Tyco security products division questions answered
It is over two years since Tyco merged with Johnson Controls. In this interview, Ernest Mallett
Regional Director, Africa for the Tyco access control and video brands, responds to some searching questions about the future of the company's security products division.
Q: Following Tyco's merger with Johnson Controls, many of us who work within the electronic security industry were anticipating that the Tyco name would disappear and all your products would be rebranded. Is this still the plan?
A: While almost all Tyco products have or will have Johnson Controls branding, our security division products are an exception. This decision to retain the Tyco name reflects the fact that we are a well-established and highly respected brand within the electronic security sector. Simply put, we now proudly work for Johnson Controls, but we sell Tyco.
In all other respects, being part of and being supported by a large company such as Johnson Controls bodes well for our future success in that we can now deliver more of a total solution. This should prove an attractive proposition to system integrators by providing solutions to end-users who wish to work in intelligent buildings, as it means they only need to talk to one company to put together a complete solution.
Route to market
Q: In terms of providing a complete solution, does this mean you also install your products.
A: No. Although some people may be confusing us with the installation arm of JCI, we are in fact two independent business units with our own strategies and objectives.
We appreciate and respect the key role that system integrators play in ensuring end-users achieve maximum benefit from their investment in Tyco access control and video solutions. We therefore do not sell direct to end-users and our route to market is only via the companies that install and commission our solutions.
Q: How are you able to remain competitive with so many other manufacturers vying for market share?
A: It is a highly competitive environment, but we have been able to maintain the ongoing success of the CEM, C-CURE, Kantech access control and American Dynamics, Exacq, Illustra, victor and VideoEdge video surveillance brands, by endeavouring to excel in everything we do.
Q: Can you give some examples of this?
A: We place considerable importance on the need to have certified systems integrator partners and provide them with the best possible training and support in respect of system design, installation, commissioning and service. We also employ high-calibre pre-sales specialists for each of our access control and video brands, and they work closely with our systems integrator partners and consultants to ensure the best fit solution is specified for the end-user.
The expertise and efforts of our specialist technical support team, which work alongside colleagues responsible for hardware design, software development, quality assurance and testing, also deserves a mention. The team collectively has a truly impressive list of relevant university degrees, as well as accreditations from Cisco, Microsoft and other leading IT technology drivers. Combined, the team members have a knowledge bank and a range of skill sets, which means it is almost unheard of for them not to be able to resolve any technical issues in quick time.
We are committed to make it as effortless as possible for system integrators to install, commission and service our products, and so, in addition to problem-solving, the team regularly advises on system design and best practice for large projects involving complex integrated solutions. This is perhaps a key reason why Tyco brands have earnt the loyalty and respect of so many system integrators throughout Europe.
Q: Are there any particular Tyco branded security products which you believe stand out from the crowd?
A: I could use up the whole of this interview to list the many reasons why Tyco branded solutions should be the first choice for anyone looking for a robust, futureproof access control or video surveillance solution. What I think should be highlighted is that many of our products incorporate innovative features that are unique to Tyco, and these underscore the ingenuity of our product design and development teams. Most of them have been developed in response to feedback from our customers and are intended to offer real-life practical benefits.
Q: Can you give some examples of these unique solutions?
A: We have recently launched an eight-channel VideoEdge Deep Intelligence Network Video Recorder (NVR), which utilises machine learning techniques with the help of a powerful graphics processing unit (GPU). This optimises the ability of the NVR to display highly accurate video intelligence compared to standard methods of video analytics.
Accurate people counting and tracking is achievable from images captured by an overhead camera, as the VideoEdge Deep Intelligence NVR is able to more effectively distinguish between humans and objects in the field of view. This is because it is supplied 'pre-trained' with thousands of images to compare against and, as such, will work straight out of the box for the majority of applications.
When combined with the full analytics suite available on the VideoEdge Deep Intelligence NVR, such as such as crowd formation, loitering and perimeter protection, together with the command and control capabilities of the victor video management system, users are now able to identify opportunities to improve productivity, as well as achieve greater security and situational awareness.
I believe C-CURE 9000 is the most flexible and easy to use access control platform available, but what we are regularly told by customers is that they place a high value on its reporting capabilities, which can be put to good use in order, for example, to monitor and audit compliance with health and safety procedures or government regulations.
In addition, the C-Cure 9000 self-registration kiosk reduces reception desk workload and helps increase the speed at which visitors are processed, while offering a secure, traceable visitor management solution designed to comply with data protection, privacy and company IT requirements.
C-Cure 9000 also offers the option, via a QR credential generator plugin, for visitors to receive temporary access control credentials on their smartphones in the form of a QR code.
Q: The threat of cyber attacks on electronic security solutions remains a hot topic, with some of your competitors attracting unwanted publicity, as it claimed that some of their products offer the opportunity for hackers to attack via 'backdoors' in their firmware. What is Tyco doing to ensure your reputation is not affected in the same way?
A: The first point to emphasise is that we have a policy of being totally transparent with regard to cyber security issues. When we become aware of a threat, we inform our systems integrator partners at the earliest opportunity and inform them of our plan of action to resolve the issue.
We have, in fact, been leading the market for some time in respect of cyber security. Illustra cameras, for example, include multi-level password protection, IP address filtering, user access logs and certificate management. This is because both have been designed and built subject to the rigorous procedure of the Tyco Security Products Cyber Protection Program, which was one of the industry's first to offer a holistic approach to cyber security for physical security products.
The program takes on-board feedback from IT, security professionals and cyber security experts, in order to combine best practice during the product development, testing and evaluation process, as well as configuration guidelines for compliance, in order to protect our physical security products from attack, damage, disruption, unauthorised access or misuse.
The six-part program is designed to give system integrators and end-users the confidence that Tyco has minimised the possibility of introducing vulnerabilities into its electronic security solutions.
Q: Are you confident that 2019 will be a successful for you and your colleagues at Tyco?
A: Very much so. I am excited about the opportunity to win a greater share of the market, as well as help the market grow by raising awareness of what our solutions are now able to do beyond the traditional objectives of deterring and detecting criminal activity.