Change management: Perspectives on 20 years of SP&T News
SP&T News recently reached out to leaders in security and asked them to share their thoughts on how the industry has evolved over the 20 years SP&T News has been in publication. A diverse group offers their perspectives on how customers, partners and technology has changed over the years and also share some special memories of SP&T News.
Vice-president of sales and marketing, Tri-Ed Canada
Personally I have been in the industry for over 30 years now in various roles and as much as the industry has changed it really has remained the same. Technology is better for sure . . . plug and play has eliminated manual programming, wireless technology has been perfected, cameras and many security devices are smaller and more intelligent, the smart phone is now integral in most applications and more and more major corporations are interested in our business, but at the end of the day I look around and I see many of my industry colleagues doing what they have always done, just quicker and more efficiently. I am proud to have been associated with the Canadian security industry for so long and cherish the long term relationships I have developed. SP&T News has been a partner in our industry for 20 years now and has helped communicate the issues and highlighted industry news to help us do our jobs better. For that I am grateful. Happy 20th anniversary!
President and country manager, ASSA ABLOY Canada
Over the past 20 years the security industry has become significantly more complex. Back then, there was a simple paradigm of mechanical solutions and access control. Today, there is a complete convergence of the two with a broad range of solutions in between, enabling access control in more places and more applications than ever before. I believe this shift is a direct result of the speed at which innovation now happens and how our world has embraced technology. This is an exciting time to be involved in the security industry. If it weren’t for SP&T keeping its finger on the pulse of our industry, informing readers of trends, identifying customer challenges and showcasing product solutions, our industry knowledge would not be so rich. On behalf of ASSA ABLOY, I’d like to say congratulations to SP&T News on your 20th anniversary and thank you for continually highlighting the important developments in our industry.
Canadian national sales manager, Aiphone Corp.
One of the bigger developments in security best practices over the past 20 years has been a focus on hardening entries to facilities ranging from schools to office buildings. Very often criminals, including active shooters, enter a building the same way most of us do — through the front door. Canada has avoided many of the violent shootings experienced in the U.S., but Canadians are not immune. We can control this type of event. All doors need to be locked and video intercoms used to allow employees to see and speak with visitors before allowing access. Visitor management systems confirm identities and maintain a record of who enters and exits the buildings. Other systems and CPTED rules can also play roles. These basics are being widely adopted throughout the country.
Vice-president of product marketing, AMAG Technology
I first moved into the security industry from IT in the very late 1990’s. My immediate impression was that the security industry was 10 years behind in the level of technology being deployed, and in the discussions we were holding around the topic of inter-operability and integration. It was difficult to hold a conversation about software integration as very few people understood what that was. The idea of an SDK or API was quite alien to the industry at that time. Integrations used inputs and outputs — or serial or modem communications. Inputs and outputs are still useful today, but the industry has caught up and security systems are now essentially an IT product.
President and CEO, Eagle Eye Networks
Cloud technology is transforming the way businesses access surveillance video and system status. Cloud adoption has been driven by technology factors such as flexible storage capacity, off-site redundancy, and improved multi-site integration. The Cloud is also shifting business models across the industry, bringing financial benefits from the economies of scale of a multi-tenant platform. Businesses are moving to subscription services so their physical security systems will scale and evolve directly with their business. In turn, physical security integrators are gradually transitioning to recurring revenue models for a stronger alignment with their customers.
VP, Americas, Axis Communications
The first time I met with SP&T News was in the Summer of 2004 while I was traveling through Canada to better understand the market and what Axis, as a company, needed to do to succeed. I had lunch with Paul Grossinger [then editor, now group publisher] and Peter Young [then advertising manager, now publisher] in Toronto and truly enjoyed the conversation and the in-depth knowledge they shared. I took many of their recommendations to heart. I have enjoyed the longstanding relationship with SP&T News, and together we’ve spent a lot of effort educating the Canadian market. The 20th anniversary is very special as the network camera also celebrates 20 years in September. Happy 20th Anniversary, SP&T News!
President, Hikvision USA and Hikvision Canada
The video surveillance industry in Canada has experienced many positive changes. Technological improvements in image resolution, video transmission compression, on-board analytics, and lighting features have given end-users a superior video surveillance experience. Due to the rise of IP cameras, a strong convergence of physical and IT security has occurred. In the past, dealers would negotiate with a physical security manager only. Today, that has changed to also include IT staff, since concerns about bandwidth and network security are paramount.
Vice-president of sales, Canada, Bosch Security Systems
When I first entered the industry, video was still being recorded to VCRs and companies were trying to solve the problem of changing tapes without having a person present. Integration was never a topic, as all technology was proprietary and there were no industry standards. Now, with the rapid adoption of networked security technology, we’re able to integrate multiple pieces together for a more complete system. Rarely do we look at systems as purely video or strictly intrusion. We’re looking at how we can connect the IP cameras to the alarm panel, while bringing in access control and communications to create a fully-integrated security solution that solves the user’s security and communications pain points.
Canada leader, Honeywell Security & Fire North America
Two decades ago, security professionals were excited about offering their customers more zone capabilities and outlets for conventional alarm panels. Today, they are looking at an advent of new technologies including wireless communication platforms such as IP, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Z-Wave. But the real reason behind the industry’s face-lift is a shift in customer needs and expectations as result of the rise of the IoT. Customers are embracing DIY and pushing manufacturers to rethink their offerings.
President, CEO and founder, Genetec
In 1996, Internet protocol (IP) networks began to have a profound impact on the physical security industry, which was primarily point-to-point analogue video. These new topologies included: point-to-multi-point inter-organizational sharing of video, federation (accessing and sharing video data across multiple locations and networks) and unification (combining many different IP security systems into a single management interface). We were able to realize greater retention periods for captured video data, as compression standards evolved from H.261 up to today’s H.265 formats. Storage went from several days to 30 days, and currently trends at 730 days (hosted on-premises, in the Cloud, or via hybrid storage). IP security systems scale to support 10s to 1,000s and up to millions of cameras — previously inconceivable with analogue. Availability and reliability of IP security systems can be supported by remote command and control and diagnostic health monitoring features, where analogue systems were often hindered by unusable or broken cameras. Along with digital watermarking, encryption and automatic redaction to address privacy concerns in an increasingly “on-camera” environment, IP helped us network, share, store, analyze and protect security video and systems in ways never possible with analogue.
Senior vice-president and Chief Operating Officer, Senstar
Over the past two decades the security industry has transformed in many ways but one of the most notable changes is the simplification of technology. Whereas security products used to be complex and specialized to install and manage, they have become more accessible and easier to use. This trend, combined with more competitive price points, means that security technologies can be deployed in many more applications than in the past. At the same time, the security requirements of customers are more sophisticated than before. More and more customers are looking for holistic and integrated solutions using multiple technologies that work together seamlessly and effectively to protect staff, property and critical assets from both physical and cyber threats. For example, more organizations are incorporating video, analytics and physical sensors into a common security system.
CEO, Viscount Systems
In the last 20 years, our industry has undergone a complete sea change from analogue cameras and panel-based access control to a whole host of network — and mobile-enabled security devices that not only protect, but also preempt. I remember several years ago, VoIP was even difficult to conceptualize in the telephone entry sector. Now, we take for granted just how much these concepts have made our communities safer and our lives more convenient. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the culmination of a generation’s worth of growth in empowered devices, and moving forward, the hardening of cyber security defences will be critical in protecting the investments and technological innovations that we’ve all worked hard to put forth. The challenges and escalating physical and logical threats that face communities in next 20 years will be monumentally more complex than the last 20, but I am confident that the industry’s best days are yet to come as we embrace Web-enabled technology and build resilience through true ingenuity.
President and CEO, March Networks
I have been fortunate to spend the past 20 years in the security industry and have witnessed several defining technology trends. One of the most significant has been the evolution from analogue to digital to IP video. Years ago, I would visit a leading bank or retailer and find investigators sifting through mountains of VCR tapes looking for a specific event. It was like trying to find the needle in a haystack. Even if the right tape was discovered, it was quite common to learn that someone had forgotten to switch out the tape and no video had been recorded. Today those same security managers have both live video and terabytes of recorded video from thousands of locations available within seconds. Advanced analytics also index video, enabling investigators to pinpoint events very quickly and reduce investigation times from several days to just minutes. Another key trend has been the emergence of software-based solutions. While historically, the industry has been categorized as hardware-based, customers are increasingly focused on ease of use and interoperability. Looking ahead, I remain very bullish on the overall industry. Cloud storage and video and data analytics are making video a core component of corporate and IT strategies, while faster processors, better compression and higher-capacity networks are resulting in new opportunities for innovation.
President, Mircom Group of Companies
In Mircom’s 25 years in the security and life safety industry, there has been dramatic change driven by constant innovation in technology. While relays and mechanical systems used to be the standard, today’s systems are based on sophisticated firmware and software. Panels have become more complex, requiring significantly more memory and power than the average household computer. We produce some of the many complex building technologies that are emerging with the “Internet of Things.” Mircom has been working tirelessly to create one platform that manages all security and life safety aspects of a building, from access control to fire alarm systems. The result we’re striving toward is an integrated system.