The Security Industry is in “Operational Transformation” Mode: Are You?

by Dan Dunkel - President, New Era Associates

Published in Today's Systems Integrator

The development of the security industry was the commercial business’ answer to a societal problem, and an early indicator of a defensive security policy playing catch-up to an offensive security threat. It is interesting to track the development of the security profession through technical advances. I cited one early example of security convergence in a prior column, which highlighted the NYPD in the 1980s under Chief William Bratton and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. The Comstat system used computers and software to automate the process of integrating real time crime statistics with decision making. It provided an early example of automating the traditional concept of command and control with information technology.

Security, certainly from a physical perspective, is one of the final core functions of an organization to automate. Once the actual technical change occurs, the process of “operational transformation” is well underway. At this point, the change has gained momentum, and like the capitalist genie being released from the communist bottle, it has passed the point of no return regardless of the problems to be encountered along the way. This inflection point within the physical security industry has been reached. The command-and-control and surveillance functions are two traditional security areas undergoing rapid change.

One company focused on streamlining the command and control management operation is New York City-based Orsus, a pioneer in the field of situation management. Its product provides an entirely new approach to optimizing situation planning, response and analysis. The company develops software to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of site safety and security. The situation management system automates control room functions. It creates an environment where technologies, people and actionable procedures can be customized. It is the command-and-control management system of the future.

Gal Oron, director of U.S. Operations, explains, “Future security solutions require a more holistic approach. Situation Management effectively reduces the risk of human error by enabling automatic procedure activation, event-triggered control and management of all types of devices and systems, and real decision support tools.” Innovative security solutions increasingly leverage personnel resource capabilities to provide a cost of ownership advantage. Gal adds, “Automating security tasks reduces the control room workload and helps free control room personnel to focus on more critical tasks.”

As security functions have modernized, the opportunities involving convergence are occurring at both a technical and a personnel level. The capacity of network bandwidth and increasing transfer speeds to accommodate voice, video and data capabilities provide a perfect storm of systems-based interoperability and innovation for skilled systems integrators to capitalize on. These new solutions can transform security positioning from a “cost of doing business” to an added value in “securing the business .”As evidenced by the direction of software development, this trend will continue and leading-edge integrators will be offering solutions to improve security operations while simultaneously leveraging advances in IT infrastructure.

New York City-based Agent Video Intelligence Inc. (AGENT Vi) offers a unique video intelligence solution based on its patented IPoIP™ (Image Processing over IP) technology. It upgrades existing video devices (DVRs, video encoders and IP-cameras) with video intelligence functionality without any additional hardware. The product essentially adds a video intelligence layer to any IP surveillance network, which can be customized to specific user needs. The strategy is to upgrade and link existing legacy (read “dumb”) analog CCTV cameras to provide advanced detection features. Agent Vi’s technology is a perfect example of leveraging IT infrastructure to reduce deployment and operational costs for enterprise-class video analytics systems. “Agent Vi uses a unique processing technology that enhances the sophistication of the software analytics. The end result is a solution that minimizes the required amounts of hardware and network bandwidth,” says Dieter Kondek, president & CEO of AGENT Vi.

Frost and Sullivan, a global consulting company, selected AGENT Vi as the recipient of the prestigious 2006 Frost & Sullivan Award for Product Innovation in the video analytics market. Agent Video Intelligence offers integrators a unique product to improve the positioning of security solutions within enterprise environments. The video analytics market is just one segment of the security industry experiencing rapid change and accelerated growth rates.

CEO Kondek sees a bright future, “Video analytics has only been available for a few short years, and so the industry as a whole is just now beginning to recognize the power of software surveillance and the invaluable dimension it brings to the security cache. Two years from now, surveillance software will be as basic a component in security systems as the video camera is today. And security professionals will wonder how they ever functioned without it.”

Orsus and AGENT Vi are just two of the many innovative companies that will be attending ISC West in Las Vegas next week. As a systems integrator, will you be attending and “securing reseller relationships” with leading edge companies?

If not, you may wonder why you missed the boat. Security Convergence is happening NOW! The education is over…it is time to execute. Operational Transformation is an opportunity, not an obstacle.