Head of Content, IFSEC and FIREX

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Charlotte Geoghegan (nee Wright) is Head of Content for the Protection & Management portfolio, which includes IFSEC and FIREX live events and IFSEC Global.com
June 14, 2015

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IFSEC Speaker Q&A: Paxton’s Adam Stroud on Smart Technology and Building Intelligence

Adam Stroud CEO (2)Paxton’s CEO, Adam Stroud, is presenting on the technology of smart buildings at IFSEC International 2015.

Speaking to IFSEC Global he anticipates the impact of IoT, smart technology and wearable devices on the security industry.

Paxton Access Ltd is a leading manufacturer of electronic access control systems based in East Sussex.

IG: What’s the biggest impact IoT will have on security and public safety in cities?

AS: IoT will impact security and public safety in cities by making future buildings far more secure, convenient for the people within, and energy efficient.

I believe that, as the ubiquity of connected devices increases, this will further the consolidation of security and building automation systems in the residential and mid-market.  This new wave of building intelligence systems will unleash the true potential of a fully connected world, giving exceptional benefits to customers.

IG: What will be the most profound changes in how cities operate in the next 5 years?

AS: A step change in the adoption of building intelligence.

IG: What’s your definition of building intelligence?

AS: To me, building intelligence is harnessing the data from devices within a building to act intelligently to provide security, convenience and energy efficiency. 

IG: How is IoT changing the security industry?/How can the security industry leverage IoT and evermore connected buildings, cities and things?

AS: The Internet of Things means greater connectivity between devices so that they can act more intelligently.

Various apps available today control lighting, heating, alarm systems etc.  These tend to be single function apps that, while interesting and useful in some cases, lose their appeal after a few days.  As the ubiquity of connected devices increases, this will further the consolidation of security and building automation systems in the residential and mid-market.  This new wave of building intelligence systems will unleash the true potential of a fully connected world, giving exceptional benefits to customers.

IG: Are there any drawbacks to the increase in feature-rich secure systems on the market?

AS: There are many hugely powerful and feature-rich security systems out there.  These systems are designed to fulfil the requirements of very large projects and enterprise-level installations.  Even if the system didn’t start out that way, it often ends up becoming bloated with many specialised and project-oriented features.  The allure of high value contracts is too strong to resist!

While many regard more features as being a good thing, the associated complexity can often lead to unsuitability for the mid-market.  The truth is that the vast majority of non-residential buildings fit into the mid-market category, and are not large projects.

Making advanced security systems practical and relevant to these types of buildings is essential to the development of the security industry.

IG: What are the problems of facilitating integration of cross-functional systems?

AS: The security industry currently satisfies the customer’s requirement for cross-functional systems by facilitating integration.  This ‘pick and mix’ approach, while suitable for large projects, is not always right for the mid-market.

The hassle associated with selling, installing, using and maintaining separate systems is enough of a turn-off on its own.  Add to that the complexity of getting systems to talk to each other, and then do something useful is the final nail in the coffin.

We recently conducted a survey of 1,400 Net2 sites.  Even though around half of all these sites had some type of video surveillance in place, only 1.6% of all the Net2 systems were integrated with video (despite supporting integration to all the market leaders).  This sobering statistic demonstrates the failure of the integration approach to penetrate this part of the market.

IG: What does the mid-market need to get the most out of building intelligence?

AS: Customers are demanding ever more from their security systems. In terms of buildings, it is no longer satisfactory to have multiple systems being administered and managed separately.  Today’s buildings must be more secure, convenient and energy efficient.

I believe that the requirements outlined above will give rise to a new breed of ‘building intelligence’ systems offering cross-functionality in a single system.  No need to incur the cost and effort of installing several systems when the technology available today provides more than enough performance for a single system to achieve multiple tasks.  No need to add the complication of multiple systems when a single building intelligence system can satisfy your requirements. And no need to rely on multiple manufacturers that provide a limited subset of integrated functionality when you can get a truly cross-functional system from a single supplier.

IG: Can you identify one key factor required for success in the mid-markets?

AS: The key to success in the mid-market (gyms, schools, shops, factories, offices, factories, warehouses etc.) is accessibility for the customer. This means reaching the local security installer so they can recommend and install the system. To achieve this, installer training is required, the system must be simple to sell, install and use. The pre and post-sale support must be first-class including telephone support, on-site support and returns policies.

IG: How can/will smart phones and wearable tech transform security? 

AS: It’s fair to assume that soon enough we’ll all have wearable technology of some sort that can be used for identification purposes.  This is a change that cannot be ignored by the security industry.

Smartphones and wearable tech will transform the way we are ‘identified’ around a building in order to make stuff happen, whether that be opening a door, or something more interesting.

Rather than issuing conventional tokens as user ‘credentials’, virtual authorisation to phones could be delivered. In order for this technology to be widely adopted, it needs to be ridiculously simple to issue virtual tokens (even with the user not present), and completely free.

IG: What are the current barriers to smartphones being used as a form of user credentials? And what would be the benefits of using smartphones/smart devices in this way?

AS: Reliability is an issue when considering the use of smartphones as a form of user credential. The battery life of smartphone is restrictive and if using the phone as a biometric fingerprint scanner, readers may be affected by scratches or a build-up of dirt on the button meaning they may not work as effectively.

Buildings with an existing touchpad or readers system in place may incur added expense and extra effort to get up and running. It’s also easier to replace a reader token or use a one-time password than a finger!

Despite these perceived barriers, using smartphones as user credentials would mean security manufacturers utilising technology users are already carrying.

Smart devices provide a battery powered credential, meaning that power at the reader isn’t essential. This gives rise to the possibility of extremely low cost, easy to install ‘readers’ that can be used in ways not currently imagined.

There are many places within a building where it may be useful to identify people but the current high cost of RFID readers, including installation, means  they are only used when absolutely necessary.

IG: Who will be interested in your talk at IFSEC International 2015?

AS: Anyone interested in how changes in technology can be of advantage to the diversification of your business.

Hear more from Adam Stroud at IFSEC International 2015 at the ExCel London. He’ll be presenting on 17th at 12.00 in the Security Solutions Theatre.

 

 

 

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