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Convergence a cry or reality?

12 March 2019

There are two trends hitting the security market that fall under the banner of convergence, Philip Ingram MBE provides further insight.

THE FIRST trend is hardware manufacturers, traditionally producing better cameras, locks, alarms year on year with newer features. However, those features are increasingly controlled by some form of management software, so traditional hardware manufacturers are becoming software houses as well. Some would argue that many traditional manufacturers are now primarily software houses.

Jarod Booth, Strategic Supplier Relationship Manager – Security, with Anixter said, “Cybersecurity, commoditization, interoperability and the impact of IoT are some of the biggest challenges we are seeing within the security industry.” 

This has a direct implication for the next trend, the installer. Is the type of person who is comfortable 20 feet up a ladder installing a CCTV camera on the side of a building in the pouring rain, the same type of person who is happy and comfortable in front of a network configuration screen on a computer as well as integrating functionality to app-based controls? Have we got our skill sets right or what do we need to do to ensure our hardware is properly installed and our software configured correctly?

John Davies, owner and MD of TDSi said, “On the access control side of things, we’ve been software driven for 10-15 years at least now.  It’s through the software that interoperability and integration take place and it is the vehicle through which problems are solved.  With the advent of IoT and Cloud computing and the traction that has in the wider world, we are now seeing manufacturers from the Intruder Alarm side of the piece beginning to embrace software and delivering solutions and services.”

The R&D Director of Comelit, Sergio Nicoli, said, “new products need to have a connection to the cloud and from Comelit’s perspective, this means new groups of people are involved in R&D, including now software designers and app builders.”

These questions are at the core of The Security Event and will be the subject of a panel discussion bringing together some of the leading experts from across the industry to examine the challenges from an installers perspective, the cyber challenges from a leading cyber consultancy and the manufacturing challenges from some leading manufacturers. However, when it all goes wrong, what is the police view?

Having recently sold the award-winning CCTV installation company, the Northumberland-based 2020 Vision Systems, with a satellite office in Birmingham to the Glasgow headquartered Boston Networks, there is not much Peter Houlis doesn’t know about the challenges facing the installers market. The advantage he brings is from a hugely successful business perspective, he knows how to address and overcome those challenges. However, Peter will freely admit that the cyber challenge is one that has the potential to cause issues across the industry. 

From changing training and education requirements, to differing product support needs, to understanding the cyber threat and the implications of a new end point on a network. These are all challenges the installers community is facing today.

The Halesowen based Cyber Security Consultancy Advent IM have a refreshing approach to helping companies, they continually ask, “Is this the best possible way to achieve our security aims?”  They also wrap their whole approach up from a wider security perspective. Mike Gillespie the MD of Advent IM is the cyber advisor to the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Tony Porter so his company knows exactly what the challenges are for installers and integrators.  His right-hand lady, Ellie Hurst, will sit alongside Peter Houlis on the convergence debate panel. 

If they weren’t enough, the panel is beefed up by DC Patrick McBrearty, a Cyber Protect Officer within the Regional Organised Crime Unit for the West Midlands (ROCUWM) who can expand on the police perspective, Jan Meiswinkel, CEO of Advancis Software and Services GmbH, and Andrew Tsonchev, Director of Technology at Darktrace Industrial and all chaired by Philip Ingram MBE.  The scene is well set to give the best possible set of insights to the convergence discussion from every angle. 

The Security Event is free to attend and offers free parking at the NEC from 9-11 April 2019. It will see the Convergence debate on the morning of day 2 (10 April) at 10:30-11:15, this is one seminar not to miss. 

Register now at www.thesecurityevent.co.uk