ROI a hot topic among IP vendors

As with most sectors of the security industry, the makers and installers of IP technology remain concerned about the economy and how they can convince end users to invest in their products despite budget constraints.

To help address these growing concerns, IP solutions manufacturers and integrators met at the IP UserGroup USA’s IP-in-Action Live meeting in Atlanta this week to discuss emerging technologies and the overall state of the industry.

The event’s keynote speaker, Former IBM Director of Security Timothy D. Giles, CPP, PSP, who currently runs his own private security consulting firm, told attendees that it is more important than ever that they become involved in their client’s security planning process.

One of the keys to having more companies deploy IP security devices, according to Giles, is being able to show security directors the return-on-investment (ROI) of these solutions and how not budgeting for them can increase their risks. In regards to ROI, Giles said that many security directors have traditionally looked at how security systems could either replace or supplement guards, but that’s no longer the case in today’s tough economic times.

“The whole thought process relative to ROI needs to be changed, especially with management,” he said. “If you do the right job with a risk analysis, show (security directors) how they can reduce or mitigate risk with different security programs… and sell management on the fact that we’re going to reduce our risk exposure… now they are making the decision on whether they want to accept increased risk instead of just focusing on reducing budgets.”

Giles said that the introduction of video analytics software and its ability of deter and detect crime has really added an ROI proposition for security departments that IP vendors should take advantage of.

He added that integrators should also aid security directors with preparing for future technology migration paths, helping them budget years in advance for new technology that will replace legacy systems, as well make sure they’re aware of the total cost of ownership of a system (maintenance, updating costs) and the life span expectancy of the system they’re installing.

“I believe this is an area you can provide support to the end user in,” he told attendees.

Giles also advises vendors to sit down with the heads of client’s IT departments as well as their CSO to make sure that they are aware of the security solutions that are going to be provided to the client with and what type of impact that may have with regards to bandwidth and other technical issues.

In addition to ROI and the economics of the IP market, several manufacturers also stopped by the IP-in-Action to discuss some emerging technologies in the industries.

One of the big buzzwords in the industry these days as it relates to security is cloud computing or what is commonly known as either Software as a Service or Security as a Service (SaaS).

Essentially, Security as a Service allows a user to have traditional security applications delivered over an Internet-based service. Instead of having to pay for and maintain expensive software licenses, the client is able to have all of these services delivered off-site through one provider, who automatically backups and updates all of their software.

Dave Williams, Director of Business Development for Brivo Systems, said that many Fortune 500 companies are making the switch to SaaS due in large part to the cost savings it provides.

Among some of the benefits of SaaS noted by Williams includes no dedicated servers, no software or software licenses, centralized remote administration, automatic software upgrades, zero IT footprint, backup/built-in data recovery, and independence from operating systems.

“When you buy SaaS, you get all of the infrastructure behind it,” he said.

Brivo is currently working with or has already moved several large companies to a SaaS model, including SC Johnson, Pepsi Co., Rubbermaid, and FedEx/Kinko’s and Staples.

Another emerging technology generating a lot of buzz in the industry is Video Lifecycle Management (VLM). With more and more regulations being heaped upon video users as it pertains to how long they must maintain surveillance footage, more people are looking for ways to store that video without losing quality.

For years, according to Charles Foley, CEO of TimeSight Systems, video cameras were just installed so people could say they were doing what they could to prevent unwanted incidents from occurring. Now, however, Foley says people see video as data and something that want to preserve and analyze.

“It’s not about front door, backdoor anymore,” he said.

TimeSight DVRs allow users to store large amounts of footage by gradually reducing the video file size, as requested by the user. In other words, a company may want to store the last five days of video at the highest quality possible, but still retain the rest of the month’s footage. A TimeSight DVR does this by slightly reducing the image quality of the rest of the month’s footage, which subsequently reduces the file size and storage costs.

On the web: IP UserGroup USA