HOW TO: Speak IT
Effective communication between physical security integrators and IT professionals
Tim Frederick, Director of Engineering at 3VR
As IP solutions proliferate through the security world, it is increasingly critical for physical security
integrators to interact effectively with the IT pros who work for their customers. However, while IT and
physical security are converging at a rapid pace, interacting with IT is a whole new world for many
integrators and effective communication doesn’t always come easily. In addition to helping IT
understand the purpose of your physical security implementation and easing their concerns around new
traffic and threats to their network, an effective line of communication with IT will also allow you to
drive the relationship and present your services as valuable and relevant. Here are some guidelines to
make sure you master the conversation, better serve your IP-enabled client-base and keep two steps
ahead of the convergence trend.
Understand Your Audience
IT professionals are tasked with maintaining the health, security and performance of networks that
serve many mission critical functions. This means that disruptive or unfamiliar technologies that can
negatively impact performance or compromise the security of the network are a potential nightmare for
IT pros. Address these issues proactively in your communication with IT, be sure to ease concerns such
as traffic load, storage issues and other threats to the network, and become conversant in IP
technologies and standard configurations.
Choose IT Savvy Solutions from Your Vendors
Not all IP security solutions are created equal. When building your product portfolio, look for solutions
that were architected from the ground up to work on a network. Check for the following when making
Bandwidth friendly: Choose systems that can intelligently determine what to send across the network
Storage sensitive: Offer solutions with smart storage capabilities that allow for high resolution images
to be stored for a time before being archived at lower resolution or even thumbnails.
Hybrid IP/analog functionality: Leverage IP technology without abandoning analog investment. Hybrid
solutions offer your customers the ability to blend environments and stretch existing investments in a
Open platform: Have a standard API set to enable integration with other security and business solutions.
Look for open platform solutions that allow integrations with a host of transaction, access control and
Standard operating system: Choose solutions that are built on an industry standard operating system.
Get IT Involved Early On
Once you have determined the right solution for your client, make sure you bring in the IT team right
from the start. It’s a symbiotic relationship - you can’t do it without them, and they can’t do it without
you. Be clear about what you need from them, the requirements of the system and be very specific and
accurate about the solution’s impact on a network. Create a comprehensive checklist that outlines
everything you will need and give them plenty of time to react. (For example, don’t wait until you’re
onsite to ask for an IP address.) And be sure to present your solution as a business system, not a box,
camera or device.
Come Prepared with Suggestions
Anticipate IT concerns with your solution and come prepared with ways to resolve those issues. For
example, bandwidth is often a concern for already constrained networks. Determine if video content
will need to travel over the WAN or the LAN and have recommendations to help ease the burden of the
Speak in Their Language
The way you communicate about your solution and recommendations is key to making sure your needs
are understood and keeping your services relevant. Familiarize yourself with IT terminology and basic
network topology and present your solution using terms that IT will understand. For example, rather
than saying you’re going to install a 3.2 mp camera, tell them how much bandwidth you need so they
can quantify the load to the network. And if there’s something you don’t know, don’t fake it. Keep your
credibility and professionalism high by working together with IT to figure it out instead.
Tim Frederick is the director of engineering at 3VR Security, Inc. 3VR is the global leader in Intelligent
Surveillance and Search, working together with physical security integrators to offer a faster, more
reliable and less expensive way to fight crime, ensure people’s safety and improve business efficiency.
Learn more at 3VR.com.