Improving the Interface

Coming back from tradeshows like ISC West, where I get to ask a lot of questions, the tables are inevitably turned and I get asked a lot of questions about what I was really impressed by. The usual answer, of course, is that it's difficult to...


Visitor management has been another area of improved user interfaces. While much of the business world still lives in the areas of paper-based logbooks stored at reception/security desks, the advent of streamlined software managed systems (sometimes in the form of kiosks) which integrate with driver's license capture systems and even watch list databases makes the interface for checking in visitors not only more accurate, but also 10 times more secure.The backbone of our industry has been alarm systems and key pads, and despite the fact that there are decades and decades of improvements and production behind these products, the technology has always managed to push forward. From advances in terms of integration with garage door remotes that automatically disarm a system, to codeless arming and disarming, to network connection modules that allow for remote access via the Internet, or even simple changes in buttons and programming which allow your customers to more fully use the features the alarm systems come with, this market has never ceased to amaze me in how it can take a product line that has been performing the same function for 30+ years and still improve how the customer interfaces with the system.

Command and control systems designed for large-scale security installations that merge a perspective on a variety of security data may be a specialized subset of our industry, but even these systems are finding major interface improvements. One of the best moves has been to integrate "procedures notifications" in the case of a security event. That simple move means you can take the procedures out of the big, black operations binders sitting on the shelves of the security office and integrate those recommended procedures right into the technology system that your security staff is using day-in and day-out.I could go on and on, but the point is that while very few technologies were truly earth-shattering, almost every one of the established systems we're accustomed to dealing with are getting beyond the point of lab-ware, which has a "can we do it?" type of mission, and moving into real-world, "how can we do it better?" type of mission in development. And that, my friends, is good news to both the installer/reseller and the eventual end-user.

-Geoff