PSA and 1nService bring security, IT integrators together

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Thursday, February 12, 2009
FOXBORO, Mass.--Here at Gillette Stadium, home of the three-time world champion New England Patriots, integrators from physical security and IT/networking backgrounds gathered Feb. 11 to network and learn more about the nuts and bolts of partnering to deliver IP-based security systems. 
Co-organized by non-profit industry associations PSA Security Network (physical security) and 1nService (IT/networking), the Focus event included presentations by PSA president and CEO Bill Bozeman, 1nService CEO Paul Cronin, industry consultants Adam Thermos and Dan Dunkel, manager of access systems for Logan Airport Bill Hall, Henry Bros. Electronics CEO Jim Henry, and a number of others. As part of a formal partnership between PSA and 1nService, there will be a number of similar events in other regions of the country. 
Further, the partnership includes reduced and simplified cost structures to encourage cross enrollment, open invitations to attend annual events for each organization, participation in the PSA National Accounts Program, and joint marketing initiatives. In addition, the organizations will create a unified industry advisory board.
"The partnership wasn't that easy," said Bozeman at the event. "It was an 18-month romance that we were finally able to close."
Why the partnership? "I was really, really wrong about my initial reaction to, understanding of, and comments about the whole convergence deal," Bozeman admitted. "Maybe it was pride, or my competitive nature, but it started out in my mind as us vs. them. Who was going to own the customer? It was the physical security vendors asking who was going to win the battle. Would it be the network savvy integrator, or would it be the physical security integrator? So we fought back and forth in the trade journals, and I would discuss who would win the battle. 
"But that just isn't going to work, guys," Bozeman told the 75 or so assembled integrators, about 70 percent of whom came from the physical security side. "It will be all about partnering. There will be the occasional integrator who can do it all--have all the Cisco certifications, know everything about wireless, and know everything about physical security, etc.--but they'll be few and far between."
Cronin agreed, saying it would be necessary for IT/networking integrators to work with physical security integrators in order to enter a physical security marketplace many of them don't have the time to really investigate. It's similar, he said, to the way these companies already do business in IT/networking: Virtually none of them is able to even integrate every piece of the IT system. There is already a great deal of teaming in the IT marketplace, he said, and that is part of what led to the creation of 1nService.
"We formed a corporation that enables the members to provide solutions and products outside of what they do themselves," he said, "and to help with geographic reach of providing solutions ... It's CEO to CEO, HR director to HR director, it's exchanging documents, comp plans, assessment documents, a project manager job description--then we hold forums like this one where we educate our members and tackle some of the tougher issues."
Partnering with physical security integrators is one of those tougher issues, but Cronin, Bozeman, Dunkel, Henry, and dozens of others here were positive about the possibilities of successful partnerships. 
Henry, for example, said his company is successful partnering with IT companies now, and outlined his recipe for success: "It's just like the Golden Rule," he said. "Treat your partner the way that you'd like to be treated. If the deal isn't good for your partner, it won't be successful for you in the long run, either."
Look for more Focus events to be scheduled as 2009 progresses.