Integrators are a key partner in many enterprises’ security programs, but they also have the unique viewpoint across the industry, foreseeing the next trends from manufacturers while understanding the demands and needs of integrators. According to Andre Greco, director of sales, security and fire solutions for integrator Johnson Controls, while the risks security executives face haven’t changed much over the past 10 years, the solutions provided by integrators and vendors have changed momentously. What else can enterprise security executives learn from asking the integrator?


What specific trends are you seeing with your security executive customers?

We’re seeing a definite trend toward the integration of disparate systems. Advanced integrators are finding ways to combine many different security and building automation systems from various manufacturers into a central location with a single point of control.  The results are savings of time and money and added performance and convenience. We are also in the very early stages of security executives accepting the Software as a Service (SaaS) model in which integrators provide hosted security services in a cloud-based environment.


What major risks/issues are your security executives facing?    

The risks facing security executives really haven’t changed all that much over the past decade. Security professionals are still concerned about terrorism, active shooters, managing delivery trucks and facilitating visitors. Many of the solutions from integrators and manufacturers have made major leaps and bounds on the backs of technological innovations. But the type of events that keep a security director awake at night is pretty much unchanged.


How are your security executive customers addressing cyber security in their enterprises and how are you assisting with that?

Traditionally, IT professionals, not security integrators, handle most cyber security issues. The security side has assisted in providing tools – access, video and biometrics – to keep unauthorized users away from vital computer equipment. And the security industry has also provided login technologies that help the IT side do its job.


Do you see your security executive customers looking to upgrade their analog video systems?

There is a definite movement toward IP-based technology. Several factors are driving this. We have access to increasingly powerful computer networks that can better handle the demands of transmitting large video streams. Improved compression technology has also helped to manage bandwidth concerns. Also, encoders can now take analog data and digitize it as part of an IP solution. That allows end users to migrate to IP at their own pace. They can add IP-based equipment as older analog units fail. This helps a security director to protect the investment in his legacy analog system while still moving toward the future.


What types of specific access control trends are you seeing with your security executive customers?

Access control technology is moving toward edge devices – putting the system’s intelligence at the door with IP-enabled controllers and readers. That minimizes the wiring required to a central station, cuts costs and reduces the amount of server time that can then be used for other purposes. Another interesting trend is the use of access control data by corporate space planners. The access system provides a constant update of how many people are in a building at any one time. The real estate people can use data such as average daily occupancy to help them make decisions on the best use of their facilities.


What is the most unique installation that you have recently done?

The Disney Family Cancer Center in Burbank, Calif. is providing patients with an experience rarely seen in healthcare. We helped to bring a multitude of disparate systems together on a single network to create a building that truly interacts with the patients. When patients first visit the center, they are enrolled in the security management system’s database and are allowed to select preferences for treatment rooms, including lighting, temperature, music and video imagery that create a personalized experience. Then through the use of real-time locating system (RTLS) badges issued to patients, the building, business and clinical systems stay two steps ahead of a patient upon his or her return. Because the security and building management systems are integrated, HVAC and lighting settings in the treatment room are automatically adjusted to the patient’s preference as he or she arrives for treatment. With more than 20 different integrated systems, authorized staff has central access to real-time monitoring and controls data. This integration positively impacts patients while also reducing infrastructure cost, increasing operational efficiencies and improving workflow. 


About the Author:

Andre Greco is the director of sales, security & fire solutions, for Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls. He has been involved in the security integration business since 1989.


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