Bringing Integrated Security to Asia: Needs versus Wants

Bringing Integrated Security to Asia: Needs versus Wants

Integration is an ongoing trend in security, but existing solutions sometimes fall short of expectations. Michael Mann, Director of Global Security Solutions, Johnson Controls, examines convergence in the Asian market.

In almost every language, security is defined by the need to protect people, property and assets. While different countries face varying compliance standards, economic conditions and threat levels, security system integrators must adapt their services and solutions appropriately.

Johnson Controls works toward the development and implementation of security integration systems that reduce incident risk, increase efficiency and meet compliance standards, while decreasing operation costs. In 2008, it embarked on an aggressive strategy to increase the company's global customer base to more than 50,000 businesses. While the strategy focused on multiple target markets including continued growth across North America, Europe, Middle East and Latin America, Johnson Controls executives set their sights on the largest continent in the world — Asia.

Understanding the complexity of the region, an executive team traveled to Asia to assess the differentiating factors across multiple countries, each with its own unique set of "needs versus wants."

The team discovered while security was viewed as the need to protect life, property and assets, the one-size-fits-all approach would not work in Asia. The company would need to leverage its existing building efficiency relationships in the region to help customers understand integration. Customers needed to understand how the convergence of physical security, information security, IT systems, building automation and business applications could lead to measurable business outcomes.

In each country, this would be achieved through unique solutions that address the following four conditions by varying degrees:
* The desire for modern building integration
* The benefit of strong local partnerships
* The need for advanced incident response
* The importance of prevention and deterrence

Modern Building Integration
Start-of-the-art, smart buildings decorate skylines across Southeast Asia. Many local companies leverage the marketability of advanced technologies with a desire to be sustainable and energy efficient. Executives are looking for building automation services that maximize interoperability, streamline costs and increase the initial return on investment.

Businesses in Japan are reaping the measurable fiscal benefits of convergence, when systems such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning integrate with security systems including access control and occupancy sensors. In many regions of the world, a large price tag is attached to these levels of integration. This is not so in Asia, where executives demand robust systems at low cost.

Local Partnerships Vital for Success
In stark contrast to other continents, manpower and product development costs are relatively inexpensive across Asia. Developing strong local partnerships is vital to the expansion of services in certain areas.

In China, for example, customers need high performance security technologies, such as cameras and card readers, at low cost. As a result, it is important for systems integrators to source their own products or work with regional companies. This enables them to acquire products and technologies which meet local compliance requirements and integrate or retrofit into the building automation system.

"We must make it a priority to identify and work with local partners in the area. We must source products and solutions at an acceptable cost, without compromising the performance of the product or the requirements of the customer," said Swarup Biswas, VP Controls and Security, Asia, Building Efficiency, Johnson Controls. "Thankfully, the company's advanced retrofit and integration abilities ensure a smooth ecosystem of multiple products and vendors."

Advanced Risk Incident Response
There are some regions of Asia, such as India, where advanced security technologies are crucial to the prosperity of its industries and safety of its residents. Simply put, security is a "need" and not merely a "want." India is home to large hospitality, entertainment and financial sectors. As targets for terrorism, several of these sectors have fallen victim to security lapses, threatening the vitality of business.

To ensure advanced risk incident response, one must understand that security is no longer just a guard issue. Buildings must be integrated with advanced equipment, such as access controls, wireless cameras and centralized surveillance, to ensure effective and immediate response support in an unobtrusive manner. Security risks in the region are not only in the physical realm. An increase in cyberterrorism also requires advancements in IT and logical security needs.

Providing the tools for prevention and Deterrence
Many businesses have decided to no longer wait until after a security incident has occurred before ensuring the appropriate prevention tools are in place. Following India's lead, Australian customers are enhancing prevention through advancements in command and control, including wireless cameras and surveillance systems.

In Sydney, the largest mass transit provider partnered with Johnson Controls to outfit more than 1,200 public buses with wireless cameras monitored through a central location. This unprecedented level of incident prevention has given transit personnel and local law enforcement the opportunity to identify and deter security threats before they escalate.

It is important for adaptable and versatile security solutions to recognize the "need versus want" and ideally address both. Any security provider must have the ability to address technology standards, economic variances, threat levels and compliance requirements of different regions.

"It's extremely important to educate building owners and developers in the region that security is not just about installing cameras," Biswas said. "Through the use of technology and integration, they can protect their brand, image, assets and business continuity."

Expertise and the capability to provide modern building integration, develop strong local partnerships, ensure advanced incident response and provide the necessary tools for prevention is required not only in Asia, but every corner of the world. This approach will enable security solutions that are efficient and measurable, while ensuring the safety of businesses and residents worldwide.

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