customers, are kept safe.
We asked, Gordon Morrison, GB Sales Director for the Tyco branded access control and video surveillance brands, how his division of Johnson Controls has fared since the initial lockdown was introduced.
Q: Gordon, how have the restrictions caused by COVID-19 impacted on the ability of you and your sales colleagues to help system integrators generate new sales opportunities?
A: Although we are able to capitalise on some amazing products and technology, the electronic security industry has traditionally been a ‘people business’. Meeting system integrators, as well as consultants, distribution partners, system designers and other third-party influencers in person, has traditionally been regarded as the best way to maintain close working relationships and establish mutual respect.
Sadly, the pandemic has severely restricted our ability to meet anyone face-to-face, but we have instead taken full advantage of video conferencing platforms, such as Microsoft Teams, Skype and Zoom, to regularly ‘meet’ with our customers and business contacts to discuss sales opportunities, remotely demonstrate products and deliver training.
As many other companies have no doubt found, this way of working has proved to be surprisingly productive. Working from home means less travelling and more time available therefore, to support customers, albeit remotely.
Q: Some manufacturers have introduced products which specifically address the need for businesses to operate safely in our new normal world. Has Johnson Controls been successful in this way?
A: Yes, very much so, but equally important, our product management teams have also been looking beyond the immediate priority of helping prevent the spread of contamination.
Over recent months, we have continued to introduce a steady stream of new products and upgrades across our entire range of Tyco brands, including for example, specialist video analytics. These solutions are designed to assist businesses keep one step ahead of criminals, (who despite COVID-19 have not gone into retirement!), as well as capture business intelligence to help identify opportunities to improve productivity.
During the next few weeks, we will be implementing a marketing campaign to raise the profile of Cloudvue, the Johnson Controls Cloud subscription service.
Powered and protected by Microsoft Azure and the Tyco Cyber Protection Product Security Program, Cloudvue enables system integrators to capitalise on the increasing demand for VSaaS, which according to market research experts, Marketsandmarkets, is predicted to grow from $ 2.2 billion in 2020, to $4.7 billion by 2025.
We believe system integrators will be pleasantly surprised to discover how Cloudvue provides the opportunity to match, if not exceed, the margins normally achieved from supplying, installing and maintaining recording and storage hardware, without incurring the costs of doing so.
We have also accelerated our programme of infusing Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the Johnson Control’s Tyco security product’s portfolio. Tyco AI is an ever-evolving deep learning technology. The integration, for example, of Tyco AI with exacqVision 20.09 and victor 5.6 video recording and management software, has facilitated the development of a face mask detection solution which assists businesses to operate safely and comply with government regulations.
Q: What other solutions have you introduced to prevent the spread of contamination?
A: There are perhaps too many to describe in this article, but the Tyco Illustra Pro EST dual image camera, which generates an alert if the skin temperature of a person being scanned is above normal, certainly deserves a mention.
Although not intended to diagnose any medical condition or illness, the combination of a 5-megapixel video surveillance camera and a thermal imaging camera supported by External Temperature Reference Source (ETRS) calibration technology, enables the Pro EST with a high degree of accuracy to identify people with a higher than expected temperature. It is therefore able to act as a first-line filter for businesses and organisations to identify if colleagues, contractors, customers or visitors might have a fever.
Illustra Insight Intelligent Frictionless Access
Illustra Insight also stands out as an access control solution which is truly hands-free and yet provides users with a reliable and robust way of controlling and visually verifying who has access to restricted areas.
Engineered with Tyco AI and deep learning algorithms, Illustra Insight capitalises on the innovative features of a high definition camera which has been equipped with leading-edge facial recognition technology and has been seamlessly integrated with CEM Systems AC2000, Software House C·CURE 9000 security and third-party access control, event and security software platforms.
As such, Illustra Insight is designed to create an unobtrusive, frictionless and totally hygienic way of enabling large numbers of authorised people to enter an area without coming into contact with door furniture.
Q: With the UK yet again in lockdown, are you having to lower your expectations in terms of future sales success?
A: We have learnt during varied lockdown situations that our customers require our assistance even more. They are relying on our supply chain to deliver our formidable product line-up, as well as the ability of our team to listen to their modified requirements and adapt our solutions to suit. It has been key to continuing to offer industry leading levels of pre and post-sales support.
We have not therefore lowered our expectations in terms of future sales success and I am confident, based on previous experience, that we will be able to prosper both during and after the COVID-19 era. As for many other companies, it has not been easy. However, our focused strategic approach and the close working relationships we have with our partners, has delivered for all.
My confidence is shared by Johnson Controls senior management who have demonstrated their support by enabling us to make a significant investment in a new state-of-the-art showroom at our Letchworth facilities.
The new showroom, which will be equipped with hands-on interactive displays of all our latest generation of electronic safety and security solutions, will provide us with the opportunity to demonstrate how a wide range of access control and video surveillance products and software can be seamlessly integrated.
We are looking forward to welcoming consultants, system designers, system integrators and our distribution partners to the new showroom, which has been designed with social distancing in mind, when it is officially opened at the beginning of 2021.