Exhibitors at this year’s IFSEC are thinking outside the box in terms of how they communicate their value proposition and how they interface with customers. In the process, some are rethinking how big trade shows like IFSEC fit with their goals. Panasonic's approach to the 'race to the bottom' Thomas Lausten, MOBOTIX new CEO How Gallagher benefits from IFSEC without exhibiting Panasonic Systems Communications Europe Panasonic Systems Communications Europe is one of several companies emphasising solutions at IFSEC rather than products. In Panasonic's case, the approach helps to explain why the company doesn't have a traditional trade show stand. Instead, Panasonic opted to sponsor sessions in the security management education theatre on the show floor, and to host potential customers in a (quieter, cooler) meeting room upstairs. "We are inviting some of our key integrators for general business meetings in a relaxed environment, and offering two lunch-and-learn events about cybersecurity," says John Boyle, Panasonic's Country Manager for the UK and Ireland. There was standing-room only at the cybersecurity events, he adds. TBS specialises in 3D touchless biometrics and offers a full portfolio of fingerprint biometric technologies Compelling value proposition Trade shows seem historically to be about "here's our new box," Boyle observes. "We would rather talk to customers and channel partners about what issues they face, whether it's counting people or detecting scenes." Panasonic is creating solutions that combine their own technologies with third party partners filling in any gaps. "We are creating value propositions that we can take to integrators. They need a new story to tell their customers, not just a new box. Let's look at Panasonic's technology and how that adds value. If we have a compelling value proposition, we are giving our integrators an opportunity to get more business." Boyle acknowledges that the Panasonic approach is a way to bypass the price-focused "race to the bottom" that is lowering camera prices. "Pricing comes later if the value of a solution has already been established," he notes. Touchless Biometric Systems Philippe Niederhauser, Head of Sales and Marketing for Touchless Biometric Systems (TBS), Switzerland, is amazed at how many people come to IFSEC seemingly to browse around with little focus on what they need. "There are people who don't really know what they are looking for," he comments. "If I go to a trade show, I know exactly what I want." Niederhauser also sees some of his fellow exhibitors missing the boat in terms of marketing, tending to emphasise products rather than solutions. "Some people just put products out there, and they look similar; it is hard to differentiate," he says. "This is where you need to show a difference in products, and communicate the value proposition." TBS specialises in 3D touchless biometrics, and offers a full portfolio of fingerprint biometric technologies, also including 2D optical, 2D capacitative, and 2D multispectral systems. MOBOTIX keeps focus on technology A challenge in Thomas Lausten's new position is to communicate the advantages of MOBOTIX more effectively to the market Trends at this year's show are a big emphasis on cybersecurity, more integrated systems and applications that extend beyond the traditional definition of security, says Thomas Lausten, who just joined MOBOTIX as the new CEO. Cybersecurity is a strong suit of MOBOTIX, given the German video company's unique platform, an approach Lausten describes as "a computer with a lens." He says a challenge in his new position is to communicate the advantages of MOBOTIX more effectively to the market and to achieve the company's unrealised potential. "I don't see Mobotix as a traditional camera manufacturer," he says. "There is a fundamental difference between launching a camera and having a core philosophy as a company. I have been tasked with [managing] a company with a potential to be re-defined. Our mission is to develop a more open source company, although still an end-to-end solution, and a company that looks at the industry in a different way." He says the industry can expect new camera and software releases as MOBOTIX keeps its focus on technology. Quality communication through smaller events Gallagher, a New Zealand-based access control and perimeter security manufacturer, is an example of a company that seeks to benefit from IFSEC without exhibiting at the show. Steve Bell, Gallagher's Chief Technology Officer, travelled thousands of miles to the show for the networking opportunities, and Gallagher hosted a channel partner event in the evening, leveraging the fact that others have travelled to the show. "Trade shows are expensive outlays," says Bell. "For our strategy, we like more focused events, getting smaller groups together. Sometimes the big trade shows aren't focused enough. The people we might want to communicate with only have a short time, and it's a noisy environment. We don't have the quality communication we'd like to have. Smaller events provide more quality time." With manufacturers looking for new ways to engage with customers and build their businesses, the role of trade shows like IFSEC will, of necessity, continue to evolve.
Key security markets like city surveillance, banking & retail can book meetings directly with Panasonic at IFSEC 2017 Panasonic Business is set to launch a new direction for its European security business at IFSEC 2017, asking the industry to change how CCTV is perceived and procured. Use of ROI calculator Panasonic proprietary technology such as rain wash coating, dehumidification and smart coding technology reduce the overall cost of maintaining and operating CCTV technology. In order to place a value on this, the company has commissioned an ROI calculator, which it will present at IFSEC, which compares the lifetime cost of security cameras from leading manufacturers to determine which provides best long term value. The calculator examines the cost of data storage and transmission, maintenance and cleaning, the potential risks associated with poor cyber security as well as the revenue generative potential of people counting and age and gender recognition technology. Cyber security against data breaches “For a couple of years Panasonic has been talking about how its unique embedded camera technologies reduce the total cost of ownership,” said John Boyle, country manager for Panasonic UK. “In addition, our ability to offer end to end cyber security protects organisations against data breaches and prepares them for forthcoming changes to data protection law. So, the traditional approach of procuring on the cost of the camera doesn’t do us any favours and we need to change the way the market views the buying of security technology. This year at IFSEC, we want to initiate some new discussions with some system integration partners, who recognise that the cost of the box is only the start of the journey.” Consultative approach As a platform for exposure at IFSEC 2017, Panasonic have invested in exclusive sponsorship of the Security Management Theatre, at the same time as partnering with organisers UBM to provide a Panasonic branded meeting space. Through the IFSEC Meetings Service, key security markets such as city surveillance, banking and retail will be able to book meetings directly with Panasonic at the event. The company will also present seminar topics on cyber security, maintenance free city surveillance and smart compression technology across the event at London’s ExCeL Centre. “We want to take a more consultative approach. We want to understand the challenges that our SIs have and chat through how Panasonic’s uniquely wide technology portfolio can meet their increasingly complex needs,” added John Boyle.