Q & A From the Top

It has been a busy year at Panasonic System Solutions Co.; a year in which the company has established a new vision, new leadership and a renewed focus on its position as a system solutions provider. Along with its emphasis on high-performance offerings for IP, analog and hybrid video applications, innovative imaging performance technologies and integration with new and legacy systems, Panasonic has sharpened its edge in providing broader customer-driven system solutions.

We spoke to J.M. Allain, the new president of the company, about his vision to elevate its positioning as a provider of integrated system solutions.

Q.What are you hearing from your customers about their changing technology needs, and how is Panasonic responding to those needs?

A.It is difficult to separate innovation and change from the economic climate these days. This fact has made us work harder to ensure our product offerings take advantage of new technologies while leveraging existing infrastructure. I see our customers migrating beyond the use of stand-alone products that don’t really integrate with each other. Fundamentally, these products no longer serve customers’ needs. Today’s networked world demands completely integrated solutions.

Most of our industry is working toward providing solutions that meet enduser requirements, deliver improved return-on-investment and lower the total cost of ownership. That’s why we are leveraging our core competency in image capture, recording and processing technologies, while shifting our product development strategy toward efficient migration to the latest network and wireless infrastructure technologies.

We understand that there are hundreds of millions of dollars of legacy infrastructure that is functional and can be integrated into newer systems. We are committed to integration and support both the old and the new.

A customer-driven strategy includes helping the customer deal proactively with technology changes and maximize the value of new technology, while preserving the value of previous equipment investments. For Panasonic, that means devoting our resources to provide integrated solutions while continuing to deliver superior image quality, which historically has been our claim to fame.

Q.Do you see the market transitioning to incorporating more enterprise-level solutions?

A.In today’s business environment, integrated solutions cross multiple departments and disciplines. By delivering fully integrated solutions that encompass our diverse range of professional and consumer products, suppliers such as Panasonic have an opportunity to work even more closely with customers and reseller partners.

We have completed many enterpriselevel installations in facilities around the world. For example, Panasonic has been selected to provide technology solutions for several new major league soccer stadiums and complexes being built around the country. These projects demonstrate both our wide variety of technologies and our systems-based approach to ensure the technologies work together as an integrated system. In Philadelphia, our involvement extends beyond the soccer stadium and will include an entire waterfront mixed-use development where we will provide a range of technology solutions. What is important here is that we engaged with our customer early in the process and participated in the design and architecture phases, thereby providing our technical expertise, which resulted in significant cost savings.

Q.What role does an IT department play in relation to video surveillance?

A.The position and influence of IT departments continue to evolve rapidly as they implement more applications that capitalize on the inherent benefits networking provides for virtually every aspect of operations. As a result, IT management has gained more responsibility and accountability for implementing enterprise- wide applications.

Video surveillance is no exception. It’s a powerful security tool and also a versatile business tool that can add value on the enterprise level. With video surveillance capabilities on an IT backbone, critical operations ranging from risk management to human resources, process management and inventory control can augment traditional roles. This further escalates IT management’s role and increases their influence during the design process and in making purchasing decisions.

Q.What about your channel partners— what is Panasonic doing to keep that business strong?

A.It is imperative that companies in the IP video surveillance space revitalize their sales strategies to integrate related systems so they can better meet market demands. Opportunities for growth are most prevalent in the areas of networked systems and integration, so we must steer our sales efforts in that direction by creating and implementing new sales and educational programs, developing channel partners, such as our i-Pro Certified Resellers, and maintaining strategic alliances with partners who are network savvy. Our Panasonic Premier Integrator program supports dealers and integrators that excel in the deployment of advanced systems. Our sales engineering group provides our network of certified resellers with system design support to help ensure that all Panasonic products are properly specified for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

National distributors provide a highly efficient means for security dealers to quickly and easily purchase all our video products. Moreover, we recently announced Panasonic Finance Solutions to make it easier and more cost efficient for customers to obtain system products through our designated channel partners.

Additionally, Panasonic offers extensive training on new technologies for our reseller partners through ongoing classroom and online instruction with P-Tech, our Panasonic Security Training University. These are all initiaitives in place designed to maintain strong relationships with our reseller partners and help ensure their contiued success.

This article originally appeared in the March 2009 issue of Security Today.

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