BM_comment_apr13_000_Benchmark_nov10 28/02/2013 12:47 Page 1
Editorial Comment... Pete Conway, Editor, Benchmark t is an interesting experience to purchase any type of consumer electronics device. The focus is rarely on specifications; it is on benefits. In the war for millions of pounds worth of sales, the reliance on specifications takes something of a back-seat. Even if you do get to the point of browsing specifications, the emphasis remains on the features and functions that deliver the specific benefits. It is an approach based on the fact that the consumer can make certain presumptions about products. In a modern world, there are certain aspects of products that are taken for granted. A good example of this is the laptop computer. The specifications that people care about are processor speed, hard drive capacity and on-board RAM. Very few people bother checking whether it has wireless connectivity or a CD drive, because that functionality is a ‘given’ inclusion. It is expected! Managing expectations is one of the more significant issues when selling anything based on technology, including security solutions. The customer has certain base expectations, and if they’re not met, they will be disappointed. In such a case, there is no point in shoving a specsheet in front of them and stating that the functionality they wanted isn’t listed. It might be a statement of fact, but it still won’t eliminate the disappointment that the customer feels. There are still some in the security industry that argue network technology isn’t about to become the ‘de facto’ standard for solutions. This shouldn’t be entirely surprising, as there is still a society – with paying members – whose sole purpose is to prove to all of us that the earth is flat! However, is the fact that such opinions about IP technology exist in the sector worrying? There is a good case to argue that it is.
Does the security industry’s need to mark things out as IP-enabled put us in a backwards position? In an age when network connectivity is expected from the majority of devices, surely advanced security solutions must deliver such a degree of connectivity. After all, it’s what the customer is demanding! There is a desire to delineate products and solutions based upon the cabling infrastructure they use. This is an approach that many technology-based sectors dropped many years ago. For them, network connectivity is a given function; you shouldn’t have to ask. The argument should be that those in the security sector should only need to highlight when products are not network-ready; not when they are! Also, there is a need to realise that sticking a NIC in a basic product for remote but limited connectivity isn’t really what the customer is expecting. I recently spent some time an angry end user. He’d been sold a system, and to be fair, it did everything he’d wanted it to do. However, the realisation – after the system had been put in place and paid for – that the future upgrade path was limited to composite technology left him feeling cheated. Whilst he hadn’t been specifically sold a networked solution, he had been told that it was advanced technology. To him, that meant it had longevity, future expandability and the option of integration. As he pointed out, his children had devices that offered more flexibility than his advanced and costly security solution. In truth, he had a fair point!