Electronic Design

Homeland-Security Vendors Face Tough Issues

"Technology is an important tool for the first responders, and it’s going to be essential to any kind of homeland-security defense. But unless the local level fully integrates and embraces technology as part of the framework of how to do business, local governments will not fully realize the benefits of what technology can offer."

That’s how Tim W. Rhodes, president of intelligence firm Provizio, opened his market intelligence study on homeland-security technology opportunities. The study was commissioned by the Technology & Homeland Security Summit.

The challenge that vendors face, Rhodes says, isn’t only fitting their product or service within the organization’s budget, but also in gaining recognition in what can be a massive and cumbersome selection process. "Vendors are increasingly forced to come up with new ways to get noticed in what has become a ‘dog-eat-dog’ market that is fragmented and uncoordinated in its buying processes," he notes.

Additionally, Rhodes expects that nearly a third of the local government spending on terrorism will go to supporting the efforts of first responders like police, fire departments, and emergency medical services.

Vendors can improve their competitive positions, Rhodes believes, by making customer training and education for local and state government agencies and private organizations an integral part of their sales presentation package.

Another key issue involves best practices. Local and state response agencies often struggle with how to best prepare themselves. Rhodes says these government agencies are looking for repeatable solutions. They want to see what others have done, which is why Oracle has developed an anti-terrorism database in California.

Meanwhile, he says the market is now being further fragmented by new competition, with many of these new entries lobbying to change the way funds are distributed.

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