Recently, Microsoft announced their definition of intelligent communications: “Highly scalable, functionally rich, enterprise grade communications and collaboration solutions that adapt to changing business conditions with the ultimate goal of providing clear directional communication at the time of need.”

Our Strategic Advisor recently attended a global technology conference held by a leader in intelligent communications. Their CTO provided some insights on how our expectations of technology have changed throughout the years.

In 1995, we were led to believe that our scorecard for communications was limited to silos of excellence. In 2002, the age of IPBX, we witnessed a change in the PBX world. Servers and devices began to be connected within an IP/IT infrastructure.In 2012, we were introduced to a new term, Unified Communications. Suddenly we had a service platform connecting mobile, PBX and Intercom with their associated devices connected through an IP/IT infrastructure backbone. Public Address and Radio systems began to provide servers with connected devices on the same network.

And now we are in 2017, moving toward an Intelligent Communications world that will connect all the communication silos together. Business models will adapt to take advantage of this new world, with systems integrators investing in the development of business solutions across multiple vertical markets to add more value to an increasingly commoditized device market.

The demand from the client will not be for a cheap device, but for a solution based on these evolving service platforms that are becoming increasingly complex as well as valuable.

If we apply this to the ecosystem of physical security (consultants, specifiers, integrators and technology providers) we would see intercom and public address as a service platform along with IPBX (think Cisco or Avaya), Security Management (think Lenel, AMAG or Genetec), Radio (think Motorola) and IT software (like Microsoft, Google or Amazon).

Along with these platforms will be security risk management providers who specialize in vertical solutions integrating these platforms. They will create the need for more innovation since they are closely associated with the pain and the opportunity in each customer within evolving vertical markets.

An example of this is Genetec. Known as a VMS vendor, they created a service platform by embedding a SIP server that then can manage SIP-enabled edge devices, including intercom stations and intercom exchange servers that are SIP-compliant.

SIP trunking is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and streaming media service based on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) by which Internet telephony service providers (ITSPs) deliver telephone services and unified communications to customers equipped with SIP-based private branch exchange (IP-PBX) and Unified Communications facilities.

As more IoT devices (sensors) are introduced, new services emerge that integrate them. Clients will see new approaches to optimizing their people, processes and technology architecture.

New innovations in our traditional client/server model will begin to emerge with enterprise server capabilities becoming embedded in intelligent communication devices that do not demand a server and communicating with other devices on a peer-to-peer level promising local survivability and scalability.

But to do this requires a new security design process and skilled practitioners with a strong foundation of risk, resilience and security assessment, strategy and program execution, and it be applied with applications domain expertise in these emerging technologies. It will be difficult for the existing systems integrator and service vendor ecosystem to respond to this opportunity and need. They need to be ready to provide their clients a new path to value.