As with all industries, terminology develops over time, often without a clear definition.  Everybody starts using the terms.  The picture in the minds of the audience can however vary substantially.  This is particularly difficult when your client has a different picture to you.

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.  Needed more security, get 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 manpower cost, pays the technology off.  Technology does not sleep, strike or ask for increases.  The sales pitch was and is still good.

We started having a mixture of manpower and electronics, mostly planned and implemented by different groups.

The next step was to design electronic systems that integrate the different solutions on to one platform and again prove to our clients that we had a better manpower 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 manpower group to operate.

This is “Integrated Security”, or is it?  No it is not.  It is Integrated Technology, but we have successfully left behind our SIRA graded security man.  This man has been left behind in the massive technology advances.  He finds himself with challenges in equipment operation that needs proper training, not the 2 hour handover training.  To make it worse, the technology sector has very little understanding of the manpower operations and does not always provide a good “Human Machine Interface”, another term, from the industrial sector in this case.

So, back to the story.  An “Integrated Security Solution” is rather The Successful Integration of Technology and Manpower 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 it, that will have to form part of another article.