Poll: Managed services and hosted video gaining ground, but slowly

Readers say security and functionality concerns may be hindering broader adoption
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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—Managed services and hosted video are building momentum, but some skepticism remains regarding the near-term prospects of the services, according to results from SSN’s October News Poll. 

Fifty-five percent of respondents say they’re either offering or plan to offer managed services, citing the potential RMR boost as a key reason. Another 47 percent of respondents say hosted video is part of their current or future plans.

“We are actively seeking to enter the hosted video and access markets,” one respondent said. “We’re looking for an affordable video solution that does more than 30- or 60-second clips.”

Though the technology for managed services and hosted video has been available for a while, demand for the products is still emerging. One respondent, Neil Licht, founder and managing director/chief consultant at Here We Are, a marketing and business consulting company, noted that this creates new imperatives from a sales standpoint.

“How to sell managed services is quite different from selling security solutions,” he said. “You are selling a business and services are evaluated and funded very differently than acquiring and purchasing a system that the company will own.” 

Licht added that other factors worth considering in terms of selling managed services are “different bottom line evaluations, different decision makers and different influencers” involved in the sale.

Another impediment to the growth of the market is the fact that some companies have been reluctant to offer training to salespeople, technicians and installers, while some in those ranks have been just as reluctant to receive it. According to the poll, that may be changing, though maybe not rapidly. Forty-two percent of the 47 respondents said their sales representatives and technicians have received special training for selling managed services, while the same percentage of respondents said personnel had not.

Certain technical hurdles were also cited with respect to hosted video. “Until widespread high bandwidth is common, hosted video is limited to low resolution for more than a handful of cameras per site,” one reader said. “Highly compressed video does not offer much of a benefit to our customers if they need to pull video for evidence of an incident.” 

Another respondent concurred, saying hosted video would “not be a mainline business in the next decade,” and that good quality video and bandwidth isn’t “just around the corner.” A reader from a rural region says they’re not pursuing hosted video and managed services because they don’t currently carry enough appeal to the customer base.

Some readers were guardedly optimistic, highlighting benefits that could help accelerate adoption, such as certain operational advantages, as well as drawbacks that could slow it down. One reader cited ongoing concerns about security and functionality, but said a large portion of the market will ultimately gravitate toward the services for their improved functionality, flexibility and simplicity. “These platforms offer a continuously improving value proposition, potentially more robust operations, and reduction in personnel overhead needs and capital infrastructure,” that respondent said.