Finding the Yin and Yang of the Security Business

Partnerships can be a way for two or more companies to seize more market share than the sum of their individual customer bases, as collaboration can mean sharing more than just clients. While partnership can lead to greater innovation and mutual business progression, it can halt progression and even cause damage, so there is a crucial need to find the right fit.

More and more security professionals are thinking about partnerships. Open-platform technologies are proliferating, requiring more and more businesses to work together to provide the best combined solutions for customers. But we are still in a world dominated by companies which think working alone is better, not wanting – as they see it – to give up their own expertise, IP or market share.

But there is strength in numbers.  A smart partnership can give access to new or different ideas, materials, and expertise, which can in turn improve current products and create new ones. It allows businesses to mutually recognise strengths and weaknesses and help each other improve. It can lead to valuable knowledge sharing, allow innovation, access to new markets, and increased customer loyalty.

When done right, one plus one can be worth a lot more than two, but the benefits should go both ways.

This leads to another important point, that a poorly thought out partnership – even one where companies appear to be a perfect fit – can hinder rather than help your business.

There are many examples of business partnerships going south. It even happened to the Beatles, who built up a formidable business around their music. A breakdown of trust and relationships around that business led to litigation and differences which could not be reconciled, which was ultimately a catalyst for the band’s breakup.

The Beatles’ strong musical partnership did not translate to business, and their example serves to demonstrate how carefully the right business partnership must be chosen.

The security ecosystem has always come together to create something greater. Take the example of a tripartite relationship between Promise Technology, Milestone and Axis to monitor a production line for the mixture of general synthetic fiber in a petroleum company in Singapore. Using Milestone’s open-platform system, Promise’s high-performing storage capacity, and best-in-class cameras from Axis, the result was optimized performance and enforcement of strict safety standards in place.

The ecosystem benefitted everyone. The customer was provided with a smooth running end to-end-solution; rather than having to find different contractors for each element, the relationship also resulted in business for three companies, not just one. The trio was also able to work in a better, more connected way by collaborating with each other.

Also, in January this year, NEC partnered with Milestone for its partner event in Hanoi, deployed its NeoFace Watch face recognition system to track attendance and traffic at the event’s booths, in place of scanning delegates’ passes. This was the first time NEC’s face recognition technology was deployed for such a purpose, and it highlights the trust and close relationship shared between both partners to showcase their expertise and push for greater innovation.

Such cohesive partnerships also extend to other security areas like city surveillance. Given the scalable, customizable and flexible nature of the open software system, solutions providers can add on video functionality and work with other partners for security and business systems at any time.

Partnerships can be a route to innovation which can push a company and, in this case, an entire industry forward. The challenge is finding and nurturing the right partnership – avoiding the companies which might give you a honeymoon period followed by an unhappy marriage.

By Benjamin Low, Vice President, APAC, Milestone Systems & William Tan, Director, Global Face Recognition & Surveillance, Global Safety Division, NEC Corporation

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