Considering Convergence

Convergence. It is the term now being applied to myriad changes in the security industry. Is it a buzzword or a paradigm shift? Security has evolved into an enterprise concern that affects the way most institutions view their business. Basic access...


Tabib: True convergence of physical and IT security is in its infancy. For the most part, within the corporate structure, security and IT are still miles apart; typically reporting to different managers, using different budgets, and utilizing radically different skill sets. As such, a "marriage" or convergence of the information available/needed by each entity is yet to take place. The technology is here. Additionally, the skill set needed to integrate and configure such convergence is yet to be developed by most integrators. Lacking this knowledge makes it difficult for the average integrator to mention, suggest or discuss the benefits of convergence to the end user. A major education process has to continue to take place, through platforms such as this, in order to propagate the needs and benefits of convergence to both the IT and security departments.

Moss: I'd have to say that understanding networks is probably where I see things break down most. Today's IP networks require a lot of special knowledge (although better products reduce the need for that as much as possible). Much of what one has to know about routers, port forwarding, transports, and so on comes from experience. There's no one book that you can just read and figure it all out. I expect to see professional organizations in the industry begin to offer more network training over time. Security installers have to learn about networking or the IT network installers will learn about security equipment first.

Nilsson: As a manufacturer, the most frustrating thing is the time it takes to educate the market a market which was just recently educated on DVRs being the latest and greatest. It is hard to make them all realize that the DVRs already use yesterday's technology. As with all new technologies, there are a lot of myths that are created because of misunderstandings, rumors and even falsehoods being spread by end users, vendors and channels not benefiting new technologies, or being afraid of change

Lockhart: The old world analogers do not want to admit that digitization is both inevitable and required. The fact that once in digital format the transport over IP networks becomes natural means a complete shift in skill sets.

Prokupets: Two things come to mind. The first is a lack of understanding of what the word "convergence" implies. Convergence can occur on many different levels on the physical level, the data level, the middleware level. A point of confusion is that there's no clear definition of what people mean when they refer to convergence.

Zivney: As PC technology moves to the controller level, new architectures will bring new features and benefits. Existing systems can quickly become legacy systems, and manufacturers move rapidly to offer the new technologies. As the new products appear on the market to comply with the new standards and bring more value to the enterprise, there will be significant upgrading of systems not seen since the Y2K gold rush. Of course, once again everyone will have to invest in building competence in the new technologies, especially XML.

Hanseder: Even though the industry is moving towards an IT environment where open standards should become the norm, it does not appear that mainstream products and systems are moving in that direction and adopting an open standard approach as quickly as the market demands. If existing systems remain proprietary, resistance to adoption will force both software and hardware manufacturers to rethink their product strategies.