Unimpressed? The purchase has greater resonance when you consider that Cisco is the world leader in Internet-based networking solutions, employs 40,000 staff and last year turned over $US6.6 billion.
Other interesting things about Cisco – apart from its reputation as the world’s leading manufacturer of bulletproof servers and networking solutions – include the fact the company is number 2 on Fortune Magazine’s list of America’s most admired companies and it sits at number 95 on the Fortune 500 list. It’s no mean feat for a company founded in 1984 that focuses on networking computer systems.
In terms of wired and wireless networking solutions, Cisco has all the bases covered and it’s impossible to accept that Cisco will not leverage all its power, innovation and business relationships to drive into the networked surveillance market. No only that, once the video side is established the company says it intends to turn its attention to access control solutions.
In a recent interview with SSI, Steve Collen, marketing director for Cisco’s new Converged Secure Infrastructure Business Unit (CSIBU), said security dealers and integrators that have been fearing IT directors taking their work need not worry. Collen reckons there will be a definite need for specialized “physical” (electronic) security installers for the “foreseeable” future.
Without putting to fine a point on it this is hardly a reassuring statement for installers and integrators who’ve not embraced IP. So if you’re not into networking and broadening your understanding of digital security products, hurry up and get started.
According to Collen, part of Cisco’s plan is to educate the electronic security market but it’s not an exclusive policy. At the same time as it’s training installers to install networks, Cisco plans to train IP integrators to install “physical” security systems including CCTV and access control.
“Physical security is a key growth area for us. It’s an emerging technology. It means the ability to grow in a particular market, but also to drive Cisco’s convergence business as well,” Collen told SSI.
“There are many more things in physical security than video security – access control would be an area we’re very interested in. We do network-based access control right now, and an extension of that is a tantalizing possibility.”
Supporting Cisco’s move is some data from research company Comunica which suggested of 100 major companies, 64 per cent have already adopted or plan to adopt security over IP networks this year. According to Comunica, the financial sector is taking the lead and smaller companies are a little slower to embrace convergence. Penetration at the small end of town is just 16 per cent with 36 per cent planning to install networked security solutions in 2006.
Another positive indicator for local networked security solutions is the news that Telstra may be planning to build its $A3 billion high-speed fibre optic network after all. Late last month Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Graeme Samuel told The Australian newspaper that talks had started “at the highest level” on possible investment safeguards. Samuel said proposals around Telstra’s new investment are starting to take shape.
This is particularly good news because it means Australian companies and government departments will finally be able to get the bandwidth they need to get their networked security systems to perform as they’ve been designed to do instead of choking them off when traversing the Internet.