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Why IT is Oblivious

Why are most IT (information technology) folks oblivious to the multi-billion dollar collaboration going on between the $150 bn physical security industry and IT?  Why are the analysts (forrester, gartner, burton) not covering the massive shift?  Why aren’t IT consultants like PwC, E&Y, or Getronics talking about it?  Why aren’t CIOs raising hell?

Don’t they know that Cisco, IBM, Oracle, EMC and HP are allocating big dollars to launch an assault on the physical security industry?  Geez Louise – Cisco was the Platinum sponsor of the world’s biggest physical security conference last month!

Nope. The IT industry is clueless – with the exception of the companies named.  And it makes sense.  IT is really just a service provider.  A utility.  It doesn’t think for itself.  It responds.  When a business unit with a budget offers up a problem to be solved, the IT industry comes up with some kind of solution.  But IT is not proactive.  Like a computer, the IT industry simply awaits instructions.

The IT vendors, for the most part, are selling their same old products to their same old customers.  And the CIOs are buying in the same old way.  From the IT point of view, there is nothing new.  Just go to the RSA conference or Interop and count the yawns.

But go to a physical security conference and see a huge industry adopting IT with such ferocity that every dollar is up for grabs.  Innovative software vendors like VidSys and Quantum Secure are grabbing headlines. Cisco and IBM are fighting for dominance. IT distributors like Anixter and Tech Data are selling loads of phys sec products.  And integrators are crossing over between phys sec and IT.

Plenty is happening.  But the IT industry is responding to physical security’s fairly modest requests: directory services, XML services, high-end blade servers and fast switches.  Nothing too earth shattering.  But look at how Cisco and IBM are building billion dollar business units for physical security.  And watch for the big announcements from Oracle and HP later this year. 

Times, they are a-changin’

Pretty soon maybe even the analysts and consultants will see that they can help their customers to build more efficient and effective security architectures with the innovations of physical security – and make a buck in the process. Perhaps the software makers will see their opportunity to make a buck, too.

Categories: InfoSec, Software, Trends
  1. April 13, 2007 at 10:31 am

    I agree wholeheartedly that to date the IT industry has been slow to respond to the demand and opportunity for converged solutions in physical security. And those who have responded have done so with very modest product offerings.
    In fairness though, the companies you named are the largest and most important players in enterprise IT. They are certainly the clear market leaders in their respective segments of the IT market (if you use revenue as the measuring stick).
    I think the fact that all of the IT leaders are jumping into this space shows a recognition by the IT industry of the opportunity. But I agree that to date few of the IT companies have shown real innovation or understanding of the problems facing physical security buyers.
    I think this is an exciting time for everyone and will lead to more rapid innovation from all sides. Hopefully the innovation will focus on what customers care about: reducing physical costs, reducing operational costs, reducing personnel costs, and most importantly reducing losses from fraud, theft and other crimes.

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