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2014 Security Forecast: Right Combination Figures to Unlock a Big Year

Believe the hype: It’s going to be a banner year for security. SSI’s 2014 Industry Forecast projects nimble and well-managed companies should enjoy up to — in some cases well beyond — growth in the high single digits. Find out how those in the know see it playing out.

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Steven Turney, Security Program Manager, Schneider Electric

Managing expectations when it comes to integration of various systems into one integrated solution is essential. To many end users and consultants the belief a manufacturer has released an API or SDK means that systems will seamlessly operate together, which is not an assumption based in reality.

Though APIs and SDKs do provide the necessary tools to support integration, it is up to the company writing the integration to understand the expectations and needs of the client to ensure the integration is provided supports.

Part of that is returning to being a service-minded industry. For many years in this industry the key to winning future business was through referrals and customer service. However, customer service is one area where the entire industry has started to fail.

Another pressing challenge is continuing to provide a high level of security for a customer base that is becoming increasingly mobile. Though the days of centralized command and control rooms are far from gone, today’s beneficiaries of integrated security systems are less prone to sit behind a desk and more apt to be immersed in their environment.

Ajay Jain, President & CEO, Quantum Secure

Mobility brings endless opportunities to security. Mobile apps enhance the end-user experience, enabling them to report a lost or stolen badge, request access to a new area or even use a smartphone as a badge/credential via near-field communications. However, mobility brings the BYOD challenge, which creates the need to ensure a platform is both device-agnostic and fully secure. Other issues include battery life, interoperability and standardization for application development with NFC.

Another pressing issue will be Big Data analysis. With a variety of contextual sensor, system and machine-generated data within the physical security industry, sophisticated Big Data security analytics is an extremely promising area. The challenge is to marry a variety of datasets, threat detection, continuous monitoring and actionable intelligent logs so enterprises can use Big Data to reduce risks against intrusion detection and insider threats.

Arminda Valles-Hall, Director of Education, SIA

The convergence of electronic physical and logical security demands today’s security professionals build competencies to bridge those two worlds. It’s not enough to be technically proficient; increasingly, employers are looking for security professionals who understand the business side of security, ROI and the markets; bring heightened levels of critical and flexible thinking; and contribute to overall business performance through security.

Achieving a ready and accessible workforce of new entrants and seasoned staff requires creating learning and career paths that set out a roadmap for building those competencies. Creating college-level security programs and degrees that help security professionals move from where they are to where they want to be is vital.

John Jennings, CEO, Safeguard Security

Continuing to evolve our business with the changing consumer landscape is a pressing issue. It’s about finding the way to have our service and RMR continue, and be relevant with the 20- and 30-year-olds. We must also continue to look for ways to make our systems easier to interface with. Complexity of use is our enemy and will continue to be so until our manufacturers embrace this. As part of these trends I believe we will see a new entrant into the industry that no one even imagined. But the most important thing is to keep your company evolving with the rapidly changing times.

Paul Boucherle, Principal, Matterhorn Consulting

Innovate or die. Traditional approaches are giving way to new ways to connect with customers. Alarm dealers will need to wake up and pay attention to the changing competitive landscape and buying options their traditional customers have today. New threats from established service providers and big-box retailers will erode their traditional growth paths. Being afraid of change and having a wait-and-see attitude will impair growth and innovation. Competition will stimulate fear and reaction that may not be well thought out. Integrators that step back and relearn their customers’ changing business challenges will come out ahead of the pack.

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About the Author
Scott Goldfine
Scott joined SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in October 1998 and has distinguished himself by producing award-winning, exemplary work. His editorial achievements have included blockbuster articles featuring major industry executives, such as Tyco Electronic Products Group Managing Director Gerry Head; Protection One President/CEO Richard Ginsburg; former Brink’s Home Security President/CEO Peter Michel; GE Interlogix President/CEO Ken Boyda; Bosch Security Systems President/CEO Peter Ribinski; and former SecurityLink President/CEO Jim Covert. Scott, who is an NTS Certified alarm technician, has become a respected and in-demand speaker at security industry events, including presentations at the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) Annual Meeting; California Alarm Association (CAA) Summer and Winter Conferences; PSA Security Network Conference; International Security Conference and Exhibition (ISC); and Security Industry Association (SIA) Forum. Scott often acts as an ambassador to mainstream media and is a participant in several industry associations. His previous experience as a cable-TV technician/installer and running his own audio company -- along with a lifelong fascination with electronics and computers -- prepared Scott well for his current position. Since graduating in 1986 with honors from California State University, Northridge with a degree in Radio-Television- Film, his professional endeavors have encompassed magazines, radio, TV, film, records, teletext, books, the Internet and more. In 2005, Scott captured the prestigious Western Publisher Maggie Award for Best Interview/Profile Trade for "9/11 Hero Tells Tale of Loses, Lessons," his October 2004 interview with former FDNY Commander Richard Picciotto, the last man to escape the Ground Zero destruction alive.
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