First Distribution (FD) is better known in South Africa as an ICT distributor with an enterprise focus. Its offerings in this regard range from client solutions through to hosted solutions, data centre infrastructure including storage, servers, virtualisation, cloud solutions from AWS, Azure and its own cloud offering, and information security. In the information security market it represents a number of well-known brands, from Kaspersky through to Forcepoint and One Identity – and more.
FD has over 400 employees and is rated a Level 1 BEE company. It has a presence in 10 African countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Namibia and Mauritius.
This year, the company launched its Digital Security & IoT division. Francois Malan, a well-known member of long standing in the security industry is the technical manager for the division and explains that with the new division, FD covers everything large security operations require. From the network, through to servers, storage and software (including cybersecurity), as well as cloud services, the company has a history of delivering solutions in its field, which has now expanded to support and be supported by the IoT division (which includes what we know as physical security).
Brands in the new division
In mentioning the brand names First Distribution’s Digital Security & IoT division has on board, Malan breaks this up into various categories.
Servers and storage: Dell Technologies and Lenovo provide servers and storage as well as IoT gateway devices. In addition, Dell is active in the video surveillance market (see https://www.securitysa.com/8310r) and complements the solutions FD also offers from Video Storage Solutions (VSS), which offers certified and pretested solutions for large surveillance sites. As mentioned, it also offers its own cloud solutions as well as those from AWS and Azure.
Video management software: In the management field, FD has partnered with Milestone, Briefcam and iSentry. These solutions not only provide video management functionality, but also more intelligence and insights through analytics and AI.
Surveillance cameras: Currently FD distributes cameras from Bosch, Hanwha and Vivotek; although Malan hints that another major brand may be added soon. He adds that FD’s sweet spot for surveillance projects is projects with 50 cameras and above.
Access control: In the access market, FD has Impro, SALTO and Suprema in its portfolio.
Fire and audio: Solutions in this field are offered from Bosch, TOA and Fireclass.
Malan is joined by Matthew Short and Hennie Engelbrecht in getting the new division up and running. Unexpectedly, while the company has been talking to system integrators and others since November 2019, the official first day of business for the new division was 1 April 2020, just as the coronavirus lockdown took effect. Despite not being able to physically visit people, as he would have liked, Malan says the division has been very busy over the past few months as it was introduced to various people and organisations.
He adds that FD works strictly via the channel and does not do direct business. It does support its system integration partners by providing them with consulting, technical and customer SLA (service-level agreement) support.
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