“Right timing is in all things the most important factor” – Hesiod
Perhaps a little food for thought from the ancient philosophers is in order for Today’s System Integrator as they contemplate a future that includes increasingly rapid technical change combined with the toughest economy since the 1980s. While predictions are not a science, there are a few fundamentally significant and culturally altering signposts out there.
I read an interesting book many years ago about the shipping billionaire Aristotle Onasis. He mentioned that no matter what time his day ended, (he evidently enjoyed late nights on his yacht), or how tired he was, he would spend time quietly reflecting on the events that transpired that day and thinking about how (and if) they had any influence on his business strategy. This is insightful advice regarding industry trends. It may be more difficult in our high tech society to make this solitary time available, but perhaps never more important. (Maybe this is one reason executives enjoy long airline flights away from phones, e-mail and constant interruptions).
I feel there are three BIG trends that impact the specific interests of the security integrator community and why I think you would be well served, and positioned, to pay more attention to them. In short, they are Security, Web 2.0 and IP.
In general security is becoming more prominent in society. One only has to look at the amount of spending generated to protect the Olympic games for a global example. Add to this the nature of electronic crime that continues to plague our networked society. The risk to reward ratio so favors criminal behavior at this time that current levels of identity, product fraud and intellectual property theft will accelerate. Add in a poor global economy and traditional physical theft and insider criminal activities are also on the rise. This all means that an integrated security policy that protects all business assets: human, physical and electronic will be expected from security integrators.
- Web 2.0
This is another combination of technology and societal behavior that has broad implications for society and your business model. Simply put it’s all about “individual innovation.” Early in my career, the IT department rolled out technical innovations on their timetable. Today, my kid can create an app for his Apple iPhone. We are living in a global community where collaboration and sharing ideas is the coin in trade. Nowhere is this more evident then in social networking trends (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) or in the video based, user content generated culture of YouTube. Innovative integrators will integrate these social applications with real time Web 2.0 security solutions.
- Internet Protocol (IP)
Everything over IP is the direction: voice, video and data. But ask yourself as question: “As an integrator do I really understand how to protect and defend these critical packets of information in this environment?” Be honest. Steve Jobs is a genius. He invented the pc (arguably), replaced it with the laptop, and is displacing the laptop with our handheld. Critical information over IP is in more places and is touching more people then ever before in recorded history. Can you say security issue! Integrators must deploy a socially flexible, collaborative and productive information-sharing environment (supply chain). Security will be built into the IP fabric and equally importantly; the “security culture” of the organization must be addressed. In the future, your margins on security education may be a pleasant (and repeatable) surprise!
Security, Web 2.0 and IP, Simple. Think about it!