Smart office a step nearer with 64% of companies ready for physical security over IP

By | February 27, 2006

According to the results of a survey of IT Directors released today by Comunica, a leading IT service provider, the Smart Office is becoming a reality. Comunica has found that out of 100 major companies, 64% have already adopted or plan to adopt physical security over IP networks in 2006. This will enable companies to monitor and control systems and buildings using card readers, biometrics & other access systems such as CCTV all from a web interface. The financial sector has taken the lead in implementing this technology with 31% having implemented it already and a further 38% planning to do so in 2006 which will take the total to 69%.

A quarter of the IT Directors interviewed from the retail, distribution and transport sector were very positive about physical security over IP with a quarter who have already adopted it and a further 52% expecting to do so in the next 12 months.

Manufacturing has been sluggish in taking up this technology with just 9% so far, but the signs are very positive for the future, with 43% planning to implement it in the next twelve months.

A quarter of companies with over 3000 employees have adopted security over IP with a further 48% planning to implement it this year, bringing the total to 73%.

As to be expected, smaller companies have not yet embraced this technology in a big way with just 16% who have so far adopted it , but 36% plan to do so in 2006.

Rick Marshall, Managing Director of Comunica Limited commented, “There are many advantages to controlling physical security over IP, including cost reduction resulting from being able to use one network for all the security systems and devices. Also control will be improved and simplified by being able to manage all the security devices on a single platform. The investment in IP based security will also be future proofed as it will also allow other systems such as lifts, lighting, energy and other building management systems to be managed over the IP network as they become IP based.”

A third of the IT directors surveyed said that as a result of being able to control physical security systems over IP (such as CCTV, access control, card readers, etc.), this area will become their responsibility instead of the facilities or operations departments. In the manufacturing sector 57% of IT directors expected their departments to become responsible for physical security, and in the retail, distribution and transport sector it was 32%. In other commercial sectors it rose to 36% and it fell to only 6% in the financial services sector.

The main barriers to the adoption of security over IP given by IT directors were cultural and acceptance issues (20%), followed by availability of personnel resources and skills (13%), cost vs benefit (12%), reliability (11%), and complexity of infrastructure (11%). One IT director commented that the main issue was, “getting the board to believe in the benefits and not just thinking that it was ´big brother´ watching. Another said it was, “agreeing ownership of security between IT & Facilities”.

Rick Marshall, Managing Director of Comunica Limited commented, “As IP based devices proliferate, the trend of physical security being controlled by the IT department is a logical step, as this department is already responsible for IT security. Many of the objections to the adoption of security over IP are a result of a need to educate both employees and mangers about the benefits and cost savings that can be achieved.”

The survey of IT directors was conducted by Vanson Bourne Limited, and came from the following sectors: Financial Services 25%; Retail Distribution or Transport 25%; Manufacturing 25%; other Commercial 25%. Half of the companies surveyed employed over 3000 employees.

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