I'm in Chicago for Schneider Electric's 2012 Editors' Event: Invest. The daylong program focused on energy efficiency and the company's new software, StruxureWare, which connects a customer's five domains of business expertise—power, data centers, process and machines, building control and physical security. But there were other helpful security tidbits to be gleaned as well. Among them:
U.S. Country President Jeff Drees said that among the favorable market trends that are shaping the company's effort is reindustrialization in many sectors, including the automotive, chemical and petrochemical industries. That reindustrialization will require updated physical security systems.
Another trend deals with urban growth. Eighty-five percent of the U.S. population will be in cities by 2030, Drees said. That trend drives the company's "Smart Cities" initiative, which includes public safety, video surveillance and emergency management. In a breakout session on Smart Cities, Donald Rickey, senior vice president, infrastructure business, said that Schneider has the technology to make security a strong part of the integrated initiative, and cities' crime rates can be cut through better lighting systems, access card controls and cameras.
After a panel discussion on Big Data, I spoke with panelist Andy Schonberger, director of Earth Rangers Centre, a worldwide attraction as a demonstration site for new and emerging environmental technologies, located in Ontario. His Big Data system has enhanced his facility's security in a number of ways, including that employees are able to access video surveillance feeds to check what's going on in the parking lot at night before they leave the building, he said. If an employee feels uneasy about walking out alone, he or she can contact the security guard to watch them on camera. With only one security guard for three buildings, it's a big plus when the guard doesn't have to leave the post to escort someone, he explained. Access control data has helped with false alarms and even energy efficiency as the system knows when the last person has left the building and can "turn the lights out."
The convergence of security and IT makes security an even more important part of Big Data, James Sandelin, Schneider's senior vice president for buildings business Americas, told me, and security professionals will help influence the future of Big Data systems. We also chatted about Schneider's Security Center for Excellence and Schneider's role in physical security at airports, including Logan in Boston. Schneider is currently installing a video system at the airport in Memphis.
The event was held at the United Center, and a tour was included. And yes, for all you hockey fans, a trip into the Blackhawks' locker room was part of it.