The physical security industry is shifting towards the use of IT products to deliver their solutions to the market. As a part of this shift large physical security manufacturers like Tyco, Milestone, Pelco and Honeywell are building the next generation security hardware solutions on mainstream IT platforms from Dell, IBM, HP and others. These traditional security manufacturers see the opportunity to outsource certain aspects of their product lines in order to focus on other core competencies. In many ways, the physical security industry has always integrated different components under a single manufacturing brand. So it is not much of a surprise that as physical security and enterprise IT converge the traditional electronic suppliers are being replaced with core IT manufacturers.

This strategy has several benefits that dramatically improve the quality of physical security solutions. Dell, specifically, has been active in the physical security marketplace and has even published a case study profiling their manufacturing partnership with Tyco. Other companies have been influenced by this trend as well. For example, Milestone has a similar relationship with both HP.

Milestone’s positioning on their partnership with HP is based on the decision to stay true to their core competency. HP has all but perfected the manufacturing of servers and storage systems and has done so for years; why should Milestone reinvent that wheel? Their core competency lies in physical security and this partnership gives them leverage in the industry by introducing years of HP’s manufacturing experience into the Milestone product line. 

Time to market is a key performance measure that should be considered in industries, like physical security, which are undergoing paradigm shifts. Those companies that are agile enough to address the changing market needs benefit disproportionately to those that can’t adapt. By accelerating their time to market, organizations are able to increase both their market share and industry leadership.

Building upon a fully compliant and standards based IT platform makes convergence much easier. IT engineers looking to integrate IP-based video surveillance into their existing IT platforms are already supporting similar hardware, making the business justification for the move from analog to IP that much easier. In addition, the “made to order” nature of physical security products today creates a much smoother transition path than in previous years. 

IT-based physical security solutions “made to order” are providing competitive advantages that are hard for the electronics industry to compete with. The ability of these solutions to scale in size by using enterprise class IT manufacturers in their product designs means that regardless of the customer’s demands, the solution can be designed to meet those requirements. This concept is evident in the networking, server and storage aspects of the solution. Each of these hardware platforms can scale beyond the most demanding physical security requirements, something that the electronics industry simply can’t do. 

Another benefit of using these manufacturing partnerships is just-in-time product availability. Because of the massive production capabilities of technology manufacturers, it is not difficult for them to quickly meet the product demands of the physical security industry. Companies like Dell, IBM and HP produce in excess of $40 billion dollars of server systems each year. This production capacity also means that if something is needed quickly, it can be quickly produced in whatever quantity needed. 

Perhaps the biggest benefit to these types of partnerships lies not with the two manufacturers, but instead is realized by the end using client. The benefits provided by the partnership between the two manufacturers allows the end using client to receive a scalable solution for the same price, which they would have most likely paid for a non-scalable electronics based one. In addition, the solution has a lower total cost of ownership, because it’s based upon standard hardware. When enterprise IT is made to order, physical security is a winner.