Ingram Micro invests heavily in physical security

New division will expand beyond video into access control, even residential alarm
Thursday, November 5, 2009

SANTA ANA, Calif.—With an eye toward guiding its IT channel further into the physical security marketplace, IT distribution giant Ingram Micro has launched a new Physical Security Division, which will offer products in four categories: Alarm and Fire, Monitoring Services, Access Control, and Video Surveillance.

Similarly, in September, Ingram Micro’s wholly owned subsidiary AVAD announced it would be distributing DSC products and its resellers could get special pricing from C.O.P.S. Monitoring.

In total, this represents a major commitment to the physical security marketplace, said Tom Burns, director of Ingram Micro’s Security Division. While IM has been distributing IP video products since as far back as 2006, “we asked ourselves,” said Burns, “are we doing all that we could do to add value to the space? Things were progressing nicely, but we decided to focus on more than just video.”

One of the most important pieces of that is the relationship with C.O.P.S., Burns said. “Instead of just selling hardware and having [our resellers] figure out where the central station is,” said Burns, “I spent over a year researching the whole central station market. We did an RFP about nine months ago, then went through a due diligence process similar to what I used to do when I was in acquisitions.”

AVAD’s resellers are primarily residentially focused, traditionally working in high-end A/V systems, automation and HVAC.

For Ingram Micro’s target customers, Burns said he’s expecting about 75 percent of the business to come from IT resellers getting into security, and 25 percent to come from traditional security integrators looking for an IP-savvy distributor.

“Customers want integrated systems,” Burns rationalized, “there’s not a lot of value in just swapping an analog camera for an IP camera ... They want the video integrated with the access and alarm system. If there’s an alarm that goes off, the system has to be smart enough to say that alarm goes with these cameras and then automatically pan to the right door and run the access logs ... That’s where our VARs are going to catch on faster than most traditional security guys.”

For the traditional security guys who are IT-savvy, Burns said Ingram Micro offers the best depth in IT products, training and pricing.

“Anixter is an outstanding competitor in the security market,” Burns said, “but they buy all their Cisco and Juniper from me. Any of their storage hardware, they buy it from me ... They do a great job, but they don’t have the relationships we have, and we’re very well established in that area and no one’s going to displace us as long as we do a good job. If we do a poor job, that will leave open a gap for someone else to enter, but I don’t foresee that happening.”