8 Questions to Consider When Selecting an End-to-End Surveillance Solutions Provider
While you might have customers that require enterprise-level security systems with best-of-breed components and open platforms, there are many businesses and organizations that can benefit from a simple, all-in-one solution. In many cases, video surveillance systems don’t need to be complex to be effective. Nor does simplifying a solution mean having to compromise security. An end-to-end surveillance solution is ideal for total simplicity, as one vendor provides all necessary components, including video management software, network cameras and a network video recorder.
If you’re thinking about offering end-to-end surveillance solutions to your customers, here are some questions you might want to consider as you embark on selecting a vendor. By selecting the right vendor, you can save time and resources while delivering exceptional value to your customers.
#1 – Is the solutions provider a trusted and innovative partner?
Product quality, cybersecurity, and innovation are paramount in modern video surveillance solutions. The cameras, video management system, and network video recorder should work together seamlessly right out of the box, be validated by the provider and backed by an extensive warranty. But it shouldn’t stop there. New technology and new features drive the surveillance industry forward and savvy users are continually wanting more out of their existing system and investment. However, you can’t sacrifice cybersecurity in the name of rapid development. It’s critical to ensure you’re also partnering with an organization that places cybersecurity at the core of their development strategy.
#2 – How do others rate their support?
Multi-vendor solutions often entail calling multiple manufacturers before a problem gets diagnosed and resolved. In the ensuing delay, your customers might be vulnerable to outside threats. In contrast, with an end-to-end solution, you can resolve any concerns with a single call. Pre- and post-sales support specialists should have the in-depth knowledge and experience of all the solution components to quickly address any issue.
Deciding to work with one vendor for an entire solution means you need to be able to rely on them on good days and bad days. Confirming their customers are satisfied with both pre- and post-sales support is going to save you a lot of headaches in the long run.
#3 – How simple is the solution for your customers to use and maintain?
Going with a single vendor doesn’t mean settling for a basic or cookie-cutter solution for all your customers. Nor does it mean that the system has to be hard to use for novice or occasional users.
The solution should strike a balance between breadth of features, customizability, ease of use, and maintenance.
How your customers plan to use the solution will determine what functionality you’ll need.
Will security guards be actively monitoring the video? If so, you’ll want a solution that can incorporate maps, guard tours of cameras, and can display multiple cameras views across multiple monitors.
Will the system only be used to occasionally view recorded video? If so, you’ll want a system that is highly intuitive and customizable so they can quickly search for and save the video without having to re-read the user manual.
Does your customer have strict guidelines on privacy? If so, you should work with a manufacturer that offers a solution that includes video redaction software at no extra cost. This masks the identity of specific individuals before they export the video to law enforcement or other interested parties. Typically only third-party vendors offer this service for a very expensive fee.
Will they require remote accessibility? If so, you’ll want a solution with a mobile app so that they can perform specific tasks remotely. With a mobile app they can use their smartphone to see and talk to a caller at a video door station, deliver a warning message over a loudspeaker, or even unlock a door, close shutters, and raise barriers when they’re away from the office.
Finally, the solution needs be intelligent when it comes to maintenance. It should be able to inform you and your customer when something isn’t quite right. Whether it is a major concern like a camera has gone offline or you don’t have enough storage, or it’s a notification that new software or firmware are available, having a solution that takes the guesswork out of maintenance is imperative.
#4 – Can you easily confirm design & installation?
When you’re selecting an end-to-end solution provider, you might want to consider how they can help you ensure a “job well done.”
- Do they offer simple design tools?
- Can you provide your customers a verification documentation that shows the system you quoted is what has been installed?
- Can you deliver documentation that shows the system has been stress-tested and everything is working as it should?
If you select a vendor with design and installation tools, you can easily provide your customers all of this information, giving both you and your customers peace of mind. The tools will also help you look more professional and amplify your service.
#5 – Can the vendor and solution scale with your customers as their needs evolve?
Your customers’ needs will often evolve over time and as security threats evolve. They may need to grow their video surveillance solution to include not only access control but also active deterrence with audio solutions. For example, they might need to add devices like door stations, key card readers, video intercoms, and horn speakers to help ensure only the right people can get access to their facility, and that their system can proactively warn intruders. Video and audio analytics like loitering and aggression detection can be layered onto a system to further protect people and property from harm.
New technologies are not the only ways to expand a system. You need to also ensure that your customers’ solution can expand with the number of attached cameras and devices, as well as being able to add on additional locations as their needs grow.
#6 – How will it work with their existing infrastructure investments?
Your customers may not always have the budget to do a complete system upgrade by swapping out the video management software, network video recorder and cameras at the same time. A solution should be able to leverage the existing infrastructure and investments they’ve made. Plus, you’ll want to ensure there is an easy way to swap out cameras as they die or as your customers free up budget to invest in newer technology.
#7 – Are there any hidden fees your customers need to worry about?
Staying on budget is one of the most critical factors for any person responsible for the deployment of a video surveillance solution. It’s important to make your customers aware of any recurring costs that might be associated with software and services.
Here are a few things to make your customer aware of:
- Does the software have a one-time licensing fee or is it an annual renewal model?
- Are there any upgrade, support, or service fees associated with the solution?
- Will your customer have access to all of the software features or will they have to pay to unlock some features?
When selecting a vendor for an end-to-end solution, you’ll want a clear picture of all the licensing, upgrades, and service fees that could manifest for your customers. Transparency goes a long way, especially with any hidden fees. Selecting a vendor that makes budgeting easy – for example, by charging only a one-time license fee for access to all the software features – can make both you and your customers’ lives easier and ensure that they can free up budget for other priorities in the future.
#8 – What’s the total long-term cost of the end-to-end solution?
The total cost of any video solution typically does not end after the initial purchase, and so you have to look at the entire life of the system. With quality products, a solution can last longer keeping costs down and ensuring your customers have fewer headaches.
Some things to consider that can improve your chances of keeping the total cost low for your customers:
Do the selected products have solid warranties in the event that something does go wrong? A failing camera is bad enough, but a minimal warranty or no warranty at all only makes the situation worse. Ensure your selected vendor offers a clear and extendable warranty with benefits like advanced replacement parts.
Do the selected products have low out-of-the-box camera failure rates and a long mean time between failures? Don’t be afraid to ask the manufacturer for those numbers. This translates to ensuring the devices are up and running quickly and have long lifetimes, meaning you’ll have to replace them less often.
Will storage costs skyrocket over time? As a solution expands with new devices, that may mean adding more storage. To get the most out of what your customers have already paid for, confirm that video compression technologies are being used to reduce overall storage needs.
It can be easy to offer customers a cost-effective solution that unfortunately compromises their video surveillance goals in the short-term and long-term. When weighing solutions providers that offer end-to-end solutions, it’s important to look at all the costs, not just the upfront investment, but most importantly the costs to operate and maintain the technology over its lifetime. Look for a vendor that offers reliable systems that can grow over time as needs change. Look for a trusted partner who meticulously quality tests each component and the entire system to ensure everything works together seamlessly. And lastly, choose a vendor who provides the tools and support needed to design, install, and maintain a surveillance solution that meets your security goals.
An end-to-end surveillance solution from Axis hits those marks and simplifies surveillance, all without compromising security. Rethink video surveillance by understanding the benefits an Axis end-to-end solution can provide to your customers.
Interested in learning about Axis end-to-end solutions? Discover the simplicity here.