Samsung says: Competition in the Security Market is at a High


Simon Shawley - Samsung

For the past four years Samsung Techwin has been focusing in European market. Since 2008 it has a head office in the UK with sales and support offices across Europe. In January 2010 the security business of Samsung Electronics was transferred to Samsung to create a single Samsung security product offering.

Samsung has a broad product portfolio, encompassing CCTV, IP & Network, Access Control, Door Entry and Intruder Detection.

Simon Shawley, General Manager, UK and Ireland for Samsung Techwin Europe Limited talked to Risk UK about the current state of the industry and its evolution. Shawley has worked within the security industry for over 20 years and is the driving force behind a team of seasoned professionals who have been instrumental in Samsung becoming one of Europe’s fastest growing security brands.

Q: What are your predictions for the next twelve months in the security sector?

A: I can safely predict that the next 12 months and beyond should be very good for Risk UK’s readers, the majority of whom are end- users, as there is certainly no shortage of manufacturers wishing to compete  for their business.  At a time when security budgets may be under pressure, it is very good news that this competition between manufacturers is pushing down the cost of security equipment. Equally importantly, recent advances in technology, such as intelligent video analytics and the availability of Full HD cameras, means that end-users can now achieve significantly more from their investment in security.

Q: At IFSEC this year Samsung is focusing on education, specifically getting people up to speed on IP. How much of a problem is this knowledge gap and what are its effects?

A: For every installer or system integrator who is knowledgeable about network based security systems, there are still many more who do not yet know what questions to ask when they have a requirement to specify an IP network based solution. Until recently, Video over IP was only perceived as a solution for large projects but we are now seeing the technology increasingly utilised in small to medium sized installations. As a major stakeholder in the security industry, we feel it is essential that we share our knowledge and expertise in respect of IP network solutions and technologies with our existing and potential customers. IFSEC will give us the opportunity to do this but we will also be conducting training courses throughout the year.

Q: Do you think that new security technology hits the market too often for end users to keep up? Does this contribute to the knowledge gap problem?

A: Much of the technology which has been introduced by the security industry has its origins in the massive investment that companies like Samsung have made in consumer products. Other technological advances have come about as a result of a response to evolving customers’ requirements. Whatever the reason, the pace at which new technology has been introduced is not generally the problem. Any difficulties have usually come because of the lack of training on how to implement any new technology and a misunderstanding of what can be achieved from it. Video analytics is a very good example of this. When first launched some years back, stand-alone video analytics software was oversold and many users became disillusioned because it did not meet their expectations.

Q: What would you say are the other big issues/concerns you are seeing from customers at the moment?

A: In a tough economic climate customers are understandably looking for exceptional ‘value’. For a leading brand such as Samsung to succeed, we recognise that it is not therefore sufficient just to offer competitively priced ‘Best in Class’ products. They have to be backed up with the highest levels of pre and post sales support and that includes free technical support, a free system design service to help customers choose the correct combination of products for each project, and a full three-year warranty on all products.

Q: How long has analogue CCTV got left in the UK?

A: Whilst it would seem inevitable that in the future the vast majority of video surveillance systems will be IP based, there will always be situations where an analogue based solution best meets the requirements of specific projects. There is already a rapid growth in the demand for IP network based systems and in respect of new systems, it is hard to make the case for analogue. However, the UK has more existing analogue based CCTV systems than any other country in Europe and many of these systems are more than capable of doing the job in hand. Customers are therefore unlikely to want to completely replace these with an IP system and may instead, when their requirements expand or change, look to introduce a hybrid system which allows the introduction of new technology, whilst retaining existing cameras, DVRs, etc.  A good example of the HD-SDI is technology which can offer all the benefits of Full HD over analogue cabling. We don’t believe in IP for IP’s sake – our customers should be able to choose a solution that delivers the quality of image and operational features required at a price that fits their budget.  Quite often it can be a mixture of technologies and that’s where Samsung can win – we have a complete analogue and IP product portfolio that can be mixed if required to optimise budget allocation either for new systems or an upgrade of existing systems.

Q: Samsung has integrated its SRD series of DVR with SureView, which also offers Immix cloud control software.  Is there a tendency amongst your clients to use more DVRs and get the service from the Cloud?

A: Our motivation for integrating with the SureView Systems’ Immix®  software was to ensure that installers who recommend a Samsung SRD DVR to their customers can do so knowing that control rooms can remotely take advantage of the DVR’s key functions and its ability to record very high quality images. The recently introduced web based ‘Cloud’ version of the SureView Systems’ Immix®, will undoubtedly be an attractive proposition to users who are looking for customised services which can be viewed by a web browser or mobile device, but this is a separate issue to how many DVRs may be required at each site. This is just as relevant in the IP arena and we are currently working with SureView to get similar integration for our NVR range – watch this space!

Q: Is the Cloud a safe place for security?

A: According to recent research conducted by PwC, many UK companies are failing to keep a proper check on the security of their data held by third parties offering Cloud computing services.  Although three quarters (73%) of organisations are using at least one outsourced service over the Internet, only 38% of large organisations ensure that data being held by external providers is encrypted.  It is important, however, to point out that the SureView Immix® Cloud software platform allows customers who have a control room, as well as commercially run remote monitoring centres, to create a ‘Private Cloud’ where data is stored on their own servicers and not third party servers which may or may not have the required level of security.

Q: What does the future hold for UK trade associations?  Are you a fan of them?

A: Samsung is appreciative of any association that seeks to raise standards and promote the best interests of the security industry.  As a manufacturer we are particularly keen to support any organisation which encourages and makes it easier for end-users to implement an electronic security solution which is why, for example, we are members of ONVIF which is an open industry forum for the development of a global standard for the interface of network video products.  The ONVIF standard is intended to ensure interoperability between network video products regardless of the manufacturer.

Q:  You are about to launch a multiple-language website, which languages will this include?

A:  Initially, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Russian, but the number of different language versions of the website will increase over the coming months.

Q:  What countries do you work with?

A:  Samsung’s professional security products are supplied and supported by Samsung Techwin Europe Ltd across Europe, Russia and CIS.  Our head offices are in Chertsey but we also have local offices in France, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Spain and Russia.

Q:  What is your security pet hate?

A: My pet hate is that a security solution is generally considered a grudge purchase, and is a spend that is often difficult to justify with a tangible return on the investment. In my opinion, if a camera is worth paying for, it is worth recording at the best quality it can deliver.  If it is worth recording it is also worth protecting that recording by using, for example, RAID storage so that evidence is not lost the event of hard drive failure, which will inevitably happen at some point. RAID is pretty standard in the IP world and the cost is rarely resented – it is simply good practice.  It is disappointing that an industry offering a security solution to protect people and property quite often does not consider it worth paying a little extra to secure the evidence capture, which after all is the main purpose of the system.