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EMC Gets Physical

Unveils services for storing data from video cameras and security systems

By James Rogers, March 27 2008, 6:00 PM

With users under pressure to improve both physical and digital security, EMC has unveiled a set of services linking storage devices to IP video, security cameras, and building alarms.

The vendor announced a partnership today with video security specialist Verint and a set of assessment and design services for physical building security.

"The reality is that customers now have a lot of devices that range from cameras and alarms to card readers and intrusion detection systems," explains Dick O'Leary, senior director of EMC's global solutions group. "The industry requirements [for security] are increasing."

From government-led border security projects to port surveillance and the retail industry's attempts to nab shop-lifters, the video surveillance market is booming.

In an attempt to tap into this trend, EMC today unveiled its Assessment For Physical Security service, delivered jointly with systems integrators such as BT and Unisys, and Design for Physical Security, which implements the findings of the assessment service.

The third service announced today, Implementation for Physical Security, involves tight integration between EMC's software and Verint.

"We have access to all the IP [that Verint] brings to bear on physical security," says O'Leary. "That is typically around device management for cameras, alarms, sensors, and things like that."

In return, EMC has opened up the APIs on products such as MirrorView and PowerPath, aiming for tight integration between Verint's core Nextiva software and the storage vendor's Clariion arrays.

The goal of the Verint partnership is to develop a video security/storage solution that users can quickly deploy with minimum hassle, according to O'Leary.

"There is a significantly increasing benefit to having centralized access to the [video] information for improved security," he says, adding that users have typically collected their security data in separate silos.

EMC made its first move into the realm of physical security two and a half years ago with the launch of its Surveillance Analysis and Management Solution (SAMS) for storing image data on Clariion and Centera devices.

The vendor told Byte and Switch that its largest existing customer is an un-named firm with over 100,000 cameras, although only one organization, the somewhat smaller Kentucky State Fair Board, has been named as an early adopter of its latest offerings.

Pricing for the services announced today remains a mystery, with O'Leary unwilling to reveal the vendor's pricing structure. "It's not a flat fee," he says, explaining that pricing depends on the size of the specific implementation.

A major challenge for EMC will be adapting these services to smaller firms, according to at least one analyst.

"The vendor's intuition is right; there is a lot of video that needs to be recorded and stored, but I don't know if they can make any money from physical security," says Steve Hunt, CEO of Hunt Business Intelligence.

"EMC is best known as an enterprise company, and it remains to be seen whether they can even hold their own in physical security," he says. "Many deployments are not at an enterprise level; it could be the back room in a casino or a corner in a big-box retailer like WalMart or Home Depot."

EMC also faces stiff competition from other vendors in this space such as IBM, which threw down a rumored $350 million for digital storage specialist XIV earlier this year and video storage specialists such as Intransa and Pivot3.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Byte and Switch's editors directly, send us a message.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)
  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)
  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)
  • Intransa Inc.
  • Pivot3 Inc.
  • Unisys Corp. (NYSE: UIS)
  • Verint Systems Inc.

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