By Ray Bernard
For physical security technology, the initial convergence trend was to improve security systems by incorporating information technology (IT) enhancements. Now many security systems do more than incorporate IT elements, they are completely based upon them.
Security video technology is a good example. Before the 1990's tape video cassette recorders (VCRs) were used to record video images from vacuum-tube video cameras (whose glass video tubes work in reverse of a television video display tube). Today's video cameras are solid state (i.e. electronic circuit chip) devices, and can be characterized as a "computers with a lens".
Sony and others manufacture security video cameras that contain a hard drive for storing video, and a web server for providing web browser pages for displaying the recorded video. The cameras connect to a computer network via a standard network cable, and thus are classified as "network cameras". Many such cameras can be powered using Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology, so only the network cable connection is required to activate the camera.
Today's computer-like cameras send back video image data as network information packets using Internet Protocol (IP), and the information is stored the same way any other corporate electronic data is stored, often in a corporate data center.
Thus physical security systems infrastructure (computers, databases, data storage and networks) is actually IT infrastructure. Thus is should be no surprise that the physical security industry's largest customer, the U.S. Federal government, has in essence declared that physical security systems are IT systems.