While getting out to major industry events is usually an energizing experience, the consensus at this year’s recent ASIS expo in Dallas was particularly invigorating. To some extent, it may be more of a collective relief that the security industry and most of its practitioners have withstood one of the harshest economic periods in modern times and that the worst of it is behind us. So while the turnout may not have bested last year’s show in Anaheim, Calif., the number of exhibitors are fewer and many booths are smaller than what we saw a couple of years ago, an eagerness to move upward and onward and cautious optimism presently dominate the outlook for 2011.
I picked up plenty of notable news, participated in dozens of meetings with exhibitors and our readers, attended sessions and press conferences, manned SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION‘s booth, and enjoyed several business dinners, mixers, parties and other functions. WHEW! See our report here for a summary of what took place in and around the show floor, and see the one-on-one interview I conducted with new Honeywell President JoAnna Sohovich that you can read here.
Overall, some of the key trends I observed were: continuing proliferation of IP video and especially megapixel cameras; further development of analytics and data mining to more effectively optimize and organize video surveillance monitoring and recording; a continued push toward standards and interoperability for networked video and access control; mobile security system interface and control via smartphones and iPads; enabling and positioning security solutions as enterprise management tools; driving up recurring revenues with hosted and remotely managed video and access services.
One of the more interesting meetings I had was at the ADT booth with Daiva Wood, manager strategic products access control. Having integrated the Broadview Security acquisition into the business and split operations into residential and commercial divisions, she explained how ADT is expanding into logical security. She told me how with what had been separately run security systems now proliferating on enterprise networks that securing the network itself and ensuring the integrity of the data is critical. This is particularly true in markets such as banking, homeland security and government.
Hosted and managed security, video and access control services are at the forefront of this trend. Cyber terrorism, identify theft and hacking are huge and real threats for both hardwired and wireless networks. An article you can read here from SSI‘s sister publication Automotive Fleet underscores how far-reaching security vulnerabilities are in our computerized age. At the crux of securing networks and the data they carry are encryption and authentication.
According to Wood, ADT is entering that world. She says sometime soon the company will introduce company-branded computer authentication services that will appear to users as “Secured (or Cyber Verification) by ADT (or Tyco).” This reminded me of recent news of Guardian Protection Services expanding its offerings into identify theft protection and I asked Wood about recurring revenue opportunities in logical security. She explained how digital certificates must be renewed periodically and once you are “in” you are likely to be able to cash in on those renewals for years.
Wood, who brings a unique blend of passion and analytical prowess from her previous experience as a musician and NASA researcher to her current role with ADT, is also a vocal advocate of moving away from proximity and Wiegand access cards to smart cards. She also shared that the company plans to leverage its strength in monitoring centers (that had been primarily residentially focused) to increase its outsourced security services for commercial enterprises.
Before I wrap up my comments about ASIS, I would be remiss without talking about my Cowboys Stadium experience in Arlington just outside Dallas.
I took part in the ASIS-organized “security tour” of the new, world-class sports venue the Monday before the show began that, unfortunately, turned out to be rather disappointing. I had anticipated seeing the stadium’s security command center and some of the inner-workings of the facility’s 300-camera surveillance system. However, the only security element of the tour was a guard supervisor explaining that their most common incidents are drunk and disorderly behavior. After that we were marched off to a luxury suite, the press box, pro shop and back on the bus.
Fortunately, being a lifelong Cowboys fan who grew up in Los Angeles and never witnessed a Dallas home game, I had seized the opportunity to fly into Dallas early and attend the contest against the Tennessee Titans the Sunday before the lackluster security tour. Although the game was a thrill the Cowboys lost and added to what is shaping up as one of the most disappointing campaigns among their 50 seasons. That left the best for last.
On Wednesday night, Stanley Convergent Security Solutions hosted a lavish party for its customers at Cowboys Stadium that I was lucky enough to attend. Regardless of your NFL team allegiance, it was an amazing night (I overheard folks still talking about it as I boarded my homebound jet two days later) but for this Cowboys fan it was the experience of a lifetime. I was able to meet team owner Jerry Jones, former players (and childhood heroes) and current cheerleaders, as well as participate in the punt, pass and kick stations that were set up on the field. I was also able to see the team’s five Super Bowl trophies up close and tour the locker room of what is an astounding facility with attention to every detail.
For me, the third time to Cowboys Stadium was definitely the charm. Next year’s ASIS show is in Orlando, Fla., and I can only imagine what Stanley might produce in the shadow of Disney World. So tell me, did you make it to Dallas? If so, what was your take on the event this year?