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Sitting down with Anixter

14 March 2019

Philip Ingram MBE (PI) caught up with Jarod Booth (JB), Strategic Supplier Relationship Manager – Security, from the leading global security solutions distributer, Anixter, to find out a little more about the company and their thoughts on what is happening across security.

(PI) Hello Jarod, what are the biggest challenges you see facing the Security industry at the moment? 

(JB) The biggest challenges we are seeing within the security industry Philip, are cybersecurity, commoditisation, interoperability and the impact of Internet of Things (IoT).  Cybersecurity is touching everything and remains increasingly challenging. The commoditisation of surveillance systems is creating market pressure on all levels for integrators, distributors and manufacturers.  This is leading to market consolidation so  mergers and acquisitions will continue over the next few years.  

Interoperability is a must, as buyers become more educated and aware of complete solutions, they must be tested rigorously to ensure that preferred products and legacy or new systems work together to meet their needs (for today and the future). Cameras are considered one of, if not the most, significant sensor in the IoT market.  The amount of metadata a camera can provide is an opportunity for industry members to show greater utility and provide increased functionality.

Anixter is investigating several options to harden our security offering with unique hardware and software upgrades that differentiate our customers, add value for the end user and reduce commoditisation. 

In order to stay informed on the rapid changes in cybersecurity interoperability and IoT expansions into smart cities, buildings and homes, we serve on many security committees like ONVIF and OSSA (Open Security & Safety Alliance). Our customers also have access to our Technical Support Services (TSS) team and our UK Solutions Briefing Center to discuss, review and test technologies that could improve their operations.  

(PI) Anixter are in a unique position as a barometer for the effect Brexit is having on businesses, what are you seeing and what is your greatest concern?

(JB) It is a challenging time for international companies trying to gauge and prepare for the business impact of Brexit on their organisations.  Anixter has established a Brexit team who are closely monitoring the situation and preparing our business for the various scenarios that may arise. As a supply chain expert, it’s critical for us to be close to our customers, around the world. Because we have physical presence and warehousing across EMEA we feel we are in a position to be able to mitigate any adverse effects of Brexit in any form and continue the high-quality service delivery we are known for. 

(PI) As a founding partner for The Security Event what is it about the event that made you want to be there from the start?

(JB) We felt that the a UK-focused security professional and installer exhibition in the Midlands would give us a great opportunity to re-connect with this geographical base, and consolidate our positioning in the market as a complete security solutions partner in our vital UK market. 

(PI) What are the most exciting technologies you are seeing and why?

(JB) The evolution of premise network is the most exciting technology.  In the 90s we witnessed consolidation of the disparate communication cabling and protocols around Ethernet, in the 00s we witnessed voice being integrated to IP-based networks and over the past 10 to 15 years, security systems have migrated to IP-enabled devices. 

We are seeing operational technologies related to lighting, building management systems and industrial controls beginning to migrate onto the network and away from legacy communication protocols. When you consider the intelligence opportunity within a smart city, smart building or even a smart home we begin to see the real advantages the IoT and meta data will provide. The rapid development and expectation of billions of devices all communicating over IP will bring vast improvement to the operational efficiency of originations as well as a great opportunity to the integration market. This rapid change will bring challenges around knowledge, solutions that can communicate with all these devices, cybersecurity concerns and a consolidation of the market.  

Anixter is conducting surveys, customer interviews and gathering other “Voice of Customer” data to craft solutions with our partners that leverage existing technologies that allow us to bridge for the Ethernet/IoT future so they can reap the benefits of tomorrow’s technology today.

(PI) Where do you think the biggest developments will be in the next few years?

(JB) Devices that do more for less is a driving trend. Twenty years ago, we had a camera that provided a video image, then we moved to telemetry controls down the coaxial cable and the capability to receive alarms event back form the camera, then audio, then power and then IP came along. Now we have Data. 

Data gives us the ability to communicate with other devices and allow the system to make decisions. Video analytics reliability and accuracy have improved in recent years thanks to the amount of data and processing power available at the edge device (camera) and server but additional applications for this information is yielding multiple opportunities for the future. Products are in development and some close to market that consider/incorporate behavior analysis – so the system can analyse the emotion within a scene, make a decision and present information based on that decision. This is a huge step in operational efficiency in the control room!

Another development we believe we will see in the next few years is the emergence of 5G communication that will allow improvements in deployment time, location and what we transmit from potentially any location. Anixter is perfectly positioned with our technical sales and TSS teams, supply chain services and pre- and post-sales support to meet our customers physical security and data transmission needs, whether they are based on wired or wireless technology. 

(PI) What keeps you awake at night?

(JB) Cybersecurity is the biggest threat to the Internet of Things and this includes every IP-enabled device in the security industry from camera to. The integrator knowledge is increasing on how to secure the network and the device which is what we need as security professionals but what else could be a problem?

Manufacturers have stepped up and addressed the security of their products. We often see new firmware to address potential security problems but does this firmware end up in the device? 

So, we should be concerned and driven to consider what can be done to provide that reassurance to the customer and the integrator that the firmware update that solves the cybersecurity issues is required, reliable, works and is easily deployed. And that it gets done. 

Anixter will continue to be an advocate for customers and help them with the changing environment of cybersecurity and the hardening of the devices at their locations.  

You can visit Anixter on Stand SE106 at The Security Event on 9-11 April 2019 at NEC, Birmingham. The Security Event offers more than 50 hours of CPD accredited seminar sessions and will see 12,000+ delegates have access to 375+ exhibition stands. It's FREE to attend and you also get free parking all you need to do is register by CLICKING HERE.