Profiling an Integrator

Making an impact with a long-standing relationship

Based in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, VTI Security has been a trusted provider of security designs, installation and support for more than 35 years. Amanda Utter, senior account manager at VTI Security, has worked with Panasonic for the duration of her time at VTI (8 years). Here, Amanda shares the benefits of working with Panasonic, some of VTI Security’s success stories, and the challenges customers face when evaluating their security needs.

Q. How did the relationship between VTI Security and Panasonic begin? What impact has the long-standing partnership had with new and existing customers looking to procure a security solution?

A. Our partnership between VTI Security and Panasonic began decades ago through Mooncom, our local manufacturer rep. I began working at VTI in 2007, and closely with Mooncom. Since then, we’ve honed the eightyear- strong relationship on our similar values of trust, customer satisfaction practices and excellent product value. Customers respect and commend our relationship with Panasonic, mostly based on superb customer service. Customers are assured by the manufacturer reps’ knowledge of the products and that they can call the manufacturer reps at any time for a demonstration, training or tutorial.

Q. Who are some of your major customers with whom you’ve implemented Panasonic solutions?

A. VTI provides solutions for a wide variety of businesses and business needs, ranging from pharmaceutical companies looking for extremely close-range cameras, to school districts that want to detect anomalies against the normal flow of students, to event arenas that need to process tens of thousands of faces in very small amounts of time. Many of our customers require high quality video and solutions that perform reliably with no down time. One of our customers in particular, Prime Therapeutics, engaged us to upgrade their existing security due to failed audits resulting from poor image quality. After evaluating their needs, we transitioned them to a Panasonic solution, including interior and exterior video. Since implementing the system, Prime Therapeutics has passed all audits and met necessary requirements.

Q. How did Panasonic earn “gold standard” consideration from VTI? How has VTI engaged local Panasonic representatives when customers have questions or need more information about the product offerings?

A. I have had confidence in standardizing my customers on Panasonic products for the past eight years, and the products truly speak for themselves. In addition to industry-leading technology, the products continue to be the most reliable and are supported when necessary by way of local representatives, with whom VTI has a great relationship. Through local representatives, customers build a valuable relationship with us and with Panasonic and that relationship has sometimes made the difference when customers are choosing an upgraded solution system. For example, a local large K-12 school district recently secured the necessary budget to upgrade its old analog system to IP on approximately 35 buildings within the district. In fact, the district recently requested another 500 units to complete the upgrade, an addition to the original order.

Q. Regarding the school district, what caused the installation and what has been the outcome since?

A. The 500 additional unit installation that took place in the local K-12 school district near the Twin Cities metro area of Minnesota was spread throughout 30 school and administrative buildings, and started in the summer of 2014. The upgrade included a total rip and replace analog system to an IP system with a technology grant. Because of outdated security software and hardware, the school district decided it was time for a major security change to ensure all perimeters of the school and administrative buildings were secure. VTI and the school district met with the local Panasonic rep to determine how to implement the expansion from the original 500-unit installation to the updated 1,000 units. The school district says there is “a night and day difference” between the new technology and the previous system, and have proven value to the district.

Q. What are the main challenges VTI hears most from customers regarding their security systems?

A. Many of the challenges our customers struggle with center around finding a migration path from where they are to where they need to be, i.e. analog to IP, incorporating [or increasing] analytics, etc. Additionally, IT departments are becoming more heavily involved in the implementation of security solutions, especially those that are network-based, and need assistance in developing what that blueprint will look like. Fortunately, VTI creates 3-5 year plans tailored to our customers’ specific business needs.

Q. Are there any additional examples of a new installation, or an upgrade of an existing system because it wasn’t meeting the customers’ needs?

A. We recently upgraded a large, well-known sports arena in Minnesota, replacing four analog PTZ cameras with two Panasonic PTZ IP cameras. The results were significant: with the IP cameras, captured images were more detailed with one camera than any combination of the previous four analog devices (one camera was able to zoom in to see the number on a seat across the arena). In short, the venue did not realize it needed the new IP cameras until the previous cameras were replaced. Needless to say, they were satisfied to see more value—and more coverage—from two IP cameras, rather than four analog.

Q. Regarding the transition from analog cameras to IP cameras, what are the main reasons why customers seek the change?

A. Private and public companies are realizing more now than ever before a need for better quality image capturing. IP systems allow more overall flexibility and remote capabilities, enabling greater ease of access and minimizing the burden on the corporate network. Protecting people, assets and information is of huge importance, and businesses need a system designed to see every level of detail possible, layered with protection.

This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Security Today.

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