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Security in 2014
By: Steve Van Till

Looking at the biggest technology changes, challenges and opportunities in our industry for 2014, I believe we will begin to see social networks extending into security applications. Today they are in use for little more than marketing in our industry, but that’s far from all they can do.

If you look back in human history, all security came from social relationships—the family, the tribe, the village. Those institutions provided a context for people to “watch each other’s backs.” Social networks are making it possible to restore that framework, albeit more abstractly and more spontaneously, through membership in groups that share a common interest (work, home, neighborhood, etc.).

If I had to choose the single most pressing issue in 2014, I’d submit that it’s one of identity. For years, the access cards and tokens we’ve been issuing have no real tie to the user’s identity. It’s a “lose your card, lose your identity” situation right now. We need to do better than that.

We need to use technologies that allow a person to retain and express their identity regardless of what type of physical token is used to interact with the security system. Mobile platforms are the answer, and they will continue to become more prevalent and indispensable to a more satisfying and effective security practice.

Other technology developments I foresee? Near field communications (NFC) technology will be hard pressed to gain or even hold any market share against more accessible, less complex technologies like Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) or simple QR codes. NFC is just too inconvenient for both service providers and customers alike.

Cloud computing will continue to gain share in all parts of the security market. It is already the only technology being used in new consumer offerings like alarm monitoring and home automation.

Small businesses—which comprise 99.7% of all US employers—show none of the “cloud reluctance” we’ve seen from the security industry itself. They want solutions that are as easy to use as the consumer technology they use at home, and the industry owes it to them to deliver it.

Mobility, along with cloud computing, will be the dominant force changing the security experience over the next five years. The ability to issue mobile credentials that are tied to user identity and specific occasions will radically extend the reach of access management solutions.

Finally, as we look to our industry as a whole, the big question these days is whether startups, on the one hand, or cable companies on the other, will start to eat the legacy providers’ lunch.

The answer depends on at least two major factors. First, will those companies ever garner the trust that established security companies have earned? And second, can they out-innovate their way past established channels?

Remote Access Replaces “Keys to the Kingdom”
Bethel United Church of Christ in Elmhurst, Illinois, houses administrative offices, a pre-school, and several meeting rooms for special events and functions used by groups at varying times of day and night.

Prior to installing the Brivo ACS, Bethel UCC used a standard “keys to the kingdom” system—simple lock and key protection that gave the key holder total access.

“It was becoming increasingly difficult to track who had keys to the facilities,” said Brian Barrett, Church Operations Manager. “Also, our doors are locked from the outside. If someone needed to have the doors opened for a meeting, our system required that there be another person on the other end to open the doors.”

Barrett began researching access control solutions to help track usage, monitor door events, and manage the system from a centralized location.

“One of our church members highly recommended the Brivo ACS to help facilitate the ease of access,” he stated.

Dan Cosgrove at Initial Electronics was chosen to install a Brivo Ethernet-based ACS5000 system with readers on the main door, rear entrance, and a supply room closet. Staff and meeting group leaders were assigned ProxCards and PIN numbers to access the building doors.

Additionally, the sanctuary doors were placed on door timers to eliminate the need for someone to open them physically.

“Web-hosted access control was key for their application because it allows them to control their doors from any Web browser without having to come to the church,” stated Cosgrove.

The Bethel UCC administrators have also benefited from Brivo’s Web-based administration capabilities by being able to log onto their account from any computer to monitor activity and to manage access without anyone needing to be on-site. This has been especially helpful on days when the church is closed.

One centralized system
The Brivo solution automatically aggregates all of Bethel UCC’s data and Barrett is able to monitor all door events without the high cost of building a wide area network to link databases. “One of the best benefits has been the ability to know who’s coming and going and at what times from just about anywhere,” stated Barrett.

Automatic door timers
With Brivo, Barrett was able to say goodbye to the “keys to the kingdom.” Brivo’s automatic door timers eliminated the need to physically unlock the doors to the church. “No more trips to the church to unlock a door for a meeting—just a couple of clicks on my home computer does it,” commented Barrett.

Easy interface with no IT resources required
“The Brivo system has been working very well and has an extremely easy-to-use interface,” Barrett remarked. With all IT maintenance and networking outsourced to Brivo, Barrett eliminated the need to maintain expensive IT resources and administer the system and networking infrastructure.

Easy set up
Brivo’s control panels are easily installed and the entire system is up and running with minimal training. “In all of my experiences with Brivo, every installation went smoothly,” stated Cosgrove. “I’ve been really impressed with the Brivo control panels.”

Cost effective
With Brivo, there were lower upfront costs, which meant that the total cost of ownership was reduced nearly 50% over traditional non-networked systems.

Steve Van Till is the president and chief executive officer of Brivo Systems, a security systems provider for organizations that need to protect buildings and facilities, www.brivo.com.









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