The COVID-19 global pandemic will have a profound and lasting impact on the physical security industry. It will boost adoption of new technologies to address new types of threats. It will map out a path for new involvement of physical security technologies in areas of public health. It will raise new notions of privacy and turn previous thinking about privacy on its head. And the aftermath of the pandemic will give rise to all these changes in a breathtakingly accelerated timeframe. In the wake of the pandemic, change will come faster than ever, and the industry will be more challenged than ever to keep pace. Security and the futureIn the wake of the pandemic, change will come faster than ever, and the industry will be more challenged than ever to keep pace These were some of the thoughts I heard recently in a panel discussion titled “Crisis and the Everyday,” which was part of Genetec’s Connect’DX virtual trade show, April 20-21. The virtual conversation – emphasising both in form and content the current topsy-turvy state of the world – included interesting insights on the current pandemic and its near- and long-term impact on the industry. “In the middle of this pandemic, there is an opportunity to help security reinvent itself,” said Brad Brekke, Principal, The Brekke Group, one of the panelists. “Amid the business disruption, we should ask ‘what’s the new playbook?’ It’s an opportunity for security to look at ourselves now and look at a business plan of what the future might look like. We need to align with the business model of the corporation and define our role more around business and not so much around security. “How do you support the business and, more broadly, societies and communities?” The new normal for security The “new normal” for security will include addressing biological risks alongside our traditional emphasis on physical risk and digital risk. “Some industry sectors are being challenged in a way I have not seen in my lifetime,” said Brekke. “But they are learning fast.” “We should take a look at where we have been and where we are going,” said Brekke, whose firm develops comprehensive strategies to align security organisations with corporate missions. “This is a point in time that has never existed, and a time to take a fresh look at what security is to the corporation and greater community. It’s more a mindset than a specific set of tasks. “We just need to take a fresh look from a mix of perspectives.” “Crisis and the Everyday" was part of Genetec’s Connect’DX virtual trade show Infrared cameras and access control technologies New technologies to address the pandemic are enabling some nations around the world to track how people come and go and who they are exposed to. Technologies like infrared cameras are being used to detect body temperatures, and access control helps to monitor occupancy and social distancing. But what will such use of these technologies mean in the long term? Technologies like infrared cameras are being used to detect body temperatures, and access control helps to monitor occupancy and social distancing “We will see whether people will become more comfortable with this technology,” said Ken Lochiatto, President and CEO, Convergint Technologies, a service-based security integration company. “Tools are in hand, and coming soon, that will allow us to be more proactive, to step in and measure the health of colleagues, for example,” said Lochiatto. “There are a lot of questions that will have to be addressed, and a lot of discussion will have to happen. Coronavirus will knock down the barriers (to the use of newer technology) in the short term, but where will it settle two years from now?” Manufacturer philanthropy Security product manufacturers are expanding their scope beyond law enforcement and emergency management and stepping forward to help with the public good. “Technology in the security space is moving faster than the political establishment is thinking about,” adds Lochiatto. “We have to manage it as an industry so the government will not step in. We need to manage the discussion.” An accelerated timeline will raise the stakes even further. “All the questions that would have taken longer to answer will be answered in the next 6-8 months. For the security industry, it will drive even greater need for products,” said Lochiatto. “The biggest question is ‘Where does this all go?’” said Brekke. “What is the new normal? What is the future, and how do we prepare our companies for it? What does technology look like in the future? There isn’t just one particular set of questions, just a constant stream of ‘What’s next?’” Public health versus individual liberty The current environment of disruption will shift the playbook and rebalance the tradeoff between privacy and protection, especially as it pertains to sharing medical information. “There will be a new balance between public health and safety as a whole versus individual liberties,” said Brekke. “Technology providers need to be at the table talking about the solutions. We should all be engaged in government affairs to balance the discussion and add our own perspectives. As a society and country, we have to come to a different perspective on this.” The current environment of disruption will shift the playbook and rebalance the tradeoff between privacy and protection “There are not enough ethics and guard rails,” said Jonathan Ballon, Vice President and General Manager, Intel Corp. “The majority of people are not afraid enough. They should be afraid; we need more regulation. We need to establish an ethical code of conduct for use of technology in these situations. We need to eliminate bias, respect individuals, and ensure people are being treated fairly. “In the next several years, there will be a lot of experimentation in the quest to get to a future state we can see and almost grasp. There will be black eyes and bruises on the path to getting there.” From smart security to more intelligent technology After the pandemic, the innovation climate will befit new technology adoption. “Platforms are only limited by our imaginations, and it creates an extraordinary opportunity and drives a lot of economic value,” said Ballon. “Long-term, the future is extremely bright. Companies should ensure that they are resilient and take advantage of another period of technology adoption, which we see coming out of every economic downturn.” After the pandemic, the innovation climate will befit new technology adoption Another evolution in the market is a transition from “smart” systems to more “intelligent” ones. Intelligence includes the ability to “learn” using tools such as deep learning and artificial intelligence. “Systems are going from smart to intelligent to autonomous, including systems that can operate within the constraints we have established,” said Ballon. Pierre Racz, president and CEO of Genetec, offered some words of caution about the growth of artificial intelligence in his keynote presentation, “AI Hype Self Defense.” Racz sought to provide guidance on the limits of the technology and urged the online audience to be skeptical of technology that “works best when you need it least.” “Science and technology are morally neutral,” he said. “How we use them is not.” Intelligent automation over artificial intelligence Specifically, Racz contends that artificial intelligence “doesn’t exist” and provides the “reasoning power of an earthworm”. AI systems don’t know anything that isn’t included in their input data – for better and for worse. Racz contends that artificial intelligence “doesn’t exist” and provides the “reasoning power of an earthworm” “A properly designed system can be useful [only] if you engineer around the false positives, false negatives and the unanticipated training set biases,” said Racz. For example, because AI is based on probabilities, it doesn’t perform as well when identifying improbable things. In lieu of “artificial intelligence,” Racz recommends the term “intelligent automation” (IA), which describes using a machine (computer) for heavy computational lifting and keeping a human in the loop to provide intuition and creativity. “Do not misinterpret crafty guessing for intelligence or thinking,” Racz warns. “AI doesn’t exist, but real stupidity exists. And we must design our systems taking into account the legitimate fears of the public we serve.”
Genetec Inc., a technology provider of unified security, public safety, operations, and business intelligence solutions announces the keynote speakers and the details of the partner pavilion for Genetec™ Connect’DX, the company’s first virtual trade show which will take place April 20-22, 2020. Focused on technology, innovation and the challenges affecting the physical security industry, Connect’DX will provide an opportunity for security professionals from around the world to directly engage with each other as well as with Genetec and its partners. The conference will kick off with a keynote from Genetec President, Pierre Racz who will take a look at AI and the surrounding hype. Implementing a cloud architecture As interest in the technology reaches new peaks, inflated expectations are creating the conditions for a painful return to reality. In his address, Racz will take a much-needed pragmatic look at the state of AI technology and its real impact on our everyday lives. Some of the brands have adopted a cloud-first approach to their global security operations While implementing a cloud architecture can have its fair share of complexity, some of the brands have adopted a cloud-first approach to their global security operations. In this live panel discussion, Barclay’s Head of Technology, Daniel Lanecki, Starbucks’ Director of Global Physical Security, Traegon Hon, and Uber’s Physical Security Systems Manager, Joel Hosino, will share some candid insights into their cloud strategy and talk about how to avoid pitfalls. Challenges of increasingly intelligent edge devices This timely talk will feature a unique line up of industry leaders in technology and physical security including Jonathan Ballon, VP & General Manager at Intel Corp., Brad Brekke, Principal with The Brekke Group, and Ken Lochiatto, CEO of Convergint, one of the security systems integrators. Axis Co-founder and Director of Axis AB, Martin Gren and Axis’ VP of Americas, Fredrik Nilsson will look at the rapidly evolving challenges of increasingly intelligent edge devices and advanced IoT security. Connect’DX will provide a platform for industry leaders from across a wide range of markets to share their thoughts: Regi Flanagan, VP Car Wash Controls, Sonny's Car Wash will talk about how to leverage the ALPR data and machine learning to improve operations and increase revenue. Reducing nuisance alarms Genetec will also feature an international pavilion with French, Spanish and Korean presentations Rick Peck, SVP Director of Loss Prevention, TJX Companies Inc. Lenny Smith, Sr. Director of Loss Prevention and Corporate Security at Skechers USA, and Traegon Hon, Director of Global Physical Security at Starbucks will join forces in a panel to discuss how to navigate uncertain times with security technology. Zeljko Cakic, Director, IT, Airport Development Program at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority will talk about how to reduce nuisance alarms and use incident management. Christopher Slone, Senior Manager Global Security, Sykes Enterprises will share lessons learned during his company’s Access Control migration. Connect’DX will also host a Technology Partner Pavilion where software and hardware technology vendors including: Axis Communications; BCDVideo; Bosch; Commend; Dell Technologies; Hanwha Techwin; HID Global; Intel Corporation; OPTEX; Panasonic; Vivotek and Zenitel will showcase their latest products, and native integrations with Genetec solutions in on-demand video and via live chat. Genetec will also feature an international pavilion with French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese and Korean presentations, and live Q&As with industry experts.
Convergint Technologies, globally renowned service-based systems integration company, has announced the acquisition of Firstline Security Integration (FSI). Founded in 1992, Firstline Security Integration is a provider of cutting-edge, customised integrated security solutions to the western United States. Firstline Security Integration Headquartered in Anaheim, Calif., FSI has built strong relationships with many key customers throughout the west, including those in the energy, utilities, municipalities, healthcare, and higher education markets. With an additional office in San Diego, Calif., FSI has 49 experienced colleagues, all of whom will be joining the Convergint organisation. "Firstline Security Integration brings a great wealth of systems integration expertise to Convergint," said Ken Lochiatto, CEO of Convergint Technologies. "Steve Morefield and the colleagues of FSI have built a strong business across many verticals in California and beyond, and we welcome them into Convergint Nation." Systems integration expert "Our core philosophies regarding customer service are very well-aligned, so we felt confident knowing that Convergint will not only help us maintain the requirements of our customers, but exceed them in every way," said Steve Morefield, owner of Firstline Security Integration. "This was a key reason for our decision to join the Convergint organisation, and so I greatly look forward to the opportunities it will provide our customers and colleagues." Convergint's history of uninterrupted growth has been achieved both organically and via acquisition. The driver of this growth, according to Lochiatto, is Convergint's mission to be its customers' best service provider. Each acquisition that Convergint undertakes becomes a chance to further add to its culture of service, Lochiatto added.
Convergint Technologies, global service-based systems integrator, has announced the acquisition of Commercial Systems Group (CSG). Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., Commercial Systems Group is a provider of commercial life safety and security systems that protect people and facilities. Fire and life safety With a dedicated focus on fire and life safety, CSG has built strong relationships with many key customers throughout the Florida region, including those in the entertainment, transportation, multi-tenant facilities, and educational markets. All 77 CSG colleagues will be joining the Convergint organisation. This acquisition affirms our dedication to expanding our capabilities in the fire and life safety market""Dino DeRose and Chris Inman have built a strong fire and life safety business, and we are thrilled to have them, and their team join us," said Ken Lochiatto, CEO Convergint Technologies. "This acquisition affirms our dedication to expanding our capabilities in the fire and life safety market. We welcome our new CSG colleagues into the Convergint family." Convergint acquires CSG "CSG has been experiencing record growth in recent years, and teaming with Convergint will provide us with deeper technical and financial resources to further capitalise on the myriad of opportunities in the Florida region," said Dino DeRose, President of Commercial Systems Group. "Our similar service-centric cultures will make this an easy transition for our colleagues and customers." According to Lochiatto, Convergint's commitment to be its customers' best service provider has driven its steady growth, both by acquisition and organically, since its founding in 2001. Each acquisition that Convergint undertakes is an opportunity to further add to its culture of service to customers, colleagues, and local communities. Commercial Systems Group shares in Convergint's values, especially in this dedication to service.
Convergint Technologies, globally renowned service-based systems integration company, has announced the acquisition of Altel. With 28 years of systems integration experience, Altel develops sophisticated, intelligent electronic security solutions for customers across many vertical markets. "Altel brings us strong integration capabilities and deeply experienced colleagues," said Ken Lochiatto, CEO of Convergint Technologies. "They will further enhance our reach and service offering, enabling us to continue on our goal of being our customers' best service provider. We are excited to welcome the Altel team into the Convergint Technologies family." Convergint Technology takes over Altel Headquartered in the Montreal area, Altel expands Convergint's presence in the province of Quebec Headquartered in the Montreal area, Altel expands Convergint's presence in the province of Quebec, and it also brings additional coverage via offices in Toronto and Calgary. Founded in 1989 by Ricky Dumas, Jacques Leclair, and Yves Paquin, Altel has since built a strong, diversified customer base across the government, pharmaceutical, financial, and educational markets. All 54 Altel colleagues have joined Convergint and brought the company their robust expertise in creating high-end, custom electronic security solutions. "Joining Convergint presents many new growth opportunities for Altel and its colleagues," said Ricky Dumas, President of Altel. "Altel and Convergint are both very passionate about the values we believe in, with service to our customers being paramount. Combining our forces with Convergint will enable us to expand our offerings to our customers and deepen our service capabilities." Customer satisfaction and service excellence Convergint Technologies was formed in 2001 on a core set of Values & Beliefs which remain unchanged to this day and are the foundation of the company's culture. Central to those principles is a strong dedication to customer service, and Convergint evaluates potential acquisitions based on their alignment with its culture. Altel shares in this commitment to customer satisfaction and service excellence.
Convergint Technologies has announced the acquisition of New Jersey-based Access Control Technologies (ACT), bringing further electronic security systems experience to Convergint's deep breadth of service capabilities. Convergint controls ACT’s security solutions Headquartered in Clifton, NJ, ACT provides integrated security solutions involving access control, video surveillance, identity management and alarm monitoring to over 1,000 customers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware and eastern Pennsylvania. All 38 ACT colleagues, including leaders Joe Liguori and Remo Cinquino, will be joining Convergint. ACT's leadership and service-oriented focus are exactly what we look for when evaluating whether an organisation is a cultural fit for Convergint Nation" "ACT's leadership and service-oriented focus are exactly what we look for when evaluating whether an organisation is a cultural fit for Convergint Nation," said Ken Lochiatto, CEO of Convergint Technologies. "We know our customers will benefit greatly from their professionalism and expertise, and we welcome them to Convergint." Strategic growth structure Convergint has strategically grown its service footprint across the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia Pacific through strong organic growth and the completion of 18 acquisitions since early 2016. Convergint's growth strategy is driven by its company mission of being its customers' best service provider. It seeks out companies whose service-first culture mirror its own, as is the case with ACT. "Our two organisations possess a strong alignment of strategic philosophies with respect to customer satisfaction," said Joe Liguori, Senior Managing Partner of ACT. "Making the decision to join Convergint was an easy one. We look forward to the prospect of being a part of Convergint Technologies' growth and adding to their capabilities."
Ares Management has announced that a fund managed by its Private Equity Group has acquired Convergint Technologies, an independent security integrator, from investment funds affiliated with KRG. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Based in Schaumberg, Illinois, Convergint provides comprehensive security integration and fire and life safety services in more than 80 locations across four continents. Since its founding in 2001, Convergint has grown to employ more than 3,400 colleagues as the business continues to expand its security offerings and geographic footprint. Central to this growth is Convergint’s strong corporate culture, which focuses on providing best-in-class service to meet its customers’ unique security needs. “Convergint is a leader in its industry, with a unique culture and longstanding track record of fostering the development of its colleagues and delivering outstanding service to its customers. We are excited to partner with the Convergint management team and look forward to supporting the company in its next phase of growth,” said Matt Cwiertnia, Partner and Co-Head of North American Private Equity at Ares Management.We know our customers will benefit greatly from the way this partnership will allow us to grow globally Long-term growth “With the opportunities in front of us, this transaction will enable Convergint to take the next step in our growth as we continue building on our foundation as the leading global independent integrator in the security and fire and life safety industry,” said Ken Lochiatto, CEO of Convergint. “We look forward to partnering with Ares to realise our vision for long-term growth as we continue to offer world-class solutions to our customers across the globe, consistent with our longstanding values and beliefs.” “We look forward to a strong partnership with Ares Management,” said Dan Moceri, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of Convergint Technologies. “The additional resources available to Convergint through Ares will enable us to continue toward our goal of being our customers’ best service provider. We know our customers will benefit greatly from the way this partnership will allow us to grow globally and further adapt to their needs.”