Integrators are A key Aspect to IP camera market’s growth

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Wednesday, December 1, 2004

While bandwidth remains a concern, and price has been a factor in how well network cameras sell, one of the biggest hurdles may be the knowledge of the security dealer and integrator and the ease with which this group aids the transition.

“They don’t have the (network) understanding at this point,” said Joe Cook, network camera sales manager for Toshiba America Information Systems.

He said the plug-and-play aspect of analog cameras is eclipsed by the learning curve connected with network cameras, which require understanding of IP addressing and the like.

What is often needed, Cook said, is to buy in from the IT department for new technology such as network cameras “because it’s their bandwidth - or at least they think it’s their bandwidth.”

Cook said while security personnel within companies still play an important role in selecting and handling security equipment, there may come a day when an integrator, working with the IT department, can address the security-related issues just as well. “If an integrator can help you place a camera, do you really need someone in the security department,” he asked.

Still, said Al Cavagnero, chief executive officer of Inetcam, “IT guys are never going to become specialists on (security) applications. They don’t have the interest in being security people.”

Paul Smith, chief operating officer at DVTel, concurred that some integrators may be slower to get on the network bandwagon, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ones championing the category.

“Our biggest success with integrators is in the $5-million (annual business) range,” Smith explained. “They are more of the risk takers. The have to have a differential advantage.”

He said even though these integrators understand there will be growing pains with new technology, they are looking to bring something different to their customer.

Another group that has proven interested in network cameras, he said, are “those who are IT-centric” and have IT-trained personnel on board.

Most integrators, said Joe Moore, director of global marketing and business development for Infinova, have been aware that their world has merged with the IT world and has reacted appropriately.

“I can’t think there isn’t a decent-sized integrator out there who doesn’t have an IT person on staff,” he said.

Smith said integrators and manufacturers alike, who deal with major companies, have to understand how IT works “and how to keep it working.”

“You have to have a process in place to handle problems and help them grow to the next level,” he said.

The focus on IT could also bring new players into the market, said Jim Voss, marketing manager-imaging systems at Pelco. Companies such as Cisco, IBM and other network companies will see opportunities, he said.

Meanwhile, he added, “I think there will be a shakeout in integrators” with those who are willing to get training from suppliers coming out on top.