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Pelco teams with Cisco on video over wireless mesh

Cisco is teaming up with Pelco to provide the mesh infrastructure behind IP video security – for everything from city surveillance to the protection of campus environments. The companies say this will create new opportunities for security dealers and IT resellers alike.



January 21, 2009
By Vawn Himmelsbach

Pelco, a vendor of physical security products, doesn’t engage in the
area of transport. “We’re purely dependent on enterprises for the
transport, if it’s a physical network switch or wireless connection,”
said Rob Morello, senior product sales manager for Pelco, during a
recent teleconference. But the transport in place is critical to the
success of its security system. “We’ve seen a lot of instances where
the transport is compromised, and at the end of the day, when the user
gets video off this network, they point to us and say this is our
[fault].”

When it comes to transport, Pelco is
agnostic, depending on the customer’s IT department. Cisco’s business,
however, is the transport. “As we move forward through this process, as
we become more IT-centric as far as products are concerned, physical
security is just another application that resides on the network,” said
Morello. Video surveillance simply becomes another application, just
like word processing.

The Cisco-Pelco Critical Infrastructure
Solution Set is a matched system engineered, designed and tested to
work together. Cisco is providing a secure wireless mesh network
infrastructure to service video from Pelco’s industrial-hardened
wireless cameras back onto a unified IP network. This surveillance
video can be integrated with other IP-based services to enhance
analysis, alarms and events. Pelco’s wireless digital video feeds are
backhauled over a Cisco 1520-series AP mesh network, with a unified
wired-to-wireless security framework (Pelco systems have been
engineered and certified to work within the Cisco wireless framework).

The
physical security space is a $4 billion-a-year market and Pelco is
looking to engage IT managers, CIOs and CTOs in order to grow in that
space. “Typically in most enterprise-class organizations we don’t get
an opportunity to engage, but now with the alignment of Cisco, we can
go in shoulder to shoulder,” said Morello. As a Cisco technology
development partner, Pelco can now offer security dealers connections
from a sales and marketing perspective, as well as technical support.


When
talking to an IT manager who is in the process of trying to drive ROI
for existing infrastructure, presenting the notion of adding physical
security to that infrastructure is a compelling argument. A few years
ago it was rare to have an IT manager engaged in an executive briefing
about physical security, but now it’s pretty much a requirement.

“It
allows us to play in the IT space and it allows Cisco to play in our
space,” said Morello. The complexities associated with physical
security drive a tremendous amount of value-add to Cisco resources in
the field, he added. “We see dealers coming to us acting as
subcontractors to IT people, providing the knowledge and expertise in
the physical security space, and that happens a lot,” he said. “So we
have this melting pot of knowledge that exists between the security
dealer and IT integrator.” IT integrators sometimes jump into physical
security, then realize it’s a lot more complex than it looks on the
surface.

From a technology perspective, the physical security
industry has been consuming a tremendous amount of bandwidth within
large corporate networks. Until recently, wireless was relatively new
and still in the development phase, so Pelco continued to have large
bit rates and Cisco continued to have limited bandwidth.

“We
knew at some point in time there would be a logical path where the bit
rates would go down and availability of bandwidth would go up,” said
Morello. “We’re at that point in time now.”

“For the industrial
wireless video surveillance solution, [we’re] looking at both types of
channel partners,” said Chet Namboodri, global director of
manufacturing and power industry solutions for Cisco, “[including]
Cisco security dealers looking to deploy more IP-based solutions for
industrial environments, as well as IT resellers who have a strength in
industrial plants and are looking to expand into video surveillance.”
Namboodri added that the partnership with Pelco is not an exclusive
arrangement.