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Should SIs move beyond security during COVID-19?

Should SIs move beyond security during COVID-19?
Expanding beyond security has always been an exciting proposition. Maybe now is the time to do it.
As security technology overlaps more with other sectors like building automation, smart cities, etc., some systems integrators have expanded their businesses to provide a broader spectrum of services to their customers. Some experts wonder if SIs should look to widen their portfolio more in the current situation where there could be a higher demand for automation and IoT technology.

For instance, industries looking to get back to work at the earliest would need to ensure that their employees follow social distancing and sanitization guidelines. But what if automated systems could replace people? There would be no worries about the health of employees, and the efficiency rates would be higher.

Systems integrators can facilitate this change and, in turn, make sure their business remains strong in this challenging period. Micah Carlson, Director for Marketing at Convergint Technologies, pointed out that their customers frequently collaborate with them on how they can use security systems and devices to enhance their business operations. This is especially true as companies develop their return-to-work strategies.

“We can provide the expertise to re-tool surveillance and access control systems in ways to help safely repopulate their facilities and get back to work,” Carlson said.

Repurposing security solutions

Bob Mesnik, President, Kintronics

Security has even brought about a change in the way some verticals make use of their traditional security surveillance equipment. Since the COVID-19 situation requires people to maintain distance, cameras have become a great tool at health care facilities.

“One key area has been the increased use of IP camera systems in hospitals,” said Bob Mesnik, President of Kintronics. “Patients with infectious  diseases are usually kept in special rooms that have negative air pressure. Because of the increase in patients, hospitals have been forced to place these patients in standard rooms. They limit the spread of disease by keeping the doors closed. The IP cameras are used to monitor these patients remotely and limit the need to enter the room.” 

Lack of awareness among customers

For many other SIs and consultants, the pandemic has not brought any change in the services they offer. Christine Lanning, President of Integrated Security Technologies, said that they are not involved in non-security projects because of COVID-19. Right now, they are busy servicing existing clientele’s security requirements.

Brian Schwab, Consultant at S3SDC, mentioned a more interesting point. According to him, despite offering non-security support activities, his company has been unable to secure new agreements with current and potential clients. Many clients appear reluctant to engage in non-standard business activities right now. However, this may change as the social distancing requirements continue to remain in effect. 

“Equally unfortunate is that many clients also fail to recognize this pandemic as an opportunity to ensure their locations are safe and secure,” Schwab said. “We can conduct security risk assessments while offices are vacant, thus eliminating the negative impact such assessments can have on the work schedule of select employees. We can test security systems to ensure they are operating within design parameters, effectively covering their site,  and conduct physical penetration testing and analysis. We can also analyze programs such as business continuity and employee background vetting to ensure they are complete and effective in reducing overall security risk.”

A Perfect time for projects

Some end customers, especially commercial enterprises and offices have realized that a lockdown is an ideal time to make any changes or upgrades to their security systems without causing inconvenience to staff and customers. This is also a great time to test out any new solutions, without worrying about any mishaps.
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