Ingram Dedicates New Unit to Physical Security Equipment

Vendor expects convergence with IT security will blossom segment

November 10, 2009

D.H. Kass

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Distributor Ingram Micro Inc. last week inaugurated a new business unit for physical security products, anticipating that segment’s inevitable convergence with the adjacent IT security market will boost its attractiveness to value-added resellers and managed service providers.

Ingram’s physical security group will make available solutions in alarm and fire, monitoring services, access control and video surveillance to channel partners in North America. The unit, currently staffed with 10 people, will maintain a separate profit and loss statement.

Tom Burns, Ingram director and head of the physical security unit, said that the group will handle products from several IT manufacturers with physical security portfolios, including Cisco Systems Inc., Axis Communications, Sony and Panasonic, and others the distributor is considering.

Channel partners working with the unit will receive dedicated technical advice, pre- and post-sales support, configuration and integration services, training, education and marketing resources, he said.

Ingram also will train channel partners on physical security solutions built for specific vertical markets, including government, education, retail, healthcare and the casino gaming industry, Burns said.

Designating a unit specifically for physical security solutions enables Ingram to “aggregate channel partners with similar interests and practices and do our part to support those parties in executing their strategies with all the tools we can bring to bear,” he said.

Burns said that the unit will leverage Ingram’s data analytics tool to help stir up net new business for channel partners.

A recent report by the Security Industry Association, a 400 member trade group for businesses in the electronic security industry, pegs the U.S. non-residential market for electronic physical security equipment at about $20 billion, a noticeable jump from a $12 billion market size two years ago.

The report identifies key sectors as government, commercial offices and industrial organizations.

In particular, the demand for video surveillance products, driven by an upstream migration from older closed circuit television (CCTV) equipment to newer IP technologies, is expected to change substantially in the next five years, according to the SIA report.

Burns called IP video surveillance the “tip of the spear” for its potential to guide the growth of the entire segment upward.

“Businesses want more than just a new camera platform,” he said. “Access control as well as software platforms that enable the integration of alarm, access control and IPVS technologies will also see a good level of activity.”

Impending convergence with IT security

Burns said that a number of factors spurred Ingram to launch the new division.

“There are three things in the market that make this exciting for us,” he said. “The evolution from closed circuit to IP technology for surveillance infrastructure, the convergence of the IT and physical security markets, and, businesses asking for better options to integrate their alarm and access control systems into a single, coherent platform.”

As the IT security and physical security markets converge, IT managers are taking on a bigger role in corporate decisions regarding physical security installations.

According to a recent study conducted by IMS Research, a U.K.-based specialist in market sector research, IT managers now are involved in about 60 percent of purchase decision for IP-based physical security equipment.

“This shows just how much physical security is converging with IT,” said Mark Visbal, SIA director of research. “A few years ago they were in different worlds. Now, in many cases, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to separate one from the other.”

The IMS research also revealed that 60 percent of system integrators installing electronic physical security equipment believe that vendors do not meet their support needs, particularly for training, demonstration equipment, telephone and web-based assistance.

Burns said that the physical security unit is tasked with supporting both channel partners and vendors.

“We are providing sales and technical resources to resellers that understand the technologies and focus on this market while simultaneously providing our vendor partners a dedicated business manager to help them reach those resellers that are important to them,” Burns said.

“Having these Ingram resources in a single division accelerates the speed of business and enriches the relationships between all channel partners involved.”

TAGS: IT security,channel partners,Ingram Micro,physical security

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