Panasonic says integration the key for product development and sales

Steve Proctor Group Manager CCVE Panasonic

Steve Proctor, Group Manager CCVE, Panasonic.

Panasonic UK is headed in a new direction with regard to the way it designs, markets and sells its security products, according to the recently appointed Group Manager for CCVE, Steve Proctor.

Proctor, with over 30 years’ experience in the security industry including most recently 10 years at the American communications specialist NVT, said that the old distribution paradigm of relying solely on your distributors to shift product for you is dead.

He admitted that Panasonic’s recent experience with distribution, including the closure of CCTV Center and severing its relationship with Norbain, had left a few observers questioning its commitment to the security market. However, no one should doubt that security is an important sector to Panasonic, he said, nothing could be further from the truth as witness the thinking that has gone into its revamped approach.

Business, he said, has changed radically in just the past three to four years, and in this new business world, understanding your customers’ needs in depth and selling complete and integrated systems is the way to build brand and cement customer loyalty. To that end, Panasonic is focusing on selling integrated systems with capabilities such as CCTV, fire detection, access control, video analytics and cloud-based storage and management.

This will be reflected in how Panasonic presents itself at IFSEC 2014 in London. Proctor said that the company’s stand, slightly larger than in previous years, will be a showcase for its integration capabilities. The centrepiece will be a control desk featuring a huge video wall from which all the systems can be monitored and controlled. (For more about IFSEC, see page 8)

“We now have the opportunity to approach the end user to sell our fully integrated products and services, and by understanding the total business in depth, we can sell other Panasonic products, from other key Panasonic divisions” Proctor said.

However, it’s not all about the system as Panasonic is also pushing new products which can work as part of an integrated system – or stand alone – and will continue to be available through major and well established distribution channels

Panasonic is challenging the dominance of FLIR in the IR market with the launch of thermal imaging cameras to complement its existing range of surveillance devices. Proctor observed that prices for thermal cameras have been falling and will continue to do so as the cost of thermal cores decreases, putting this innovative technology within reach of more end-users.

In January it launched the 6 Series of surveillance cameras, a range of high definition cameras available in HD (1280 x 720 pixels) and full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels). With advanced image processing capabilities, and edge recording, Panasonic and its distributors expect it will prove a market favourite.

It has also launched itself firmly into the cloud revolution with the acquisition last year of the Netherlands-based company CameraManager.com. And the wireless video intercom business will never be the same with the launch of Panasonic’s VL-SWD501EX/UEX product which, with the ability to integrate with wireless cameras and sub-monitors, forms the basis for a more complex home surveillance system.

Understanding the Panasonic product range is key to selling it, he said, and the company will be launching a new Partner Programme around IFSEC to support distributors and integrators in understanding the scope of products and the integration opportunities.

The whole approach to sales has to change, he said. “It’s not so much about relationship selling anymore – customers want confidence in the whole solution and want to know that their needs are truly understood and can be fully met.”

After another very successful trading year, and with so many new products to add to the already comprehensive range, it would appear that confidence in Panasonic and its products is very strong.

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