I first started covering the security industry in July of 2001 — on the precipice of a new, technologically-driven era. A few months later, I was drowning in security technology, as the industry, the government and everyone else scrambled to keep us safe from the continuing threat of terrorism.
The initial focus, as you may remember, was airport security. From explosives detection, to wrong-way motion detection, to improved X-ray screener efficiency, hundreds of companies were ready to step up to the plate to contribute their technology to the fight.
The government and other organizations have obviously noticed the rising value of the different technologies, as they have been implemented in corporate, industrial, residential — in nearly every tech-savvy market.
Six years later, I have returned from another big ASIS International show that showcased some of the most interesting and cutting-edge technologies this industry has to offer. And now it seems this industry is finally completing the technology circle — by putting all of the neat gadgets and technologies into one complete package that the average security operator can use on a daily basis.
The technology theme of ASIS was surely situation management software — after all, how else can an organization collect and disseminate so much data from so many technological sources? Now, security operators — those unenviable people in the position of “watching for something to happen” — have a tool in their arsenal to make sense of all the technology.
The software creates an environment where all current and future technologies, people and actionable procedures are fused into a unified control
and management platform. And the software is appearing across several vertical markets.
This issue of Security Technology & Design , in fact, features an airport security application that has taken disparate technologies such as fence breach detectors, video analytics and access control, and incorporated them onto one platform for the security operators to use. Now, all alerts come to the same station, and operators can actually use all of the different technological information to make an informed security decision — whether that involves dispatching extra officers, calling authorities, or anything else.
While all of the different technology advances since the Sept. 11 attacks have been both necessary and successful, the rise of situation management software may be this industry's crowning achievement.
Why? Other than the obvious efficiency reasons, situation management software can make the daunting task of implementing new security technology more…manageable. If you can plug a new technology right into your existing management system, that's one less obstacle to implementation. And the overall result is increased security using the most cutting-edge technology desired.
Walking the ASIS show floor, I couldn't help but notice how many vendors can see how this technology is the glue that can hold an entire security operation together. Giants like Honeywell and Siemens have added situation management software to their portfolios. Other companies, such as Orsus, are dedicated solely to developing and improving this kind of software.
Soon gone will be the days of gigantic video walls with hundreds of monitors and computer screens for innovative security applications. Instead, operators will be able to focus on one screen, from one desk, with intelligent software telling them where and when to look for disturbances.
So, six years after the Sept. 11 technology explosion, I formally welcome you to the era of efficiency. Enjoy it.
If you have any questions or comments for Paul Rothman regarding this or any other security industry-related issue, please e-mail him at email@example.com. Steve Lasky’s regular column will return next month. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.