IP User Group arrives in Mass.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

WALTHAM, Mass.--More than 125 people--integrators, end users, manufacturers and consultants--showed up here at the Forefront Center for Meetings and Conferences on Aug. 14 to listen to panel discussions, case studies and educational sessions at the IP UserGroup's Boston Security Technology Conference & Exhibition.
The day started with a keynote address by Susan Ellerin, president of STAT resources. Ellerin's talk, "The Road to Convergence: Potholes in the Fast Lane?," focused on a study her firm had done of companies' progress in successfully converging IT and physical security. She believes that one obstacle is semantics. The term "convergence" doesn't normally bring to mind physical security, she said. She suggested googling the term to see how many references in the 44,000-plus hits have to do with physical security. Very few, she said.
"Convergence is owned by the IT industry," she said. "Why should we hang onto it?" True convergence is enterprise convergence that involves "people, processes, and only lastly involves technologies ... [it also] focuses on engaging management, monitoring and mitigating risk as a way to profitability," she said.
Next up was Cisco's Bob Beliles, senior manager, physical security technology group, who predicted that anyone googling "convergence" in five years "will get a ton of hits" on physical security. He noted that the convergence of physical and logical security is only the latest wave of convergence and follows a pattern set by mainframe computers and LANs 20 years ago, IP and telephony in the last eight years or so.
He outlined Cisco's orientation toward convergence and noted the drivers as "competition, compliance with government regulations and business innovation." He encouraged integrators to "understand the technology" and noted that Cisco will be providing more and more free training that will be downloadable from its Web site.
Steven Van Till, president and COO of Brivo Systems, discussed the importance of the standards that are being developed today, and some specific case studies where access control systems were used "as an ROI opportunity outside of risk mitigation." He cited an example of a real estate company that had kiosks in malls where customers looked at properties. The company had no way of knowing which customers took the next step to attend open houses and visit model homes. Brivo came up with a solution where a real estate company used PINS issued at the kiosks to enter an access control system at the model homes. "We built a bridge between the information world and the physical world," he said.
Afternoon sessions included a video master class by Panasonic's Steve Surfaro; a case study of the Atlas Park Mall in Queens by Geoff Anderson, chief operating officer of Polar Industries and Manual Nylen of Milestone Systems; and a panel discussion on emerging technologies featuring Paul Bodell, vice president sales and marketing for IQInVision, and Garry Clark, president of ioimage Americas.