Network-based products point the way for the convergence of security, IT

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Monday, December 1, 2003

With the ever-increasing move toward network-based systems, including IP cameras, has come the corresponding shift within the security sector to become more IT savvy, either through education or some abdication of control to the IT manager.

Calling it a “significant trend,” Scott Watson, vice president-video imaging systems division for JVC, said “now with IP, there’s a shift to the IT manager being involved in what happens on his network, or even a parallel network.”

As a result, Watson said, “the security guys need to upgrade their knowledge, just as they had to do with (the advent of) the multiplexer and DVR.”

What is required, said Frank Abram, vice president at Panasonic Security Systems, is an “entire new skill set” for security dealers and integrators who want to compete in the digital, networked industry.

“Dealers/integrators will require computer and networking skills to secure their role in the design and implementation of systems,” he said. Meanwhile, “we see IT personnel and departments assuming the responsible role for video systems that reside on corporate networks.”

The result, he said, is a “melding of responsibilities and accountabilities between security and IT.”

While some believe security managers can bring themselves up to speed on IP-based systems, others advocate bringing in someone with the IT expertise. “The IP world is complicated; you should hire someone who knows the space, rather than try to learn it,” said Rick Davitt, vice president-marketing for IQinVision.

“IT seems difficult, but only for the neophyte,” Davitt said. “The IT guy can be your guru.”

That’s not to say, Davitt added, that there isn’t a place for the security expert in a networked environment. “Both sides bring expertise,” he explained. For example, Davitt said, IT personnel don’t have the necessary understanding of lighting or camera placement.

“Each party has essential knowledge. It’s a convergence issue,” Davitt said.

But security managers, dealers and integrators aren’t the only ones with a learning curve. According to John Dubenko, business team leader for emerging products at American Dynamics, manufacturers have to get up to speed as well.

“It’s not just learning the language, but the technology,” Dubenko said. “You need to know how it (the networked product) cohabitates with everything else.”

The challenge, he added, is for manufacturers’ sales reps and customer service people “to be comfortable with IT/IP speak.”