With the increasingly complex nature of video surveillance, access control and integrated systems that rely heavily on the IT and IP infrastructure, it was only a matter of time before someone stepped up to the market with a solution for struggling integrators overwhelmed by tech talk. Gavin Bortles, president, The Kepler Group Inc., Altadena, Calif., founded his company with the intent to be a helper to smaller and medium sized integrators — but soon found that it was the big boys who needed his services even more.
SDM spoke with Bortles about his unique role the security industry:
SDM: What do you bring to the table that other integrators don’t?
Bortles: What we are doing as a firm is we are bridging the gap between physical and logical security. Our two main offerings are network and systems expertise and also cyber security. We see a convergence of those two. We concentrate on enterprise class installations where the IP component of the install is great. The security integrator doesn’t have to bring the talent we have into their shop; they would outsource or sub to us on those handful of opportunities a year where they need us to bring the IT horsepower. We can liaise with their client’s IT people and help design around local TCPIP communications.
SDM: Do you compete with security integrators?
Bortles: We do have handful of end users. There is a new end user out there: Enterprise class organizations that have their own internal security team. But in general we do not want to be a competitor. We are not a security integrator. We want to be available for the large integrators going after these large projects. Let’s face it; the capabilities vary from salesperson to salesperson. If they know they have our team to assist them in closing business, it can a significant tool.
SDM: Who are your main clients?
Bortles: When I first addressed the security industry I thought it would be small mom and pops that would need us. The truth is they don’t get into projects that are large enough to require what we can bring to bear. The large integrators, on the other hand, may have one or two guys doing an entire territory. We augment their internal skillset. The big boys want to be a project management firm and cherry pick the parts of the job they want to do. We are a network engineering sub. They only need us for a handful of projects per year; the rest of the time they have the skill set. But every now and then they land that whale.
SDM: What is a ‘fixer’ integrator?
Bortles: We do a lot of ‘fixing.’ For us to design and deploy a 3,000 camera system is not that difficult, but it may be for an integrator. Sometimes they have the mentality that they want to try to capture all the money and they try to do something bigger than they can handle. We are the geek squad for every security integrator. We are a services based organization. We are not out there to sell hardware, software, or controllers. That is for our channel to sell.