How can integrators and end users stay informed about the changing technology landscape?
In a fast-moving market like physical security, sharing information is an essential component of growth. However, there often seems to be more information available than an integrator or end user could ever digest and put to use. How does one go about finding the information he or she needs in an environment that can seem to be drowning in information (sometimes the wrong information). We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable to share their strategies and suggestions. Specifically, we asked: What can integrators and/or end users do to stay informed about the fast-changing technology landscape?
There are different ways to stay informed about the fast-changing world of security. And bear in mind that in addition to technology, the risks and how we work also change. Of course, you can find online a lot of information about new products and regulations. You can find in-depth details about these products on the manufacturer’s website. And if you subscribe to the newsletters of security platforms and manufacturers’ websites you know you won’t miss anything. However, we believe it is also important to be informed about how to apply new technologies, the impact of new regulations or whether a trend is hype or worth investing in. On LinkedIn, you can join groups like Security Industry Group, where you can ask questions and see new trends. But most of all, we would advise to meet regularly with security consultants and specialists. They know all about trends and new technologies.
In today’s quickly evolving technology environment, webinars are a terrific resource to provide business professionals credible information about the top methods for securing your facility. Many security vendors offer regularly scheduled webinars to address a variety of topics, from discussing mass notification technology for active shooter preparedness to exploring the benefits of remote diagnostics services for healthcare facilities. Such webinars share relevant and timely research while answering any questions end-users have about the newest technology. Attending trade shows can also be a great way for integrators to stay up-to-date on the latest security equipment and techniques. Events, including ASIS and ISC West, allow integrators to participate in panel discussions and seminars, hearing from their peers about the challenges the industry is facing and learning techniques to combat them. Trade shows also offer the chance for established companies to work with start-ups on forward-looking technology.
Fortunately, today there are many ways to stay informed on the fast-changing technology landscape. There are great articles continuously being published that provide insight and valuable information on the latest requirements and solutions hitting the market. The tradeshows like ISC and ASIS also offer a first-hand look at the latest technologies. Many manufacturers also hold annual symposiums where they highlight their solutions and latest technology to the attendees. These events vary by manufacturer, but typically offer a sneak peek at upcoming solutions and oftentimes include integrations with technology partners and their latest technology.
In general, the adoption of new technology in the security integrator channel is slow, so end users need to be proactive about asking for what they want in regards to emerging trends and products. Good integrators look out for new products, the best technology available and innovative ways to add value to their customers. Truly successful relationships between integrators and end users should be based on open communication about the needs of the organisation, even if that sometimes means slightly lower revenues or profits. For example, in regards to 360-degree cameras, most integrators may not be interested in selling a single 360 fisheye camera that can replace four or five fixed, or higher priced PTZ cameras. However, that solution may be best for the customer. Customers, in turn, will trust integrators that are bringing them the best solutions for their business as opposed to the status quo.
Education is the key to making sure integrators stay informed about the latest technology, including the innovations that provide significant return on investment, integrate seamlessly with systems already in place and offer end users the tools they need to protect their organisations. Manufacturers should provide continued education to their integration partners, as well as their technology partners, in regards to updates, current network security initiatives and emerging trends. This education can come in the form of seminars, in-person or online training, webinars, e-books or best-practices manuals. End users, in particular, should feel comfortable enough in their relationships with their integrator partners to bring new ideas to the table about the latest technology on the market and how that will integrate with their existing platforms and systems to create a more advanced security posture.
Video security technology is developing rapidly, particularly when it comes to open-platform systems and their increasing capacity to absorb more integrations with third-party hardware and software. Integrators should be current in their knowledge of new technologies and market research, which can be achieved through continuous training, certification and education in the latest solutions. End users can also stay atop the latest trends by maintaining good relationships with integrators who focus on evolving security needs, as well as demanding education and thought leadership from manufacturers through reliable industry publications or research-driven resources.
Manufacturers and developers put great resources into engaging with the market and publicising the latest security technology developments. Integrators and end users can easily visit manufacturers’ websites, as well as attend security industry events such as IFSEC in London and Kuala Lumpur, ExpoProtection In France and Intersec in Dubai, to see many of the solutions “in the flesh.” The security sector press provides excellent coverage of technology and trends, with many articles being written by industry leaders themselves. Social media is another excellent tool for following the latest trends and news in the industry, with Twitter, for example, offering many news stories and links to video content, which present useful information. Installers and integrators can also join manufacturers’ partner programs, which will keep them up to speed with security trends and developments, helping them to stay competitive and to educate the end user market as well.
Amid the flood of information that surrounds the physical security market, there are strategies and tools to help end users and integrators identify the information they need to stay up to date in their jobs. From trade shows to webinars to websites and even old-fashioned face-to-face discussions, our Expert Panel Roundtable responses encompasses helpful suggestions to enable security professionals to stay better informed.