UL Life Safety & Security’s Robert Jamieson Talks False Alarm Challenges in 2012

What does 2012 hold in store for your business and the industry? Find out with the many insights offered in SSI‘s annual Industry Forecast, which is featured in our January issue. This year, more than 25 of the industry’s most prominent research firms, trade associations, business and finance specialists, systems integrators, manufacturers, consultants, and alarm companies rendered a deep and sweeping portrait of the impending security landscape. The participants addressed the most significant changes, challenges and opportunities they anticipate taking place during the next 12 months in seven critical areas. They are: security technology; security markets; security industry; business and operations; politics and legislation; risks and threats; and ongoing challenges. With the boundaries of print being too constrained to present all of the fascinating and valuable assessments, each of the respondents’ complete, edited interviews are being offered exclusively online. Happy New Year!

Robert Jamieson
Global Director of Commercial Operations & GM
UL Life Safety & Security

Security Technology

Robert Jamieson: Acceleration of the shift to IP technologies with the resultant change in equipment/systems. This change will drive much more “cloud”-type, or edge-type, devices that are significantly smarter than the current devices tied to controllers. The challenge created by this change will be from the lack of cyber security inherent in the devices, which can result in very “hack-able” systems. The opportunity, however, is great as long as cyber security concerns are appropriately addressed. The systems that can be deployed in this new environment can provide much richer datasets than in the current paradigm and can also provide increased convergence with other systems that can result in significantly reduced false alarms and increased apprehensions and protection of life and property.

Security Markets

Jamieson: Disruptive technologies and programs within the market and further downward pressure on price points. Opportunity, however, for selling increased value to customers based on enhanced functionality and types of data available. 

Security Business and Operations

Jamieson: Change in skill sets to a much more “high-tech” installer/dealer. Remote configuration of systems as well as cloud-connected smart systems will change the landscape from an operations perspective. The opportunity, however, is in interfacing with the converged systems and expanding services to those systems. As all systems become more software dependent, maintenance contracts can be expanded to include remote repair/diagnostics on many of the new systems going into the premise. As the operations staff become more IT qualified there will be opportunities to go into maintaining more of the infrastructure that supports the systems.

Security Industry

Jamieson: Understanding and then appropriately addressing the cyber security issues. Within the three classifications of cyber-crime, which is an extremely fast growing criminal segment, security systems are becoming increasing vulnerable to social engineering attacks, malware attacks, as well as traditional system hacking. Addressing these issues will be critical, but this also represents the next generation of security. In a world where banking, video surveillance, access control, now mixed between logical and physical, and identity management are all taking place over the Internet, there is a significant opportunity for security professionals who can bridge between the physical and logical worlds.

Politics and Legislation

Jamieson: Getting the politicians to be demand drivers for the new security requirements to meet the challenges outlined above, but at the same time allowing the private sector standards development organizations to develop standards, testing and certification programs to meet the rapidly changing landscape. We need our political systems to demand the appropriate protections while at the same time not allow the market to be driven by self-declarations as some unscrupulous parties will declare anything to make a sale.

Ongoing Challenges

Jamieson: False alarms due to user/operator error. Eventually systems may become intelligent enough to prevent user error but in the near term this problem will continue to haunt the security industry. As we shift to this new Internet paradigm, this problem will be exacerbated by users falling for social engineering attacks and malware attacks that can further degrade and create failures within the security systems.

Projecting 2012

Jamieson: Slight growth in the overall market. Some additional growth opportunities in the retrofit and maintenance market as companies look for ways to extend the life of their existing systems while taking advantage of some of the new advances in technology.

Final Thoughts

Jamieson: We live in highly disruptive times. During the past decade we have seen a significant increase in the power of the CIO over security systems. In this decade there will be significant opportunities to those companies that develop a deep understanding of the problems created by the technology shifts and can help their customers navigate those changes.


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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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