I am the Director of ASSA ABLOY’s Integrated Solutions Specialists Group. We are a professional sales team dedicated to the systems integration channel and promoting Electromechancial hardware sales into that channel. Every member is required to be ASIS certified as a PSP, Physical Security Professional. This common education allows us to speak a common language with confidence so that when we are talking with integrators, consultants, or end users, we can assist with identifying threats, risk and the associated solutions.
How do you think the economy will affect the security industry?
There is unquestionably going to be a decline in overall business. I also believe that the more mature, sophisticated, and progressive integrators will continue their grow, although at a slower pace from years past. That overused buzzword, convergence, will take on new meaning in a declining economy and force this collaboration aimed at saving costs and maximizing the return on investment for the business.
Do you see any new technology affecting the security industry?
Technology has been and will continue to march forward. There is no stopping it. The security industry is no different in this aspect, although maybe at a slowed pace. There will be innovations that will enable the security industry, whether it be what we consider traditional physical security or logical or IT security to grow and move beyond where it is now. I really like to see a company create something that shakes up the industry and for everyone to re-evaluate their direction.
Technology and specifically IP is changing security devices and how they are deployed. What do you think are the next big changes we will see?
The challenges as I see it are focused around people. Human beings are always going to be the primary factor in adoption of a new, or not so new, technology. IP has some new aspects to it, but has been enabling the communication of our systems for more than a decade now. We have both installed systems in the late 90s that were connected to the “network”. The challenge is in who “owns” that function and how protective they will be over their “kingdom”. The security industry must collaborate to be effective. It is rare these days to have a completely stand alone, off the network, system and the people driving must collaborate for the good of the business. And even more importantly for the safety and security of those people and assets we protect.
Secondarily, the shear quantity of networkable devices and managing them in an intuitive way has to be one of the greater challenges facing the industry today. Not only the quantity but the quality of information is growing exponentially. We are now able to monitor so much around the facility, the campus, the enterprise, our world, that getting that information to where it can be useful is extremely complicated.
Do you see wireless impacting security devices?
Of course! Look Mom, no wires… When you can just pop a camera, IP phone, access point, or access control device onto the network without wires, the issues grow tremendously. Just the cost savings of utilizing existing communications infrastructure is going to make wireless very attractive to many end users. The security implications are huge. The manufacturers must become experts themselves in protecting the devices they create and educate the channel on proper deployment of those protections. As well as the life cycle of protection. What works today may not work tomorrow. We see that all the time.
What do you see as the security industry’s biggest challenge?
I believe the security industry is one of the most undervalued industries around. We have collectively depressed the value it truly brings. We protect lives and property with extensive knowledge of applied rick analysis principles and countermeasure. In my opinion, the biggest challenge to the industry is in elevating the perceived value in the general public and those whom we protect with our systems and people.
What do you believe is the largest growth area in security?
The service side of the business if appropriately valued will be the biggest growth we see. Managed access and similar services will help the industry weather storms like we are now experiencing. Companies should reinvest in these type of products and services to bring our industry on par with many IT services and value them accordingly.