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How Integrators Can Reap Rewards of IoT

Anixter execs offer integrators advice on how to capitalize from IoT trend through maintenance contracts and understanding product life cycles. By Lisa Montgomery

FOR MORE THAN 60 YEARS, Anixter has been a leading provider of security solutions for homes, businesses, schools, and various vertical market industries. While the global distributor, with more than 300 locations worldwide, still offers a broad range of traditional security products, such as alarm systems, sensors, sirens, and the like, it continues to refine its portfolio to keep pace with industry trends.

“We make it our mission to investigate and fully understand new technologies as they come along,” says Andy Jimenez, Anixter vice president of technology, Network & Security Solutions. “Our engineers keep a close pulse on the industry by staying actively involved with organizations including the Telecommunications Industry Association, Institute of Electronics Engineers, and ONVIF."

IoT, Open Platform Communication

Two of the biggest drivers poised to alter the home systems landscape and profoundly change the way integrators handle their business, he says, are the Internet of Things (IoT) and systems that communicate via an open platform.

Both IoT and open communications platforms present challenges for integrators, no doubt. Namely, the need to protect clients from vulnerabilities like hacking and communications snafus. According to Bob Dolan, director of technology, Network & Security Solutions, “Fifteen years ago, systems were installed and integrators didn’t need to worry that their customers would fall prey to cyber risks or hiccups in the communications chain.”

Those times have changed, and with those new issues also come new revenue-boosting opportunities for integrators. During a Media Day held recently at the Anixter Infrastructure Solution Labs, in Glenview, Ill., executives presented effective ways to leverage IoT and interoperability in order to stay “sticky” with residential and commercial clients:

Solid Maintenance Contracts: Customers need to feel protected from the increased risks that new technologies present, and that means having a maintenance program in place that provides them with valuable peace of mind.

Leverage the IP: Use the data collected (with their permission, of course) from customers’ IP devices to develop new business strategies. For example, if you notice an IP-connected video doorbell is unable to “see” images after 9 p.m., you can follow up by offering your clients a motion triggered light—and you can do this before they even realize lighting is a problem.

Introduce an Upgrade Path: Your customers recognize obsolescence as a natural part of a technology lifecycle. They’ll feel better about investing in your products and services if you present them with a logical upgrade path from the get-go. Being up front eliminates surprises, breeds trust, and helps your clients plan more effectively for their future.

Examples of product lifecycles include:

  • Cable infrastructure: 15 years
  • Indoor fixed camera: 7 years
  • Storage devices: 5 years

Interoperability Is Key

With so much at risk yet so much to gain, IoT adds an often complex wrinkle to systems integration. Bandwidth, interoperability, and security are all integral facets to the reliability of a system. Often, it’s not until after a system has been installed into a home or business that these issues surface. To help integrators minimize the risk, overcome installation challenges, and ensure system reliability from the onset, Anixter offers integrators the opportunity to test complete solutions at its Infrastructure Solutions Lab, at the company headquarters in Glenview, Ill.

“Our technical experts in the lab analyze performance and quality across product lines and test for the interoperability of multiple subsystems,” says Jimenez.

Integrators can do the following at the lab:

  • Demonstrate the image quality of dozens of analog and IP surveillance cameras. Cameras can be tested in various lighting conditions to determine the best product for a particular application.
  • Evaluate a network infrastructure to be sure it will successfully handle bandwidth demands.
  • Determine optimal cabling solutions to support high-speed data applications.
  • Test solutions that integrate the logical and physical elements of a building’s data, voice, video, and automation systems.
  • Conduct proof of concepts.

IoT should be a part of your game plan—it’s where the market is headed. Distributors like Anixter are helping foster a better understanding of the technology so you can deliver secure, reliable solutions to your customers. Take advantage of testing facilities like the Anixter Infrastructure Solutions Lab to leverage IoT both as a product offering and a stream of recurring revenue.

This article was originally published by our content partner CE Pro.

Image: Anixter's Lab in Glenview, Ill.

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