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Specifically Speaking with Michael Silva, Silva Consultants

Specifically Speaking with Michael Silva, Silva Consultants

Michael Silva

YARMOUTH, Maine—Security Systems News’ monthly column Specifically Speaking features Michael Silva, CPP, CSC, who is owner and principal consultant at Silva Consultants. “We are a small independent security consulting firm based in Seattle that does projects throughout the United States,” Silva told SSN.

During the more than 35 years he has been a consultant, Silva has served a wide variety of clients in industries including healthcare, research and development, biotechnology, manufacturing, insurance and financial services, warehousing and distribution, and multifamily housing.

Silva is board certified as a Certified Protection Professional (CPP) by ASIS International, is a member of the International Association of Professional Security Consultants (IAPSC) and holds the Certified Security Consultant (CSC) certification issued by that organization. He currently serves as president of IAPSC.

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

SILVA: Our firm provides both security management consulting and technical security design. We conduct comprehensive physical security assessments for our clients and then help them implement solutions to better manage their security risks. This includes preparing design drawings and specifications to allow procurement of systems from systems integrators. The systems we design include access control and alarm monitoring systems, video surveillance systems, and security communications systems.

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

SILVA: We primarily serve private sector clients, and city, state, and local governments. During our more than 35 years in business, we have done work for a vast number of different types of facilities, including corporate headquarters campuses, data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, manufacturing facilities, research facilities, hospitals and healthcare facilities, and schools and universities. In the last five years, much of our work has been in the multifamily housing market, including apartments, luxury condominiums, and gated communities.

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

SILVA: I started at a very young age in the 1970’s installing burglar alarms. I progressed through various roles as installer, service technician, salesman, and operations manager at several systems integration companies. In 1985, I started my own technical security consulting practice and began designing and specifying security systems for architects, engineers, and end-users. I later developed security management consulting skills and began conducting comprehensive physical security assessments. These are now a major part of our consulting practice.

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

SILVA: Most of the systems that we design are now entirely network based and fully integrated with one another. We emphasize the use of video analytics and other tools to leverage the capabilities of security officers and to reduce the total number of officers required. Many of our clients were attracted to cloud-based services when they first became available, but some are now moving back to on-premises solutions as the ongoing costs of cloud services have become better known. We tend to be late adopters of new technologies, preferring that products have a proven track record before we recommend them to our clients. We like to see product development being done in the manufacturer’s laboratory, not on our client’s premises.

SSN: What is your view on the industry moving forward?

SILVA: I feel that the industry is now changing more rapidly than at any time in the last 50 years. Many of the traditional security business models are disappearing, with direct-to-consumer products eroding the low-end of the market, and IT and total building management system companies taking a larger share of the high-end market. Society is becoming increasingly concerned about the invasiveness of certain types of surveillance systems and this may limit their use in the future. Resource-strapped law enforcement agencies can no longer provide a timely response to alarms and non-violent crimes, requiring the increased use of private security officers as first responders.

All of these factors will require a complete rethinking of how the industry operates and what products and services we provide. I believe that consultants, integrators, and manufacturers who recognize these changes and adapt to them will thrive. I believe that those who cling to old business models and fail to adapt will soon become obsolete.



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