Demonstrating that there is now a fundamental need for the convergence of systems across physical security and safety, logical security and communications, building control and lighting, and energy management, the research sheds new light on the changing role different business stakeholders now play in the evolving convergence market place. New buying groups include marketing, operations, HR and financial departments due to the complexities of systems and vulnerabilities through the use of IP enabled solutions.
Highlighting that whilst convergence will not happen overnight, (predicting the move from event-based intelligent preventative systems in the not so distant future (circa 2015)), to the culminating shift to fully integrated systems likely to happen post-2020), Frost &Sullivan’s research identifies emerging technologies such as Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) and Security/Software as a Service (SaaS) as helping to sustain the future growth of the security industry and make fundamental steps towards convergence.
Produced in association with IFSEC International (www.ifsec.co.uk) the world’s largest annual fire and security event, this new report also highlights that a paradigm shift in perception and uptake of SaaS is going to be instrumental in the security industry achieving convergence.
Acknowledging that converged systems are still at an embryonic stage, the report highlights a need for quality reference sites that can demonstrate the real return-on-investment this move can bring. Providing grassroots evidence of the cost efficiencies that can be achieved will help many businesses justify the upfront investment of overhauling their existing legacy system. The report highlights that converged systems could sit more comfortably with new build projects as part of the business case for reduced energy consumption in smart/green buildings.
Key findings from the research cover fundamental changes to the decision-making process within organisations which move from single products and systems to converged solutions. As security solutions evolve to become a profit centre with increasingly complex systems, they will require a different purchasing approach so will also see the likes of the marketing, operations and financial departments take an active role alongside IT.
HR and fire/safety professionals are also set to play an increasing role in the procurement decision with 96 percent of participants stating that they use access control for time and attendance purposes.
Also feeding into this is the important point that whilst CIOs and Chief Security Officers (CSOs) are the top two decision-makers when purchasing physical security equipment, there is a greater need to communicate with CIOs in a language they understand - ROI must be better communicated to this audience. This is further evidenced by Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and solid business cases being cited as the top two factors CIOs want to see from converged system propositions.
With regards to the critical decision factor for CIOs to make the investment in convergence, they made several key points including the fact that decision-making related to physical and logical security is still largely separated in small to medium sized enterprises whilst there is strong integration in large enterprises. They made the point that without strong regulations, the current lack of standardisation does little to incentivise smaller organisations to change this.
So, how should vendors/integrators get convergence higher on the CIO agenda? The research highlights conflicting views on this point. CIOs claim they would have no preference, however, when it comes to physical/logical integration, most feel they would prefer IT integrators/vendors as they have more relevant skills, whereas in the case of physical/building automation, CIOs would prefer to work with building management/automation vendors.
In terms of what integrators and vendors can do to help this situation, end-user education is vital. Frost & Sullivan have highlighted the following key points:
Show clearly how convergence can provide:
• Clear cost savings (substantial)
• Operational efficiency gain
• Reference sites (similar organisations in similar vertical markets with similar problems/needs)
• Case studies
Charlie Cracknell, Event Director for IFSEC International, says: “Acting as a barometer for the security industry for nearly 40 years as IFSEC International, we are now seeing a real step change in the role different business stakeholders play in the procurement of security solutions. This latest research adds to this knowledge by looking deeper into the roles new stakeholders have in the decision-making process and the accelerators in the shift towards convergence.
IFSEC International is in a unique position bringing together over 640 leading security companies and 25,000 security professionals from over 100 countries across the entire buying chain; from manufacturers and consultants, to installers, integrators and end-users. IFSEC provides a comprehensive platform for the convergence market; bringing together product innovations and services that are vital to those responsible for the complete security and facilities portfolio, and will benefit all security sectors.”
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