There are many challenges currently facing the security marketplace, and I asked several industry players recently to reflect on those challenges. Their comments highlight familiar subjects to us all: The need for education. The challenge to meet customer expectations. The dilemma of combining old technologies with new ones. Security education and training Education is a big issue, especially as it relates to the transition to IP systems. “I think there are a number of integrators who are raising themselves up by more education, more certification and training, looking at the world more from an IT perspective than a security perspective, and understanding that the two worlds have to come together,” says Dan Rothrock, Senior Vice President, Global Strategic Alliances, Vingtor-Stentofon. “If people are trained, educated and certified on the products they are working with, things are better,” Rothrock notes. “Installations are cleaner. For a lot of products on the market today, if they are installed and commissioned correctly, you can go a long, long time without any problems.” A challenge for customers is to compare products in the market, says Rothrock. What’s needed is a legitimate scorecard to enable products to be compared fairly based on specific criteria, he adds. In the case of audio products, for example, the scorecard might include factors such as intelligibility, simplicity, scalability, durability and reliability. Meeting customer expectations A central and ongoing challenge in the market is delivering on the customer’s expectations, says Tom Chamard, Executive Vice President of Sales, Salient Systems. “We know the customer’s expectations,” he says. “The integrator has to deliver on those expectations, and the manufacturer has to create the functional elements that will make the integrator look good and meet customer needs. We have a very educated customer, and I don’t think they present unrealistic expectations. The challenge is to ensure we are all on the same page relative to those expectations.” Once a solution is deployed, the customer expects the manufacturer and integrator to work in partnership to manage and maintain the deployment after the sale, he adds. “Credibility is a big piece of the puzzle,” says Chamard. Combining old and new security technologies Another challenge is continuing to manage all the various technologies – the old and the new – in the changing security market. For example, after 25 years, wired Wiegand cards are still being used, even in our age of newer card technologies and even mobile credentials. “It’s a process of transitioning among generations of products,” says Dean Forchas, HID’s Consultant Relations Manager for North America. “We can facilitate that. It’s also very common that a company isn’t looking to do a technology upgrade, but they are buying and selling buildings, and some of them may have an older card technology. They don’t necessarily want to tear all that out.” HID’s transition path includes multiCLASS readers that handle a range of card technologies. “We have to show them a transition path, rather than a rip-and-replace,” says Forchas. “Technology is moving quickly, but there are still people out there selling 125khz solutions that are 25 years old,” adds Forchas. “And then there are the early adopters, although getting people comfortable with newer technologies is a challenge.” Clearly, challenges abound. What are some other ongoing or intractable challenges for the security marketplace?
ISC West is on the immediate horizon, and I asked several industry players what they expect new and different at the industry’s big show. The answers included buzz-worthy topics from Big Data to the Internet of Things, but also mention of a perennial industry theme – integration. Video embracing social media? Tom Chamard, Executive Vice President of Sales, Salient Systems, expects social media to emerge as a larger topic of interest at ISC West, especially considering how social media might impact video systems. “When you couple social media data with video, you can become more proactive than reactive,” Chamard says. Analysing social media activity can provide a useful new data stream to the command centre environment. GPS functionality on smart phones enables social media posts to be isolated geographically; for example, tweets or Facebook postings can be compiled from the immediate area of a big event. “Analysing social media and tying it together with video is a powerful combination of information flow in a command centre environment,” says Chamard. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see something like that at ISC West.” Cybersecurity trend to continue The big show will likely also see more discussion than ever of the fast-growing arena of cybersecurity, says Kurt Takahashi, Senior Vice President of Sales, AMAG Technology. “I would like to see a closer tie between the cyber threat and the physical threat, and melding the two pieces of data to define more proactive activity, and understand human behaviour,” he says. “When you talk about Big Data, all the experts are focused only on the cyber piece. They’re not combining it with what’s happening on the physical side.” Takahashi also expects discussion at ISC West to centre around biometrics and mobile credentialing. Desire for better IoT innovations “I would hope to see more players in mobile access, more innovation in mobile devices,” agrees Dean Forchas, HID’s Consultant Relations Manager for North America. He notes that an ongoing transition to use of mobile devices instead of cards for authentication is the biggest change in the industry in the last year. The growth of integration and partnerships among manufacturers will be reflected at ISC with larger companies sharing their booth space with smaller companies with whom they integrate “I would also like to see what people are doing with the Internet of Things – it’s a big buzz, but so far it’s in its infancy,” says Forchas. “I haven’t seen a total home solution using IoT. I think it has potential, but I just can’t get my arms around it yet. I’m hoping people are making strides in that direction.” Has the age of true integration finally arrived? “We are really now getting to true integration,” says Dan Rothrock, Senior Vice President, Global Strategic Alliances, Vingtor-Stentofon. “More parts are standardised, and we are working with more standards. Integration has finally accelerated to the point that we have worn out the term, and so we have moved to a new term – unification.” The growth of integration and partnerships among manufacturers will be reflected at ISC with larger companies more often sharing their booth space with smaller companies with whom they integrate. “You will see more and more people (at ISC West) with names of other companies inside their booth, saying, if you have this installed, if you’re using this and are happy with it, I can integrate with it,” says Rothrock. “And I can give you a path to integration. When other people thought they were locked into a proprietary system, you will see more people saying, no, you’re not. I have a solution.” “Nobody wants to do a forklift replacement,” says Rothrock. “If people are providing a bridge where you can go from one system to another, and do it smoothly and update the technology, what a great way to go.” ISC West, held from April 5-7 at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas, includes more than 28,000 security professionals viewing more than 1,000 exhibitors and brands.
AMAG's seminar provided networking and engagement with experts about technology trends and end user expectations AMAG Technology hosted its 15th Annual Security Engineering Symposium (SES) in Orlando, Florida at the Rosen Shingle Creek February 19-21, 2016. Attendees experienced a weekend of educational seminars, networking and engagement with experts about technology trends and end user expectations. AMAG Technology is the worldwide leader of end-to-end security management solutions for access control, video management and identity management. AMAG products educational sessions AMAG conducted educational sessions about their newest products: Symmetry™ GUEST Visitor Management, policy-based software Symmetry CONNECT™ and Symmetry™ v8.1 scheduled for release in Q2. President, Matt Barnette held a session about Product Vision and the future, and Senior Vice President of Sales, Kurt Takahashi presented on Unified Security Technology. Break-out sessions offered attendees opportunities to learn about several technologies that integrate with Symmetry Access Control and Symmetry CompleteView Video Management. Special sessions included: “How to do Business with Consultants,” “How to Design a Symmetry system,” and “Why Yale University chose Symmetry for their Security Management Platform.” “Our 15th Annual SES attracted the best of the best again this year, including many new faces in the consultant, customer and reseller communities,” said AMAG Technology, Vice President of Strategic Accounts, Jody Ross. “The action-packed agenda provided insight into AMAG Technology and the direction the company is heading with new solutions for our customers. The educational sessions and networking opportunities proved valuable to all who attended.” “I’ve attended this event several times because of the incredible value I receive,” said Ross & Baruzzini, Senior Systems Project Manager, Ted Wheaton. “I like to learn about AMAG, as well as learn about their technology partners and where they are heading in the future with their product development. Not only do I learn about technology trends, but there is a lot of time for networking with consultants, manufacturers, integrators and end users.” Strategic technology partners The strategic technology partners who sponsored the event valued the interaction with the consultants, integrators, end users, AMAG staff and other partners. Technology partners included: ASSA ABLOY, HID Global, Hikvision, NEC, Salient Systems, Winsted and Zenitel/Vingtor-Stentofon, FST Biometrics and Risk 360. AMAG’s Security EngineeringSymposium is an original eventthat’s been often copied, but it’snever been duplicated “The SES is set up in a way that affords ASSA ABLOY many opportunities to be in front of the customer,” said Donna Chapman, Security Consultant Relations Manager, ASSA ABLOY. “Between the small group break-out sessions, networking and social time, I believe we had several opportunities to do a deep dive on our products and partnership with AMAG. This was one of the best events I’ve attended.” Dan Rothrock, Senior Vice President Global Strategic Alliances, Zenitel USA, Inc. said, “It’s hard to believe we’ve been doing this for 15 years. AMAG’s Security Engineering Symposium is an original event that’s been often copied, but it’s never been duplicated. We are looking for relationships. We are looking for return on investment, and we are looking for ideas for the future. All those things come out of this event every year that we attend. It’s been the best event for a return on our investment from a dollar AND relationship standpoint, and from what it helps us develop for the security industry. We are looking forward to coming back for our 16th year next year.” “The AMAG Security Engineering Symposium is unique for Salient because the forum enables us to collaborate and strengthen our engagements on several different levels,” said Tom Chamard, Executive Vice President, Salient Systems. “On one front, we’re collaborating with various AMAG resources with regards to our OEM strategy and integration enhancements of our joint platform. In addition, we view this event as the opportunity to reinforce our value propositions to integrators, end users and consultants alike. Not only do we get to extend and refine our OEM strategy with our partner, we have the opportunity to continue to support these channels and hopefully renew and fortify our position within the VMS space. The combination of these factors makes the SES conference an uncommon value for Salient.” Randy Smith, President, Winsted said, “This is the best event we do all year long. AMAG’s SES allows us to get in front of important decision makers in the security industry. It’s a key marketing event for Winsted and we make it a priority to sponsor and participate every year.” “I think this event was great,” said Yaron Zussman, CEO, FST Biometrics America. “It’s rare that you get an opportunity to see so many consultants, VAR's, and end users over a period of a weekend. For a new technology like IMID Access that is a fusion of facial recognition and behavioural biometrics, this has been great exposure to let people experience and understand our product. AMAG’s SES has generated much excitement for our product and how it integrates with AMAG’s Symmetry Access Control System.”