Collaboration is the route to progress in the security industry
Radka Talianová, 06.10.2021, 6 min read
The history of science is littered with wonderful stories of individual discovery, but that’s rarely how scientific progress is made these days. Innovation comes from collaboration, and that’s true in the security industry too.
"It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed."
- Charles Darwin -
Some of the most popular and enduring stories in science are big moments of discovery. Think of Archimedes running naked through the streets of Syracuse yelling “Eureka!” after he had discovered the principle of buoyancy while taking a bath. Or Isaac Newton developing the law of gravity after being hit on the head by an apple. Or Alexander Fleming discovering penicillin in an accidentally contaminated Petri dish.
These stories may not all be true (Archimedes almost certainly didn’t actually leap out of the bath and run down the road without any clothes on, and Newton’s apple is probably an exaggeration too), but that doesn’t matter. They are still being told because we are attracted to the idea that brilliant minds can break apart mysteries in a momentary flash of inspiration, that huge leaps forward can be made in the space of a second.
Eureka moments do happen, but they are extremely rare. Mostly, scientific progress is laborious and, particularly in the modern world, is created by teams of people rather than individuals working alone. The celebrated discovery of the Higgs boson is just one recent example. Peter Higgs from Britain and François Englert from Belgium won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013 for predicting the Higgs mechanism, but it took the efforts of 6,000 researchers and the Large Hadron Collider to actually observe it. It was a huge – and international – team effort.
The access control industry is not, of course, trying to discover truths about the inner workings of the universe, but a similar principle applies: no company can deliver the ideal solution for every customer, every time, on its own, and progress is often the result of companies coming together. Companies like Genetec and 2N, a global leader in smart IP intercoms, recognize this because our businesses have been built by understanding and anticipating customer needs. That is why 2N uses an open protocol and develops products which can be integrated with those of other companies. It’s the only way to deliver the kinds of fully comprehensive security systems that our customers are increasing demanding.
2N is a certified technology partner of Genetec and our collaboration is a great example of how integration can benefit customers. To illustrate the point, imagine for a moment that you are head of security at a chemical plant, a school or a hospital. What would your priorities be?
First and foremost, you would want to be sure that unauthorized people will not be given access to your buildings’ most sensitive areas. How can you guarantee that?
The first step is to ensure that access to all entry points can be monitored from one place.
Second, you need to be able to see immediately who is standing at the door, in high quality, even when it is completely dark outside.
You also need to be able to speak to the person at the door and understand what they are saying, even if there is a lot of background noise.
If necessary, you might also need to be able to record video, zoom in with the camera or switch between individual cameras to follow the movement of a person you are concerned about – all without that person realizing that they are being filmed.
You will also be responsible for the emergency communication system so reliability will be a prime concern too. As well as needing to be able to lockdown specific emergency doors, areas or entire buildings remotely and instantaneously, that will also require a highly durable, vandal-proof system.
You wouldn’t only be thinking about worst-case scenarios, though. You will also care about efficiency, convenience and making the right first impression on visitors. You will want to be able to handle and transfer all calls via one simple interface and, if an employee forgets their card, you will want to be able to let them in quickly, without hassle. And all through beautifully designed technology which saves the cost of a reception service.
The interconnection of 2N’s products with the Security Center system from Genetec allows you to do all of these things, and we have focused on making the integration incredibly simple to set up and manage. Neither company is a fan of lengthy, tedious written manuals. Instead, we have developed a video manual which abridges everything you need to know in the most user-friendly format possible.
A recent example of the kind of solution I am talking about is Binghamton University, the State University of New York. It’s a very large campus – 120 buildings covering 930 acres – which is home to more than 18,000 students. In view of the increased number of security incidents at universities across the US, Binghamton University took the view that it needed to upgrade its ageing analogue surveillance cameras and door access control system so that it could manage incidents as they were occurring, not simply respond after they had happened. The integrated system they chose incorporated a Genetec Omnicast video management system and Axis security cameras, with work currently underway to add video IP intercoms from 2N. Once it is finished, it will give the University a completely unified Security Center.
We are going to see more and more integrations of this kind because they are the most innovative, effective solutions out there.
It shows that Darwin’s conclusion about nature at the very beginning of this piece – that collaboration is at the heart of species’ success – is also true in our industry. Strong partnerships like the one 2N has with Genetec help us grow by allowing us to meet the increasing demand for smarter, more comprehensive access control management. It is where the future of our industry lies.