Markets to converge

The idea of convergence between opposite sides of the same sector has been a market trend over the past few years, but so far has not been too evident in the security space.

The idea of convergence between opposite sides of the same sector has been a market trend over the past few years, but so far has not been too evident in the security space.

But those keeping an eye on the future are pointing to a closer relationship between physical and logical security as a likely development.

The physical security market - CCTV cameras and alarm systems - currently has its own distinct channel. But that could change with a greater need for networked access controls.

"Combining physical and logical IT opens up good opportunities for the channel," commented Dave Ellis, director of e-security and professional services at ComputerLinks.

There has been some crossover, with CCTV cameras being added to the network, but the same dealers have not traditionally sold both products.

"There will be a convergence because these products are IP-based the moves to convergence will start in one camp and move to the other," predicted Ellis.

One source at a distributor said there was no reason why convergence would not become more prominent and it was being driven by technology.

"Everything is moving to smart card technology and if you can integrate a reader into a system and have a selected entry set, then it makes sense," he said.

Although it is early to look for signs of convergence in the security market, pressures on customers to start thinking about it are already in place.

"There are a couple of key drivers: one is compliance and the other is PCI, which is scheduled to come into effect this summer," said Ian Kilpatrick, managing director at security distributor Wick Hill.

He added that the PCI guidelines included specific clauses that meant companies needed to prove who had access to cardholder data and that would force a closer link between physical and logical security.

"If you can track someone in the building [using a card reader], then you can establish that they were not at their desk when certain files were accessed from their computer," Kilpatrick said.

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