Looking for answers

Thursday, January 1, 2004

Publisher, Security Systems News

The last conference I attended in ‘03 was Securing New Ground, or SNG. There were a couple of pretty powerful speakers there addressing the issues our nation faces on terrorism. At the time, both Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden were still at large. We’ve captured Saddam but this doesn’t extinguish the terrorist rage. It fuels their hatred toward us and our allies. We’re facing an Orange Alert today, with the terrorists threatening to make 9/11 look like child’s play.

Menachem Begin, the former prime minster of Israel spoke at SNG saying “the U.S. is deeply involved in the next World War, a war against terrorism. It will be a ten-year war and won’t end until every nation on the earth, including China, joins the fight.” He believes the terrorists have hand-held missile launchers that can knock planes out of the air and nuclear weapons. Yes, nuclear weapons regardless of what we have or have not found in Iraq! He said there are simply too many nuclear components that are unaccounted for. Terrorists have been determined to get their hands on them and will not hesitate to use them.

Lt. General Ken Minihan of USAF and now a principal at Paladin Capital Group, spoke, saying that there will be another attack before the election! Frightening thoughts, aren’t they? But all too sadly, make too much sense.

The conference was well attended, but not because former Prime Minister Begin spoke but because the industry is looking for answers and direction in what has been tumultuous times. Terrorism being only one part of the issues we’ve faced.

Bosch, GE, Honeywell, United Technologies and Tyco have scooped up many of the industry’s most significant players creating two vendor worlds, the big and the small. All of the large companies are positioning themselves to be number one. The remaining smaller companies, mostly technology and engineering driven companies, have had to evaluate where they want to play in this market and are taking action to make this happen. At SNG they were looking for insight to move forward on this.

The video surveillance side of the market featured their unique capabilities at SNG, making standard, simple hardware products do all sorts of wonderful things to increase safety. This is just the beginning of what will be done with software.

What wasn’t discussed as specifically but loomed large in the background, given the new technology companies that were featured, was the emerging technologies that will propel our industry forward. Enabling software, IP addressable products, networking, data communications, data storage and the other new companies that are poised to enter this industry in the near future.

No one has a crystal ball and can tell you what will happen tomorrow, but the facts stand before us, and certainly can paint a pretty clear picture of where we’re headed. As long as you’re paying attention, listening, talking, thinking and considering all of your options before you, you’ll be able to ride this wave. We need to look at these changes as exciting times with tremendous growth ahead.

As we enter 2004, the economy is picking up and many integrators have signed contracts and have jobs in the till that are scheduled way into the year. Most end-users have re-evaluated their risk since 9/11, having long- and short- term plans in place to manage their risks.

We’re inches away from the ISC West show as well! I’d suggest brushing up on your networking terms and your software knowledge before hitting the floor because I’m betting you’ll see lots of IP addressable systems, networking products, enabling software and data storage systems there.