Why IT will not Take Over Security

By: John Honovich, Published on Jun 24, 2008

Automation is a powerful economic force, one that will ultimately make IT irrelevant to physical security. It may seem paradoxical but the same force that makes information technology ubiquitous will make IT irrelevant to physical security.

Physical security will certainly use more technology than ever before but the technology will become easier to use and deploy. As it becomes easier to use and deploy, the need for IT decision making and IT personnel will diminish and become a minor factor. Companies like IoImage are already showing us this future while big IT companies such as Cisco and IBM are stuck in the past. In the security industry, it's easy to fear that we are being gobbled up by IT but it's just a phase.

The ROI of Automation and Simplicity

This is easy to predict because the economics demand this and the history of other fields demonstrate this.

IT has been assimilated into every department in the enterprise and after the initial introduction, control always returned to the department. The first financial systems and CRM systems were huge complex projects that demanded custom software development and extensive on-site administration. IT obviously had to be heavily involved. Today, the sales manager can get up and running for little money and hassle from Salesforce.com, etc. The sales manager has a huge incentive to simplify because he does not want his sales operations hindered by never-ending IT projects. He will engage IT for support and services but he uses their input to make his own final decision. The same will happen for security.

Whenever technology is complex and unpredictable it requires extensive analysis, planning and field integration/ support. This is a characteristic of early stage technology. The first DVRs had this characteristic. The first IP cameras, megapixel cameras, analytics, etc did as well. 10 years ago DVRs were a major IT project and now they are ubiquitous, can be purchased at Costco and installed by the store manager. Technology vendors saw that their sales were limited due to the extensive on-site integration, testing and planning needed. To increase their own sales, they worked hard to simplify and eliminate deployment challenges. As this happened, IT became less and less important and the DVR needed only rubber stamp approval from most IT departments. The decision making returned to the security manager who now only focused on which product best helped him meet his security goals.

Cisco and IBM do not get IT

In perhaps the greatest irony in our industry, the two biggest 'IT' companies just do not get it. They bring to market incredibly complex, expensive systems that demand extensive field integration. From Cisco and IBM's perspective, maybe this looks like great business because the products are expensive and the follow-on services are substantial. But from the customer's perspective, this is awful. This is simply a tax on the customer, dropping the ROI and making the business case more difficult.

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With Cisco and IBM, you have to initiate a huge project, get the CIO involved, spend months planning and deploy a team of engineers/consultants.

IoImage is showing us the future of advanced IT technologies in the physical security space. Let's contrast what IoImage is doing to what Cisco and IBM have done.

IoImage does get IT

IoImage's slogan is "Designed for Simplicity" and you can see from their product design to their distribution strategy, that making it simple to purchase, setup and deploy is a key business objective.

Do you know where you can buy IoImage products from? Northern video and now, SuperCircuits. That's right, SuperCircuits -- The magazine you get with the $12.95 pinhole spy cameras now offers IoImage video analytic cameras. This is a great thing for security buyers but a signal of the problems for Cisco and IBM.

While Cisco and IBM are making it expensive and complex to use advanced technologies in physical security, IoImage is making it easy. IoImage is making it so easy that it's reducing the need for IT to be involved. IoImage let's the security manager concentrate on meeting his security goals. So while Cisco and IBM may be friends with the CIO, companies like IoImage will enable the highest ROI by delivering affordable and easy to deploy technologies.

IoImage's strategy shows the future of physical security. It's a future of ubiquitous technology freed from the cost and complexity of big IT.

Though technology has been and will continue to be a key force in physical security, IT's importance is just a phase. IT does not get this but Security Managers and Integrators should have faith in this.

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