Under surveillance

Infrastructure development is rife across the Middle East and with it comes a demand for security. IP surveillance is emerging as one of the most compelling investment areas, creating a whole new market for networking resellers and integrators.

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By  Julian Pletts Published  May 21, 2008

We are seeing more traditional networking integrators looking into surveillance because as we move from analogue to IP these integrators tend to say to customers, 'I am already doing your networking for your enterprise, it is very easy for me to move from my usual IP networking into a surveillance network.'

It is not a huge jump in terms of technological skills that have to be acquired to be able to deliver the IP surveillance network. Our objective is to double the number of integration partners specialising in the security applications and you will see more developing capabilities to target this market.

GR: Our strategy is two-fold really. We have a great deal of existing communications customers, some broadline IP guys and some specialist networking distributors. There is a value for each.

But if you look at the migration to IP and all the component parts it is not just about the fibre optic cable, it is about the typical storage and all of the elements.

A proportion of the traditional communications marketplace understands the chance to diversify into a security space.

They are already laying the cable and putting in the networking switches so security for them is just another application that can run over their core infrastructure.

What challenges do resellers face when it comes to making profit from selling IP surveillance solutions?

GO: If the reseller is only going to sell our products in a box moving fashion then I don't think our products are right for them. Our products are meant for systems integrators. They should be able to offer a whole solution.

It is not about fiddling around with the camera, it is also selling the software application, the servers and the networking. Obviously the most important in terms of value is the storage.

When you start to store streaming video you know there will be a lot and the storage part of the system is important. There is an ecosystem around these products.

BC: At the beginning they must learn a lot of skills and there's an investment needed. At the same time, network and security players are usually well funded.

The outlay required to acquire the skills, acquire new vendors and to integrate these systems means that for about 18 months the return on investment will be lower than expected. But once they have acquired skills the return will be much higher.

GH: They need more product, application and configuration knowledge. They need to know how to design, install and manage IP surveillance systems - there really isn't that level of knowledge out there at the moment.

The other thing is profit because a lot of people in the IP market are used to making a relatively low level of growth profit. Well there is a better degree of profits that can come out of IP surveillance solutions.

GR: The biggest thing is to understand how to position a complete integrated security solution on top of what you do.

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