The Information Highway Cruise
IT is what the security industry is wooing and vice versa. Their consecration means a whole new era for security.
So without a doubt, integration will be a major rage in 2005 although "2004 was the first year we saw clear activity and specific investments put into video surveillance from several of the IT giants, and we expect this will continue," said Axis' vice president of strategic alliances Bengt Christensson.
Christian Hentschel, Ciscos' director for Advanced Technologies in Asia Pacific, agreed. "I think it's pretty much happening everywhere. IP and networking security is a top priority for customers today. Our approach to security is that it must be holistic."
There is a distinct plan to integrate IP based video surveillance. "Look at any of the websites for IBM, Cisco and HP, and you can see either a product or service being marketed that has to do with this area," said Christensson.
A well-known publicized example of IT firms taking over in larger organizations, distributed and integrated applications is Cisco's integration of 2,600 security cameras worldwide, where they apparently saved several US$100,000 on equipment, support and management by replacing their proprietary DVRs with an IP-based open system. Beating the game
Although market penetration for IP is gaining speed, it only has around 5 percent of total share compared to analog today. But times are quickly changing. Research company JP Freeman estimates that IP will have taken over in total value by 2008.
Christensson noted that with IP solutions entering the market that plays by a new rule book, competition will increase and put pressure on last years consolidation trend, which can be seen when Bosch acquired VCS.
The main challenge, he continued, will be how the existing large companies can transform themselves, not necessarily for mergers, but how their firm and organization will stay competitive against or merge with the new "IT way".
IP is a classic example of a disruptive technology where new players and business models enter. "In order to stay competitive, vendors will need to define their core and engage in partnerships to provide the complete solution to customers."
Such partnerships can include working with the IT channel and players, such as server vendors and infrastructure players. Christensson added that increasingly important will also be to build up an IP network knowledgeable systems integrator and re-seller base.
Christensson sees two main changes in sales channels because of IT companies entering the market. First, the IP newcomers have so far to an extent based their success on an IT channel strategy. Secondly, as customers build up infrastructure, servers and the likes for IP-based networks, they will do this more from IT sources and integrators.
To cope, traditional companies can build on existing client base and surveillance expertise and meanwhile get up to speed with IP technology, or choose markets where IP will have a slower penetration, advised Christensson.
VP partner relations and co-founder of Milestone Systems Henrik Friborg says for those vendors where integration is a new business area, they will require investment in the build-up phase. At the same time, Friborg doesn't think any ambitious vendor can afford not to make this move and miss the opportunity in the market.