Phil Campbell, Quanika, Sales Director

For security consultants and systems integrators, it’s important to understand the value that customers get from the new generation of streamlined, out of the box solutions instead of a customized mix-and-match approach.

Today, the advantageous business case applies to any end-user that wants all their systems working together in the most efficient way: access control, video, network audio and PA, building systems and services, visitor management and core operational systems.

There are good reasons why proven, ready-test tech combinations are now being offered by alliances between some of the industry’s top suppliers – out of the box solutions from vendors such as Quanika and Axis Communications, with easy availability via a single source and global distributor such as Anixter.

These vendor partnerships are working hand-in-glove to deliver efficient one-stop-shop and packaged solutions that will compete well in any tender.

So, what are the advantages?

Top of the list: there are big cost and efficiency benefits to using best-in-class hardware and software combinations that are designed to integrate seamlessly with each other, and to keep evolving together in the future.

At the proposal and system design stage, rather than having to commission integration or customize systems and worry about all the details of compatibility, you can skip forward a step in the knowledge that – when it comes to the actual implementation – all those technical questions will already have been covered, and that proof of concept (PoC) and System Acceptance Testing (SAT) is part of the offer.

Compatibility glitches are a common cause of project hold-ups, and depending on the suppliers involved it can be frustrating and time consuming to resolve them. Technical support capabilities and delivery standards vary, and whenever a supply chain is made up of multiple vendors, the entire project can be held up by just one that is unresponsive.

As with any chain, it’s weak links that are the problem.

In the worst cases, disputes about whose fault a compatibility problem is – and who is responsible for fixing it – can result in major cost overruns and penalties.

All this might be invisible to the customer initially. They might not notice much of the technical pain of mixing-and-matching if the integration team throws everything at the job and does whatever it takes to deliver the completed project on time.

But the pain doesn’t necessarily stop there – in fact it’s almost guaranteed not too. We’ve seen many examples of compatibility glitches that only arise weeks or even months down the line. Sometimes that happens when a particular function or set of functions is used by the customer for the first time, or when a firmware update for one component or cybersecurity vulnerability of a one device throws up an unexpected problem in the wider system. Again, getting issues fixed can lead to disputes, and the further ‘down the line’ you go, the more likely that is to be the case.   And for the customer this can mean downtime,

All these factors lead to unpredictability, and that makes it more difficult for the yearly maintenance contract to be calculated and increases the complexity of total cost of service (TCS) delivery. By contrast, an out of the box solution with an industry best 5-year hardware warranty is much more predictable.

Cybersecurity is an important consideration. Cyber risks are compounded when integrators customize and network software and hardware to create completely new composite applications or systems. Customers such as the NHS, which operate to higher standards, understand the value of solutions provided by closely collaborating vendors, designed to work together with multi-layered protections,

Finally, looking further to the future, the customer is certain to want to upgrade or modify their solution. That is almost inevitable considering the fast-changing circumstances that most organisations now operate in.

So, scalability and flexibility, the ease with which new devices or additional software can be integrated, are important parts of the overall value proposition and will deliver a far more compelling lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

We’ve seen this demonstrated in the amount of repeat business that our systems integrator partners have got from initial projects – most recently in healthcare, multi-use developments, waste recycling, and various logistics and warehousing applications, including freight forwarding and consumer retail logistics.

In each case that we’ve seen, additional integrations have been added because the initial project was delivered as promised. And once delivered, the customer has loved the simple user interface, 24/7 technical support, and affordable license-free structures.

As a result, they’ve been confident that scaling up and adding to their system will be just as easy and affordable. A modular, building-block approach to system scaling – and a growing ecosystem of technology partner integrations – gives assured value going forward.

Plus, systems integrators can now offer proven end-to-end solutions that are already solving common safety, security, and operational challenges in specific sectors from retail, office space, logistics, healthcare, and manufacturing using ready to go off-the-shelf integrations and seamless technology.

The key to successful project delivery is to avoid technology conflict and complex chains of multiple vendor dependency and responsibility – whether that’s with door controllers, readers, network audio, edge AI analytics, ANPR, or VMS.

Keeping things simple with vendors that offer out of the box packaged solutions offers compelling value at every stage of the project.