VARs Look at Business Growth as Big Brother Goes Digital

VARs recommended to partner with physical security providers


Teaming For Market Power

BroadWare, a developer of IP-based security systems, is trying to join physical and logical solution providers as a way to bring converged security into a broader market.

"We see ourselves as the bridge that IT people can climb over to get into the physical-security space and be the service provider for the physical infrastructure," says Matt Graham, BroadWare's vice president of professional services.

That's precisely what Convergint wants-partnerships that help close deals. "We're not seeing a lot of systems integrators putting the effort in, because it's an expensive proposition," Vasco says. "It's better to do it this way [by partnering] rather than try to be Superman and do it all yourself."

The source of many of these partnerships is, surprisingly, the customer. End users working with an IT integrator will steer the integrator toward physical-security providers.

"One trick is to sell the new technology to your existing customers," Hunt says. "IT integrators generally won't have much success selling to physical-security directors, but they do know how to sell to CEOs, CFOs and CIOs."

Bill Crowell, the former deputy director of the National Security Administration (NSA) and now an independent security consultant, says that demonstrating the ROI of converged security to these corporate officers will make it that much easier to get a deal done. "The technology available now allows security employees to do a much more effective job and be more involved in prevention," he says.

Even with C-level support, Extreme CCTV's Montgomery says the addition of physical-security components to an IP network sometimes meets with resistance from unexpected sources.

"IT groups see convergence as a threat; they don't want additional systems on their networks," he says.

So, is an IP-physical-security boom coming? Many seem to think so, and only those who are prepared today will be the ones to cash in on tomorrow's physical-security fortunes.

"What's important to understand is that within five years, the systems on which physical security rely will be software-developed by IT companies," Palmquist says. "And within three years, the market will be thrown open to many."

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Let's Get Physical

Traditional IT vendors and distributors are delving into the physical-security space. Here's how a sampling of IT companies are getting physical.

ActivCard: Smart cards, USB tokens

Cisco Systems: Video surveillance, access control, smart cards

Fujitsu: Biometrics

HID: Contactless RFID cards

IBM: Access control, biometrics

Ingram Micro: Perimeter protection, intrusion prevention

Microsoft: Smart cards

Oracle: Smart cards, access control, data-center protection

RSA Security: USB tokens, smart cards

Sun Microsystems: Access control, smart cards

ScanSource: Digital video, access-control systems

Tech Data: IP-based monitoring

Read case studies on how solution providers are converging physical and IT-security technologies at www.varbusiness.com.

Copyright 2006 CMP Media LLC. All rights reserved.

[VarBusiness -- 04/18/06]