Not long ago it took years for a new product to be released and one of the great strengths of many solutions lay in their longevity, their fixity. Installers came to know products, end users came to trust them. But these are changing times and as the competition heats up between suppliers, R&D engineers are working feverishly to gain a leg up on their competition. 
There’s no chance whatever that you could release a solution and not modify its capability for 2 or 3 years and expect to retain market share. In fact, so fast has change become in some market sectors that manufacturers are not so much upgrading existing product as they are playing leapfrog with new releases, pitching finely tuned solutions at specific areas of the market almost as quickly as a need is identified. 
The market is maturing and quality distributors now have long standing relationships with the global factories that supply them. The result of this is more product for less money, more in terms of performance, more in terms of simplicity of operation and more in terms of ease of installation. There’s more of everything, more often. 
In that last area there’s real headway being made with many more solutions designed to minimise the grief for installers stepping out of analogue for the first time. With basic systems it’s now possible – using proprietary cameras I have to concede – for installers to allow some IP video surveillance solutions to mostly install themselves.  
Importantly, it’s not just the very basic systems that are showing increasing sophistication in the area of self governance. Even medium-sized solutions now have the ability to undertake at least part of the process of network configuration without the intervention of the harried tech. 
Something else that’s good to see is the conglomeration of strong functionalities into single flexible solutions. This is most prevalent in the video surveillance industry with products like Dallmeier’s new 25m HD-IR camera, MERIT LILIN’S iMEGAPRO IPR7334SX, which hustles a 10-50 optical zoom and 70m IR range. Both these cameras are under the $A1500 mark. A unit that offers similar flexibility is DVTel’s new Quasar dome, distributed by Pacific Communications, which combines strong camera performance with integrated IR and a game-changing new compression technology.
Perhaps one of the real driving forces of this change is the increasing cleverness of end users. In recent interviews I’ve noticed there’s none of the fumbling around with IT jargon that used to predominate. The typical engineer or facilities manager is thoroughly across the networked future and seems to have no desire to lock their organisation into the proprietary substrates of yesteryear. 
Important to note is that while end users want open systems, just at this moment they want these systems to be bridges between yesterday and today. Rare are the applications we review these days that do not incorporate some quality analogue legacy gear ported onto the networks through encoders that still seem offensively expensive given the price falls in other areas of the market. 
It’s at this point we get to the role of installers and integrators in all this – and here we must recognise the opportunities for the clever and the brave. In these rough waters there are plenty of opportunities for smart players to grow fast in the wake of IP’s metaphorical HMS Dreadnought
When markets shift fast, as they are doing now, it’s the perfect opportunity for you little guys to compete toe-to-toe with older and bigger players whose skill sets are obsolete and whose operational structures cannot meet the need for speed.