I recently was interviewed by Security magazine on intelligent communications. Before participating, I was intrigued by the questions we knew we would be asked:

  1. Why is it important to your client’s success, and your own, to integrate intelligent communications into your business?
  2. What are the keys to evaluating intelligent communications solutions?
  3. Why is it critical to leverage intelligent communications for situational awareness and actionable response into your security strategy, planning and deployment?

Like many consultants, integrators, specifiers and security executives, I find myself gravitating toward access control and video. Secure the perimeter. Provide situational awareness through video. Standard muscle memory for all of us.

But as we increasingly move toward building a holistic 360-degree platform to satisfy the true business and security needs, we realize we may not have fully appreciated the role of voice in the equation.

Have you noticed that consumer behavior can be the canary in the cage whispering to the security industry what the next big thing might be? If so, you have seen the digital assistants in people’s homes, cars and phones waiting for a prompt to fulfill our every need. Lights turn on, schedules are communicated, shopping lists are populated. Someone comes to our door, and we can not only see them from our mobile phone or tablet, we can talk to them as well.


Voice is the next killer app.

            When we first started deploying voice in security, it was low-grade sound clarity, analog and clunky looking. Now there are vendors who deliver Bose-like sound quality with noise cancellation on our networks. They have plug-and-play SIP stations for our corporate VoIP platform. And they are integrated into our access control and video management systems. A few are designing with IT in mind. And this is important because if security is mission critical, then the devices you deploy must be provisioned as mission critical systems. They should be designed and deployed with cyber defensibility. They need to be highly available (0.99999 uptime), highly scalable (easy to deploy and extend) and maintainable to keep the total cost of ownership low.

We need to be able to easily integrate these devices as well. The new platforms need to own the intelligent communications solutions, not just offer it as a token integration. There are three different access control vendors who are doing this. Look for the vendors whose people evidence their knowledge and ownership of this during your discussions with them.

We should all be thinking in terms of solutions not products. What key elements need to go into your intelligent communications solutions, and who will be your trusted vendors in helping you create use cases so that you truly know they work when deployed?

We need to test for sound clarity, interoperability and the IT requirements for the enterprise. And you will be considering working with VoIP systems, guard radios, mobile devices and multi-modal communications platforms as well as access control and video management systems.

The good news is that we have proof points of productivity as well as the mitigation of risk from these strategies and deployments today. For these executives, they have seen, heard and measured the impact. Can you see… and hear the future?