Pete da Silva, CEO of Siemens Southern Africa welcomed 170 local and international guests to the Security Summit 2006 held at the International Convention Centre in Durban on 8 February.
The visitors, which included governmental and legislative officials and technology decision makers, all have a special interest in security technologies surrounding major events.
Da Silva opened the event with a welcome address and video depicting Siemens' commitment to the African region, its people and its challenges in the plenary session. The opening was followed by speeches from General Ulrich Wegener the founder of the German Special Forces GSG9 and assistant commissioner of Police, Ben Groenewald, from the South African Police Service. Following the Plenary session, lunch visitors attended the break out sessions, which addressed topics ranging from security for major events, future security technologies and communication and information security to transportation security and physical security products. During all these sessions the visitors were able to engage with the Siemens solution and product specialists on the 14 booth high-tech exhibition.
"This is the way of doing business in the future," said Da Silva after the Summit. "Our clients have for the first time been provided with an opportunity to see, touch and feel the broad range of security oroducts and solutions available from Siemens. A significant number of leads have been generated and are being focused on by our business development colleagues within the business units."
Security in the business sector - an important business enabler
Businesses have an increasing need for operational security. Issues such as physical access to a company's premises and information, secure communication, identity management, or track and trace of commodity flows have become crucial prerequisites for success. It is a comprehensive security infrastructure that enables businesses to meet their customer's expectations at competitive costs.
Siemens HiPath communication solutions, for example, which provide a unified platform for all security data stored, help to integrate, manage, and significantly improve physical and IT infrastructure from a single, central source by assigning access rights and authorisations on the basis of eg, 'smartcard' technology. This combination enables the ultimate in efficiency, effectiveness, privacy, and convenience and thus lowers operating costs.
Public security - effectively protecting personal freedom
Security in the public sector involves similar needs, but on a dramatically broader scope. The spectrum ranges from intelligence, prevention, and early warning to border and transportation security and the need to protect critical infrastructure right through to emergency management and response. The task is to protect personal freedom without restricting it. Government authorities and agencies throughout the world place their trust in Siemens when it comes to security. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, for example, where Siemens was actively engaged in a wide range of key projects, linking police, fire-fighters, coast guard units and government ministries, supplying more than 65 000 different products, systems and solutions from one source with one face to the customer. Siemens Security thus clearly played a major role in the success of the Olympics.
Jens Wegmann, president, Siemens Security Systems Division - which ranks fourth in the global electronic security market - in his presentation on Siemens Building Technologies Security Systems, looked at the 'Evolution of Security'.
1997 Security handled as additional part of the infrastructure
* Locally delivered through guards.
* Focus on intrusion prevention.
* Independent from business processes.
* Independent from IT systems and networks.
2000 Security considered as technology related asset investment
* Delivered through guards, selectively replaced by technology.
* Still strong focused upon prevention of intrusion.
* Included in investment roadmap but not linked to existing business processes.
* Selectively related to IT organisation.
2003 Security evolves into a critical success (survival) factor for corporations and governments
* Senior management focus, driven by conscious risk management.
* Regulated through legislation/regulations under strong stakeholder/media focus.
* Video surveillance rapidly replaces intrusion detection.
* Increasingly delivered through technology integrated into IT systems and networks.
"Ten years ago electronic security consisted of a video camera or system and some form of access control but it was not integrated into the customers business process - there was no real link between the business processes, threat potential and related integrated security solutions to minimise such risks," Wegmann explains. "Companies now have to involve the CIO, CSO, HR and all involved in both physical and logical security, it amounts to a comprehensive IT project to bring together access control, time and attendance and security. The basic principles of security have not changed but the technology has.
"South Africa is a little way behind some of the other countries but South Africans are quick learners, they watch the rest of the world adapt over five years, they learn from this and apply their knowledge in five months."
Reflecting on the Summit, Jens says, "We have put strategic moves in place to create an awareness of Siemens as a major security player, not just a communications giant. The Summits have also all been strategically placed and we see huge opportunities in South Africa. Our aim was to get core customers and we certainly achieved that with 170 either existing or potential customers attending."
Jens describes Siemens Security Systems as a systems integrator and provider within the Siemens group, with expertise across the board of vertical sectors. "The solution requirement comes from the client," he explains. "Siemens has all security products across the spectrum but if a client wants to integrate our products into existing solutions then we offer consulting and implementation services and also make use of selected partners."
For more information contact Siemens, 011 652 2000, or visit www.siemens.co.za
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