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Specifically Speaking with Nicholas M. Stefantsiv

Specifically Speaking with Nicholas M. Stefantsiv Senior Technology Systems Specialist of Bala Consulting Engineers in Boston

What's your role at the company?

I design and manage any low voltage systems in our Boston office projects, and collaborate with all of Bala's Technology Systems group team members in other offices.

What kinds of systems do you design/specify and what services does the company provide?

Bala's Technology Systems group designs telecommunication and structured cabling systems, electronic security systems and audio-visual systems. On the electronic security side, we design access, intrusion and video systems. We have the experience and expertise for all low-voltage system designs.

In addition to technology systems, Bala also provides structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection engineering design and commissioning services.

What vertical markets does the company specialize in? Any interesting projects that you can mention?

With offices along the east coast, Bala is highly diversified and designs projects for the commercial, high-rise, multi-family residential, higher education, K-12, mission-critical, healthcare and transportation markets.� Our Boston office specializes in education, transportation, corporate and residential high-rise facilities.

One of my current projects is the new 445,000 square foot Belmont High School in Belmont, MA. Bala is providing security design services as well as MEP/FP engineering design for the new high school. Prior to joining Bala I worked on several State of Massachusetts courthouses, federal facilities, medical projects and a fire fighters training facility in Qatar. One of the most interesting medical projects I've worked on was The Pavilion at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

How did you get started in security and designing/specifying?

During the financial crisis of 2007-2008 I was working for a previous employer designing telecommunication systems for similar clients and was asked to take on security design work. Since then it has been my passion to work with our clients to help them protect their assets.

Can you talk about what new or emerging technologies you are seeing or specifying today?

We are starting to specify more and more mobile credential solutions. With everyone attached to their mobile devices they are guaranteed to take better care of those vs. their plastic security cards or tags. The technology is still maturing but already provides excellent solutions in multi-application use for college/university markets and long-range reader applications.

Some of our clients ask for facial recognition solutions instead of physical credentials. The application and products for this technology are still emerging and haven't reached a solid foothold in the industry yet. We are watching it carefully, especially with some jurisdictions outright banning the use of technology. The next two years will be very interesting for facial recognition products and solutions.

What is your view on the industry moving forward?

I see the electronic security systems completely morphing and becoming one with IT departments within every company or institution. If not already, Corporate IT is taking over all of the security devices — since they are all IP endpoints. And with that — the cybersecurity risks are becoming exponential. Historically, Corporate IT has been positioned and trained much better to deal with cyber-security threat.

Another big buzzword now in security industry is AI.� Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality are here to stay. How exactly the security industry leverages both remains to be seen. But we already see excellent examples of AI and machine learning from companies like BriefCam and others.


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