Leading the way
07 March 2019
PHILIP INGRAM MBE catches up with Francesca Boeris, managing director at Comelit Group UK who are one of the Founding Partners of The Security Event, launching at the NEC in Birmingham from 9-11 April 2019.
What are the biggest challenges facing the Security sector at the moment?
There are many ‘hot topics’ which are guaranteed to come up in industry networking conversation; namely, the fast pace evolution of technology and artificial intelligence, concerns over cybersecurity and hacking.
The outcome of Brexit and uncertainties mean the industry has to ensure correct strategies are in place to minimise any disruption.
But aside from this, the real challenge for Comelit is the skills shortage in the industry.
There simply aren’t enough qualified staff coming out of colleges and being trained in-house. Conversely, with engineers currently in the industry, they are either too multi-disciplined to specialise or struggling to keep up with the pace of technological change.
The difference with the security industry is the necessity of the intricate skills sets. Unlike other industries, being able to understand and apply the technical aspects of security and fire installation, whether traditional or encompassing latest smart solutions (or often a mixture of both) quickly and efficiently, is vital to success.
It’s something Comelit is working hard to address and establish new ways of attracting the right talent to join our strong team to continue to meet and exceed the demands of our discerning customers and their clients.
COMELIT is leading the way with more integrated and combined solutions. What can you tell us before The Security Event about your new initiatives and is there more to be announced?
They say the most dangerous phrase in the language is ‘We’ve always done it this way.’ Comelit is renowned on a global scale for stylish security solutions, encompassing cutting edge technology. It’s a position of strength and leadership.
But it’s not enough, we are never complacent. We are constantly evolving as a brand and seeking new ways to work with our customers to deliver on their requirements, introducing CCTV and last year fire – together with home automation solutions.
Such combined solutions are simply what the market demands. And we’re delighted to be launching new products within our portfolio at The Security Event.
The integration perspective is the direction the market is taking us. A product is no longer independent and expected to be integrated exclusively into its own systems. It simply must be open to integration with other devices.
This is as a consequence of the innovations in smart security. Technology is becoming more and more part of our daily lives.
Whether it be the desires of the homeowner to access and control home security from their mobile phone, or offering commercial estate, facility and security managers more efficient building control solutions. It’s the responsibility of the industry to have the right solution, that can be installed seamlessly and operate with its surroundings.
With this in mind, Comelit has some really exciting developments coming in 2019 and The Security Event is perfectly poised for us to position our launch programme. It includes a specialist integration programme called ‘COMnect’ which presents the opportunities for our integration with other devices.
You have been working on greater integrated and combined solutions for the security and fire markets – what are the advantages of this integration and how do you see it improving capability?
The fire and security industries carry significant differences, right down to their primary function. They must be approached right from design and manufacture of products, through specification and installation differently to reach their desired goal.
This is exactly why Comelit launched Fire as a separate entity to our core security division; so that we can a team dedicated to understanding the standards and expectations of our customers.
But we also understand the customer demands. There’s an increasing preference to work with one team and the indefinite possibilities of integration for the benefit of user experience, as we defined above. For Comelit, it’s a discussion that has been around for the last 30 years or more.
Integration of fire and security products and services allows issues to be resolved more quickly. This is especially critical for commercial teams who have a responsibility to maintain smart buildings, and are challenged to operate with increasingly significant time, resource and budget restraints.
At the same time, by offering integrated and combined solutions, we can relieve the pressures on teams to guarantee security and fire measures are achieved to highest standards to provide peace of mind and avoid major tragedies and loss of life, as we have so recently sadly seen.
What is your biggest R&D challenge today?
Comelit has a big R&D spend, which we use effectively to meet the biggest challenges, especially when it comes to staying up to date with the latest technologies and evolution of smart capability and the Internet of Things, which is really moving at lightning speed.
This can be viewed as part of our efforts to direct resources into creating consumer demand and driving innovation into the integrated security and connected smart home channels.
In a recent interview, our R&D Director Sergio Nicoli, highlighted how new products need to have a connection to the cloud. From Comelit’s perspective, this means new groups of people are involved in R&D, including now software designers and app builders.
As he says, quite simply, “Today, if you don’t have an app for a new product, you are missing a piece of functionality that people want.”
Comelit’s dedicated app is constantly being updated with this in mind, and can now not only cater for door entry, but also provide CCTV visuals, RTSP streams, control audio and integrate with intruder alarms on site.
But Comelit’s challenge is also to continue to have the products in place to take our installers on the journey of smart evolution. We need to make sure products remain simple to install and operate, both from a residential and commercial perspective.
It’s why products such as the Mini Handsfree Wifi, CIAO and Smart (to be launched at The Security Event) are in place, to show the importance of their role in bringing our products to life.
COMELIT has historically been a B2B manufacturer but some of you latest technologies, for example your new video doorbell, seem on the surface B2C. Are you contemplating a change in direction?
It’s a good question, but absolutely not. We are dedicated to our B2B customers and want to ensure we are providing the right products and services to ensure they can achieve their own client demands.
Visto is just one example of this. We were early to the market and wanted to present all the benefits of video doorbell technology, without compromising on aesthetic appeal.
Again, bringing together all that we have discussed in the importance of our installer base and responding to the market in its need to keep up with technology, Visto needed to become an option, easy to professionally install and fit around busy homeowner’s lives.
The result in Visto, is an architect inspired stylish solution for discerning homeowners who want the best of both worlds; in added protection without affecting the look and feel of their home.
And we are already looking at more ways we can offer ‘B2C’ products in the future, although our route to market will always remain the same.
What is it about The Security Event at the NEC that made you decide you wanted to be a founding partner?
There are many responses to this question. The first is simply the location. We have noticed, especially in the last couple of years, many of our customers were not willing to travel to London.
The move to the NEC was a significant pull for us, and it’s something we feel confident will draw visitor attention from across the country.
Secondly was the nature of the exhibition – in its marketing as a ‘pure’ Security exhibition with the aim of delivering latest product and service solutions to installers and end users.
Last but not least, was the attraction of the founding partners, all of whom are leading the way to creating a better and smarter security industry. It’s something we felt proud to be involved and partner, right from the initial concept to the show to looking forward to welcoming visitors to our stand.