Godfrey: I thoroughly agree with Danny that this is a common notion. The issue is that neither side fully understands the other. Typically, the IT guys completely customize systems whereas the security guys are accustomed to working with a product out of the box. The security bunch still have a way to go in terms of understanding the intricacies of networks and the effects that running their applications on them will have. The IT group, however, doesn't have the full understanding of the breadth of physical security requirements.
Ting: Convergence is pushing both IT and physical security integrators to become more aware of what is happening across the divide. We really haven't seen one side be favored over another side—in fact, we've seen both sides move more towards the middle—but sometimes the best way to combat a perception like that is to proactively show your capabilities in that area or to show how well you work with companies that are known for success in that field.
We have seen numerous physical access integrators take on the challenge to become more aware of IT security issues and take steps to add that technical expertise to their organizations. This has taken the form of either adding additional personnel who are from IT security or training in-house personnel on IT security issues. Increasingly, we are also seeing far more integrators building out in-house test facilities for evaluating IT products such as IP cameras, IT access control systems, identity management products, etc.
We are also seeing strategic partnerships being set up between IT and physical security integrators, where each partner stays focused on their specific area of expertise and leverages the strengths of their counterparts for joint sales and deployment. This is often a good way to go, as you don't need to spend the additional time and effort educating the industry on new capabilities—you are instead able to point to your partner's success and vice versa.
McMillan: The market is growing and changing, and the key to success is really education. The IT vendors have made convergence a reality in the security space, and the smart security dealers will embrace this change as an opportunity to broaden their reach. The companies that step up, innovate within the model and publicly embrace these new technological advances - whether they are IT integrators or security integrators - will be the next generation of leaders in the market.
Goldberg: There is really no arguing that, sooner or later, Internet technology will find its way into almost every aspect of corporate life. The physical security plant is not the first segment in industry to experience the Internet revolution and it will not be the last. My best recommendation is that the physical security industry not be defensive about not having the “right tools for the job” but to take the high ground. Clearly, the IT guys cannot “do it all,” given the complexity and the dynamic nature of the physical security problem. The physical security industry has decades of unique experience that must be leveraged. In other industries, partnerships are formed for this very reason. Perhaps, in this case the expression, “If you can't beat'em, join'em” might well be the way to proceed.