Convergence is happening now: check your review mirror
By JF Champagne
When looking at the convergence of the security industry with the IT industry, it seems that many of the traditional security providers are simply staying the course. It’s just business as usual. Maybe they are confident that by simply adding a little more IP to the product line, they should be able to keep pace with the normal evolution of the business. But what if, instead, we are in the midst of a revolution?
By JF Champagne
How deeply are we going to be affected by our convergence with the IT
industry? We could look at traditional telephony as a comparison. Ten
years ago, very few of us had ever heard the term VoIP. Five years
later, Internet phone service was still a novelty with no real
applications outside of residential service. It is now a mainstream
business product and has brought new manufacturers and service
providers into the field. The skill set required to sell and deploy
such systems has also changed. I suspect that the buying decision for
telephony is now made largely by IT departments. They are looking for
true IP solutions which blend well with other systems. They are looking
for solution providers who speak their language and are able to work in
a highly IP-focused environment.
I recently witnessed what convergence might bring when I joined an
integrator on a visit to a customer to discuss IP access control. The
integrator was surprised to find out that a new IP camera system had
been installed on the premises without his knowledge. The customer was
looking for a networked solution, and had tasked the IT department to
source IP cameras. IT did this without consulting their traditional
security provider. Was this because they were looking for a networked
solution, and they thought the integrator was not the right supplier?
How IT-friendly are the solutions you are promoting? Do you have
salespeople with a solid understanding of IP networks, open source
applications and web-based solutions? Can your technicians effectively
communicate with your customer’s IT staff, understand routing and
network privilege? Are they able to troubleshoot network problems?
To remain relevant, traditional security providers will need new
products and new skill sets. The new players entering the field today
are often providers of network solutions. They are looking to expand
their offering or are simply being asked by their customers if they
offer physical security products over IP.
Unless there is a major shift towards better education and training,
traditional security providers will lose market share to these new
players. Are you ready to reinvent yourself and your organization? If
not, are you willing to risk becoming a contractor to the IT industry?
JF Champagne is the Canadian Sales
Manager for Brivo Systems LLC, a manufacturer of web-based and web-
hosted access control. JF can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or