Ex-Detica chief Black on look out for IP surveillance firms

Former Detica boss Tom Black is planning to stage a roll up in the IP surveillance vertical through acquisition vehicle Digital Barriers.

Former Detica boss Tom Black is planning to stage a roll up in the IP surveillance vertical through acquisition vehicle Digital Barriers.

Black, who sold the business and technology consultancy firm to BAe Systems in 2008 for £500m, invested £5m into Digital Barriers with ex-Detica execs Colin Evans and Zak Doffman and has raised £20m through a share placement on AIM.

The fragmented homeland security market has been under-invested with a relatively high number of small firms unable to broker relationships with prime system manufacturers, Black told MicroScope.

"Today there is a ton of imagery being collected by relatively simple systems," he said, "a lot of technology that could have been deployed has not and one of the reasons for this is that these small companies cannot get access to system makers or customers."

These include sensing technologies or applications that process CCTV images to identify anomalous behaviour in high value targets including nuclear power plants or major transport hubs. "Anything that might constitute a terrorist target" said Black

"In technology terms it will be heavily video related, there are a lot of CCTV cameras and a generational shift from analogue to IP-based cameras and that opens up a whole host of things you can do with digital imagery," he added.

There are plans to acquire between three and five companies involved in this vertical within the first year and he said negotiations were "quite well advanced", meaning that the first should be dome "in the first few months".

The surveillance vertical has already attracted stalwarts from the IT sector, including enterprise distributor Bell Microproducts and networking vendor DLink.

Paul Cooke, UK country manager at Bell, the traditional physical security and IT markets were converging and that the 2012 Olympics presented an opportunity for the channel.

Traditional tech resellers are hungry to diversify into verticals and the CCTV channel is "terrified of IT networking", said Chris Davies, UK country manager at DLink, which will unveil surveillance related products including storage this year.



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