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The surveillance market was never really considered a major cash cow for the IT channel. But as more and more organizations adopt IP- rather than traditional analog-based cameras -- and those cameras, as a result, become more intertwined with corporate networks than ever before -- all of that is starting to change, according to network camera manufacturer Axis Communications.
"When you look at the surveillance market, in general, it's kind of the last to the party in terms of going digital," said James Marcella, director of technical services at Axis. "We had Voice-over-IP, our telephones have moved over to the network, and just about every other aspect of our corporate and personal lives are on the network. Surveillance was really late to that party."
But now, Marcella said, Axis is seeing an uptick in IP or network camera adoption, thanks largely to these cameras having better resolution, built-in analytics engines and other next-generation features their analog-based counterparts can't deliver.
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Industry numbers support that claim. According to analyst firm Research and Markets, the IP or network video surveillance market is projected to grow nearly fourfold in terms of overall revenue by the end of 2018, representing a CAGR of around 25 percent throughout the next five years.
Axis itself said the IP video surveillance market today represents a $12.5 billion opportunity, with that figure expected to double by 2017.
And as this transition from analog to IP continues to crash over the surveillance market, Marcella said many organizations are looking to the IT channel, rather than legacy physical security providers, to help install and provide services around these next-generation devices. This, he said, is because IP cameras are essentially another node on the network, meaning the expertise of IT solution providers, especially those with roots in infrastructure, is more valuable than ever.
Marcella likened this transition, and the opportunities it presents to the channel, to the widespread emergence of VoIP.
"The early integrators who jumped onto that [VoIP] bandwagon made a lot of money off of it, just like the early integrators jumping on this [transition] are doing very well," Marcella told CRN.
Axis, headquartered in Sweden, sells 100 percent through the channel with roughly 55,000 partners worldwide. Marcella said Axis' channel is starting to employ a greater mix of IT solution providers in light of this IP adoption, and that he hopes the trend continues. Not only do IT resellers have the networking know-how needed to install and maintain IP cameras, Marcella said, but they are more familiar with things like recurring revenue streams and annual service contracts -- two items that come with most IP camera sales -- than legacy security installers.
"We are really starting to embrace the IT channel to drive this transition," Marcella said.