Manufacturers, End Users Cross Paths at 2001 SIA Forum


Some 100 security professionals were welcomed with record heat in the 80s for the 2001 Security Industry Association (SIA) Forum Feb. 4-6 in San Diego. Entitled “Meeting the Needs of Today’s Customer,” the conference was, by all accounts, the most successful SIA has ever put on. It provided a rare opportunity for high level end users to communicate their interests, concerns and needs to manufacturers.

“What End Users Want From Manufacturers … Satisfaction” was the first of five sessions held throughout the day. It was highlighted by Tom Rohr, manager of worldwide corporate security for Eastman Kodak Co., who detailed Kodak’s massive access control system, which includes 25 badging and 82 administration stations controlling some 2,300 card readers. “Our task as security professionals is to minimize the inconvenience [to users], while maximizing the protection afforded,” says Rohr. He adds that providers should not push equipment and services that exceed the client’s current needs. “Sometimes, the customer only needs a car wash, not the ‘works’,” he says.Technology took center stage with the presentation, “Science Meets Security: The Growing Biometrics Sector.” The session covered facial, hand, finger, iris and voice biometrics and was highlighted by Bill Spence’s animated rundown of the technology’s broad range of potential applications. The director of marketing for Identix says biometrics eliminates the need for users to remember passwords and that each type has its place in the market.

Small-, medium- and large-sized integrators were well represented in the next forum, called “Strengthening the Relationship Between Manufacturers and Systems Integrators.” Representatives from Security Technologies Group (STG), VideoTronix Inc., Siemens Inc. and Semco Integrated Systems discussed issues affecting their relationships with manufacturers, such as product development, support and services, multiple location accounts and channels. In regards to product development, Mark Landis, vice chairman for STG, says, “Systems integrators should provide a majority of the input, since they are on the ‘front lines’ and often know better than the manufacturers what the market requirements are.”

Tuesday’s seminars kicked off with “What End Users Expect From Security Systems Integrators.” Bob Falconi, regional security director for Hewlett Packard, Jim Spencer, managing director for The Tartan Group, and Jeff Meaney, security director for Fidelity Investments, spoke on technical competence, geographic coverage, project management and partnering beyond projects. “Continuity can be gained by having a project management methodology that includes one representative from the end user, one from the systems integrator and one from the manufacturer,” says Falconi.Bob Cizmadia, CPP FSO, senior security manager for Gage-Babcock and Associates, blew everyone’s mind with a look to the future of security technology during “The Cutting Edge of the Industry: Horizon Technologies.” Cizmadia predicts biometrics, robotics and tiny CCTV devices will emerge as major security industry markets by 2015. He also warned about the ethical implications attached to such advancements.

Protecting information was the next hot topic. Entitled “Information Security: Protecting Your Company and Its Valuable Data” and moderated by Steve Wagner, vice president of development for HID Corp., the session covered the benefits of using proximity and smart cards to access computers and networks. The panel conceded that the widespread use of smart cards in the U.S. market would require a ubiquitous concern, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, to adopt and disseminate the technology.The 2001 SIA Forum wrapped up with “The Crystal Ball: What Is the Future of the Industry?” John Carter, vice president for Ultrak, says big changes lay ahead in the areas of networks, embedded systems, video, control systems, personal digital assistants (PDAs), integration and industry standards. “Security is a young industry and it is key that we have established standards in the future,” says Carter.

The 2002 SIA Forum is set for Tampa, Fla. For more information, visit

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