Interview with Hanwha Techwin Europe's MD Bob Hwang
We caught up with Bob Hwang Ph.D., Managing Director of Hanwha Techwin Europe, and asked him about the company’s achievements during 2016 and what his hopes and ambitions are for 2017.
GIT SECURITY: Bob, what would you say is your most significant achievement during 2016?
Bob Hwang: Despite fierce competition, we have continued to increase our share of the market and build on the excellent relationships we have with installers and systems integrators, as well as with our business and technology partners. We are proud to have done so whilst at the same time rebranding our company name from Samsung Techwin to Hanwha Techwin.
What have been the key drivers to your success during 2016?
Bob Hwang: We have continued to introduce affordable and innovative video surveillance solutions, such as our high-definition, open platform, Samsung Wisenet branded cameras which are helping installers and systems integrators to generate new business opportunities beyond the traditional security sector.
How is this possible?
Bob Hwang: The power of the DSP chipsets built into the latest generation of our cameras has provided opportunities to run on-board apps that deliver additional real-life, practical benefits. With these open platform cameras, end-users have the freedom and flexibility to choose edge-based video analytics that best matches their individual requirements.
What new products have contributed to your success during 2016?
Bob Hwang: Our Wisenet HD+ camera and DVR range have been very popular with end-users who would like to benefit from being able to capture and record Full HD 1080p images, but are not yet ready to migrate from analog to an IP network-based video surveillance solution. There has also been much interest shown in the updated version of our Smart Security Manager (SSM) Enterprise video management software. This platform is designed to maximize the efficiency of Wisenet IP network cameras, recording devices and servers, whilst facilitating integration with third-party systems such as intruder alarms, fire detection, access control and vehicle number plate recognition (APNR), to offer a fully integrated security system.
The most significant product developments for us during 2016 have been the launch of our Wisenet Q series with Full HD 2MP and 4MP cameras, as well as Wisenet P 4K (12MP) cameras. These all feature H.265 compression and Wisestream, our proprietary compression technology, which dynamically controls encoding, balancing quality and compression according to movement in the image. When Wisestream is combined with H.265 compression, bandwidth efficiency is improved by up to 75% compared to current H.264 technology. So our cameras are among the most bandwidth-friendly cameras available.
Have there been any significant challenges in changing your company name, bearing in mind that the Samsung Techwin brand was so well established?
Bob Hwang: We appreciated the familiarity the market had with the Samsung name and the trust they placed in it and so we knew that the transition had to be carefully managed, with our customers being kept informed every step of the way. In reality, customers will have noticed very little difference because nothing has fundamentally changed. Our products are being designed and produced by the same talented people in the same factories as they have always been. The products are being sold and technically supported by the same enthusiastic, professional pre and post sales teams as before.
What has been the impact of having a new parent company?
Bob Hwang: For those of us working within the Hanwha Techwin Europe team, it has been a fantastic development. The Hanwha Group totally supports our strategy of endeavoring to stand out in an overcrowded, competitive market by having a brand that can be trusted. The Hanwha Group understands what it takes to succeed in the B2B arena and we have been re-energized by its enthusiasm for what we are trying to achieve.
You have mentioned ‘trust’ several times. Can you explain what that means in terms of a manufacturer such as yourselves?
Bob Hwang: Nothing is more important to us than having satisfied customers who have trust in the Samsung Wisenet brand, but this will mean something different depending on where you are within the video surveillance supply chain. We know offering ‘Best in Class’ products is not enough, even if they are equipped with unique, leading-edge technology and offer superb value, maximum ROI and a low total cost of ownership. We need to provide a complete package, as well as peace of mind, which comes with product reliability, the highest levels of pre and post-sales support and the benefits of working closely with business and technology partners.
How do you establish trust with end-users?
Bob Hwang: One obvious way is to ensure their video surveillance systems are secure. We are constantly reviewing how our cameras, recording devices and software are equipped to minimize the threat from cyber attacks. Recent high profile incidents have highlighted how some manufacturers’ cameras can be hacked via the ‘back door’ in order to gain access to the images captured by the camera, or even as a way into an organization’s network infrastructure in order to steal confidential information or commit sabotage. The firmware of our cameras incorporate what is considered best practice in respect of the reasonable measures that can be taken to prevent unauthorized access to images and data. It is important not to be complacent and so we are constantly monitoring and testing the latest methods of hacking in field tests and our laboratories. When necessary, we release new firmware to counter new threats. In addition, whilst we appreciate that security protocols need to be flexible and easy to implement, we have introduced minimum mandatory and auto-enforced password standards.
You provide your video surveillance solutions via a distribution network; so how do you get installers and systems integrators to trust your brand?
Bob Hwang: For installers and systems integrators, trust is built in many ways. Providing robust and reliable products backed with a three-year warranty creates peace of mind. Trust is also established by offering an advance replacement service, so if a product develops a fault during the first year of its three-year warranty, a replacement will be dispatched to a specified address within 48 hours of the request. If you are part of the Hanwha Techwin STEP partnership program, this is extended to up to two years of a product’s three-year warranty. Whenever we introduce a new camera series, consultants, system designers, specifiers, installers, systems integrators and end-users can trust Hanwha Techwin always to offer a comprehensive choice of models with the same technical specifications and performance levels. We know that many manufacturers fail to do this and it is extremely frustrating to find out that the cameras within a range, such as 2MP or 4MP, are not consistent in their specifications and their ability collectively to offer an ideal solution for any camera location or application.
What does 2017 hold for Hanwha Techwin?
Bob Hwang: I am confident we will have a brilliantly bright and successful 2017 and beyond. We intend to launch the upcoming Wisenet X cameras and domes, which are fitted with possibly the most powerful DSP chipset ever incorporated into a camera. The chip’s all new architecture includes a high performance core that enables faster processing of video and optional on-board applications. Most importantly, the ongoing investment in our future by the Hanwha Group means that we will be able to continue to expand our highly talented and enthusiastic pre and post sales teams in line with demand. We are determined to excel in everything we do and we will move forward by listening, innovating and thinking outside the box. While doing so, and with the help of our dedicated and talented colleagues, we will look to work even more closely with our customers so that we are constantly tuned into their needs.