IT distributor Tech Data opens physical security business unit

Saturday, July 1, 2006

CLEARWATER, Fla.--Twenty billion dollar IT distributor Tech Data announced in May the creation of its Physical Security Specialized Business Unit, to both allow current IT resellers to enter the physical security arena and to attract new business from physical security integrators. Initially, Tech Data will sell security products from IP security manufacturers like Axis, JVC, NetBotz, S2 Security, Sony and Toshiba. The focus will begin with video surveillance, then widen to access control and other parts of the market.
"We've been doing IP surveillance for quite a while," said Dan Smith, who'll manage the physical security business unit. "We were selling IP video cameras to nearly 1,000 unique dealers per month. People ask, 'Why would Tech Data get into physical security?,' but we've been in the space simply because of the technology revolution." He said what Tech Data can ultimately offer is a way for physical security integrators to enter the IT world and for IT resellers to begin to understand security."
While Smith's support staff is trained with a number of IT certifications, he can also claim "160 hours of training per staff member when it comes to the cameras and the network ... Our sales team, I've trained them to the point where they should be able to help [the integrator] build the entire bill of materials. They can recommend the camera, the housing, the storage to help them do the job." He has 80 systems engineers at his disposal, who field 2,400 calls a day with technical questions. Further, special programs like TechSelect allow preferred customers to get discounts and extra training.
Annette Taber, director of Tech Data's Advanced Technologies Group, also noted the potential for IT and physical resellers to combine their efforts. With Tech Data's, companies can create online profiles and submit work orders or search for partners in an attempt to fill a geographic or technical need in completing or bidding for a job.
"We don't want our physical security dealers to have a fear of IT," said Tabor. "We want them to embrace the IT resellers and vice versa ... [maybe] the IT guys won't know where to hang the camera, or the physical guys won't know how to set up the network, so the partnership that can take place between the two is something that we're very much looking forward to facilitating."