Security Technologies In The Spotlight
Record attendance at the recent ASIS Seminar and Exhibit shows that IT buyers are actively seeking security technologies and integrators who can deliver these solutions.
It was ironic that a security trade show was scheduled on the one-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks. But the timing couldn't have been better for the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) International. On September 10 to 13, 2002, the association hosted its largest show to date with almost 2,000 booths. Turnout for the ASIS International 48th Annual Seminar and Exhibit was so high (17,000 attendees) that I had to battle attendee traffic between editorial appointments. As I walked around the show, I spoke with a variety of attendees including military personnel, representatives of utility companies and government agencies, retailers, and VARs/integrators.
Old Technologies, New Opportunities
Technologies like biometrics, CCTV (closed circuit television), and ID cards have existed for many years. Business Solutions began covering these security technologies in the early 1990s. But, September 11, 2001, thrust these products, along with new ones like network monitoring and Web security, into the spotlight of IT buyers. The attendance at the ASIS Show is just one example of the renewed interest in security technology. Industry analysts, like IDC, see a growing trend. The Framingham, MA, analyst predicts the worldwide market for IT security products and services will surpass $50 billion by 2005. According to the IDC study, businesses are reevaluating their security IT infrastructure and disaster recovery capabilities and will increase their investments over the next two years.
New Channels For Security Products
To meet growing demand, security vendors know they'll need to expand their sales channels. Many of the companies I met with at ASIS have established channels of traditional security dealers and integrators, but they are also looking to VARs/integrators selling other technologies to expand their footprint. CCTV vendors are one example of security companies seeking new partners. Some of these companies include CSi/SPECO (Amityville, NY), ELMO (Plainview, NY), Eversun Technologies (Fremont, CA), and Rainbow CCTV (Irvine, CA). For years, CCTV cameras were separate from the IT infrastructure. Analog cameras captured images, which were viewed on monitors and VHS tapes. With the inception of digital, CCTV is now being integrated into the network and sold as a solution. The images are recorded on DVR (digital video recorders) or on other storage formats like AIT (advanced intelligent tape), DLT (digital linear tape), or LTO (linear tape-open). So, naturally CCTV solutions are a good fit for VARs already selling and integrating networking and storage solutions. At the same time, VARs providing POS (point of sale) and supply chain solutions should consider CCTV because their retail and manufacturing customers want to monitor their facilities.
ID Solutions Spanning Market Needs
The channel may also want to investigate ID card security technology. Market demand is coming from small- to medium-sized businesses and government agencies. Veteran vendors like Datacard (Minnetonka, MN), Eltron (Camarillo, CA), and FARGO Electronics (Eden Prairie, MN) offer a variety of ID card printing solutions from low-cost printers to high-end units with multiple identification technologies such as smart chips, magnetic strips, encoded biometric data, and holograms. These multiple technology cards allow end users to verify a person's identity multiple ways. Texas Instruments RFid (Plano, TX) has also introduced a new radio frequency (RF) 13.56 MHz technology that allows more information to be encoded on an RF-based card.
Some security technologies may be a logical fit for your channel business. Others may not. However, there is no debating that the demand for these products continues to build. Richard Hunter, Gartner's VP of Security Research and author of the recent book "A World Without Secrets," believes "security and privacy are at a major turning point in our society." Is your business ready to turn with them?