SIW Exclusive Interview: A Q&A with GVI's New CEO Steve Walin

Walin discusses the company's focus, new product lines, and what his integration background can mean for the company

Will digital video be the key element in helping to achieve ROI, or will it be from the access control side?

I think that the video is going to play the lead part at this point. I think that access obviously does and has. If you look at how the industry evolved, access was one of those first applications to provide a return on investment, primarily by reducing manpower, by eliminating guards. We all grew up in the industry on the access control side selling the fact that a 24/7 guard post costs you -- at the time -- $130,000 per year, but you can put this access control system in and you can eliminate that guard post with a card reader. And that's changed, and we're now eliminating that post with a card reader and now a camera. That now expands itself into the productivity solutions beyond security.

Going back your 23 years in the industry, what do you feel have been the most significant security changes our industry has seen or is seeing today?

When I look back to when I started in the industry in 1983, and we used to make a sales call on a security opportunity, you typically walked five floors down into the basement of a hospital or some other business and spoke to a security director who was typically ex-law enforcement and typically had very little knowledge, if any, of technology. And that's who you dealt with for many years.

Now, one of things that changed when I look back on security, is that security today is a board room issue for most organizations. Today we walk in and we see the chief technology officer, the chief information officer and the chief financial officer. They are all key to the decision; they're involved in not only deciding the security strategy of an organization but also selecting the technology that's used to implement that strategy. I think that the industry has grown from a cost center that had to be dealt with as an after thought typically three levels down in the organization to, now, a major part of most businesses' operations, and in fact, key to their strategy of moving forward. Even if you look at the banking segment, you see how important security is -- not just for the normal reasons of bank robberies -- but now all the identity theft issues and all the information technology protection that's needed.

The second change that comes to mind, is that who would ever thought that we'd have the types of global companies involved in security as we would today. Starting with General Electric and working your way through Honeywell, Ingersoll Rand, Tyco, Stanley and United Technologies. These are some of the "who's who" of global businesses today, and they all have a major focus on the security business.

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