Cisco, Pelco Get Physical with Joint Security Solutions

By Sharon Linsenbach  |  Print this article Print


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Cisco has teamed up with physical security leader Pelco to deliver IP-based solutions and drive wider adoption of physical security technology.

As physical security technology shifts from analog to a digital format delivered over IP networks, Cisco has teamed up with physical security equipment leader Pelco to drive wider adoption of physical security technology.

The new technology partnership between Pelco and Cisco’s Wireless Networking Business Unit (WNBU) will allow Pelco to deliver Cisco networking-based physical security solutions, and give solution providers from both vendors joint access to sales and support opportunities.

The trend toward shifting legacy analog cameras, recording devices and other physical security products to digital has been in the works for a few years now, says Rob Morello, senior product marketing manager, Pelco, and mirrors the adoption of telecommunications technology.

"The trend today is much like the trends in the telecom space 10 years ago where there is a primarily legacy install base of analog equipment, but now a lot of manufacturers are now introducing IP-based products," Morello says.

This trend opens the door for networking companies such as Cisco to leverage IP networking expertise to bring digital physical security technologies to a wider audience, he says, as well as improve ROI of networking installations. Integrating physical security monitoring technology with high-bandwidth networking solutions can improve the value organizations get from their networking and security investments, Morello says.

"As IP becomes more available, integrating physical security into organizations’ networks has become much more attractive to C-level executives," he says.

Pelco is one of the best-known leaders in the physical security equipment market, but Morello says outside of that, the company is virtually unknown. He says working together with Cisco’s WNBU will increase awareness of both companies in spaces where neither previously had traction.

Morello says the partnership is also mutually beneficial from a technology standpoint, since Pelco’s equipment is more sophisticated than Cisco’s own physical security products, while Cisco’s high-bandwidth networks will allow for better quality and increased performance of video and audio feeds.

"We’d covered a lot of manufacturing companies, ports, bridges, office buildings with physical security devices connected via wireless networks," Morello says. "But our bitrates were very high and the throughput available was relatively low. What we were doing was fine for data transmission, but video got choked up in the pipes," he says

The new partnership has reduced Pelco’s bandwidth requirements dramatically and Cisco’s throughput has increased exponentially, he says. The availability of mesh-based products from Cisco allowed us to validate and verify solutions that integrated Cisco’s mesh products and Pelco’s video based products, he says.

As Cisco and Pelco begin a global rollout of solutions and jumpstart training and education for both companies’ sales forces, Morello says the solution providers should take notice, too.

Physical security grew as an industry about 10 percent in 2008, says Morello, representing steady growth in spite of the economic downturn. But that’s nothing compared to the growth predication for network-based physical security, which grew 32 percent in 2008. For solution providers whose customers might slow spending on IT-focused information security solutions, physical security could be a way to drive new business as well as provide upsell opportunties with existing customers.

"If this is a great story for the providers, it’s an even better story for these integrators. This is no doubt a growth industry, and a lot of solution providers who have seen a slowdown are still picking up some good revenue streams from physical security," says Morello.

Ted Alben, vice president of Business Development, Mobility, for Pelco solution provider Netversant, says he’s thrilled about the new opportunities the Cisco partnership will bring.

"Security integration has taken hold over the last three to five years with the movement of security systems from analog to digital," Alben says.

He says Cisco’s centrally managed networks will give his company incredible visibility into customers’ networks, as well as easing management and boosting network performance.

Cisco’s emphasis on standardizing network architectures is key for the physical security customers Netversant serves, says Alben.

"Rote standardization is critical when you’re delivering these kind of solutions to large enterprises, municipalities, education and healthcare," he says. And while Cisco/Pelco joint solutions won’t be low priced, Alben says the technology and quality is far superior to competitors like Aruba, Symbol and Trapeze.

"When we bring these solutions to customers, we’re not interested in being the low-cost value player in the space. Rather, what we focus on are the optics, the quality control in the products is absolutely extraordinary," he says.


Sharon Linsenbach Sharon Linsenbach is a staff writer for eWEEK and eWEEK Channel Insider. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, Sharon was Assistant Managing Editor for CRN, a weekly magazine for PC and technology resellers. Before joining CRN, Sharon was an Acquisitions Editor for The Coriolis Group and later, Editorial Director with Paraglyph Press, both in Scottsdale, AZ. She holds a BA in English from Drew University and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her significant other and two neurotic cats. When she's not reading or writing about technology, Sharon enjoys yoga, knitting, traveling and live music. Sharon can be reached at Sharon.Linsenbach@ziffdavisenterprise.com.

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