CTO, CISO & DPO, Virtually Informed and, Founder, Unified Security (respectively)

February 11, 2020

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Converged security

The role of a converged security centre in a smart building

Sarb Sembhi CISM, CTO & CISO, Virtually Informed and James Willison MA Founder, Unified Security, explain why a converged security centre can significantly enhance the maturity and credentials of your smart building.   

The concept of ‘smart buildings’ or ‘intelligent buildings’ has been around for a long time, and before they actually existed, they were the thing of movies. However, the reality of a smart building today is often simply an illusion, because many so-called ‘smart buildings’ are just ordinary buildings, with some additional surveillance and monitoring technology – it’s not more surveillance and technology sensors alone that make a building smart!

The view that all it takes to create a smart building is extra surveillance and monitoring is wrong and misleading. Many would argue that big data analytics or artificial intelligence (AI) would need to be implemented. We would argue that this is still not completely correct. Others may argue a smart building is one that achieves certain benefit outcomes for a stated stakeholder. Only here are we getting a little closer to what a real smart building is.

ConvergedSecurityCentre-SmartBuilding-20Smart buildings use technology to provide benefit outcomes via the use of better decision-making information for greater control and additional benefits – whether decisions are made automatically by the system or left to one of the many stakeholders of a building. The range of concerned stakeholders is wide but can be usefully narrowed to building owners, facilities management, installers and integrators, and manufacturers. Each needs to make key decisions to ensure they understand the cyber security risks of the building and how these can be effectively and efficiently managed.

Many so-called smart buildings have the first element of technology in place, but struggle with the use of artificial intelligence – this is in part due to some vendors not understanding or correctly explaining to customers what the difference is between big data analytics and AI.

Another key element of a smart building is its ability to protect the building and the technology that makes it smart– if this key element is lacking, your facility is only going to be as smart as the smartest hackers who now ‘own’ your ‘smart building’. To provide this protection capability, there is a requirement for a team not just responsible for the security of the building (which exists for most buildings – smart or otherwise), but also the cyber security of the building. Unfortunately, the latter does not often exist, as most cyber security teams will often place their focus on protecting corporate data alone.

In essence, it is multiple sets of two groups of information which is collated, analysed and utilised for better decision making that makes a smart building, ‘Smart’. The first is the operational information used by facilities staff to realise benefits to occupants and visitors, while the second is the information that enables the security team to provide their services to safeguard the building, its occupants and visitors. Not only do these two vast sets of data make the building actually smart, but they also provide indications of how mature the Smart Building capability is.

How does a converged security centre fit in to a smart building?

There are many words to describe the bringing together of physical and cyber security teams, including Converged Security Risk Management and Enterprise Security Risk Management. To ensure that a Converged Security Operations Centre is able to perform at a higher maturity level, it is a given that it will utilise technology that will enable it to work as smartly as the smart building functions.

The technology must be able to handle not only the range of video feeds and all the physical security feeds, but also the network, cyber security technology and social media feeds. Furthermore, decision making must be better and quicker, with all the right data for the building coming in at the right time in one place – emphasising the growing significance of a Converged Security Centre.

At IFSEC International, the Converged Security Centre (CSC) has showcased this technology for the last two years, creating a large and growing following. In 2020, the Converged Security Centre will also showcase benefits for smart buildings by integrating multiple feeds from both physical and cyber security, as well as social media feeds.


Find out more about this year’s Converged Security Centre at IFSEC International


The Vidsys solutions, being showcased together with those of its partners, such as Ipsotek, work to converge data across complex security networks. By centralising critical information and presenting it in a single, unified picture, the platform helps operators gain situational awareness and streamline operational security processes.

The benefits of the CSC for Smart Buildings include:

  • Providing critical business intelligence through data analysis
  • Optimise and improve the multi-tenant experiences
  • Improve interconnectivity between building security and building management systems
  • Automate key processes and incident response protocols
  • Mitigate risk and improve safety for building occupants and staff
  • Improve energy efficiency through systems integration and management

John Gill, Vice President Sales and Business Development, Vidsys, adds: “A lot goes on behind the scenes in a smart building that aren’t immediately observable. Smart buildings equipped with intelligent converged security technologies are constantly collecting and analysing data sourced from a complex network of building management sensors, cameras and other digital devices. This helps organisations identify patterns and correlations that can help to optimise how the space is used, minimise resource waste and improve the safety and security of the building and building occupants.”

We believe that at this year’s CSC we will provide the most compelling case for all smart buildings to benefit from a converged approach, to increase the maturity level of your smart building.

We would like to invite you to join us at IFSEC – which is co-locating with Intelligent Buildings Europe for the first time – and explore how a CSC can help your smart building move up in its maturity and realise better benefits for all its stakeholders.

Find smart buildings excellence at Intelligent Building Europe 2020

8–10 September 2020, ExCeL London

Get your free ticket to Intelligent Building Europe, the new event located alongside IFSEC International dedicated to the smart technology transforming buildings and the built environment. From smart security to lighting and heating control, these new solutions are making homes and workplaces healthier, more efficient and more sustainable.

Tickets are free: access smart buildings innovations today.

Attend Intelligent Building Europe 2020

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