Jawahar Ali, Chief Executive Officer (ISG), Allied Digital Services Limited

In early 2024, the landscape of integrated systems is undergoing a transformative shift, harnessing cutting-edge technologies like generative AI to unveil possibilities that were previously unimaginable.

Until recently, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) held sway over the market, monopolising with proprietary technology that bound customers to the product life cycle, tightly coupling operational features with hardware. Nevertheless, the ascent of emerging technologies has rapidly reshaped the market dynamics by championing the decoupling of physical products from their programmable attributes. This paradigm shifts not only renders solution customisation more adaptable but also significantly more cost-effective.

Consequently, the market has transitioned towards OEM-agnostic and customer-centric solutions. Systems integrators, empowered by the flexibility provided by emerging technologies, are now at the forefront, carefully selecting and seamlessly integrating the most suitable technology for a range of solutions. This evolution marks a departure from the traditional model, allowing for greater adaptability and responsiveness to the dynamic needs of businesses.

The decoupling of physical products from their programmable attributes has underscored the increasing significance of Master Systems Integrators (MSIs). These professionals hold certifications across various OEM Open Standard products and solutions, diverging from the previous paradigm where expertise was confined to a single OEM. This evolution is particularly notable in sectors such as Building Management Systems, as well as physical automation systems for CCTV and Access Control.

The transition from reliance on a singular, dominant proprietary technology OEM to embracing a multi-OEM open standard technology certified MSI reflects a broader industry trend. Clients now prioritise flexibility and choice, finding empowerment in moving away from an OEM-dependent relationship towards an OEM-independent one. This shift not only represents a strategic move but also provides clients with a competitive edge, granting them the freedom to make informed decisions regarding Operations and Maintenance (O&M) expenditures.

In the dynamic landscape of emerging technology, MSIs serve as orchestrators, seamlessly integrating diverse systems, platforms, and applications. Their expertise extends beyond individual technologies, encompassing a holistic understanding of how various components interact and converge. This comprehensive approach ensures the optimal performance and interoperability of integrated systems, fostering efficiency and innovation.

In the current landscape, the reins of the market have shifted towards Systems and Master Systems Integrators. Their expertise and adaptability are now central to navigating the complexities of modern integrated systems, offering a glimpse into the future where technology convergence is not just a trend but a strategic imperative for success.

Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for projects involving the integration of multiple systems, such as Smart/Safe City and Port Security, typically seek the appointment of a Master Systems Integrator (MSI) to deliver and provide Operation and Maintenance Support throughout the solution life cycle. The successful MSI enters into a Master Service Agreement with the Authorities for a specified duration. The MSI may then engage in back-to-back agreements with OEMs, System Integrators (SIs), and subcontractors to collaborate on project delivery while meeting Service Level Agreement performance criteria.

The MSI is not merely an aggregator of stakeholders but houses an in-house, qualified, and certified technical team of subject matter experts (SMEs) who architect the solution, implement the project, and provide O&M support throughout the solution life cycle. The MSI must exercise judicious and prudent judgment in selecting stakeholders to ensure a successful handover and ongoing support.

Allied Digital, established in 1984, has been delivering integrated solutions since 2005 encompassing Physical Security Automation, Toll Plaza, Critical Infrastructure Protection, and Smart/Safe City projects with an Integrated Command and Control Centre. The company has successfully delivered 12 Smart/ Safe City projects in India including the Pune Safe City project and Lucknow under implementation. Recently Allied Digital secured empanelment by a U.S. county for executing Smart City initiatives. Notably, the company tackled a holistic project, extending beyond physical security, involving the setup of a robust IT infrastructure, Data Centres / Cloud, citywide networks, and cyber security.

Throughout its nineteen-year journey as an MSI, Allied Digital has collaborated with leading OEMs and other partners to harness emerging technology, providing future-proof solutions with long-term investment protection. These solutions are highly optimised, offering the best Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for the client.

Moreover, Allied Digital as an MSI acts as a trusted advisor for organisations adopting emerging technologies, offering guidance in selecting the most suitable solutions for their unique needs of steering businesses through the challenges and opportunities presented by rapidly evolving technologies.

Views expressed by Jawahar Ali, Chief Executive Officer (ISG), Allied Digital Services Limited

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