IBM goes for security

GE Interlogix and IBM ink deal
Saturday, November 1, 2003

ARMONK, N.Y. - Combining physical security with IT just got a little easier, thanks to a recent partnership between IBM and GE Interlogix.

After nearly a year of behind the scene talks, the two companies announced in September plans to integrate GE Interlogix’s security software with IBM’s enterprise management and application server software. The result will be the convergence of physical security and IT functions, enabling functions such as access into a building to link with a person’s ability to log onto his or her computer at work.

“People are doing it in bits and pieces,” said Ray Blair, vice president of security business development and alliances for IBM. “I think we are really the first to provide the full extent.”

The arrangement, said Juan Cabezas, senior vice president, global marketing and strategic alliances for GE, was mostly driven by customer’s demands to integrate physical security with IT. “What I call these islands of security cannot exist,” said Cabezas.

Analysts and security experts have been saying that the convergence of physical and IT security was imminent, especially since in some circles security is becoming an IT decision. But the problem up until now has been the ability to link the two sides through a simple solution.

Other groups in the security industry are also working on the same premise, with Computer Associates announcing this year its e-Trust product, which is designed to integrate physical security and IT.

But the difference with this relationship, said Blair, is that IBM and GE Interlogix each bring their respective expertise to the table. “Other people trying to get into this space bring one or the other, but don’t have a complete suite,” said Blair.

As part of the partnership between IBM and GE Interlogix, GE Interlogix will integrate its Facility Commander software with IBM’s Tivoli enterprise management software. IBM will provide consulting and project management expertise, while GE Interlogix is expect to tap its systems integration partners for the physical security portion of a job.

“This really opens up a whole set of revenue opportunities for our channel partners,” said Cabezas.

Blair expects both companies will begin to deliver the solution to customers by the beginning of 2004.

The arrangement between GE Interlogix and IBM is not the computer giant’s first foray in the security market. Earlier this year IBM announced plans to offer installation and services of video surveillance systems that run on an IP-based network.