Strength in the alternative

Strength in the Alternative

What you need to be successful with best-of-breed solutions

Strength in the alternative - What you need to be successful with best of breed solutionsWhen it comes to choosing the best digital security and surveillance solution, there is a lot of confusion around best-of-breed solutions compared to commercial off-the-shelf or turnkey solutions. We have seen something similar with IP and analog technology. Analog systems are built using a single supplier for all components in the system with little to no flexibility for options of specific usage needs. However, IP-based systems allow complete flexibility by selecting components from multiple suppliers and building a system for specific needs.

End users want the best solution and with the evolving market, there are various options everywhere you turn. Integrators want to provide the best solution the market has to offer; end users want a deployment that meets their needs, and manufacturers want to ensure that their products are the ones fulfilling these demands. But where do you turn to ensure you are receiving the very best digital security and surveillance solution?

The Best-of-Breed Approach

The benefits of having flexibility in building a surveillance system is extremely important to end users when you consider what may be best for one deployment may not be the best for another. This is where the idea of a best-of-breed solution comes into play. Best-of-breed solutions are exactly what the name states—the best solution available. Best of breed means having the flexibility to choose the components of your system tailored for the specific project. These solutions can be optimized for superior performance based on that system’s application.

Using best-of-breed solutions allows an application to be built with the best components for each project, allowing you to choose cameras, video management software, network video recorder and viewing stations. The components built in a best-of-breed solution allow integrators to choose each component, which provides a wide range of options, allowing for more functionality and performance for each project. The best-of-breed approach enables the integration experts to put together a leading solution with expertise from multiple manufacturers.

What is the downside to this type of solution? Typically, purpose-built solutions increase the total cost of the solution due to the customized approach and the complexity of multiple components. However, the best-of-breed approach adds multiple features and enhances functionality for your specific project, tailoring a solution that will be a long-term investment that is worth the extra money in order to receive the best solution. This type of solution also allows components to be updated to take advantage of new features and functionality without having to replace the entire system.

How and Why Purpose-Built Works

If you look at many companies in the digital security and surveillance space you notice that these companies focus on a single component of the installation. This allows a best-of-breed solution to have increased flexibility, features and performance. Integrators use the best-of-breed approach to pull components together to create an ideal solution for their specific opportunity.

Examples of component expertise include camera manufacturers, video management software and hardware manufacturers. Camera manufacturers focus on creating the best IP and analog cameras available in the market today. These cameras range from high end to low end with features and benefits to match.

Developing a wide range of cameras allows manufacturers to have a solution to match every customer’s unique needs. The similar situation is true for video management software platforms and hardware manufacturers. VMS companies specialize in designing features and interfaces for multiple uses that an end user needs to execute their digital security and surveillance solution. Hardware manufacturers spend a lot of time ensuring their hardware solution has the proper amount of storage with optimization on all system components to meet the demand in the surveillance market.

Today digital security and surveillance solutions need to be carefully tailored to unique markets such as retail and transportation. A best-of-breed approach might be applied to a project that requires high megapixel cameras to capture both high and low-lighted areas with only a few features from the VMS. Another application might need enhanced VMS capabilities with a large amount of storage. The same solution would not benefit both projects.

Best-of-breed solutions provide end users and integrators with multiple options in designing a system that is the “best” solution without over specifying a system.

Hardware Perspective: The Importance of Compatibility

Creating a best-of-breed solution will enhance the longevity of your security and surveillance solution, but only if done correctly. Having the best components will be pointless unless they all work together. Having the best solution for your project is important; however, you need to ensure the components are compatible. A good security and surveillance system builder can integrate the components to ensure they work together.

Digital security and surveillance hardware system builders can test the components of a best-of-breed solution to ensure compatibility. Certified engineers can test these components to optimize the entire solution. Without proper testing and optimization, the best-of-breed solution could be incompatible and result in constant failures for the end user. The benefits of having a good system builder are endless, but ensuring proper testing and compatibility is essential for the success of every security integration and deployment.

Mixing and matching compatible products—cameras, software, storage and networking—from multiple vendors allows for a wider selection of surveillance solutions, but choosing a security and surveillance system builder is not always easy. To ensure the proper use of best-of-breed solutions, make sure to pay close attention to the longevity of the system builder and their partnerships. Partnerships are going to be critical in using best-of-breed solutions properly. Lasting partnerships allow system builders to offer the best solutions with greater availability and competitive pricing.

Valuable partnerships with component manufacturers and technology leaders allow system builders to create original, custom and quality solutions. Benefits include co-engineering with industry leaders to ensure complete compatibility of the security and surveillance system, as well as additional capabilities and expertise. System builders who design and test best-of-breed solutions have a complete security and surveillance ecosystem of partners to deliver these types of solutions to integrators nationwide.

Why Choose Best of breed?

End users rely on integrators to pull together the best solution for each opportunity, based on their project’s scope and application. Best-of-breed solutions provide end users with great flexibility, multiple options and tailored systems.

Best-of-breed solutions increase support for end users by providing a single point of contact, simplifying and reducing the hassle of correcting any issues. The flexibility of the system builder is essential for a true best-of-breed solution, supporting multiple vendors with valuable partnerships to make all the components work together. Typical best-of-breed solutions are found in Tier 2 system builders that can support multiple markets with connections to industry-leading system components.

Best-of-breed solutions are ideal for lasting digital security and surveillance solutions for guaranteed system integrations and deployments. These solutions are a worthwhile investment and allow security systems to support future technologies with easy replacement and upgrades. Best-of-breed solutions are where the industry is headed.

This article originally appeared in the July 2013 issue of Security Today.

About the Author

Sarah Colson is the OEM marketing associate at SenecaData.

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