Past technology failures and governmental infighting are two factors which are acting to slow the adoption of IP-based security technology in the Middle East and Africa, according to Roger Ghostine, Regional Business Development Director for MENA (Middle East and North Africa) at the Harco Group.

Many end users with extensive analogue systems already installed have been reluctant to upgrade to IP CCTV.

Despite this, Harco has enjoyed solid sales through the economic recession by identifying and taking care of those customers who are prepared to make the leap to 21st Century technology, and among distributors it is ranked among the top three companies in the region.

The company is looking forward to healthy growth in 2014 and 2015 in a market which is estimated to be worth $700m.

In an interview with SecurityNewsDesk, Ghostine said that Harco – which bills itself as the digital surveillance specialist – has been selling IP CCTV solutions since nearly the inception of the technology. “We call ourselves preachers,” he said. “We believed in IP CCTV 14 years ago and we believe in megapixel IP CCTV today.”

By partnering with leading companies and using local staff to support its network of installers and integrators, the company has built strong connections in the region.

Harco works with around 250 integrators in the Middle East and North Africa, supporting them not only with products but also specification and design work. “Our staff do support and design work. It’s different from traditional distributors who act as stock keepers, rather than consultants, designers and pre- and post-sales support,” he said.

“The other difference between us and other security distributors is that we have concentrated on local support in this region, so we have offices in Dubai, Saudi, Turkey, Lebanon, Morocco, Bahrain and Cairo, Egypt,” he said. “That means we have support offices that are close to the end users but at the same time, we are close to the consultants and integrators.”

Harco represents a number of suppliers including:

  • Arecont Vision – a leading American company in IP megapixel cameras
  • Exacq Technologies (part of Tyco Security) – US company providing Enterprise Open Architecture Video Management Systems and NVRs
  • Fluidmesh – US company specialized in Wireless transmission
  • Raytec – a British company supplying high-end infra-red and white light illuminators
  • Nexsan/Imation – US company supplying Enterprise Storage solutions for IP surveillance applications
  • Riva – German company specialised in IP PTZ cameras and encoders
  • Veracity – American company supplying coax to Ethernet  converters, Ethernet and PoE extenders and PoE injectors

The company also works with two video analytics solutions: ACIC, a high-end software based analytics company based in Belgium and VideoIQ, an on-board analytics company.

Ghostine said that megapixel IP CCTV is the next big trend in the Middle East, as customers are prepared to install the infrastructure to handle the increased bandwidth and storage requirement.

He said that Harco is well placed to capitalise on demand for higher resolution CCTV because of decisions that were taken when the company started in the security market 14 years ago. “The decisions we took when the company started doing security were difficult ones. What should our strategy be? Do what the other distributors are doing or something different? Given that IP CCTV has more complex requirements compared to traditional systems and required accountability, the strategy that we adopted has been a successful one – first, by staying focused on what we excel in delivering, and then by working at the high end of the market and by delivering a turnkey solution with a personalised local support in this part of the world,” he said.

“These were the key things that people were searching for before and could identify now by working with us.”