It’s always interesting to get out of the office and mingle with integrators, consultants, vendors and distributors. I had the opportunity to do just that at Anixter’s Integrated Physical Security Seminar on Thurs April 8 in Denver.
First off, the event was very well attended for a road show – the final numbers are due from Anixter, but there are telling me there were 100+ attendees, not counting vendors and Anixter personnel. A lot of people seemed new to IP though (consider comments from a security specialist in a big bank, who is still dealing with VCRs). We’ll see what the final tally/feedback is.
IP fundamentals still needed for reseller channel
Ed Wassall of Anixter delivered an excellent intro presentation on IP networking, with forays into Layer 2 switching and Layer 3 routing concepts. That was a reminder that yes, you can have all sorts of technology and devices on the edge, but your core infrastructure is what you have to get up to par, if you want to have a successful security system. It was also a nice tie-in with Firetide’s message on our wireless infrastructure approach, with L2 distributed wireless Ethernet switching with L3 routing protocol within the mesh, as opposed to “Wi-Fi mesh” on one side, and point-to-point or point-to-multipoint systems on the other .
Integrated security solution for university campus
Denver HALO security camera
The IP fundamentals were a great intro into the sessions on cabling by Anixter, wireless infrastructure by Firetide, video management and PSIM (physical security information management) by OnSSI, video technology by Axis Communications and integrated access control by S2 Security. We all had to present solutions for a hypothetical large university campus, which played to Firetide’s strengths in outdoor security and “wireless-enabled campus”: using wireless infrastructure mesh as outdoor backbone for video security and surveillance, mass notification devices, outdoor/indoor Wi-Fi access, LAN extension, VoIP as well as temporary and portable installations.
I, of course, also brought up Denver’s HALO (High Activity Location Observation) project, which utilizes Firetide for mesh connectivity. See picture at left – the white boxes are “Firetide inside” (i.e. contain Firetide indoor mesh nodes); also see our announcement around the DNC and coverage in Denver Post.
Road shows can deliver useful content
Anixter always puts on a great (road) show; they are able to get people in. Considering my concern on whether roadshows are just glorified sales pitches, I posed a question over lunch to one of the attendees (a telecom consultant getting into IP security and surveillance): “Has the content been commercial in nature, or was it educational?” He said – without hesitation – that the content was useful and very light on commercial messages. Indeed, Anixter had gotten better in policing vendor’s content and cutting out pages of product specs.
Former rep shares feedback
I ran into someone who used to be a Firetide’s manufacturer’s rep, and then went on to do other things in the security market. It was interesting to trade observations on physical security and wireless markets, and to talk to someone who was quite familiar with us, but no longer ‘vested’ in Firetide so I could get honest opinions. Among other things, we talked about our recently announced wireless Ethernet bridge, and he said: “It’s been long overdue!” So I hope it bodes well for the new product. I also asked him what the biggest challenge that Firetide faced was – but you’ll have to email me for his answer (kcoffman-at-firetide-dot-com).
Redundancy crucial for mission-critical communications
Another interesting conversation was with a public safety department in an adjacent municipality. They are looking to deploy wireless infrastructure, in addition to the fiber connecting their facilities. When I heard they had fiber, I inquired why they needed wireless on top of that. The answer was that they didn’t control the fiber network, there were outages, and that they needed redundant infrastructure. That is why they were interested in mesh – even though they were being pitched by a point-to-point wireless vendor. When they gave me their top budget estimate per facility, I thought: “Wow, for that kind of money you can deploy Firetide’s mesh & then stream video over it” – even though the requirement for now is just data. Of course, the estimate may be a pie in the sky, but if mesh is not possible budget-wise, then we have a low-cost point-to-point solution that they may want to look into.
In summary, the value of in-person events as opposed to online events is that you get to meet people in the industry. Hats off to Anixter for a great networking opportunity.
What have your experiences with vendor road shows been?
Image via Denver Post.
By: Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.