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Integral faux pas may point to impending doom

I like so much of what I read and hear about Integral Technologies in Indianapolis.  The company has a strong brand, apparently functional and reliable products, and enthusiastic backing by parent company, Schneider Electric (the recent acquirers of Pelco).

However, the company is sending a confusing message to the market.  In Integral’s marketing collateral you’ll find expressions like this one I just came across in a press release: "Integral Technologies, Inc., is a worldwide provider of IT security solutions…"

When a Chief Security Officer, a procurement director, or any consumer of security products thinks of all the security problems that need to be solved, the only way to remain sane and to make sense of the available solutions is to segregate them into buckets or categories.  The biggest buckets are IT security, physical security and public safety.  Some would also add homeland security as its own bucket.

Somebody at Integral obviously thinks they are in the IT security business.  But they are not.  IT security is the world of antivirus, network firewalls, privacy controls, data encryption, identity management and the like.  That ain’t the business of Integral.

The Integral folks think they clarify the matter by adding: "For more than 13 years, Integral has specialized in the research, development, sales and support of security hardware, software and peripheral products. The company is well-known in the industry for its scalable security solutions that span the entire technology spectrum, from analog to pure IP network-based systems."  Well, scores of true IT security solution providers could say the same thing.

Integral is a physical security vendor leveraging software and networks.  In that sense Integral is a "security convergence" vendor, too.  But IT security as an expression belongs to the IT security bucket.

This is a small, almost nit-picky complaint, but I think it is important.  Customers of security solutions – from huge government agencies down to small retail operations – (not to mention journalists, consultants and other "consumers" of security industry marketing) rely on marketing folks to clarify, differentiate, and organize information about security.

The devil is in the details in this industry.  If Schneider Electric doesn’t focus on little details like marketing messaging – especially on widely circulated press releases. Maybe it’s too big to fix the growth and strategy challenges facing Pelco, or Integral, or any other subsidiary.  …which means Schneider Electric may be a catastrophic train wreck just waiting to happen.

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  1. August 20, 2007 at 11:20 am | #1

    Good article, Steve.
    I think that many security equipment manufacturers feel threatened by IT solution providers and think that they must become one themselves in order to succeed. In many cases, these manufacturers don’t know what they don’t know about IT security.
    Many manufacturers of physical security equipment are adding phrases like “fully converged solution” or “seemlessly integrated with IT” to their advertisements without understanding what these really mean. Just because something communicates over the corporate network doesn’t mean its integrated with the IT system.
    It’s ironic that the manufacturers that claim to be the most IT savvy are usually the ones who offer only proprietary hardware solutions and are least likely to embrace the open standards that are commonly used in the IT world.

  2. January 5, 2012 at 1:19 am | #2

    Now all is clear, I thank for the information.

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