Specifically Speaking with Robert Haddad

Principal, Shen Milsom & Wilke
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Monday, March 23, 2015

Yours is the first A&E firm I’ve heard about that started as an acoustical engineering firm, then progressed into AV, IT systems design and infrastructure and then security. How big is your company and what kinds of security projects do you work on?  

Shen Milsom & Wilke is an independent, global consulting and technology design firm with expertise in integrated building technologies including acoustic design, audiovisual/ multimedia, information technology, data center planning, physical security and medical equipment planning. Founded in 1986, Shen Milsom & Wilke is headquartered in New York City and has 15 offices worldwide including, Hong Kong, Washington D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, Princeton, Denver, Texas, London, Dubai, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore and Plymouth Meeting, Pa. 

Our security practice touches on almost every vertical market segment. Our team approaches each project as a unique opportunity. Our staff of security professionals has an incredibly diverse background that covers almost every aspect of physical and electronic security—from access control and video surveillance to site perimeter protection and operational security measures. This hands-on expertise allows us to provide complete solutions regardless of project type or requirement. We’ve worked on projects that range from a few rooms to those that span multiple buildings and diverse geographic areas such as Asia and the Middle East.

Shen, Milsom & Wilke has done a lot of work with wireless locks on college campuses. How much video do you specify in higher ed applications?

It is difficult to put a number or quantity on the question of “how much.” In our experience, video is an application that is being carefully applied in higher education settings. There is a real concern over monitoring access points into and out of a building along with the activities that take place within, as it seems security incidents in the educational arena are unfortunately becoming more common. However, this needs to be tempered against a general sense of intrusiveness and the expectation of privacy in these campus settings. The challenge of deploying a video surveillance solution is making sure the design layout is done in a thoughtful manner that accomplishes the security operational needs without making the occupants of the building uncomfortable with the level of surveillance.

You say you’re interested in facial recognition and NFC technologies. What do you like about these technologies?

Facial recognition is gathering a lot of interest from an access control perspective as a biometric because it uses something you always have with you. We’ve seen some promise in a few of the newer systems that we have seen. NFC is another technology that makes use of something most people have: a smartphone. NFC shows a lot of promise in the campus and hospitality settings where convenience is always a desire when it comes to security. NFC allows credentials to be provisioned and authorized on the fly and alleviates the need to always provide a physical token for access. SM&W is always looking to push the envelope in design as long as it makes sense for our clients. With facial recognition, we’re exploring the use of these systems outside typical access control functions to see if they can be effective in monitoring areas for unknown targets, rather than known targets. Again, the design and implementation needs to make sense for our clients to ensure the operational aspect always has a role in the deployment of technology.