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Industry must move towards interoperability

Giants in the security industry all point to the rising influence of information technology as a major factor in how their businesses will change and be forced to adapt in the next few years.



November 22, 2007
By Jennifer Brown

Speaking at the 12th annual Securing New Ground conference in New York
City Nov. 13-14, ADT North America president John Koch said the
evolution of technology in the electronic security market means some
security buying decisions in large corporations are shifting to the
chief information officer (CIO) and enterprise business leaders.

“That makes advanced integration capabilities a more critical key
success factor,” Koch says. “Advanced systems integration becomes table
stakes. We believe this game is going to be played and won at a level
where physical security and IT infrastructure is integrated.”

During a panel discussion called The Industry’s Magicians: Systems
Integrators, George West, vice-president and division head of Siemens
Building Technologies, said that while the security department makes
final security decisions today, with input from cross-functional
departments, in the years ahead security decisions will be made by
“cross-functional risk councils” established in organizations.

West said an absence of standards is limiting technology choices and
noted that there is a slow adoption of emergency technologies. In the
future though, common standards will enable greater interoperability,
rapid integration of emerging technologies and proactive life-cycle
management.

Koch said ADT will increase their focus on the customer and segment key
vertical markets such as banking, which has traditionally in-sourced
monitoring. The company will also deploy new technologies to improve
the customer experience.

“We want to transform service delivery as a competitive differentiator.
We will equip service technicians with handheld mobile devices
integrated with our inventory system,” he says.
The company will also selectively expand distribution channels and
partnerships. “

We can’t do it all ourselves in a converged world,” he
says.

Antonio Cintra, president of Security Services, Americas for United
Technologies Corp., said that in the past, systems were created to
answer a specific problem, but now customers want more flexibility and
single access control systems operating over a number of sites and
perhaps centrally managed.

“We’re moving from security as a have-to-have, to a tool to drive
business forward and we need to anticipate these needs for our
customers and put IT at the heart of our industry,” says Cintra.
“Customers want interoperability and cost effectiveness.”

Echoing Cintra’s comments, John Sheridan, director of security
solutions for Nortel said security is no longer a “grudge buy”, there
are reasons for the purchase of a security system other than for
protection.

“I think in the next year we will see a much more varied approach to
procurement from customers. It will be more bundled packages and there
will be more introduction of managed services to enhance the recurring
monthly revenue model,” he says.

Koch also emphasized the importance of moving to an open-standards
based approach to technology, saying to do otherwise will mean
different silos of integration will occur.

Sandra Jones of Sandra Jones and Company, a Chardon, Ohio-based firm
specializing in the security industry, said IT is changing “every
aspect of this market.”

And while some IT integrators will take over
some portion of the security market, the smart security companies will
learn to partner with IT to evolve their businesses.
“It’s not that people will exit the market, but it is shifting things
around. The titans from the IT and HVAC market will make a play for who
will control the intelligent building markets,” she says.

Jeffrey Kessler, senior vice-president with Wall Street firm Lehman
Brothers, and the most well-known financial analyst of the security
market, says “the security industry has listened and they are getting
smarter” about the rising influence of IT.


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