Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Future of Security



I was lucky to get the chance to attend the ASIS 60th Annual Seminar this year in Atlanta, Georgia. For those of you who haven’t heard of ASIS, it is the largest association for security professionals, with about 40,000 members worldwide.
This was by far the largest convention that I’ve ever attended, even bigger than a Comdex convention I went to years ago. In addition to the training and education sessions, there was a large exhibit hall that was full of every type of security product or service that you could imagine. 
 
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As you might imagine, the exhibitors were anxious to show off the newest version of their products and the latest technology. Some looked impressive. Some did not work as well as hoped. I was getting one demonstration on a guard tour and incident reporting system and the software interface did not work. I never did get to see what the program actually was supposed to do. It is hard to get excited about new products when even the demo fails. I’ve had enough of that with real-life products.
At one point, while passing by an exhibit, I heard the salesman pitch the product to his prospective client by promising that the technology could be used to eliminate or reduce the security guard force. At other booths, security guard services were promoting their ability to respond and protect businesses, while looking professional and promising lots of training for security staff.
It struck me that two types of services should ideally be merged. I have always believed, even as a police officer, that one well-trained, well-equipped and motivated responder could replace several untrained and unmotivated individuals. But how to get there?
It rekindled that vision of security people, guards or officers, professionally trained and using the latest technology and equipment to maximize their effectiveness. It is disappointing to hear sales pitches that pit one against the other.
The true future of security will involve technology (hopefully after being vetted and working properly!) and there will always be the need to have a security force to respond to and handle various situations and emergencies – the ‘boots on the ground.’ It will not come overnight and might involve some changes in the industry. On the technology side, facility directors or those in design and construction might be reluctant to try new products or be concerned about price increases. On the security guard service side, the industry must move away from the current model based on low pay, high turnover and limited training.
I am looking forward to the two worlds merging and providing the best possible levels of protection to organizations.

Eric is available for staff education and security awareness training as well as business coaching to help organizations provide safe workplaces. To learn more email Eric at businesskarate dot com.