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Q & A From the Top: Johan Lembre

2010 promises to be another challenging year for the security market, and global companies are feeling the financial bite just the same as U.S.-based firms. We had the chance to catch up with Johan Lembre, Pacom Systems' new CEO, to get his perspective on the global security marketplace and any changes he has in store for Pacom.

Q. As a global company CEO, what differences do you see in European, Asian and U.S. markets?

A. The big difference between the U.S. and the European market is their size. It creates a price competitive environment where, you, as a vendor, have to rely more heavily on the dealer network to reach end users. As a consequence, you have to be more selective and focused with your offering in the United States.

In Asia, you have markets with a varying degree of maturity and, in my experience, you need a large amount of perseverance. For example, I would claim that spending five years to establish profitable business operations in China is not unusual. Even though your offering is global, you really need a local presence and expertise to understand the local requirements and drive the business successfully.

Q. How is Pacom doing against its competitors in the United States?

A. Even though the United States has experienced a tough year in terms of investments, Pacom has continued to grow within the field of remote managed services. A close cooperation with key players such as Diebold, which offers remote managed access control to the banking sector, has proven successful. This is promising for the future, as I see this is where the market is heading.

Q. What are customers most concerned with in the way of products, services and costs?

A. A common theme I come across within many markets is fl exibility and freedom of choice. Proprietary solutions are being abandoned for open systems that are available through multiple channels and dealers. The economic downturn also has increased the focus on having to justify the investment. The interest around the Pacom Security Dashboard shows there is a genuine demand for being able to monitor system performance and have the results presented to key decision makers in a user-friendly format.

Q. Why is remote system management so important for the future?

A. There are basically three factors I find compelling with remote management of security systems. First, they are service ready. A solution built to be remotely managed gives the end customer the fl exibility to outsource the operations of the system.

They also provide cost reductions.

By being able to remotely manage and service the system, you can significantly reduce the number of site visits and service costs. For example, in the United Kingdom, the number of stipulated on-site visits for banking and financial institutions can be reduced to one visit a year with our certified remote maintenance solution.

Finally, an IP-based remotely managed security system allows the customer to become much more proactive. By being able to remotely test critical components, such as back-up batteries and motion detectors, you will know if a service call is needed before the actual system component has failed. This prevents the user from realizing that the system was actually not working properly after an incident has occurred.

Q. What are some notable industry trends?

A. The fact that IT is getting more involved in physical security decisions will drive a lot of changes in our industry. We will see an increasing share of business related to pure software sales, where a lot of the intelligence and value now resides. With the IT manager as a key decision maker, we also will see a growing interest for outsourcing and electronic security as a service, which allows end customers to focus on their core business.

Furthermore, driven from the end customer and IT industry, I also see that the requirements on open solutions that allow interoperability with multiple vendors is becoming very strong. The big interest for standards such as ONVIF is living proof of this.

Q. Is Pacom going to rely on its reseller or direct sale approach to secure new customers in 2010?

A. Pacom will stay with our direct touch and indirect fulfillment model, selling our solutions through our global network of value-added resellers, while continuing to approach the end customers to generate interest and understanding for our solution.

Q. What new products or technologies does Pacom plan to introduce in 2010?

A. This is going to be an exciting year as we plan to launch a number of new products that will continue to strengthen our position in remotely managed security systems. The most important product launch for the year will be for a new platform that allows for many integration opportunities.

Customers will recognize that this platform is truly built for scale to larger, multi-site systems and is based upon the proven track record for which Pacom is renowned.

Q. Are there any mergers or acqusitions on the horizon for Pacom?

A. At this stage, we intend to grow our business organically and will continue to build and strengthen our solution with best-of-breed integration partners that complement our core capabilities in access control and alarm management. This fits very well with our ability to offer an open platform for integration and allow the end customer to take advantage of multiple vendors.

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