When physical security and ICT collide

When ensuring that an organisation and its staff are safe and secure, technology has a huge part to play. Some call it convergence, some consolidation. But perhaps collision is a more appropriate termPhysical Security specialists and ICT professionals are united by a the common cause of providing cohesive, reliable and effective services, but divided by a lack of understanding  about one another. As more day to day operational functions become integrated within an IT infrastructure and the benefits of doing so exploited, the need to understand what innovation, development, products and services are available becomes more acute.
From a stake holders perspective, be it from the public or private sectors, the key is efficiency, economy of scale and tangible return on investment, all of which can be provided within a well designed, planned and implemented deployment. The issues of energy saving, carbon footprints and data security are also topics that can be addressed and with on-going legislation concerning other green issues the convergence of services are key.

Two worlds collide
There is however one issue that needs to be addressed before anything can happen, and that is the ability and willingness of all parties around the table to understand and appreciate each others areas of expertise.
Take the example of transferring a CCTV/Surveillance system on a hospital campus from a traditional analogue solution with CCTV cameras and simple VCR recording, to a fully integrated IP networked solution utilising TCP/IP as a common protocol, with video being moved, stored and monitored across a network infrastructure. Access control, panic points, time and attendance, vending, library services and even operational information being integrated and communications options from LAN/WAN technologies, through mobile telecommunications to sophisticated WiFi solutions and you will see that the benefits are clear, but the route toward the final objective less so.

A security technology forum
Within the security and safety arena, a forum has been created within which both security and safety practitioners and IT professionals can exchange views, engage with each other and ultimately gain an understanding of the bigger picture. The forum provides end users with an understanding of what is available and where it has been deployed in the past. The technologists can continue to learn about innovation and new thinking and the operational management can gain confidence in integrated solutions as a whole and where savings can be made and efficiencies improved.
The forum provides a 24/7 web portal where a wealth of information can be accessed including seminars and road-shows across the UK, Europe and the USA, regular information in journal and e-mail forms, and an international exhibition and conference, where all things IP, security and life safety are discussed and demonstrated.
The forum is the IP UserGroup, the journal, IPfocus and the Exhibition IIPSEC is in Coventry in January.

A warm welcome
As an organisation we are proud to welcome Public Sector Publishing as one of our elite Media Associates, we hope that the relationship which includes all of the companies titles, will allow our group to help inform the public sector as to the benefits of networked technologies within the Security and Life Safety arena and increase awareness of where efficiencies can be achieved through technology. PSP has already been involved at many or the group’s events and we look forward to a long and fruitful relationship. Look out for our articles in forthcoming editions.
The IP UserGroup, which represents more that 150 Vendors, developers and integrators across the world has a subscriber base of 20,000 plus, is free to join and welcomes members from all disciplines within both the public and private sectors.

How to get involved
Sign up at www.ipusergroup.com. This will also enable you to receive regular technical bulletins, and a printed copy of the IPfocus journal.
Join us at the next IP-in-Action LIVE event, London SW on 4 December 2008 (www.ipusergroup.com/live). PSP will be attending and Personal Development Certificates are available to those attending the full day’s programme.
Or register for the IIPSEC exhibition and conference at the NAC, Stoneleigh Park, Coventry 27–29 January 2009 (www.iipseconline.com). PSP will also be attending. Pre-registration is free and there are more that 70 Educational Tracks available. Personal Development Certificates are available to those attending the Technical Seminars and Master classes.
The product showcase will be demonstrating technologies focused on the efficiencies available through integration, with more than 100 of the most innovative security technologists on display.