What is an integrated security solution?

March 2009 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring

In all industries, terminology develops over time, often without a clear definition. Everybody starts using the terms, although the pictures in the minds of the audience relating to what the terms mean can vary substantially. This can cause difficulties when your client has a different concept of what comprises a solution than you do.

So what should the term 'integrated security solution' actually mean? Some history of the development of the security arena over the last 15 to 20 years is the place to start. Back then, if you needed security, you hired a security guard. If you needed more security, you hired more guards.

With the arrival of the electronic age and particularly the relatively low cost of technology, we technocrats started replacing the security guard. To this day, we sell the technology, where possible, on the promise that a reduction in labour costs pays the technology off. Technology does not sleep, strike or ask for increases. The sales pitch was and is still good.

We now have a mixture of labour and electronics, mostly planned and implemented by different groups.

The next step was to design electronic systems that integrate the different solutions onto one platform and again prove to our clients that we had a better guard replacement tool that everybody needed.

This was a good time to be nice to the guarding fraternity and we created the controller or control room operator. At this point, the technocrats had found integrated security solutions that they handed to the labour group to operate.

Is this really an integrated security solution? No, it is not. It is integrated technology, but we have successfully left behind our SIRA graded security person. This individual has been left behind in the massive technology advances. He finds himself with challenges in equipment operation that requires proper training, not the 2-hour handover training. To make it worse, the technology sector has very little understanding of labour operations and does not always provide a good human-machine interface, another term from the industrial sector.

An integrated security solution is rather the successful integration of technology and labour to produce an efficient security solution.

If that is the definition we should all be striving for, then more work is needed by all players in the industry to develop the planning, design, training and operational skills to deliver the solution.

How to do that is another story.

For more information contact Rob Anderson, Rob Anderson & Associates, +27 (0)31 267 4150, rob@robanderson.co.za

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