Technology on Security’s Terms

Just like that, another year comes full circle, marked as it is each December by SSI’s annual Technology Issue. Of course, we cover this topic month in and month out as it is core to the business of security. However, I believe it is important to review some of the latest and greatest technologies introduced during a given 12-month stanza (2013’s Top 30 Technology Innovations) as well as examine those shaping the industry’s future (VMS/PSIM; hosted video; integration).

As a fervent technology enthusiast, when I entered the security industry more than 15 years ago I wondered why many cutting-edge technologies, scientific breakthroughs, and computing and electronics advancements embraced by hobbyists and consumers were not prominent in the security community. It was the age of videogame consoles like PlayStation and movies like “The Matrix,” for heaven’s sake — you mean to tell me things like crystal-clear video surveillance and biometrics were not ubiquitous?!

I came to realize there were good reasons for this. Security through the eyes of Hollywood and the media was closer to fantasy than reality, and the discipline of security with its mission to protect people and property required a methodical and circumspect approach to new technologies and products. I learned the world of security was not a place to adopt or deploy technology merely for technology’s sake. Technology had to be thoroughly vetted and proven before seriously considered. Once I understood, it made perfect sense.

While those principles still hold true, the landscape has dramatically shifted in several ways since the late 1990s. The events of 9/11 irrevocably elevated everyone’s awareness level, their realization for the need to improve and interest of applying new technologies to security. That coincided with the onset of the digital revolution that flowed into huge leaps in computing power, the Internet and broadband, wireless devices and communications, networked infrastructures, sensors and automation, smartphones and apps, and the cloud. These factors accelerated the pace of technology migrating into security for the purposes of both superior functionality and satisfying a new breed of more tech-savvy end users.

These developments have also made it more challenging than ever for security practitioners to judiciously evaluate leading- vs. bleeding-edge technology. When in doubt, most responsible for others’ or their own organization’s security are going to error on the side of caution — which is how it should be and something that must not be compromised.

In the spirit of the season, this issue’s theme and the quest for universal understanding, let’s look closer to contrast the collective mindsets of manufacturer, dealer and user, and contemplate each faction’s security technology holiday wish.

MANUFACTURERS — Larger suppliers are under pressure to justify their R&D expenditures and satisfy investors/stockholders; smaller ones seek to push innovation (in some cases disruption) into the marketplace and establish their brand; both are after profits and growth, and see dealers/integrators as both facilitators and hindrances to market penetration. Holiday security technology wish: For dealers/integrators to more quickly train on and sell new products.

DEALERS/INTEGRATORS — They are excited about opportunities and the potential of new technologies but leery of becoming in effect beta testers of unproven products, want to get staff in place and trained on IT-based solutions, are concerned about manufacturers circumventing the channel to sell direct, and are looking to increase the value proposition to customers and RMR. Holiday security technology wish: For manufacturers to honor the channel and offer true interoperability, and for users to have realistic expectations.

END USERS — Commercial clients need system scalability, reliability, flexibility, affordability and value-adds pleasing to executive management that also offer operational efficiencies and are obsolescence resistant; residential customers expect simplicity, convenience, immediacy, thriftiness and fun. Holiday security technology wish: To obtain enhancements in safety, productivity and lifestyle.

You know what? All those wishes just may come true. And with that, good security technology to all and to all good security technology!

Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine has spent more than 15 years with SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. Follow him online via the Under Surveillance blog at securitysales.com/blog.

About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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