Last month, a group of IP solutions manufacturers and integrators met in Atlanta at the IP UserGroup USA’s IP-in-Action Live meeting to discuss the state of the industry.
Delivering the keynote address at the meeting was former IBM CSO Timothy D. Giles, CPP, PSP, who currently runs his own private security consulting firm. As with most industries, the IP business has been hit hard by the recession and as many attendees at the meeting pointed out, it’s getting increasingly difficult to convince end users to make the investment in new technology.
According to Giles, who also authored the book “How to Develop and Implement a Security Master Plan,” vendors need to start working closely with security directors and their staffs to show them the return-on-investments (ROI) that new IP and other security solutions can provide them with. In many cases, Giles said that this consists of showing management how technology can help mitigate risk.
In this At the Frontline, Giles explains the role of IP technology in modern security programs and how vendors can convince upper management to invest in these new solutions.
In addition to budgeting and security assessments, what are some of the ways in which IP technology manufacturers and integrators can help security directors?
One of the things they can do is to offer them some free education programs. These days budgets are so tight, a lot of guys cannot afford to pay top dollar to attend some of the educational classes that are around. Put on a webinar or something like that, make it free for them to join in and I think that would be a good idea. Another thing they need to do is rate (the CSO’s) education level is, whether its beginner, intermediate or advance. A lot of guys who are very knowledgeable don’t want to waste their time with big educational courses. So they need to do a good job of letting their potential clients know what their getting.
In terms of the technology itself, what types of benefits does IP technology provide end users with?
If you go look at installations that have analog cameras, there are so many situations where when they try to use the video they captured, it really doesn’t get the job done for them. Most people that have cameras installed really use them in the aftermath of an incident than they do during an incident, because you just can’t rely on monitoring. The IP camera is going to give you a much better picture quality. Besides that, I think video analytics is an important new advancement for security and detection and for deterrence as well, but really for the detection part. Now, you’ve really got a good program that can tell when something is happen other than just “someone broke a window” or “someone forced a door open.” If you have somebody running, analytics can pick that up and tell you that you have a problem and you can respond to that rather than look at the video in the aftermath and trying to figure out what happened. I believe the analytics work much better with the higher-quality IP cameras than with analog.
Is there any reluctance in the marketplace on the behalf of security directors or organizations not to implement IP video?
I don’t think it’s that many of them are reluctant as much as they don’t understand the benefits of the investment. A big part of the problem today is money. Today, being able to convert to IP is going to cost you some money. The (vendors) that are selling (the encoders) that convert analog cameras to IP, which is a real good stop gap. Now, someone that is renovating a building and wants to switch to IP cameras, but can’t afford to replace their analog system can use these (encoders). I think a big part of it is money and understanding just what are the advantages of IP.
What are some additional ROI benefits of implementing an IP video system?
If you put in an analog camera, you have to run (coax) cable, you’ve got run power to it, you’ve got to try to run power to the backup circuits, you’ve got to do all of these things. If you install an IP camera, you can get power through the network, you don’t have to run (coax cable), you don’t have to run the power cabling so there is a lot of installation savings there if you have the bandwidth to handle the IP cameras. Most medium-sized businesses probably have more bandwidth capability than they really need and they could actually add IP cameras to their system with less impact than a lot of large businesses.
What are some of the additional risk factors that IP technology can help mitigate?
It depends on the industry you’re in. In the finance industry, you have people who are processing transactions. Well, most of the finance industry now is moving to biometrics and tying biometrics to terminals while at the same time adding more cameras to view cash transactions and that’s a big advantage. Now, it’s not just if I can get your password, I can sign on the computer and make this financial transaction look like you did it. Now knowing the password doesn’t do you any good if you don’t have the biometric to go along with it. In the healthcare industry, they’re using radio frequency technology to track important assets they have around the hospital. You can also tie the radio frequency technology into access control system to make sure no one walks out the door with them too. So, there are a lot of different things that technology is doing to improve asset control and reduce risk factors.