Are We There Yet?

We’re now negotiating a period of industry history in which digital technology is yanking security and IT users into shared operational responsibilities, integrators and distributors into shared bi-channel supply management challenges, and manufacturers into the shared packaging of security/IT IP products to simulate virtual systems. Imagine what it’s like to be an only partially-informed security user making buying choices in this environment. 

One of the operating attractions of convergence is the simplicity of it all — a single security/MIS network tied into every corner of the enterprise. It’s like the perfect marketing program. Corporate users throughout all facilities can access all the information they need. But getting there has a lot to do with the word operating. Especially since operating a not-as-yet or even soon-to-be convergent security system is still a considerable feat.

Crossing the Finish Line

While there is no neo-Windows® security software on the market yet to easily operate all the cameras, readers, edge products and other equipment in a sophisticated convergent system, the product introductions keep coming. We’re apparently inching our way there.

In the IT industry’s early days the business model was comprised of lots of standalone branded computer stores catering to the curious PC buyer. Expert advice was provided to underpin the sale of hardware and software. As PC users learned more about computer equipment, what was once “expert” information became generic, common knowledge. IT prices declined, stores failed to cover their overheads, and many went out of business. While there could be a limited parallel here to the current security marketplace if expert information ever became generic, the question could be, “When might that happen?”

But the primary question remains: Are we there yet? The job of a security manager is certainly far more complex than just operating a PC. But are we at least in a software position to make that part of a converged system easy to operate? Users, on balance, say more is needed and we’re not there yet.

What the user thinks can sometimes be a reflection of something that manufacturers and integrators introduced as much as a year earlier. The distance between initial supplier and user does not seem to be shortening in terms of what is said, what is heard, and what is finally internalized. That information will sift its way through the market. But until it is acted upon, user playback is saying that software is not yet where it should be.

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