Samsung isn't messing around

World's largest technology company gets serious about security
Tuesday, April 6, 2010

RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J.—Frank DeFina knows a little something about running sales in the security industry for a global consumer electronics giant. It’s something Samsung is banking on. After 26 years at Panasonic, where he rose to the position of president of Panasonic System Solutions, DeFina now finds himself as VP of sales for Samsung, after a brief turn indulging his love for guitars as VP of operations/sales for Paul Reed Smith Guitars.

Why do it all over again in security?

“Dave Smith [then EVP at Samsung Techwin] called me and told me there was a position and was there any interest,” DeFina recalled. “And to tell the truth, there wasn’t any interest. But I had lunch with them, and they were building a sales team from scratch, and they were looking for someone who could build a sales channel in security. So I said, ‘I think I’ve got one good company left in me.’”

With the merging of Samsung Electronics’ and Samsung Techwin’s product lines in recent months, and the strength of a brand that’s considered the most trusted in consumer electronics and is deemed the largest consumer technology company in the world after posting $120 billion in revenues in 2009, there was enough to get DeFina back in the game. “When anyone at Samsung says they want to be a dominant player in security, that’s not to be taken lightly,” DeFina said. The company has more than 100 engineers devoted to surveillance technology development, and Samsung will release roughly 150 products into the security marketplace this year alone.

“We have a serious commitment from the top people in Korea,” DeFina said. “We can introduce products much quicker than I’m used to.”

In building Samsung’s North American footprint, his first step is creating a channel of some “300 or so” authorized Samsung resellers in the commercial integration marketplace, a portion of which will become Samsung Strategic Integrators, which will get certain benefits for meeting certain performance criteria.

What DeFina hopes to bring those integrators are the big accounts in specific verticals that will be intrigued by getting not only security equipment from Samsung, but all of the consumer equipment as well.

“It’s really interesting when you talk to a university president and you can talk about doing the whole project, from all the security cameras and monitors to all the televisions in all the rooms, which can be repurposed for emergency broadcast, and they don’t have to deal with seven or eight different vendors,” DeFina said. “It’s a very compelling reason for me to bring in a large integrator. They don’t really need to know the consumer products, but they do need to know the concept of us leveraging those consumer products and how joining the Samsung team helps them get additional business.”

“Everybody in our space can do the security end of it pretty easily,” he continued, “but even the giants of integration don’t have the ability to leverage the consumer side. I want to draw in these partners. I’m saying to these guys, ‘here’s this extra thing I can do. You can do it by yourself, but I plan on selling the entire package and then bringing you in as a partner.’”

Further, he said, “we’re here to stay and there’s a very compelling reason to buy the products: They’re as good as anything out there, but they’re usually a lot better value.”