Plessey is not a newcomer to the system integration market. The company has been operating for almost 100 years and is now wholly owned by Dimension Data. In the past, however, it primarily operated in the telecommunications market until its integration with Dimension Data’s Advanced Infrastructure division.
The company now has a broader focus than telecommunications, and operates as a systems integrator for the ICT market as well as for security operations. Hi-Tech Security Solutions spoke to Dewald Booysen, CTO of Plessey, about the company’s current operations.
Booysen says the clear boundaries in the market Plessey serves have changed over time, which was one of the reasons for the integration of the two companies. This gave the company the opportunity to become a more innovative infrastructure provider that covers all aspects of physical infrastructure and access layers.
Plessey can provide wired or wireless solutions to companies for in-house, campus and licensed or unlicensed connectivity across buildings or campuses – including fibre connectivity. It will also deliver cabling solutions to connect internal devices such as access controls, building management systems and servers, through to data centre. Its long history allows it to offer solutions that fit almost any environment – including cellular communications.
Plessey has a long history of operating in Africa. It has 12 offices in nine countries, and has completed projects in 24 countries on the continent. Booysen says the company has installed about 20 000 cellular towers in Africa to date.
Today the company finds many customers want to include their security systems in their overall network infrastructure project and thus it is often called upon to integrate surveillance and access solutions into a larger management platform for overall situational awareness, such as a building management solution.
When it comes to the security market, there are two camps when it comes to infrastructure. One wants to keep its security platform separate from its enterprise infrastructure, while the other thinks they should be combined. Booysen says that in enterprise environments where companies have strict governance and risk policies, there is a growing trend to integrate security and building management onto one platform.
These solutions are viable with today’s infrastructure solutions, with virtual LANs (VLANs) being created to manage the various functions independently, such as business data, security data and so forth.
Since the company is part of Dimension Data, some may expect it to be focused on providing Cisco equipment to the market. Booysen says the company does often recommend Cisco products because of the quality or the equipment and due to the fact that it provides a fully integrated solution to clients. Cisco is also often the brand of choice because of its management functionality.
Plessey, however, is product agnostic and will recommend the best solution for the client. When the customer wants another brand due to budget or legacy installations, the company is able to meet those requirements without limiting the quality of its work or insisting on one product supplier.
Even though Plessey has almost 100 years of operations under its belt, its merger with Dimension Data Advanced Infrastructure has placed the company among the many large system integrators in the security field. It not only has the capacity to supply security and building management infrastructure requirements, however, but the full infrastructure needs of its clients, whether it’s within a company or across cities.
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