12th Securing New Ground Conference: Nov. 13-14, New York

“We can play a large role in bridging the gap be-tween physical security and IT based on using information in new ways and creating new applica-tions for customers,” Julie Donahue, vice president of IBM Global Technology Services, Security and Privacy told attendees during her keynote to open the 12th Securing New Ground™ conference in New York. The event attracted a record 300 indus-try professionals to the Roosevelt Hotel Nov. 13-14.

In her presentation, Donahue emphasized that while IBM is keen on the security industry, it is looking to fill more of a partnering or supporting role as opposed to establishing the type of dominance it holds in the IT world.

“Physical security is a huge market for IBM and one we are very committed to,” she said. “When we look at this market, we see it as a tremendous source of information gathering for customers for revenue opportunities as well as security. We believe behav-ioral analysis will play big.”

Among the many other notable and captivating speakers was John Koch, who was named presi-dent of ADT North America in November 2006. The former telecomm industry executive broke down the strategies and challenges for the industry’s largest installation and services company within the newly restructured Tyco Fire & Security (TFS). Koch also presented an extremely succinct six-level explana-tion of the road to total physical-logical security convergence, ranging from the basic tier of security products installation all the way up to business process optimization supported by physical secu-rity.

“In the world of convergence, no one provider can do it alone anymore,” said Koch. “It takes partner-ships. Security can no longer afford to function as separate silos.” He added that one of ADT’s key strategies is segmenting the market to focus on key industry verticals. “You can no longer go to market with a one-size-fits-all approach,” he said.

During a session titled “Follow the Money,” industry advisors pointed out how the home foreclosure epidemic is not only increasing residential account attrition, but also causing lenders to be more leery about the market and to charge more for financing. They also emphasized the importance for security companies to be strategic with low credit score customers due to the higher risk of default. A final word of advice for those thinking about selling their companies was to do so sooner rather than later as capital gains taxes are expected to increase follow-ing the 2008 election.

Later, “The Industry’s Magicians: Systems Integra-tors” served up some compelling perspectives, such as the fact that 2007 was the first year more Americans are living in urban as opposed to rural settings. This trend will continue, making infrastruc-ture more critical than ever. “Security decisions in the future will involve cross-functional ‘risk coun-cils,’” said George West, vice president and division head of Security Systems for Siemens Building Technologies (SBT). “Processes will begin to drive technology choices rather than vice versa. The integrator’s priority needs to be helping customers meet their business objectives.”

Brett Bontrager, president of Stanley Convergent Security, revealed how parent company and re-nowned toolmaker Stanley Works has gone from an environment of flat revenues to one of substan-tial growth since acquiring its way into the electronic security industry earlier this decade. Since 2002, Stanley has doubled its size to $4 billion, with the Stanley Security Solutions division accounting for 35 percent of the pie.

Bontrager’s comments came during the “View From the Top” session that closed out Day 1 and also included Greg Burge, vice president and general manager, Americas Commercial for GE Security. In addition to reiterating the company’s commitment to supporting the dealer channel, he said, “We see exponential growth in video in the home during the next few years, not for verification but for connec-tivity.”

“Security in some enterprise and government is changing from a ‘negative-sell’ need-to-have insur-ance policy to a value-added provider of critical infrastructure data,” said Jeff Kessler, a senior vice president with Lehman Brothers, during his “Wall Street Insights” session. His data showed security equipment and service stocks have outperformed the overall investment market in five of the past six years, with 130-percent growth since 2001 vs. 109 percent for the S&P index. According to Kessler, the leading industry investment opportunities during the next three to five years will be in background screening, data analytics, biometrics, networked video and sensor technology.

The closing presentation, “Tech Trends in the 21st Century: Video, Analytics & Other Products,” fea-tured, among others, Scott Schafer, senior vice president of North America Sales & Marketing for Pelco, and John Romanowich, president and CEO of SightLogix. The former talked about synergies with new parent company Schneider Electric’s America Power Conversion (APC) and building automation businesses, as well as Integral Tech-nologies becoming part of Pelco, while the latter predicted a huge market for preventative video for minimizing the extent and duration of events that disrupt an organization’s operations and lessen revenues/increase losses.

Summing up the current state of the industry and the market opportunities to be had, Schafer said, “Leading systems integrators have the world at their feet.”

The Securing New Ground Conference is owned and organized by Lehman Brothers, ProFinance Associates and Sandra Jones and Co., among others. For more information, visit www.securingnewground.com.

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at [email protected].

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