Interview by Jeanny Lim
What do you think 2009 promises for the security industry?
The financial downturn will turn out to be a double edged sword for the security industry. On one hand the credit squeeze will affect new and even ongoing non-governmental projects, especially large longer-term contracts because banks are revoking existing credit lines.
On the other hand the criminality associated with people having less and in the case of some no money will undoubtedly increase the need for security for persons who are ¡®at risk¡¯ These ¡®at risk¡¯ folks will look for ways to increase speed and reliability, as well reduce costs when choosing an alarm communications system to protect their assets. So probably there will be a shift away from grand CCTV towards more affordable alarm systems. Equally the trend to cut recurring costs will be reflected in the increase in sales of IP and radio mesh alarm communications systems for reporting alarms while providing remote control of systems and locations.
What would you say are the 5 security priorities in 2009?
Simply put they are:
¡áCounter Terrorism, vigilance to the threats mounted by any kind of terrorism cannot be allowed to diminish;
¡áProtection against petty recession-driven crime, car theft, burglary, home jackings, asset theft, crime in the workplace;
¡áCivil disobedience resulting from reduced purchasing power and increasing unemployment such as have been seen in the UK, Greece, France, Lithuania. These often mask simple criminal theft from vehicles, businesses and by-standers;
¡áProvision for detention of more criminals, within the EU generally there is not enough capacity in detention facilities to cope with the rapid increase in custodial sentences. Home arrest systems will be more a more important media for minor but still serious offences such as non payment of fines, drunkenness, drug use, anti social behavior;
¡áCutting the cost of ongoing security to the people put at risk by the above sources of problems. High operating and maintenance charges are not popular.
The first three of these priorities are converging with reasons for terrorism, criminality, and civil disobedience blurring at a rate that will only accelerate, especially if times get harder.
What do you think are the 5 technology waves to ride in 2009?
With ever increasing public concern being voiced about CCTV and civil liberties and the climate change issue that seems to ever increasing storm energy and frequency, the industry will be looking at consolidation rather than expansion and in most cases doing things more efficiently with lower recurring cost. Thus the top 5 would be:
¡áWireless mesh technology allows remote monitoring without the need for costly wiring, building of cell towers. Wired and cell technology is not as reliable and the recurring costs are becoming exorbitant;
¡áRemote reaction & maintenance, obviating the need for call outs;
¡áOperating system stability that will not change, cutting hardware costs and saving client confusion;
¡áLower install costs through better technologies and less wiring;
¡áMore efficient greener systems, also cutting operating costs and carbon footprint.
What do you see happening within the next 5 years in the security industry?
Again the word convergence springs to mind, the borders between security and social management, IT, personal freedom, protection of identity, mobility, will blur further. Twenty years ago the daily contact individuals or businesses had with security was really minimal, in 2009 it affects everything we do. Therefore, more devices not just property, cars and PCs will have built-in security and need quicker verification.
What do you feel are important technology developments that the industry should know about?
The obsolescence of Plain Old Telephone (POTS) lines is coming. Homes without landlines are becoming the norm and alarm communicators in the security industry are learning to adapt their products to work without wired alarm communications. When you add that to environmental concerns and weather changes that have been associated with the environment, reliability and speed become even more important in the security industry. Getting security data as fast and accurately as possible without telephones to the people who need to react to it is of utmost importance. Wireless transmission is the key and then good discrimination, analysis and reaction software. The speed and reliability of wireless technology is optimal but broadband communications systems are not without recurring costs and are vulnerable to weather and other conditions.
In your opinion, what are the ¡®must-have¡¯ security gadgets?
In my view gadgets per se have no place in the security industry, but new combinations of existing technologies are exciting like using long-range radio to protect remote fuel tanks, livestock, persons at risk, these gadgets while not glamorous make people¡¯s lives easier and safer.
In the current financial environment perhaps, body armor, personal shredders, good passwords, and fast alarm reaction will take on more importance rather than mega security systems.
How big and fast is a specific security technology growing?
AES-IntelliNet long-range wireless mesh alarm communications system has been developed over 14 years and it has hundreds of thousands of happy customers in 60 over countries throughout the world. Evolution rather than revolution is best. Proven technologies with years of operating experience and evolving improvements are always the best. AES-IntelliNet continues to grow its customer base and sales have been increasing more and more over the past few years.
Other relevant topics?
After 29 years in the security industry, I think that all my colleagues out there in the field still have a lot to do, and we all share that feel-good factor that comes from doing our little bit towards making the world a safer place for our and everybody¡¯s loved ones. I think that constant media criticism of the admittedly burgeoning security measures the ¡®bad guys¡¯ force upon respectable society, are at best ill informed, and at worst generally talking up the negatives rather than praising the amazing lack of problems criminals and terrorists manage to cause because of effective security devices and more importantly security related personnel.
Lastly, tell us about yourself.
After getting bitten by the security bug in the insurance industry, I spent some years in the automotive industry, because the security industry virtually did not exist. In 1990 I used my marketing, business planning and international skills picked up selling vehicles en masse (even armored ones) to start a small alarm installation company in a professional way using an engineer to assist in the design of the systems. Applying big car company standards to a startup resulted in the company becoming one of Belgium¡¯s leading integrators working for the likes of the U.S. State Department, Motorola, Volvo, BASF and NATO, all over the world.
Spin the time machine forward up to 2004 and I decided to ¡®retire¡¯ from the security industry, and like many deluded middle-aged men I bought a motorcycle, started a secure parcels service and opened a tavern, after two years I missed the challenges of the security world and plunged back in headfirst with a product and a company AES that is totally unique. The company is essentially a solid family-run affair, the product, an incredibly ¡®now¡¯ relevant wireless-based long range, bi-directional alarm transmission and reaction system, independent of any third party operators and the associated recurring user costs. AES also manufactures home arrest monitoring and GPS vehicle tracking systems. IntelliNet is so efficient, and stable that it has no direct competitor.
Jeanny Lim is Editor-in-Chief of SecurityWorld INT¡¯L. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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