A Conversation with Jill Johnston
As the security industry plows forward with new technology,
products and ideas, there is the ever-present
worry that some of the best available products will have
to contend with knockoffs from China. It seems to happen
in every industry, but maybe more so in the security
market, to the chagrin of security manufacturers.
During a conversation we had during ASIS 2010 with
KJB Technologies President Jill Johnston, we wanted to
Q. Security is a worldwide proposition, with many
countries getting involved in manufacturing.
How do North American companies feel about Chinese
knockoffs, and how does your company battle
A. As a manufacturer of security and surveillance
products, we’ve encountered several
knockoffs of some of our successful products, like
our SleuthGear product line. As far as battling
against these imported knockoffs, our most effective
way to combat that problem is by continuing
to produce high-quality products that meet and exceed
customers’ expectations. Combined with the
customer service and technical support from a U.S.-
based team of experts, customers realize the value of
purchasing a product that is made and supported in
the United States of America.
Q. How important are warranties, customer service
and technical support in the security industry?
A. In an industry with a great deal of competition,
value-added services like warranties,
customer service and technical support are a very important
part of differentiating yourself from the competition.
Savvy consumers realize that there is much
more to buying a piece of security equipment than
the product or price itself. These value-added services
can help a company stand head and shoulders above
Q. When an end user considers a mainstream product
for a security installation, what advantages
do North American companies offer that will not be
found from a knockoff product?
A. The ability to talk to a customer service or
technical support expert based domestically is
a big benefit for our customers. Combined with shorter
lead times for product shipments, we’ve found that
customers who buy from the United States are much
more satisfied than if they were to buy a knockoff.
There also is the inherent peace of mind a consumer
gains from buying a product manufactured and supported
in the United States, and knowing someone is
there to help answer pre-sale questions as well as postsale
Q. Talk about quality of North American manufacturing
versus products found from the Chinese
market. Is there a difference?
A. We’ve found that the quality of the products
is not always a reflection of the geographic
market they were produced in, but more often the
company that produces it. Certainly there are highquality
products manufactured in both locations, just
as there can be substandard products manufactured
in both areas. Where quality really begins and ends
is with the manufacturers themselves. With the growing
population in China driving down labor rates,
we’ve definitely seen a propensity in recent years for
lower-quality products to be produced en masse from
China, while U.S. domestic production seems to focus
more on quality than quantity.
Q. Where do you see the security industry economy
going in 2011? Is the industry building momentum,
and are end users coming back with key projects
A. While 2010 was economically slow for many
industries, we noticed that with regard to security
product purchases, our customers and their
end users continued not only to maintain their levels
of purchasing, but even to increase spending. We
attribute this to people’s desire to protect the assets
that they have, rather than purchasing new assets that
might need protecting. Now that the economy as a
whole is starting to recover, we are seeing end users
investing even more heavily in their security projects.
Q. What are the three strongest verticals in 2011
that security professionals should be aware of?
A. One of the strongest verticals that we are monitoring
is the growth in the technology market.
With ever-expanding forms of technology-based
communication comes the innate desire to secure and
protect these communications. Cell phone and computer
monitoring products have exploded in popularity
and will continue to be linked to the tech market.
We also are keeping a close eye on the auto industry
as it continues to rebound, as we look for new ways
to promote and integrate our GPS tracking products.
Manufacturing is a third and very important vertical
to watch, as the shift from domestic to foreign production
can have significant effects on the market.
Q. What new technologies can end users expect to
see at ASIS 2011?
A. These days it seems like everyone has a cell
phone. With this explosive increase in use, all
types of end users are looking for products to monitor
these phones. Parents, spouses, employers, law
enforcement and private investigators are just some
of the end users looking for ways to monitor cellular
communications. This increase in popularity will lead
to new technologies to monitor these phones.
For example, the Cell Phone Recon monitoring
software is tracking software installed directly on
your BlackBerry, Windows Mobile or Android phone
that gives you the capability to monitor incoming and
outgoing text messages, call logs and e-mails. The iRecovery
Stick has similar functionality for the Apple
iPhone, so that users can recover deleted call logs and
text messages from their iPhone. It’s new technologies
like these that will help give end users the peace of
mind they are looking for when it comes to monitoring
cell phone communications.
Q. What is your vision for using IP-enabled video
surveillance systems over the network?
A. IP-enabled video surveillance systems are
quickly becoming the standard for users who
want to monitor their home or business when they
are not able to physically be there. Whether it be the
parent who wants to make sure their child is being
treated with care by the babysitter, or the employer
who wants to monitor their business, or one of many
other countless applications, IP video is a hot technology
At KJB Security, our vision for IP-enabled video is
to make it easy to install and use, and to provide quality
user experience so the customer is completely satisfied
with their purchase. By providing high-quality IP
video surveillance products built in to both covert and
non-covert products, we can help users gain peace of
mind knowing that their home, office and businesses
are safe and secure.
This article originally appeared in the March 2011 issue of Security Today.