Q&A with new Panasonic president, J.M. Allain

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

SEACAUCUS, N.J.--In July, Frank DeFina, the long-time president of Panasonic System Solutions, retired, giving way to J.M. Allain, who was most recently head of global operations at Duos Technologies, and has been a vice president at Adesta and general manager at NetVersant.
Allain agreed to an email interview with Security Systems News:

SSN: How has your most recent position at Duos, or other work in the industry, prepared you for running a much larger operation with Panasonic? Do you feel your integration background, also including your time at NetVersant and Adesta, will give you a unique perspective for a manufacturer?
J.M. Allain: It is not coincidental that Panasonic Corporation of North America sought integration industry expertise when evaluating candidates for the new President of Panasonic System Solutions Company (of America) - PSSA. Panasonic has a broad and deep product portfolio that spans many different applications for business products. PSSA's ability to tie them together is a considerable advantage we offer across numerous business categories that allows us to be more competitive in the overall marketplace. In addition to traditional video surveillance system solutions, PSSA is in a unique position to provide customer-driven business solutions and services that add value above and beyond what traditional security industry-centric manufacturers have to offer.
My personal experience with systems integrators in the security industry as well as the IT and telecom industries, provides the basis for an enhanced business model for PSSA. My vision is to capitalize on Panasonic's proven reputation for technology innovation as a manufacturer by offering enhanced integrated solutions and services that cross-cultivate our core areas of expertise. By working more closely with current and new channel partners and end-users alike, we plan to further expand our presence in the market.

SSN: What do you feel an integrator wants most from a manufacturing partner and how do you hope to help Panasonic deliver that?
Allain: As technologies continue to converge and the demand for truly integrated systems increases, PSSA's goal is to provide top tier integrators with solutions that meet end user requirements while delivering improved ROI and lower total cost of ownership. Consistent and open communications with integrators is one of the most important criterion to reach this goal. We must continuously listen to them and end-users to determine their collective needs. And since communications is a two-way street, systems integrators need to understand that it is beneficial for them to work closely with us to ensure that PSSA's product and technology roadmap will help them build their businesses. PSSA has the ability to offer more than best-in-breed systems products--we can offer comprehensive solutions.

SSN: At Duos you worked with a number of IT-focused partners, from Microsoft to Cisco, and you have a background in the IT industry with Alcatel. Panasonic has recently invested heavily in IP-based products. What impact will IT and IP continue to have on the security marketplace and how will Panasonic work to take advantage of that?
Allain: This is really my second involvement with an IP evolution. During the mid-'90s the data and telecom industries converged on a network platform resulting in integrated IP voice, video and data services. Given the inherent benefits that digital networks provide versus legacy analog systems, these integrated systems quickly became a business infrastructure mainstay.
The same analog-to-network migration path will continue to transform the security industry for all the same reasons. Networked systems have proven to reduce overall costs while improving functionality. One of the attributes that attracted me to PSSA is the company's clear commitment to IP-based solutions, which is evident in our leading lines of i-Pro network video surveillance products, point of sale solutions and digital signage solutions - all of which deliver the best in performance whether deployed as standalone systems or when integrated on the enterprise level.
However, we cannot overlook the billions of dollars invested in existing analog-based systems and infrastructure--specifically in the security industry. Panasonic Security Systems continues to service legacy system customers with new products and technologies that improve the performance of their existing systems yet provide a migration path to a networked platform. These technologies will co-exist for many years, and PSSA is well-positioned to fulfill the needs of customers on both IP and analog technology platforms, and any hybrid configuration they elect to build upon.

SSN: How should Panasonic partners expect your personality or business philosophy to manifest itself on the company over the coming years?
Allain: The new business philosophy of providing solutions versus products will drive Panasonic System Solutions Company forward. Our management team has brought together our internal business groups with the common goal of being more than simply a manufacturer, but rather a provider of customer-driven integrated solutions.
From a personal perspective, I believe the success of PSSA's enhanced business model requires a great deal of cooperation and communications involving our entire staff, reseller partners and end-users. It is a collaborative team effort that all involved parties will benefit from. I plan to personally spend a great amount of time with our reseller partners and our customers to help further secure these relationships.