12/03/2013 Back to articles

The potential in video surveillance for IT VARs


IT VARs are under pressure

IT value added resellers (VARs) face two key issues:

  1. Constant erosion of hardware prices creating the need to continually introduce new generations of equipment and develop new, high margin services;
  2. Demands from vendor partners to sell large quantities of infrastructure hardware in order to retain partner tier status with its attractive discounts and support levels.


Potential salvation through video surveillance

What VARs need is an emergent, fast-growth application, bandwidth and storage hungry, that taps into corporate budgets outside the investment-constrained IT department.  Fortunately, such a market exists, IP video surveillance (IP VS).

The UK leads the world in CCTV coverage - it is the most watched nation in the world. This market is currently undergoing a major technology disruption.  Analogue and digital CCTV cameras linked to recorders are being superseded by IP networked systems.

This has profound implications for existing market participants as it is not entirely clear that they are either willing or capable of up-skilling and adapting to the new world where CCTV is not standalone but an IT network application.

This creates a large opportunity for IT VARs since much of the technology now falls squarely into their core competence. An IP camera can now be seen as one more device attached to the network, and running it requires another network software application. IT VARs know how to do this.

The added capabilities of video as networked data also open up the possibility of applications beyond surveillance for security. These include its use as a customer recognition or behaviour tool, thereby turning it into an enabler for revenue generating applications rather than just loss containment.

An exciting extension  for VARs is the emerging concept of Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) where the cameras are local to the user, but the software application and the video storage reside and are managed by a third party in the cloud.  VARs need to choose whether to create such a service, white label it or be a supplier to a provider.


There may be no choice

Video surveillance will become an IT-influenced purchase and so a competitive arena for IT VARs. This means non-participation runs the risk of opening the door to new players who may then in turn compete in the VARs’ existing space.


Benefits for VARS

For those VARs that embrace the market and develop effective strategy the prize is clear. By embracing IP video surveillance, and in particular VSaaS, VARs can:

  • Expand demand  for data storage;
  • Create high margin recurring service revenue to counter hardware commoditisation;
  • Maintain their one-stop-shop proposition to clients;
  • Gain access to physical security budgets, and potentially marketing budgets, for wider commercial applications.


Barriers to success

However there are some issues which VARs will need to overcome:

  • A lack familiarity with the video surveillance market: law, culture, buyer behaviour, users, competition, installers, and vendors;
  • The need to engage with a new set of individuals, both physical security equipment buyers and commercial business unit heads, not just the network or IT managers who currently procure their products and services;
  • The requirement to understand and operationalise video security laws, optimal camera layout design, physical camera installation siting, use and maintenance.

How well VARs develop strategies to overcome these issues will determine whether the opportunity is realised.