If digital imaging distributor, Alloys International, has it right, IP-enabled cameras running through standard TCP/IP networks may be the next big cash cow for resellers.
The company touted new business opportunities in IP security monitoring at its inaugural Network Video Products (NVP) 2004 conference in Sydney last week. The event was supported by major camera brand names including Sony, Axis, Canon and Sanyo.
Alloys product manager, Simon Hall, said educating the channel on the commercial viability of IP security was the key to its take-up success. "IT and AV are converging but the awareness that security and networking are also converging is sadly lacking," he said. "Traditional CCTV security installers do not understand TCP/IP so there's a cash flow opportunity that IT resellers can tap into once they know how."
While IP monitoring systems were not exactly new, a number of coinciding factors were causing the technology to come into its own, Hall said.
"As the back-end infrastructure is already there, cost savings from using it instead of traditional security infrastructure are causing the end user to drive the market," he said. "And it's not so much the security manager, but the IT manager, that is now making the decisions about the security."
With the commoditisation of IP monitoring basics such as storage, processing power and bandwidth, the technology had become commercially viable for businesses, Hall said.
Sony Australia national training manager, Phillip Nottle, said advances in the intelligence of IP camera technology and accompanying management software also meant reseller opportunities went far beyond simple monitoring.
"The technology can do people counts, track what is happening down a production line, do worker and material checks on a construction site, or track how long people have stood in a space to create market advice for stores on customer flow," he said.
Hall said opportunities beckoned across verticals like education, retail, hotel chains, car parks and banks.
The greatest challenge for resellers was overcoming the traditional mindset of what could run across the network, he said.
"It's a paradigm shift in thinking," Hall said. "You take a network installer and all they think about are printers and services. That market has become so competitive now.
"With security the margins resellers can make on installation is phenomenal. It's the margin the IT industry was making in the early 90's - 30 or 40 points and with great hourly rates on services."
All would-be security specialists needed was a company with a back-end and education on the technology, he said.
"It's a walk in the park for traditional IT resellers," Hall said. "All they need to know about is where to put the cameras and what lenses to specify."