Live from Securing New Ground 2006

When four top executives all point to the same target, there's clearly a trend picking up speed. Leaders from Honeywell Security, GE Security, Securitas Direct, and HID Global each point to the customer, the user of security, as the key to continuous growth.

More often, it is the technology, funding, and markets that take the spotlight at Securing New Ground. This week the shift in focus was apparent at the conference, which was held Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 15-16, 2006.

Ron Rothman, president of Honeywell Security, said the company's new product development is focused on what "the installer base is going to need to satisfy their customers' demands." And demands are changing, he said.

"In the very near future the bar's going to get raised," as customers expect interactivity in their security systems, Rothman said. The valuation of accounts will soon change, he said, as there becomes "differentiation between those accounts that are interactive and those that are not." Applying interactivity to fit customer needs will be no small thing, either. "This is the most important trend we are facing in terms of the residential space in the last 25 years," Rothman said.

For GE Security, President and CEO Louis Parker said that the "passion for our customers" is what leads the development of new technology. As one example, Parker pointed to the Registered Traveler market as a potential $1 billion revenue stream. And it won't be long, he added, before passengers in major cities will no longer have to walk shoeless through checkpoints. With GE's new shoe-scanner capabilities incorporated into a one-stop human scanning portal, airports will achieve "better security and passenger-pleasing convenience."

"When you go through this portal," he said, "you will not have to take your shoes off, your coat off, or your laptop out of your briefcase."

Rolf Norberg, chief technology officer for Securitas Security Systems, sees technology through the eyes of the customer. He explained that the role of his company, as a system integration firm (the Securitas name means much more than guards these days), is to bring different services to the customer that are not standard equipment.

"You need to understand so much about the customer's business that you eat and dream about it," he said. "We see a very strong relationship between the selling and the service."

"Monitoring center" is the term used in the industry typically to describe the central point of customer contact. Norberg said at Securitas it's a customer service center. "That is where we provide all the new value-added service. It means the customer can spend less on the security service they are doing on their own."

To maintain reliability on behalf of customers, the company's integrated systems "are the latest technology that you can apply and still have the knowledge about it," Norberg said.

"You need to understand so much about the customer's business that you eat and dream about it."
--Rolf Norberg, chief technology officer for Securitas Security Systems

For HID Global, the ability to work with customers in providing solutions they need is a core strength, said Denis Hebert, president and CEO.

"Our focus is providing products and service within the access control industry" and "that means adapting products according to customer needs through the channel," he said.

"The HSPD-12 framework put together by the U.S. federal government helps pull that together," said Hebert, who noted that the real significance was the creation of a consistent model.

Also benefiting the customer is the convergence trend, which Hebert pointed to as a most significant change affecting the security industry. "The use of a common credential for the door and the network is starting to become a reality."

"It changes the dynamic of what we're going to be thinking about and changes the channels that we sell through," he said. "We used to sell on risk. When we're trying to sell value-added as service providers, this is very different."

Jeff Kessler, Lehman Brothers' senior vice president and senior analyst and a co-founder of Securing New Ground, agreed on the pervasive influence of convergence of physical security and IT security. "Convergence is a-coming," he said.

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