Surveying trends in the security integration market

Surveying trends in the security integration market

In today's world, sophisticated security end users demand for higher levels of expertise and interoperability, forcing systems integrators to emphasize on seamless integration to provide users with optimal performance and automation.

It is evident that the majority of security installations are becoming more and more complex. No longer content to monitor and manage separate access control, fire alarm, video surveillance, intrusion, and HVAC control systems, corporate security and technology managers want to consolidate and integrate various disconnected security and facility management systems. At a dramatically increasing pace, the IT department is leading the initiative, particularly given the trend toward convergence of physical and logical security systems. End user customers are demanding that their integrator or dealer understand their business and their infrastructure. Security dealers and integrators must quickly decide whether or not they want to be part of this new security paradigm or slowly wither away, providing traditional stand-alone solutions. With every new advance in the installation marketplace, dealers and integrators must again and again decide whether to keep pace. Successful implementations require greater technical knowledge of systems than ever before along with products that work together more easily, while simultaneously providing better ease of use to end users.

 

Dealers and integrators who want to be positioned for continued success in this evolving marketplace need to choose not only the right products for any given installation, but align with manufacturing partners who will provide them with the best prospects for long-term success, manufacturers that heavily invest in both new scaleable technologies for their products and support programs for their channels.

A New Quid Pro Quo
It used to be that the dealer or integrator that sold the most widgets earned “most favored” status from its manufacturers. Having that status resulted in recognition, special perks, and discounted pricing for those who delivered. However, in a direct reflection of the new realities of today's security market, this simply isn't the case anymore. It is not that manufacturers no longer appreciate top sellers or want to avoid rewarding them. It is because forward-thinking manufacturers know that their dealers and integrators have to stay on top of the latest technology trends in order to stay competitive. These manufacturers want their dealers and integrators to succeed in a manner that will keep both the integrator and the manufacturer successful in the years to come.

Being Seamless is Essential
Reliance on proprietary technologies and platforms inhibits innovation, integration, and the assimilation of emerging technologies. Issues arising from proprietary technologies plague too many systems which is self-defeating for the security industry, and creates major problems for security dealers and integrators, hindering end users from having flexible, scalable security platforms that cost-effectively protect their people and assets.

We increasingly hear that a major trend that will permeate physical access control now and for the foreseeable future is the growing connection between physical security and IT security. Because of this, there is growing demand by organizations for migration of computer-based systems to a common software platform or to standards-based platforms that can be easily and seamlessly integrated. Leveraging technology breakthroughs and a need for increased security, companies will also more rapidly adapt smart cards, two-factor readers, biometrics, long-range wireless, and intelligent video into their overall systems.

Physical access control systems on an enterprise level are now described as much in IT terms as they are in access control terms. New command and control integration platforms are giving integrators a wider range of solutions to help end-users meet this challenge head-on while, at the same time, requiring the integrator to have higher levels of IT expertise.

Integration Equals Success
Today, the various components frequently used in the typical security system are not only disconnected, but from different manufacturers, complicating or making integration impossible. All too often, they employ incompatible hardware or proprietary, unsynchronized databases or completely inconsistent user interfaces that compete for space and attention. Such systems may be inefficient and need many people to manage them, and security personnel who have been forced to use them have been frustrated for some time but these systems will not pass muster with IT personnel.

However, there is a good reason for this — such systems increase employee and training costs, foster unnecessary equipment expense, have gaps causing security and safety breeches, and can produce downtime in mission-critical operations. Since IT budgets and management are responsible for many of these operations, they are beginning to dictate what will be used, particularly for physical access control systems.

Seamless integration means the physical access control department, as well as other groups in the enterprise, have the freedom to select different technology vendors, relying on the command and control platform to handle the integration. This extends to system hardware. Today, with one card reader, users can read the most popular 125 KHz proximity cards, including those from Farpointe, HID, and AWID. 13.56 MHz smart card readers can process contactless credentials based upon NXP Semiconductor's Mifare technology as well as based upon France's Inside Technologies. Such readers provide continuity throughout the organization, without having to eliminate legacy cards while additionally building a pathway to higher security applications in the future. Dealers and installers who want to be able to offer this type of powerful security platform to their customers must be willing to stay one step ahead of the technology.

Partnering for Success
Dealers and integrators must recognize and respond to these emerging trends if they want to remain competitive. That means partnering with companies that are also aware of where the market is going and are staying one step ahead of customer needs. Integrators need more than just equipment in today's market. At a minimum, they require training, technical support, sales and marketing expertise and, of course, innovative, forward-thinking products. Today's partnerships are based on helping both partners build their businesses and profits, not just selling more products.

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