GSO 2025 Q&A: Hands-On Tech Lab

July 5, 2022
Event co-founder Ray Bernard discusses the rationale behind the GSO 2025 Day 2 Hands-On Tech Lab

Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a series of interviews with the session leaders of the upcoming GSO 2025 event being held Nov. 2-3, 2022 at the Vari (formerly VariDesk) global headquarters in Irving, Texas, near the DFW airport. The event is named with a future date because it takes a 3- to 5-year look ahead at where security leadership and security technology are going. Registration is open now.

Editor-in-Chief Joel Griffin recently sat down with Ray Bernard, noted security consultant and author, columnist for Security Technology Executive magazine and writer for Security Business magazine and Joel inquired about the rationale behind the Hands-On Tech Lab.

SIW: What’s different about the GSO Hands-On Tech lab from what you would see at other security industry events?

Bernard: Several things are different. First of all, the lab has a fully integrated security system built from the offerings of multiple manufacturers for us by Convergint. Some elements are in the cloud, and some are on-premises. All applications – on premises and in the cloud – have five or six nines of fault tolerance. Then we take a cloud-technology approach for the on-premises system,  built using Hyper Converged Infrastructure platform by Quantum Corporation, which is a fully software-defined system whose architecture is independent of the hardware. It can grow or shrink without interruption, which means that you can add software or hardware to it without shutting it down or lowering its performance. Hardware elements are hot-swappable, and we demonstrate that.

SIW: Why do you call it a “Hands-On” lab?

Bernard:  Attendees can participate in a variety of ways. The lab includes a lidar-based anti-tailgating technology from Orion Entrance Control that works with any kind of door, whether single-double-or triple-wide door, including roll-up doors like those found in warehouses. We offer a prize for the first attendee (or team of attendees) who can defeat anti-tailgating technology.

We have a video search competition in which attendees use a Milestone XProtect VMS system hosted on AWS, whose workstation application can be served to any device – workstation, laptop, tablet or phone – using AWS AppStream technology. It’s a browser-based approach that works with Windows-based and Linux-based security applications. This approach eliminates the complexity of having to install and manage client applications on a variety of devices. You can also access your desktop applications using the AppStream 2.0 Windows Client to use dual monitors and USB peripherals such as 3D mice.

There is also a scenario where the organization has to respond to an FBI-reported credible threat against the networked video system deployment of companies in a particular business vertical. Using the cloud-based Viakoo platform integrated with the on-premises Milestone VMS, attendees compare the time it takes to use Viakoo automation to update the firmware, passwords and digital certificates for local and remote cameras, versus performing the updates manually. Attendees examine the processes involved in the two approaches. Attendees who are closest in their estimates of automated and manual update times win a prize.

We go way beyond product demonstrations. We showcase leading-edge technology capabilities that IT is already familiar with, but only been utilized by a few leading companies in the physical security industry. We’re showcasing the future directions of technology, and you just don’t see that at other security events.

Why did the City of Mexico choose Eagle Eye Networks as the underlying VMS to deploy over 13,000 cameras in a record time of four months? How and why do taxicab drivers use their cellphone video with that VMS system? What makes the total cost of ownership significantly less than half of all the other systems proposed?

Attendees will use the cloud-based Brivo visitor management system to register for their card and mobile credentials prior to the event. When they show up, attendees have the option in enrolling in the biometric applications, to see how speedy touchless biometrics technologies can work alongside of secure smart cards in various types of access control scenarios.

At GSO 2025 we’re looking at the direction technology is going, and we examine all the important factors involved in developing a future-ready technology strategy.

SIW: Why do you say on the GSO 2025 website, “Bring your own risks?

Bernard: We say, “Bring your own risks and get your own people-process-technology use case solutions.” That’s because we have time on Day 2 that’s dedicated to discussions among attendees and with technology sponsors on how to address their toughest challenges. The Day 1 session leaders are available after the Day 2 security technology scenario demonstrations to participate in discussions about the people and process part that go along with technology.

For example, Maria Sumnicht, who until seven weeks or so ago was the Urban Technology Architect for NYC Cyber Command and the Cyber Security Lead for all the city’s IT, IoT, OT and ICS (industrial control systems), including smart building technologies. She, as well as the other Day 1 session leaders, and folks from the technology sponsor companies, can discuss things like what project timeframes look like, what priorities are important to establish, what requirements to put on security service providers, and so on. That’s all part of the Day 2 technology focus.

SIW: You mentioned to me earlier that attendees can expect to get all their security program and technology questions answered at GSO 2025. How does that work?

Bernard: Attendees are invited to submit their questions about any people, process or technology aspect of developing security operations capabilities. We share these with the session leaders and technology sponsors ahead of time, so that they can be ready to answer the questions based on their experiences with security program implementation and technology deployments.

This is an aspect of the event that I really like – the fact that we prepare ahead of time to address the specific concerns of the attendees. That’s why we limit attendance to just 50 security practitioners. It’s not possible to tailor the event to a much large audience.

For practitioners who can only attend one event this year, we’re working to make this the most insightful and actionable event they could participate in.

SIW: Does the GSO 2025 website provide a list of the sponsors?

Bernard: Yes, the list is available on the GSO 2025 Sponsors page.

SIW: Thank you for explaining how the technology aspect of the event works. Best of luck and we look forward to hearing more from you at GSO 2025 this fall.

Bernard: Thank you Joel, I am excited about all the knowledge sharing that will take place at the event.