Expect Change Lightning Fast, Says SIA Leader

Sept. 17, 2007
Outgoing SIA President Bill Gorski reflects upon technology changes and how SIA has changed with the times

As Bill Gorski closes out his term as president of The Security Industry Association, he's not only reflecting on the trade group's accomplishments, but also looking to the future in a big way.

Convergence of physical security and information security is "inevitable," Gorski said. He pointed to a coming together of new business information requirements with facility protection needs as a trend that's picking up speed. And active members of The Security Industry Association (SIA) have helped drive the trend.

Gorski is senior director, business development, at Siemens Building Technologies, Inc., Buffalo Grove, Ill. His perspective is based on 25-plus years in security and building systems integration, and serving as the association's first leader representing a systems integrator.

SIA's leadership in developing Open Systems Integration and Performance Standards - known as OSIPS -- is one example of real progress that Gorski cites., Gorski said. "It's the standards by which physical security and logical security talk to each other. It's also what government is asking us to do.," Gorski said.

"The initiative at SIA is to be totally member focused" and that drives "value to the customer." That means, "we're looking at benefits to end-users, government agencies, security directors, and facility managers," as well as all the companies that serve them. The emphasis on the end-user customer has changed both the organization and the business environment, he said.

"We're not the SIA we were even three years ago," Gorski said, pointing to increased influence within the federal government and its security policies, in international markets, and even in the stronger ISC Expos - which SIA sponsors. And he credits SIA members, directors, and staff for working together in new areas.

Education is another association initiative that promises future dividends for the industry. SIA's training and certification program for project managers is designed to benefit systems integrators, as well as their suppliers and end-user customers. "In the integration business, the key to making projects work and making money is the project manager," Gorski said. And by asking for SIA-certified project managers, an end-user can feel confident of a project's success. "We at SIA need to ensure that the credential is recognized and in demand," he said.

Rather than reacting to standards set by groups outside security, SIA strives to be involved and active.

"On the standards side, I'd rather our industry be driving the bus," Gorski said.

The speed of change and development of new standards in the IT industry has direct influence now in security, and "It's lightening fast -- we learn, and we act."

Looking ahead, the Siemens executive is optimistic about advances in technology and reliability for security end-users, integrators, and suppliers overall.

"It's an area where we've definitely turned the corner," said Gorski. "Every day, every month, every year, technologies like video analytics are getting better and better. And I'm not afraid to say, facial recognition is another area of real progress."

Gorski encourages other business to join and get involved in SIA and its sister organizations.

"People involved in their associations are contributing and at the same time getting leadership training, working alongside their industry peers." The growth in SIA membership and the member retention rate of more than 90 percent are both indicators that the initiatives have been well received. "It's all about making the business environment better," Gorski said.