Although full-line distributors abound and surely are a vital link in the locksmiths’ security supply chain, this new category — manufacturer/distributor — is a new breed of vendor who specializes in diligently selecting products to offer, essentially remanufacturing each product so it meets their own exacting requirements, customizing firmware and configuring systems on a per customer basis. They then follow up with an aggressive team approach to customer and technical support as well as dealer training.
Q&A: Optiview’s Gary Bilbeau
To find out more about Optiview and the video surveillance market, Locksmith Ledger interviewed Gary Bilbeau, sales director for Optiview. Following are the Ledger’s questions and Bilbeau’s answers.
Can you please tell us about Optiview’s history?
Optiview was started in 1999 by the company’s president, Dave Page. Dave has a background in low-voltage electronics and had been working in the field as a camera and alarm system installer. Optiview also created its first website at that time. Many years, websites, and warehouses later, we are an extremely successful business selling wholesale CCTV equipment throughout the U.S. and territories.
Who are your customers?
Optiview customers range from small installers and resellers to large Fortune 500 companies.
What products do you offer?
As a distributor, Optiview offers all items needed in the CCTV world including DVRs, NVRs, analog and IP cameras, coax, cat5, cat6, fiber, and related items.
What services do you offer?
We can help with the overall security application design and will make sure you select the right equipment for the job. We pride ourselves on our technical support and service after the sale.
There are lots of distributors in the marketplace. What differentiates Optiview from the competition?
We don’t just sell products; we sell solutions that work. Our sales staff is extremely knowledgeable on the product line and we will help our customers design a complete solution. Also, we stand behind all products sold and offer tech support on our full line of items. Because we have so much equipment in the field, our tech department now has more employees than the sales department. Tech Support will help with the day to day operation of the equipment and even help setup viewing your DVR/NVR remotely and on your smart phone.
What is the biggest challenge facing the video dealer. What do you consider the most important trends in video surveillance industry, and how is Optiview participating in them?
The biggest challenge for the dealer is still price vs. quality. So many customers now see the CCTV equipment inside of Costco or Sam’s Club and feel that is what they want. Truthfully if the equipment was any good, the retailer would be using it for their own security purposes.
It’s up to the security professional to explain that, “Yes it is a basic CCTV system but it will have limitations.” Here are some of the questions to ask when comparing products.
- Is it Mpeg4 or H.264 compression?
- How much hard drive capacity?
- What’s the resolution of the cameras?
- Are the connections universal or proprietary?
- Can you get support from the company you’re purchasing from?
Trends are scattered right now. A lot of people are still offering analog (BNC) products while there is a big movement to IP happening right now. IP offers megapixel resolution and better wireless solutions. Optiview has been researching IP products and solutions for years now and just this year rolled out a comprehensive IP product line with products that work dependably and are affordable. Many of the big jobs we quote nowadays are IP based.
What are your most popular products?
Our most popular products now are embedded DVRs as they offer the most bang for the buck. Embedded DVRs allow the users to record, retrieve data, view remotely, and all of our embedded machines now offer smart phone support. High resolution analog cameras are also very popular right now as they are a very good value.
What is the product in the NEMA enclosure Dave Page was embracing in the showroom?
We offer a full line of weatherproof video server and DVR solutions. All of the boxes are NEMA3 rated and have POE built in to add wireless antennas. We offer a 1.5 mile antenna and a 3 mile antenna at a very affordable price. The boxes are offered with our own equipment but we also allow the dealer to build-in other brands of video encoders such as Vivotek and Axis.
Now we offer a full line of DVRs that we can build up to 16 camera inputs.
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Sell yourself and your systems on the basis of value rather than price.
Many types of companies are entering the video surveillance installation business, but no one group enjoys a clear advantage, and you won’t know if you like it until you try.