Let’s take a hard look at the digital age

Monday, November 1, 2004

You hear a lot about convergence nowadays. It is “the buzzword” of the industry.

Webster’s Dictionary defines convergence as “the act, quality, state or fact of converging.” If you look up the word converge, it says, “1. To approach the same point from different directions- meet. 2. To move together toward union or towards a common conclusion or result.”

Convergence in our marketplace has been defined as networked digital security products and systems, which sit on the company’s main network. It is a network that is managed by the IT department and shares space functions with other corporate operations. This indeed is happening, but in many ways the word convergence doesn’t fully define what’s actually happening in either marketplace or the world around us. Security is not just coming together or toward a common conclusion or union with the IT departments and company networks. We are quite simply joining the digital revolution.

The audio publications at the National Systems Contractors Association earlier this year were buzzing about convergence between audio systems and IT. The national news recently reported on a digitally enhanced CAT Scan that provides images of the heart to avoid invasive surgery needed today to diagnose heart disease. Manufacturing facilities are implementing fully digitally automated production procedures. In fact, this newspaper’s production process is completely done in digital format.

In 1965, Gordon Moore of Intel, made famous his “Moore’s Law.” He observed an exponential growth in the number of transistors per integrated circuit and predicted that this trend would continue. Moore’s Law said that the doubling of transistors every couple of years would happen. This meant that two times capacity became four times capacity, four became eight, eight sixteen and so on and so on. In the year 2004, we are simply jettisoning down this digital highway.

The capacity today is astounding and still growing. Add to this clever engineers, scientists and software writers, and we are standing at the edge of some fairly exciting changes. During my grandparents’ years, they went from horse and buggy to landing on the moon. We’re moving even faster than that today.

The rate of transition is a bit unnerving as it threatens or feels like it will disrupt what we know, understand and feel safe with. Understanding the direction and impact of these changes, the opportunities and limits they will provide, will help to manage expectations so you meet this evolution. Generations before us have met challenges of change, and we will as well.

The IT department, or those who manage these networks, have a lot of information running on them and will have much more in the future. We will need to work hand-in-hand with them to successfully implement our networked digital security systems. Can they today, or could they in the future, really be experts on every front-end product and system that will sit on the network? Do IT folks understand risk management? Do they want responsibility for these tasks? What are the most current, viable software options, compression technologies, storage resources and network assets available today?

In February 2005, we’ll take a hard, clear look at where the digital age is taking our industry. We’ll bring you face to face with the people and the companies governing the technology transition. You’ll hear who will be responsible for what tasks in the networking of security products, and see how companies have successfully met challenges. We’ll look at today’s options and what to expect tomorrow. Join us at TechSec Solutions at the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota, Fla., Feb. 27 to March 1, 2005. It will be the most enlightening and useful conference you’ve been to in years. Bring yourself, your customers and their security and IT departments.
Carol Enman
Publisher, Security Systems News