Understanding Cisco's Kid

What Cisco's acquisition of SyPixx heralds for our industry (hint: the VARs are coming)

I argue that these myths imply a lack of knowledge in network technology. Today's focus for IT directors is uptime and security. These two concerns are the top concerns because they are based on business issues. Businesses today recognize the risks of down time as well as the risk to assets. The network security industry is a multi-billion dollar business aimed at mitigating the risks of down time and the vulnerability to the company's assets.

Great strides have been made in the last decade to ensure a stable and secure network, and this stability is even more reason to move security to an IP-based platform. For the naysayers who complain about IT uptime, I always point out that existing analog systems have their own down times and security breaches. Standalone DVRs and access control systems are subject to the same risks as network-based systems, including viruses and malicious attacks. Some customers recognize this and are asking IT and the IT providers for a solution for 'Total Security'. I believe, that with the acquisition of SyPixx, Cisco will begin to understand these needs and develop a solution to these customers' challenges.

In the dialog with my colleagues about what the SyPixx acquisition means, the question was asked how this would affect the physical security integrators and dealers. My feeling is that today's integrators who are in denial about the change to a network-centric industry will see a decline in business. Those integrators and dealers who recognize the new paradigm, however, have made or will make changes in the business to be part of the new revolution in physical security.

The physical security integrator/dealer should have an immediate strategy to move their business to a network-centric model. This means hiring and training network technicians and sales people who can talk the network lingo and who can understand the world not only of physical security, but also of information technology. The integrators who will survive this new paradigm are those integrators who are migrating their business, and who are essentially becoming VARs. If I were a physical security integrator today, I would begin training my people to be network certified. I would be seeking partnerships with Network providers, whether that's Cisco or Microsoft. I would begin marketing network systems and services to my existing customer base.

Cisco's purchase of SyPixx may foreshadow some big changes for our industry, but it's not the end of the world as you know it. We've been seeing this growing tide of IP-based products appear for some time, so it was only a matter of time before a major networking company like Cisco took a close look at our industry. To stay in business, you'll need to embrace this change and land that network training soon; otherwise the VARs will be knocking on your door and taking your customers because you can't service their IP-based physical security needs.

About the author: Ray Payne, CPP, is president of RPC Security in Sierra Madre, Calif. He has 25 years experience in senior management for major physical security manufacturers. In this capacity, he was responsible for product development and product management teams. In these companies, he introduced many firsts in CCTV and IP Video products applied to Physical Security applications. His work has been instrumental in the security of a number of high-profile projects, including those in the government, commercial and transportation sectors. He can be reached via email at ray@rpcsecurity.com; his website is www.rpcsecurity.com.