MercTech 5 reveals trends, educates attendees, provides networking opportunities and more

 - 
03/06/2019

Venturing off to Coronado Island, right outside of San Diego for MercTech 5 was an exciting adventure into the open architecture world of physical security. Various trends were identified, company announcements made, valuable networking with security companies was experienced as well as education and fun. 

To kick off the conference, Matt Barnette, president, Mercury Security, announced that this year, the company will be formally converting to HID Global and they are always looking for new partners. (HID Global purchased Mercury Security, an OEM supplier of controllers for physical access control, in 2017.) Thus far, Mercury Security has kept their original logo, with the added phrase: “part of HID Global.” 

Serra Luck, VP end user and consultant business, HID Global followed with three major trends in the physical access control market: the evolution of identity; service oriented and convergence of video, biometrics, access control, lighting and more to be controlled by a single device. Luck identified what she termed “BIMruption,” building information modeling in which a wholistic view of a building, including its vulnerabilities, can be seen before the structure is actually built. This enables the simulation of possible terror attacks, physical breaches, structural integrity and more so that security consultants, integrators and end-users can become even more proactive in preventing security-related issues.

Donna Chapman, consultant relations business development manager, ASSA ABLOY compared how she “talks up” security consultants to their partners. She likens it to doing taxes. 

“Can I do taxes,” she asked the audience, hypothetically. To which she answered, “yes, but am I up-to-date on all the tax regulations…no, and that’s ‘ok’ unless I get audited. So, it’s easier and safer to have my taxes done by a professional…same with security consultants.”

The two full days of the conference continued on with valuable education as well as meetings with various Mercury Security partners, followed by amazing dinners and networking events. Partners were available in various suites in a “speed dating” type of format, 45 minutes in length, where security consultants learned about their solutions as well as got their questions answered. 

A consultant roundtable took place, in which hot topics were discussed, one of which was the adoption of Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP), a communication standard developed by the Security Industry Association (SIA) to improve interoperability among access control and security devices. Security consultants were also concerned with specifying manufacturer’s certifications, asking if companies could possibly add certification numbers or some sort of identification so each certification is easier to “spec.” 

As the event concluded and I began to reflect, one of the most valuable takeaways from the whole conference emerged. Steve Wagner, president of Open Options, said the following during a speed dating session: “Everyone employed with Open Options is empowered to make decisions on behalf of customers; if a mistake is made with any such decisions, it will be to the benefit of the client.” This customer/client-first mentality, in my opinion, is a big piece of the pie that security companies must incorporate into their culture for maximum success.