Yours truly (right) keeping current on the SALTO access control product line with a demonstration of the latest by Senior Vice President Commercial Sales Michael Mahon at the ASIS 2012 show in Philadelphia. The product was one of SSI’s Top 30 Technology Innovations for 2011.
Are you busy at work? If not, are you looking for some new technology ideas to generate more business? Did you get a chance to attend this year’s huge annual ASIS tradeshow in Philadelphia? What am I getting at? Well if you were tied up with work you may not have had the time to attend the exposition and conference. Even if you had the time to spare, the cost of the trip may not have been within your budget. The fact is only a relatively small percentage of industry professionals have the inclination and resources to partake in even the highest profile of industry conventions.
Have no fear! Tech Talk Bob is here, and I was fortunate enough to be able to take part in this hectic, fun and fascinating event. Although show attendance and floor traffic was noticeably lighter than usual, there were nevertheless plenty of noteworthy exhibits, product introductions and other happenings. So allow me to be an extension of your senses and sensibility as I share some of the tech items and issues that caught my attention. For those who did attend, please pass along your own observations as well.
Organizer Has Its Act Together
First off, if you are a systems dealer or integrator who is not familiar with the ASIS organization, you may be missing out on some serious business networking and educational opportunities. The association, which is international but also has local U.S. chapters, presently has 38,000 members worldwide (see sidebar for more).
I have been a member since 1979 and remember the development of the ASIS certification program. An ASIS membership is one of the leading ways to distinguish and legitimize oneself as a security business professional. The Physical Security Professional (PSP) certification program may be of special interest to you.
As for this year’s gathering in Philly, I commend ASIS show organizers for making a special effort to set timeslots aside each day where only the exhibit hall was open and active. This approach frees up many attendees who might otherwise be engaged in the event’s established and respected educational and certification sessions.
The expo’s three days was a bustling time for the exhibitors to show off their latest and greatest wares to attendees, most of whom were high level end users, installing contractors or consultants. This show in particular provides one of the best opportunities to see some of the bigger applications of security technology used by major corporations and government.
Lots of Commotion About the Cloud
One of the most prominent discussions at ASIS 2012 was on the pros and cons of utilizing cloud services for security technologies, such as video management. Those in favor believe the cloud offers scalability, cost savings and security. Being able to adjust the size of video storage as a customer’s needs grow and contract, and passing along savings by not having to invest directly in servers and hard drives for storage seems to be popular.
Those critical and skeptical of cloud services state that dealers should be careful of committing to third-party storage services that might not offer the ease to change to other cloud services in the future. Contractual deployment issues and obligations may be a future problem for customers. While cloud critics agreed that the technology appears to be working fine, care in implementation and long-term planning cautions are cited. Cloud storage standards would help abate this concern.
One suggested successful cloud marketing strategy is to allow customers to have monthly storage commitments the first year rather than long-term contracts. The customer’s concerns are eased as they can cancel at any time. While this may sound risky for the reseller, statistically up to 99% of customers stay with the existing cloud service.
Ironically, it appears that weaknesses in video management services are still based on not following classic “best practices,” such as simply changing default security passwords. Can you believe that “1234” is still being used? When will we learn, people? Regular auditing of video management security for your customers is still highly encouraged.
High-Tech Surveillance Shapes Up
Many of the exhibitors at high profile shows such as ASIS 2012 provide products for large commercial and government installations. One big challenge is to have a minimal amount of security equipment to protect a large area such as coastal and facility perimeters.
When investigating or offering solutions to this market sector, you may encounter terms such as geo-spatial proceduralized response control (G-SPRC). To find out more about this topic, take a look at systems like ActiveSentry from JETprotect (jet-protect.com) or the Hawkeye Effect from Optex (www.optexamerica.com).