Ten years after 9/11, the security industry has definitely changed as is evident from a visit to the most recent edition of ASIS’s annual conference held in hot and humid Florida
This past September, I attended the 57th American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS) Seminar and Exhibits in Orlando, Fla. — the 10th anniversary of the show since 9/11.
As I entered the exhibit hall on that humid Monday morning I could not stop myself from reflecting back to October 2001, and the 47th annual seminar in San Antonio, Tex. I immediately asked myself: “What has changed in our lives? What is different about the security profession since the terror attacks of 9/11? What effect has it had on the awareness of the security industry?”
I, like you probably, actually remember where I was back on Sept. 11, 2001 when the news broke that America was under at-tack. So how has the security industry changed in the last 10 years? Well, today the words or phrases, “threat level, vulnerability, hacked, no-fly list, privacy, lock down, crisis, Homeland Security, disaster, improvised explosive device and identity theft” are now associated with the term “security” and the profession we all share. Today, the term “security” is also more prominently associated with the words fear and protection. The feeling of fear and the requirement for protection has bolted the security and safety industry into a highly respected industry and livelihood. The security and life safety professional is now considered to be part of the corporate management team with his or her job involving the budgeting, planning, testing, audit and overseeing of the effectiveness of risk avoidance technology and procedures.
Outside of security, 10 years is a long time, particularly in terms of innovation and lifestyle. Just think, in 2001 the hybrid vehicle was only a thought. There was no iPod and our Canadian dollar was at $0.64 US. The security industry was only experimenting with the terms convergence and compression, as well the use of TCP/IP technology. Nowadays, we are enjoying a soaring Canadian dollar and the iPod and hybrid vehicle are proven concepts while it is an industry best practice to protect, transmit, analyse and deliver security services, such as real-time intelligence, notification and alarm assessment, via TCP/IP based technology and networks.
In my mind, there is no doubt that the past nine years of ASIS conferences, educational workshops and numerous best practice guidelines have been influenced by the events of 9/11 and different attitudes towards fear and protection. This is a positive outcome as we have all learned that we must never forget, always be vigilant and never become complacent in this industry. Remember how easy the process was to cross an international border prior to 9/11 or even the task of flying internationally. Simply put, 10 years later we are all forever reminded about the unfortunate events of 9/11 during routine daily activities with flashes of paranoia, disruption and remembrance.
As for the ASIS show this year, I left with the impression that technology development, or leap in technology, has been over shadowed by corporate America and strategic announcements from the likes of Tyco, ADT, Siemens, Schneider, Cisco and Stanley, regarding strategizing for brand identification, market share and/or improved bottom lines. Could we have ever imagined, 10 years ago, that the amount of influence and ownership stake that the corporate world has today in this industry? So what will be the focus for the second decade following 9/11? I sense improvements in the perception of security as a return-on-investment industry, increased job security for security-minded individuals who choose this industry as a serious career path, increased awareness of the value of managed services and more government regulations surrounding the right of an individual’s privacy, continual advancement in software technologies, logical security, inoperability and the use of accurate and dependable intelligent video, and of course that something that is totally unpredictable!
When it comes to specific technology, show highlights for me include March Networks’ launch of its Integrated Video Surveillance Mass Notification and Tele-collaboration system. This solution lets users access integrated visual and system data on the fly by combining video surveillance, alarm assessment, mass notification, and situational awareness with real-time voice communications. Also, Sony introduced a hybrid network camera that provides both an analogue and digital stream over traditional coax up to 1,100 feet. The technology surfaces from a unique chip set that multiplexes both streams over a coax cable transmission path. It was also nice to see Samsung make a Canadian investment in sales and marketing leadership.