Ten top integrators on tech trends

Cybersecurity, smartphone access control, cloud, a common thread
Wednesday, January 28, 2015

YARMOUTH, Maine—What technology trends should systems integrators be paying attention to in 2015 and why? Security Systems News posed that question to 10 top integrators based in cities across the country, from Scarborough, Maine to San Diego and many cities in between.

While there were several recurring trends—among them: cybersecurity’s impact on physical security, smartphones and security, cloud services, fuller integration and predictive capabilities of security systems—these 10 integrators brought up other trends as well.

Executives from the following companies participated in this report: Kratos PSS; Protection 1; Securadyne Systems; The Protection Bureau; Advance Technology; Diebold; Integrated Security Technologies; Dallmann Systems; Northland Controls; and Minuteman Security Technologies.

Chris Peckham
SVP, CTO and Special Projects, Kratos Public Safety & Security Solutions
San Diego

Full integration will continue to grow across platforms and systems. This could be through the use of a PSIM, functionality found in the sensors connected to the network, some type of middleware, leveraging the cloud, and connections to enterprise data stores.

Cyber security and its impact in physical security will continue to be a topic of conversation in 2015. As more companies become aware of the risks and potential exposure, the security of the security infrastructure will become even more important.

The use of mobile platforms will continue to grow and drive customer demand for features and changes in their current operating procedures. This could be using a smartphone as an access credential, providing greater control of the environment through an app, or viewing video from an installed VMS.
The benefits and risks in each of these areas will need to be understood by the customer and integrator as solutions are deployed.

Chris BenVau,
SVP Enterprise Solutions, Protection 1
Romeoville, Ill.

With the recent high-profile hacks of large businesses, today’s integrator should be mindful of the network security of their technology. Will their solution meet the customer’s expectation for network security? Do they have the expertise and the people capital to properly address the evolving landscape of cyberthreats? As the world moves more and more toward the Internet of Things, where every device on a network communicates with other devices, providing a secure environment is essential. A reactive response to network breaches is no longer a viable option. Through its network operations center, Protection 1 now proactively monitors its customers' networks and alerts them to any potential problems that may be occurring. Cybercrime will continue to grow and integrators need to be prepared to help their customers more effectively combat the problem.

Brian Dusza,
Senior director, consulting services, Securadyne Systems
Carrolton, Texas

Systems integrators should be paying attention to the use of cloud-based services to facilitate third-party access control. Also, video surveillance services will become more prevalent in 2015. Many clients associated with smaller mid-market projects are looking for ways to reduce initial capital expenditure and operational costs associated with systems administration. The concept of being able to provide access control and video surveillance and recording services with no onsite servers or personnel is music to their ears. System integrators who offer cloud-based solutions will be well positioned to respond to these client demands.

J. Matthew Ladd
President, The Protection Bureau
Exton, Pa.

I’d think that one of the technologies that integrators should keep an eye on for 2015 is cloud storage. With IP cameras becoming such a commodity, storage will be a key component to watch. Customers are using smartphones and tablets more and more and being able to store and retrieve video on the “cloud” should be huge.

Also, keeping that in mind, also the management and reporting of access control systems, via “cloud” systems will also grow in 2015 and beyond. Once you combine the two technologies together, you will have a viable way to control sites remotely.

Rob Simopoulos
President, Advance Technology
Scarborough, Maine

I think the smartphone access control technology that is coming out is adding some long awaited excitement to the access control industry. Our customers are very interested in using their smartphone and other smart devices as a credential rather than traditional cards or key fobs to enter doors.

Jeremy Brecher
VP Technology, Diebold
Canton, Ohio

Added value to the enterprise: Today most end users are looking to get more enterprise value out of their security investments. They want technology or capabilities that bring value to operations, marketing, sales, supply chain etc. The most common examples are using cameras in retail for customer behavior or for monitoring store quality and efficiency. Technology that has added capability to enable these things will be important. A good example is the way people buy cars. Usually when you go to the dealership you don’t ask about the engine, transmission, steering and brakes. You ask about the added features, like leather, high-end stereo or Bluetooth. The conversations around security purchases are now similar, what else can it do besides opening a door, arming a site or playing back video when I need it?

Macro technology trends are pushing into the security space: The IoT (Internet of things) brings a focus on APIs or web services and mobility. Customers are starting to want technology in the work environment that resembles the experience in their personal time. They want to get technology anywhere any time, platform-agnostic, mobile, tablet, desktop, smart TV, the experiences you get from Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, CNN.com etc. They want to pick and choose from the different technologies and deployment models—subscription, purchase, cloud-based, on-premise—and have it all work together seamlessly. A good example is Salesforce.com. You can choose your CRM then add on tools from other partners seamlessly via web services or APIs such as quoting, account planning and marketing etc.

We will see an environment where the customer chooses an on-premise access control system of one manufacturer, seamlessly integrated into different cloud-based video, incident management and visitor registration systems. And, it will all available seamlessly via browser or app on any device.

Christine Lanning,
President, Integrated Security Technologies
Waipahu, Hawaii

Cybersecurity is a big one—the potential for risk of not paying attention to it at all levels (integrator, manufacturer, customer) is great. There will be more and more cyberattacks in the coming years and more and more risk that systems online will be breached. And this isn’t just in the financial sector, it’s all sectors.

We feel that cybersecurity concerns are going to be the market differentiator for firms like ours in the very near future. Our internal policies and procedures will have to mirror the cyber requirements that are imposed upon our clients in the healthcare, financial, and campus verticals if we’re to remain relevant and reliable as a service provider to them. The weakest cyber link in an organizations supply chain could be its downfall, i.e., Target, Home Depot, etc. None of us wants our policies, our practices or our people to be that vulnerability.

Visitor management and access control: With so many active shooter incidents lately, more and more organizations are looking toward visitor management and access control to restrict the potential for harm to employees. It’s amazing how many companies haven’t formalized this part of their business. Their front doors are freely open to the public but they aren’t in the retail business … why?

Our firm spends a lot of time educating business owners through our blogs and we give talks to community groups to highlight the necessity of visitor management policies, training on practices, and where practical, the deployment of electronic access control and intercom systems to facilitate employee safety and security.

Video analytics: Analytics aren’t for everyone or for every application. Analytics are a great tool for speeding up searches of recorded video. We have integrated analytics into some of our outdoor solutions to enable better monitoring of vulnerable areas. We love the reliability of thermal imaging coupled with analytics, and we’ve been successful at detecting unauthorized intrusion at some of our client sites by using motion sensing analytics and alerting the guard. Ultimately the guard response intervened and thwarted a potential theft or vandalism. We don’t feel that he would have been alerted to the intrusion without the analytics.

Tom Dallmann
President and CEO, Dallmann Systems, 
Jeffersonville, Ind.

I believe that cybersecurity will be an important factor in 2015. There is very little or nothing done when video security systems are installed to combat such a threat being infiltrated through these systems. This leaves gaping holes in the security of the tightest networks. I see a source of revenue in providing this service on all video security systems to commercial customers.

Pierre Trapanese
CEO, Northland Controls
Fremont, Calif.

Video management systems superseding access control as the physical security management platform: This is a relationship issue as well as a technical one. Integrators have had strong relationships and training with access control manufacturers, but maybe not as much with video manufacturers. As the video management platforms evolve, integrators will need to become better acquainted with not only the technology, but also the best-in-breed video management firms.

In the past 10 years we saw movement from forensic use of physical security technology to near-real-time response. The next 10 years may see a further migration toward using technology for predictive analysis of information.

This shifts the focus from installing hardware (forensic) and having time to deal with the software, to where the software is key in dealing with the current environment. But over the next 10 years, being really good at the software will not be enough. The integrator will need to understand in much greater depth how the software will be used in an operational environment. In effect, the technologists will also need to become operational experts or have them as part of their ecosystem. To use information-gathering to predict and prevent an event, one would need to understand the operating environment of a particular client or industry’s operating environment.

Other trends to pay attention to: IP devices becoming easier for end users to install and configure without the help of an integrator; Apparent favoring of Bluetooth communications over NFC; Cloud services for access control and video

Joseph Lynch
CEO, Minuteman Security Technologies,
Andover, Mass.

One of the things we’re paying attention to in 2015 and beyond to 2016 and 2017 is the application of security drones. We have a lot of engineers on staff with expertise in various disciplines—radio communications, networking, IP video and software engineers—which are all required to develop security drones.

Some of the technologies we are looking at include; GPS wayward points (preset tours) and thermal imaging for looking hot spots like hiding humans, recently operated parked cars and other suspicious objects. There are some pending regulations that are being considered that may restrict use and airspace, so initially we think drones would be easier to deploy in campus environments—any large corporate campus or college.

Some are spread out over many square miles or several hundred miles. Public housing developments are another possible application for use by local police and private security units.
We think it’s a good time to take a look at this technology, get in on the ground floor and also help shape the laws and policy for drone use in security applications.