Tech Trends: Making Sense of Convergence

An entire organization should be tied together — not just security and IT

Opportunities abound to add value — one of those is the interaction will building systems and connected equipment. Tools such as Honeywell’s Niagara and Tridium frameworks enable interconnection and management of building control, facility management, industrial automation, medical equipment, physical security, energy information systems, telecommunications systems and more. Making better use of the communications infrastructure through unified network management, proper provision of back-up power and intelligent use of processing and storage resources — both local and cloud-based — will reduce downtime, bottlenecks and costs.

Savvy retail and hospitality operations, for example, have learned that information from security devices can not only reduce loss, but enhance customer support and satisfaction. And, consider the value of marketing data such as traffic patterns, display effectiveness, or scene analysis, enabled by video analytics.

So what’s the problem?  As I see it, not nearly enough attention has been given to really understanding and quantifying the ROI of fully integrating security into a converged environment. Some say it can’t be done, and that you just can’t quantify the impact of security — I couldn’t disagree more. Good models await creation, but they require serious thought and insight, reasonable assumptions, and sensitivity analysis. Paired with effective communication of results to management, it becomes a no brainer.


Ray Coulombe is Founder and Managing Director of, enabling interaction with specifiers in the physical security and ITS markets; and Principal Consultant for Gilwell Technology Services.  Ray can be reached at, through LinkedIn at or followed on Twitter @RayCoulombe.