Geutebrück’s watchful eye, in Russia

The equipment manufactured by Geutebrück, a German company with headquarters in Windhagen, can’t be purchased at shopping centers and isn’t advertised by the media. Nonetheless, Geutebrück products are in demand.

The family business, which was founded in 1970 and now actively cooperates with Russia, develops and manufactures different kinds of video surveillance systems that are used for monitoring all kinds of facilities, from parking lots to spaceports. It’s interesting to note that, in spite of such a broad range of clients, Geutebrück only employs about 200 people all over the world. The company has clients and partners in over 40 countries. Area Manager Lev Datsenko talked to Capital Ideas about the company’s operations in Russia.

When did Geutebrück enter the Russian market and what prompted the decision to do so?

Before we get any further, it is important to point out that the business model GeutebrückGmbH, Windhagen, Germany uses is largely project-based. This means that our product is the development and implementation of turn-key video surveillance solutions that adhere to the requirements of the customer. We implemented our first project like this in Russia back in 1996. Our customer was quite happy with the results and continues to work with us today.

What kind of customer was this?

Unfortunately, due to the kind of sphere we work in and the kinds of services we provide, we can’t go into detail or name our clients. After all, this is about providing security - it’s a field where being too open is not only discouraged, but is actually unacceptable. Moreover, we have certain obligations to our Russian partners, and these partners include agencies with a lot of power and influence.

How did Geutebrück enter the Russian market?

Our experience is different from what most companies entering the Russian market go through. Usually a lot of research and work is done beforehand, people look for was different for us, which is understandable when you consider the kind of work we do. We started working in Russia and opened a representative office here in the mid-1990s at the invitation of a Russian security agency. The agency wanted us to develop a surveillance system for a facility of federal importance.

It turned out that our products, which adheres to top quality standards, along with our technological solutions, completely fell in line with the customer’s requirements. Our products were in demand. After this first experience of working with Russia, we established a good reputations and Russian partners started to place orders with us more frequently.

What challenges did your company encounter in Russia when you first started working here? Or did everything go smoothly right off the bat?

When it comes to Russia, our big challenge has always been finding partners who are qualified enough to carry out the design, installation and maintenance of our systems. This is especially true because video surveillance systems are becoming increasingly more complex. Multimedia data transmission is also an area that is changing and improving. Aside from having the skills necessary to properly install and set up the cameras, partners must be able to set up complex computer networks. Video recording and management systems, which are based on personal computers, can be integrated with DSC, SCADA and CNC. This requires knowledge of informatics, programming and circuitry, which enables the creation of integrated software and hardware modules, applications based on our SDK Software Development Kit including API client, etc.

Video surveillance systems have a truly limitless range of applications. Still, are there certain spheres where Geutebrück products are especially in demand?

Initially, video surveillance systems were used to monitor facilities of different kinds, from commercial general purpose facilities to top-security state agencies. The development of computer technology has made this range of applications truly limitless, like you said. There is a broader sphere of use for our products and video surveillance is becoming a more powerful tool used for visualization, documenting transportation and logistics processes, as well as alarm systems.

The trend of using video surveillance systems to monitor performance is especially evident in commercial investment projects, as the managers and heads of companies need modern tools for monitoring business processes. If the IPTV system has been properly integrated into the ERP, WMS or SCADA system, video surveillance turns into an effective way to evaluate operational processes, control quality, determine the causes of failures, and identify potential areas of optimization.

The list of famous clients that use Geutebrück equipment includes European Central Bank in Frankfurt am Main, the Louvre, the Federal Chancellery of Germany...could you name a few well-known places in Russia that use your systems and equipment?

Our equipment is in demand in the oil and gas industry in Russia. Specific names? Ok: Rosneft’s refinery and the Gazprom headquarters. We work with the Central Bank of Russia, along with a number industrial companies, including those with foreign participation. Our partners include Russian Railways and Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation.

Geutebrück equipment works equally well at enterprises of the giant agri-industrial holding Miratorg, which makes chilled and frozen semi-finished meat products and vegetable mixes, and at a Murmansk sea port on the Barents Sea. Of course, hotels are also on the list. Our company’s systems provide security for Astoria and Belmond Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg.

A special point is providing service for cultural heritage facilities that require a specific level of protection. We have a lot to offer when it comes to this sphere as well. Suffice it to say that in Russia we are successfully cooperating with the Kremlin, as well as the State Hermitage in St. Petersburg. Geutebrück’s video surveillance systems are also installed at the Petrovsky Stopover Palace, which was constructed in the 18th Century, as well as the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is almost here. Is Geutebrück providing equipment for the stadiums in Russia?

Sports and providing security for competitions is a separate subject. At public events (football matches, for example), it’s important to make sure that there is a peaceful atmosphere on the stadiums. Here, video surveillance systems that can help identify and assess dangerous situations are absolutely necessary. It’s great that Geutebrück equipment is also in demand in this sphere.

We supplied equipment for dozens of Sochi facilities during the 2014 Winter Olympics, and did so successfully. Over 5,000 cameras were installed at the Black Sea resort, including at facilities like Sanki Sliding Center, Rosa Khutor Ski Center, Laura Biathlon & Ski Complex and the Sochi-Adler highway.

Of course, we’re also getting ready for 2018. Geutebrück is taking part in preparing Russian stadiums that will be hosting the championship. It’s too early to disclose any details, so let’s wait for the event.

Your equipment is probably in high demand now, since the threat of terrorism has grown in scale. Have your products become more popular in Russia?

I haven’t noticed a huge jump in demand for Geutebrück equipment, no. But consumers are becoming more demanding in terms of efficiency and reliability of this type of equipment, since people realize that this is very important for ensuring security in today’s world, which is marked by great risks, including the threat of terrorism.

Have the sanctions against Russia impacted your business at all?

Yes, we couldn’t avoid it. The main issue is that we have lost the advantages inherent to an atmosphere of political unity that is characteristic of neighborly states. The sanctions force us to thoroughly check the final purpose of our video surveillance systems. Moreover, we had to localize production for some of our projects in Russia.

Now that Russia is going through a crisis, do you still think that doing business here has a lot of potential?

Russia has always been and always will be a country with enormous scientific and technological potential. In my opinion, the key to success is being ready to invest in localization in the RF and to involve Russian specialists in the development of new technology.


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