There still remains some remnants of “security guys” not wanting “IT guys” to horn in on their territory, and brushback from “IT guys” when “security guys” talk about putting a new surveillance system on the network or in the cloud.
But those disagreements are becoming fewer and further between, and with good reason: most customers are looking for all-in-one solutions. They don’t want to have to shop for a security integrator and an IT integrator when they can find someone who does both. With time and money at a premium for everyone these days, offering a variety of services - and displaying expertise in the services you offer - has become the way to set yourself apart from the competition and add significantly to the bottom line.
Integrators providing access control to clients must factor in the increasingly popular Physical Security Intelligence Management (PSIM ). Meanwhile, those who provide surveillance solutions need to continue the transition from analog to digital by putting cameras on clients’ IT networks.
We’ve seen a slow - some in the industry have argued too slow - transition from analog to digital cameras, but that movement seems to have gained traction in recent months after stalling for several years after IP cameras were launched and the conventional wisdom was analog cameras would go the way of the pet rock.
As recently as 18 months ago at ISC West 2011, analog cameras were still outselling IP cameras by a wide margin. That gap has closed considerably, and some reports say the digital camera is finally generating a larger market share than analog in recent months.
Part of the slow uptick in digital security camera sales, as compared to projections for a swift transition away from analog offerings, might have been rooted in unrealistic manufacturer expectations based on how previous products had sold and made their predecessors obsolete.
But some manufacturers say the problem is at least partially rooted in a lack of willingness by integrators to educate themselves on IP cameras and advocate for those to their customers. Another issue, of course, is that customers are often working with a limited budget and are less likely to upgrade things like cameras until it’s necessary.
Security integrators, in short, need to have a bit of IT integrator in them. IT integrators, meanwhile, are taking on security roles.
If you’re still stuck in the mentality of thinking, “This is my turf. No one else is allowed in,” or resisting the opportunity to learn a new skill or a new way of approaching the business that’s paid your bills, you’ll soon find yourself left behind - or possibly out of it completely.
Resisting advances in technology and changes in the way people behave and interact with it won’t make the advances go away. The days of setting up silos and marking turf and territory should be over. If systems integrators are going to succeed in today’s increasingly high-tech world, they’re going to have to work together. Your customers demand it.