Samsung Techwin puts IP in focus

Peter Ainsworth, Senior Product Manager, Samsung Techwin Europe Ltd

Samsung Techwin released some 170 products during 2010 and their aggressive product introduction strategy will continue. During 2011, IP products will be a major focus. It can be argued that Samsung is in a catch up situation when it comes to IP, but Senior Product Manager Peter Ainsworth is confident the company has not missed the train.

According to their own figures, Samsung is the third largest video surveillance manufacturer in the EMEA region when it comes to revenues with Bosch holding the top spot and Axis number two. After the transfer of Samsung Electronics' business to Samsung Techwin at the beginning of 2010, Samsung Techwin released around 170 products over the year as it looked to consolidate its existing ranges into a single Samsung brand and expand into new business areas including a bolstered range of IP and network, access control and intrusion alarms products.
"The transfer was a big step for us. It allowed us to take the best products from both ranges and offer them to our customers", says Peter Ainsworth.

High financial aims
At the recent Samsung Vision Conference, which took place in Malta, Samsung Techwin highlighted it is aiming for a global turnover of 1,000 million dollars from its security business by the end of 2011 and 2,500 million dollars by 2015. In order to do so, they are putting increased emphasis on a transition from analogue technology to that of network technology and solutions based business. They plan to achieve 5 percent of IP market share by the end of 2011.

21 new IP cameras
"Today, the Samsung Techwin line-up includes around 20 network cameras. In the first half of this year, the company will release new 1.3 and 3 megapixel IP camera variants, and 5 megapixel cameras in the second half of the year. In total, 21 new IP cameras are planned to be released."
"We are going to make sure that these network products allow us to offer solutions for various types of applications, whether they will be small, medium or large. Our aim this year is to establish a scalable, reliable and effective security solutions platform that covers all these small, medium or large systems and infrastructure projects", says Peter Ainsworth.
"We will have basic cameras and recorders; IP cameras, whether VGA, 4-CIF or megapixel, likewise with PTZ domes - we have models that cater for 12x to 43x zoom on the network side. There will be thermal cameras, network recorders and encoders."

"All Samsung IP products will continue to be launched under the Samsung Ipolis banner, but the unifying element for Samsung's total solution concept is known as TSM or Total Security Management. TSM brings together 'packages' such as surveillance, ANPR, video walls and analytics onto a single platform."

Will not ignore its analogue base
Peter Ainsworth also stresses that Samsung will not ignore its analogue base, which the company believes is the largest in Europe.
"We have been very successful and there is a huge amount of analogue business out there for us to still win. Today, a majority of our sales are analogue and we grew by a huge amount last year."

Why are you late into IP?
"It is easy to see why it is perceived that way, but we have actually been involved in the IP arena for a number of years. I think that because our analogue sales have been stronger than IP sales to date it is what we have been best known for, but it is IP that offers us the biggest opportunity for growth so we now need to develop this business the same way we did with analogue."

Is everything going IP now?
"We are asked a lot about take up of IP and if the switch has actually happened yet, I believe it has been happening for a long time and, although growth is very strong, it will not be something that changes overnight. We are still very aware that we need to produce the products that our customers demand and analogue is still a very strong area for us. In terms of product introductions it is clear to see that a number of manufacturers have moved across to focusing on IP alone, but we have gained a lot of market share because we have continued our development of analogue products in tandem with IP."

So, now is a good moment to put your focus on IP?
"I think it is. Because, how many people use mice, keyboards? Who does not have a smart phone? How many people have Internet at home? Because these things are so common, I think this is really the right time. And again, have we missed the train? No, the train has been going quite slowly, it is like an old London bus, it goes slow at first and then you jump on the back and it takes off."

You will not miss it?
"No, I don´t think so. We do not want to miss it because we have both the technology and the interest. People want to buy our network cameras."

Today the majority of your sales are of analogue products, when will it be 50-50?
"Throughout 2011 I think our analogue and DVR sales will continue to grow, but more rapid growth will take place with our IP products. I believe this trend will continue and we will see 50/50 sales at Samsung in about 2-3 years time. This is heavily dependent on the various markets we serve however. Some territories are much faster at converting to IP sales than others and we will also listen to our customers carefully in order to provide the right products for their needs."

Are you putting equal focus on all product segments?
"At our R&D centre in Korea there are various developers looking after different areas and we are at different stages in product group lifecycles. For example, access control is a big growth market and we have ambitious plans to bolster our offering in this area after entering it last year. Video is really a retrospective security device that indicates what has happened, while access control is stopping things from happening. If you stop people entering your building, then they are less like to cause a problem. Prevention is always better than a cure. The reason why we are doing both is that you need to have a total solution."

You want to be a total security provider. Is there not a risk in trying to compete in too many product segments?
"Not at all, we have the size and expertise to operate in a number of segments as well as the local structure in place to deliver the service needed. Our customers are continuing to demand complete solutions to benefit from interoperability and convergence of technology."

So you need a complete portfolio?
"Yes we do, because we talk about solutions. If you want to buy a new pc, how many go to a pc shop and say: right, I need that hard drive, that keyboard, that software? You want to buy the whole thing, don't you? And that is what we are trying to provide - a package."

Last year you released 170 products, this year it will be close to that number. Will you continue at this rate?
"I honestly couldn't say at this stage. Just two years ago it would have been unheard of for a company to launch so much in such a short amount of time, so we will have to wait and see!"

You have set some really high financial goals. Do you have all the products you need to achieve them?
"It's not just about products; it's also about our team and support services. Through hard work, listening to our customers and developing the products they need with leading support I am sure we will be successful in achieving our goals. We set ambitious goals. I have been with Samsung Techwin for more than two years now and you get used to sprinting. That is why we have been successful."

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