IP video surveillance and access control specialist Genetec says it is seeing positive signs from last November's shift away from distribution to what it calls a "one tier model" in A/NZ.
"We've already seen a massive, or a positive feedback, from our partners and even from our end users because customers are getting the full story, not something that's been added to or diluted," country manager A/NZ George Moawad told Reseller News.
"It's been a very positive response from our customers, not only commercially but from a product perspective because they are getting the full story from the horse's mouth."
The shift came, of course, in the middle of rolling pandemic workplace restrictions in both Australia and New Zealand, which had changed the market very quickly.
Moawad said the Montral-based company's 2000 global staff were able to shift to working from home within 12 hours. Logistics was restructured within a couple of days.
The company's three business pillars are video, access control and license plate recognition (LPR).
Most customer budgets were cut so Genetec was pushed by customers to be able to use existing software and assets to address the new challenges posed by the crisis.
The company's existing video capabilities, for instance, are now being used to count people within certain areas to ensure density limits are not exceeded.
A feature called proximity reporting in Genetec's Access Control allowed a report to be generated to track the movements and contacts of anyone infected.
Existing LPR technology was now being used to restrict, for example, a New South Wales license plate crossing into Queensland.
"All we had to do was to educate the partners as well as the end users on how to utilise what they have without having to spend extra dollars in order to get the full capacity of the system," Moawad said.
Moawad said since the pandemic all regional sales managers had shifted to be 80 per cent focused on helping end users and 20 per cent on partners, of which there are around a hundred across the region.
Genetec, which hired Cameron Watton as its first New Zealand based regional sales manager last May, is also now hiring an A/NZ channel manager.
"With this new route to market we are one step closer to the end user," Moawad said.
"The partners tend to fix immediate problems there and then. What we do is help the end users and partners to fully utilise what they have and to be able to use other means such as Access Control, LPR, Sipelia for intercom and analytics."
Free licenses were granted to the end of 2020 to enforcement agencies and councils to allow cloud based video sharing.
"It was very well received," Moawad said. "It was free of charge globally, and guess what? They used it for seven months and they are still using it and they are paying for it."
Watton said that after decoupling its distribution deal with Hills, the company has signed on new partners who were starting to promote Genetec over other systems.
"Now that our channel is in a pretty good position, I'm starting to spend a lot more time focusing on the end users, getting a lot of end users excited about using some of our other core pillars, not just VMS and the hybrid approach," Watton said.
On premises servers and cloud services are brought together through what Genetec calls federation.
"We feel that's what separates us from the rest of the market and we believe that is where security is going and the best way for a lot of end users to move forward."
The approach helps keep operating costs down, without having to, for example, replace servers every few years.
That approach also meant it wasn't just the system integrators and partners doing the selling and partners appreciated that a lot.
Moawad said the hybrid approach also helps preserve and extend the life of investment in legacy equipment with the option of full cloud in the future.
"Distribution is going to be around, there's not question about that," he said.
"There's a difference between value added distribution and box mover distribution. Box mover distribution will always be there. there's a lot of hardware companies in the world that will need a distribution model or a third party logistics company."
Indeed, Genetec still uses this for its own hardware deliveries.
"The value added distributors that used to be the total ecosystem will be, not a dying breed, but there's not going to be many of them around," Moawad said.
"It's going to be the little boutique distribution companies that will be able to bring that value add."
For a lot of the big vendors and manufacturers, going direct to the partners is the best model, especially in a mature market, Moawad said.
Currently around 12 per cent of Genetec's A/NZ revenue comes out of New Zealand. Watton is charged with lifting that to 25 per cent.
Within the region, the company had around 14 staff heading towards 20 with four more hires, two of which will be in New Zealand for both pre- and post-sales engineering and technical support.