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Specifically Speaking with Bill Jacobs

Specifically Speaking with Bill Jacobs Principal consultant, Jacobs Group Consulting, San Diego, Calif.

What's the specialty of Jacobs Group Consulting?

The primary goal of Jacobs Group Consulting is to provide a wide range of security management services for corporate clients, architects and general contractors. We specialize in physical security design, whether it be new construction or a retrofit project.

Our services range in scope and we have expertise in performing one of all of the following: risk assessments; site surveys; conceptual design; detailed engineering design, technical bid specifications; bid analysis; integrator selection; project management; SOC design; EOC design; assistance in staff selection and hiring; operational procedures and guidelines; maintenance and service contracts. We work with one client at a time, focusing on their needs, never over-designing, and we stay within the boundaries of proven technological solutions. We work tightly with the IT and facilities teams to ensure that their goals are also met in the process of integrating systems onto the enterprise.

Does your experience working for manufacturers in the past give you a unique perspective as a consultant?

Our expertise is unique in the industry. Lydia Jacobs, a professional engineer, has been a consultant in the security industry since 1987. I have had a diversified career in the security industry since 1983, being an integrator, a consultant, an end user/security director and a manufacturer. Our levels of experience provide clients with security designs that meet their needs, are cost effective, and are significantly efficient to operate and maintain. What's also unique is that we've provided security consulting services and personally managed some of the largest security enterprises in the world. We have a vast knowledge in managing security integrators, as client representatives, to ensure our engineered solutions are delivered per specification.

Are there any new or emerging technologies that you think hold particular promise for security integrators?

Emerging technologies within the security industry are a slower moving target. Small start-ups create new products every year and the good ones tend to be acquired into larger organizations. The trend of acquisitions and consolidations continues. Some technologies are generic across vertical lines of business such as the convergence and integration of IP, which has been ongoing for the past 20 years. Others can be specific to higher levels of physical security, such as data analytics. Trending for some time now has been the convergence of systems, either through the implementation of PSIMs or the forging of a single partner relationship with one manufacturer who may be able to fulfill a reasonable amount of a client's converged solution needs. For security integrators, I believe the one that holds the highest promise for them, with the lowest business risk, is selecting one major manufacturer and representing only that platform. In this way, the integrator's team can focus on learning all aspects of the technology solution's capabilities, installation nuances, and service/support requirements. All too often, a security integrator will take on too many product lines, with the good intention of trying to have a broad portfolio to serve client's needs. The problem is that each client has unique needs and being too broad dilutes an integrator's capabilities and quality. I hope that we will see more solutions come forward with common standards that make interoperability less complex. Nirvana will be when a security director can choose their own products that fit their specific needs, build their own integrated solutions—through the use of plug-in adaptors, run simulations on models, and extract data in a free-form manner for any reporting output they desire. Of course, this all has to come at an affordable rate. We might be waiting awhile for this.


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