Convergence for Security Growth

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Manufacturers are doing it. Consultants are learning about it. Installers are seeking ways to better educate themselves about it. What is it? Convergence, of course, a coming together of physical and IT professionals that is gaining steam in the industry.
As with editors at every trade publication that covers a focused industry like physical security, we feel it is important to get face time with the people and companies we cover. Last month, I had an opportunity to attend the Security Growth Conference in Santa Monica. It was an intimate conference, a forum for finance companies to learn about the industry, a chance for emerging companies to share their technology and progress with others of the industry, as well as a chance for chief executive and financial officers to taste what their industry peers are doing at the present time.
I sat in on many fascinating presentations, covering topics as diverse as using video analytics in physical security and how to make operational and marketing improvements. Much of the information, isn't exactly what I might write about in our next issue, but it was information that I will file away. A year and one half into covering this industry, I have learned that when technology is introduced it is first trumpeted by its creators and supporters, as it was probably developed to solve a problem or make a process easier in some capacity. Then, if the technology is sound, whether it is a few years later or even 15 years after that introduction, the same technology will gradually spread across the market as it gains wider acceptance in more of the physical security industry.
As I moved from cluster to cluster of security professionals during networking sessions and breaks before and after presentations--whether they were consultants, representatives from manufacturing companies, or finance professionals seeking an opportunity to nudge into the industry to finance the next up-and-coming solution--there was a common thread in each conversation and it was a word that is used more and more often in this industry: convergence.
Already there is buzz about education, as many integrators who were trained on the physical security end might not have the IT knowledge needed to continue in the physical security integration space. At the ISC West Show this year, the IP Institute will debut. This full-day accredited program enables system designers and integrators an opportunity to train on a platform that is more and more often becoming the norm as end users seek protection for both their physical and IT security assets.
On the product side of the industry, the crest of this change is also becoming visible. Just last month, we saw Cisco Systems, a router and switch giant, buy IP-video manufacturer SyPixx. Although a move of this nature was anticipated by industry observers, the announcement points to the changed climate of the market. The IT companies want in on physical security.
Soon, IT and security will be one happy family. Will you be invited to Thanksgiving dinner?