Four ways to market and sell physical security systems

Access control and physical security sectors are on fire. According to a global market research, the physical security market will grow 30% (to almost $88B) by 2019, with North America and Europe leading the way.

At the same time, access control/physical security products are becoming more advanced, and are catching on among SMBs. VSR takes a deep-dive look at four of the hottest physical security technologies and offers tips on how to sell them.

Next-generation video surveillance

The migration from analog CCTV to IP-based video surveillance and access control systems brings heightened interest in high-definition (HD) and megapixel camera technology. The former comes in two flavors: HD 1080p and the new 4K Ultra HD. A full HD 1080p image measures 1080 rows high and 1920 columns wide; a 4K Ultra HD image about doubles these numbers.

Players in a wide vertical markets favor megapixel, HD and Ultra HD because the images they capture are extremely high resolution; “at least three times higher than with an analog CCTV camera,” notes John Bartolac, manager, vertical segments and government programs, Axis Communications ( 4K Ultra HD offers four times the resolution of HDTV 1080p.

Sales Strategies: Emphasize that, besides yielding very detailed images, these new cameras offer wider coverage than standard resolution equipment. Overcome cost objections by noting that, in most applications, customers will be able to meet better results with fewer network megapixel/HD units. 

Dave Poulin, director of business operations, security and evidence management for Panasonic System Communications ( says video surveillance in general can be easier to sell when positioned as the cornerstone of a multi-purpose solution. For instance, the concept of utilizing video cameras in each classroom not just to increase security, but also for teacher assessment and accreditation, and/or for learning purposes, has convinced K-12 school districts to invest in the technology.

The shift from CCTV to IP-based video surveillance systems also necessitates targeting prospective clients’ IT decision-makers, rather than security departments, to get in the door, adds Tony Sorrentino, president, ScanSource Security North America (

Also read: Beyond Security – Ways Video Surveillance Can Help Businesses »

Intelligent video and analytics

Intelligent video/video analytics solutions are gaining traction in multiple markets, especially retail, education (K-12 and secondary) and government/public sectors (everywhere from courthouses and prisons to entire cities). These solutions automatically do analyses of captured frames.

Applications include: video motion, audio and camera-tampering detection; people-counting, crowd detection, and crowd control; virtual fences; and vehicle license plate recognition. Many intelligent video systems can be configured to trigger alerts or alarms under specific circumstances, such as a breach of a virtual fence or entry into secured areas.

Some can also be set up to ignore different phenomena that would otherwise trigger a false alarm, as well as send remote messages to computers and hand-held devices in case of possible incidents or problems.

An emerging sub-category of intelligent video/video analytics is real-time forensics, where recorded images are analyzed and forensic feedback is instantly generated.

For example, if an intelligent surveillance system were to capture an image of a person breaking into a large warehouse, the analytics part would take into account certain characteristics and search for the individual in footage recorded throughout the entire facility.

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The person’s whereabouts could then be tracked minute-by-minute. Sources claim the government/public and transportation sectors are among the most promising audiences for real-time forensics, considering heightened fears of terrorism.


Sales Strategies:  Promote the ability of intelligent video/video analytics to add business value, advises Malay Kundu, founder and CEO, StopLift ( For retailers, this might include determining what is causing shrink (e.g., scanner avoidance, sweethearting, and concealment of merchandise on the bottom racks of shopping carts) and obtaining information about store traffic patterns, customers’ reaction to displays, and similar day-to-day activity. This information can be a springboard for change, from improving displays to adjustments in staffing.


For hospitals, extra value could encompass more comprehensive monitoring of patients to improve their experience, the caliber of which has become a criterion for reimbursement under healthcare reform. For transportation entities, “value-add” may stem from uncovering passenger usage trends that lead to positive change, such as scheduling revisions to accommodate ridership patterns.

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Intelligent video/video analytics is attractive to certain customers when touted as part of a comprehensive access control solution. One Southeastern reseller closed a lucrative deal with a local public housing authority using a combination of smart video surveillance and an intelligent, encrypted door lock system from the Larco ( division of ATEK Products, states Scott Gardeen, Larco’s senior product manager.

The reseller showed the client the value of using encrypted keys unique to each door and tenant, and the ability of the system to offer records of all attempts to open each lock. The technology ensured a strong layer of security, giving ten apartment buildings a surveillance system that could warn management of suspicious activity inside and outside the premises.

Second-generation access control

This group includes hosted access control solutions, as well as physical media. Tyco Integrated Securities ( has seen a very sharp uptick in demand for hosted access control, notes Hank Monaco, vice president, marketing. Constraints on spending and what he calls a “shift to a rent-versus-buy mentality” have made cloud-based access control options popular in the government/public sector. However, cost savings and convenience factors are sparking significant activity in SMB markets, including (but not limited to) retail and hospitality.

On the physical media side are cards and tags that leverage near-field communications (NFC), ultra-high frequency (UHF), and RFID technologies to confirm credentials and/or grant access to specific areas or facilities. “The applications are wide-ranging,” observes Ram Ramaprasad, director, product management, Zebra Technologies (

A large department store on Zebra’s client list has installed UHF card readers. Cards, which can be read from 20 to 30 feet away, are used to control access to high-end merchandise. One hospitality client, a ski resort, equips guests with RFID cards that can be read from beneath several layers of clothing. Guests are not permitted to use the ski lift unless a scan of the card indicates that they are authorized to do so.

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Sales Strategies: For cloud-based access control systems, go beyond the cost savings in the sales pitch. Emphasize the convenience and efficiency of managing remote facilities via any remote device and managing/altering access levels on the fly. For card-based solutions, tout the real-time access management aspect.

As with video surveillance/video analytics, discuss the fact that cards can be deployed for multiple purposes (e.g., in higher education, to control access to buildings, use library materials and pay for purchases at on-campus and school-associated stores).

Advanced physical identity and access management (PIAM)

Now being rolled out in cloud form and more affordable for SMBs, PIAM solutions provide predictive intelligence by detecting and identifying irregular behaviors based on user-defined policies and limits. Such intelligence is derived from harnessing risk profiles to analyze data from diverse physical security and logical/IT systems across an enterprise.

Once anomalies are identified, the technology presents those in charge of security with information required to investigate perceived threats and control outcomes. For example, if an individual attempts to use his or her credentials to gain unauthorized access to a restricted area, the software correlates these events and alerts security to look for abnormal network activity.

Should the flagged physical and IT access activity be connected, security can quickly deactivate the perpetrator’s ID badge and access privileges to digital files, and/or remove the offender from the premises.

Sales Strategies: Play the compliance card. For instance, the extra layer of security given by PIAM software can be touted to hospitals and other entities as facilitating adherence to healthcare data privacy mandates in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Ron Heil, CPP, CSC, CHS, a veteran security consultant and vice president of transportation solutions provider TranSystems, Inc. (, suggests that VARs prove the value of PIAM solutions by conducting live, on-site demonstrations that show potential clients how vulnerable their assets may be (e.g., borrowing someone’s credentials and trying to use them to enter a computer room without authorization).

Heil also advocates bundling PIAM technology with physical access control products to create a complete package. He cites particularly high demand for joint PIAM/access control solutions in the health care sector.

Internet of Secure Things

As chatter around the Internet of Things (IoT) grows, physical security is a prime example of how devices can be networked to create a digitally-enhanced secure environment.

Gartner predicts that, by the end of 2017, 20% of businesses with have some form of digital security that’s influenced by IoT, with 26 billion networked devices in the market by the year 2020. The industries likely to see the largest first value-add from digitally-enhanced security will be manufacturing and healthcare, notes Gartner.

VARs that continue to investigate the latest applications and carefully hone their sales pitches in accordance with new tech will be well-positioned with their clients in both the near- and long-term.

This article appears first on Vertical System Reseller (VSR) »


It breaks my heart to see people robbed of their hard-earned money and properties that took years of hard labor to acquire. So, I designed SmartFoxSecurity.Com to educate people on how they can protect their valuables by using video surveillance systems.

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