It’s been just two years and i-Pro Americas Inc. is now exactly where it wanted to be: an independent company no longer carrying Panasonic in its name and a future that will be geared to the needs of the Americas’ market.
President Bill Brennan has been at the helm for more than two years in Houston, Texas, overseeing that change. He agreed to talk with Security Journal Americas about the new identity and why he confidently expects growth of 30% over the next two years.
We asked him to reveal a little about himself and what he plans for the i-Pro team now that the company is operating independently.
He said: “First, I want to thank you for this opportunity to discuss something I am proud of and passionate about, and that is the i-PRO Family. I was born and raised in New York and expected to follow in my dad’s footsteps and join the NYPD. I do not know what happened but I patrolled the streets of NYC as a salesperson.
“I was driven by fear of failure at the beginning but when I became a father the drive was to provide for my family. I am very proud of my three children, and I have been fortunate to have great people around me in both my personal and professional life. As my career transitioned from a self-sufficient contributor to a leader, the need to surround myself with outstanding team members became very important.
“I am really proud of the culture and team we have built at i-PRO. As we moved away from Panasonic and formed a new organization, I knew it was critical that we create our own fresh identity.
“As a leader of i-PRO Americas my responsibility is to ensure we create an environment which encourages and enables team members to achieve their personal and professional goals. The position of President is not necessarily a position of power, it focuses on service to others. We also must understand we exist based on the successful relationships with our partners and end users.”
He joined the company after the decision to change from Panasonic i-Pro Sensing Solutions Corporation of America to fully independent iPR) Americas Inc. but he has been key to its completion.
He said: “The transition into a new company began in April 2019 when we announced that we would become an independent company. From that moment we began the journey to address the needs of the market by providing fully compliant products, establishing a streamlined and clean supply chain, and accelerating product introduction.
“As an example of the spirit of the new company, we adopted a modular design to ensure we address the needs of the market swiftly. As we launch new cutting edge AI based products, we must remember that the i-PRO transition includes the entire business unit. This means R&D, Quality Assurance, and Manufacturing are consistent and our partners and end users can count on the same high quality and longevity of our line.
“April 2022 marked another milestone of the journey as we removed Panasonic from our name and became i-PRO. For the past two and half years, the name change has signified a turning point for true ownership of the i-PRO brand. We have been preparing the company and our employees by emulating a growth mindset that promotes breaking outside of past ways of thinking.”
Bill explained that the North American market does have specific challenges that perhaps are not so prevalent in European or the Asian markets.
He said: “In general terms, our former product focus has been primarily in Japan where we enjoy extraordinary market share. However, the Japanese market is unique in ways and is not a true representation of the rest of the world. Therefore, i-PRO has moved our product development leadership to the United States. Now we anticipate the growth of the overall business by over 30% in the next two years.”
Like much of this issue, this interview it was completed agains the backdrop of the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School, and when Bill spoke with SJA, the shock was still very fresh but he knows that the security implications were huge.
“Events like the one in Uvalde, Texas this past week seem to be very specific to the North America, particularly the United States,” he said. “It is no longer a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ these tragic assaults will happen again. I-PRO has a large deployment of technology in schools and public venues throughout the United States.
“Our development and technical team has a responsibility to work with security leaders within these facilities to learn how to use technology to prevent these events before they occur. Therefore, we are establishing work groups focused on developing a proactive security approach driven by AI. These types of initiatives are close to the heart of our employees and our entire leadership teams takes them seriously and personally.”
Which leads the interview into the future of i-PRO and where it is heading after 10 years of remarkable improvements in the quality and storage facilities across the security camera sector.
Bill said: “Much of the improvements will be driven by AI and the ability to broaden the information derived through a video surveillance deployment. As stated earlier this will enable us to create a preventative strategy rather than cameras providing evidentiary information.
Next is a more cohesive and comprehensive city-wide surveillance solution all focused on proactively protecting our communities.
“Finally, many improvements will be based on expanding form factors. We must analyze trends and customer requests to establish a purpose-built technology approach to the market.
“It is our humble belief that in five years 80% of our business will come from products that do not exist today.”
When asked to name specific areas of the market he believes there is one area that will see huge growth. “I see a major surge in remote monitoring, and this goes along with our focus on proactive surveillance,” said Bill. “We must continue to development products that will enhance this segment of the business.”
The past two years of transition for the company had one element that nobody had forecast: the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet there have been salutary lessons for i-PRO and benefits commercially according to Bill.
He said: “While the pandemic has impacted i-PRO in similar ways as it has other companies (adjusting to remote work, and supply chain delays), it has also given us the opportunity to recognize true customer and partner loyalty like never before.
“We have incredible gratitude toward our partners and customers as they have made it possible for i-PRO to flourish during this tough period. We have been truly honored to serve such patient end-users and dedicated partners during unprecedented times.
“We also used this time to reflect on our organizational culture and realized a critical opportunity to become a resource to our partners by shaking up complacency in our overall mindset. Not only are we developing our products to be more forward-thinking and proactive, but our people as well.”
i-PRO’s cameras maybe the headline grabbers but the company is heavily involved across other smart areas of security and site management.
“In terms of internet of things and the development of smart buildings, smart cities, etc, we embrace this type of deployment and work very closely with companies that development solutions, software platforms, and do the integration in this space,” said Bill. “The capability to manage HVAC, AV, security, etc. on one platform increases efficiency and productivity.”
Here at SJA we liked the new 4k Panoramic mobile camera, with its wide angle vision and greater evidence gathering capabilities for patrol car officers. But Bill explained this was just one part of iPRO’s wider surveillance solutions.
“Since 2019, i-PRO has made incredible strides in our initiative to offer a comprehensive city-wide surveillance platform,” he said. “This has involved strategic collaboration between two different businesses, formerly the Panasonic Intelligent Surveillance and Public Safety divisions. i-PRO leadership saw an opportunity to provide customers with an all-encompassing solution that included products from both businesses. i-PRO has partnered with leaders in Video-Management Software such as Genetec to further this initiative.”
To summarize the plans for the future Bill has a straightforward philosophy that he believes will bring profitability to i-PO but perhaps more importantly establish as network of contented users for its portfolio.
“As we see the overall market recovering from the pandemic, i-PRO is positioning itself towards double-digit growth in the next few years. In the midst of a global supply chain crisis, we are confident as a company we worked hard and taken the appropriate actions to gain market share during these challenging times,” he said.
“All we ask is if you are a potential new or a past end user or partner, please take the opportunity to hear the i-PRO story. Personally, I would be extremely happy to talk about our incredible i-PRO family. Our vision is to develop a community focused on mutual prosperity.”
Discover more about iPRO Americas Inc. https://i-pro.com/us/en
This is an unedited version of the Exclusive Head to Head interview published in the June issue of Security Journal Americas. You can read this article online HERE, beginning on page 18.
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