Contributed by Noelle Britton, director of marketing for the security division at Siemens Building Technologies.
I was walking through the airport recently on a day plagued with weather delays. As I dodged my way past teens sitting on the floor engrossed in their iPods, and parents trying to navigate strollers down narrow aisles in search of seats, I got to thinking: Where did all these people come from?
It seems that in the past few years, the world has become a bit more crowded, doesnâ€™t it? The UN certainly agrees; consider these two facts:
o The worldâ€™s population quadrupled during the last century and will continue to grow in the 21st century, from roughly 6 billion today to 8 billion in 2025.
o The year 2007 marked a unique milestone in human history: For the first time ever, more people on earth live and work in cities than in rural areas.
The crowded airport is a perfect illustration of the impact this burgeoning and changing population will have on our society. Accelerating urbanization and the accompanying economic growth will fuel a massive demand for dependable infrastructures, such as energy and water supplies, transportation and traffic management and safety and security.
Can you imagine the impact this will have on our industry?
As areas become more densely populated, the vulnerability to potential threats increases. The increase in populations will make achieving security more important and, at the same time, more challenging.
Fortunately, our industry has responded to this challenge with an unprecedented level of innovation. The rate at which our industry is developing new technologies and applications is truly impressive. Unfortunately, those who seek to undermine this security have proven to be equally innovative. The threats facing individuals, businesses and societies as a whole are both unprecedented and unpredictable.
So, how can integrators prove our value to you, the end users? Traditionally, integrators have focused most of their efforts on implementation. You should expect tomorrowâ€™s integrators to have the skills and commitment to partner with you through the entire lifecycle â€“ from strategy development through ongoing adaptation.
During the strategy development phase, we have to know your businesses as well as you do. Without this knowledge, we canâ€™t help you create a tailored strategy which employs the right blend of people, processes and technology measures to accomplish both your security and business objectives.
During implementation we must not simply install the selected technologies but ensure that your team members have the skills to fully leverage the security system. We then have to offer ongoing service and support, which addresses the continued operation of the technology as well as the ongoing training and development of your staff. Finally, we must work with you on an ongoing basis to help you adapt your strategy to the ever-changing range of threats and risks you face.
Simply stated: You should expect your integrator to become a full partner in helping you achieve your security and business objectives.