When GE Infrastruture’s Randy Provoost says he wants to open some doors, you get the feeling right off that he really wants to knock down barriers when it comes to the still touchy issue of open technologies and architectures in the security industry.

Sitting down with an SDM Magazine editor at the annual GE conference for systems integrators, Provoost focused on the company’s Open Protocol Exchange Network (OPEN) project – really a security industry-wide network to establish and promote openness. “No one should doubt,” he said, “we are all about action-oriented results” with a program that aims at physical and logical security while also involving biometrics and smart cards.

Provoost, marketing manager for credentials and readers with GE Infrastructure – Security, realizes that his effort is not “go-it-alone.” Within the OPEN program, XceedID Corp. of Golden, Colo., is already working with GE to create next-generation contactless smart card and readers with an open protocol. “In going forward, the industry should expect others joining OPEN,” he said. In the case of XceedID and its expertise in advanced contactless radio frequency identification products, GE intends to market and sell what comes out of the relationship through its traditional channels while XceedID will market and sell the new products through other traditional access control manufacturers and similar companies serving vertical markets.

Such a strategy is a winning situation for security systems integrators and end user buyers, Provoost contends. “OPEN will surely unlock their future, too. And this all comes at a very critical time.” The GE executive believes now is the time for many to migrate from proximity to contactless and radio frequency and smart cards. “The typical capital investment in technology turns over every handful of years and now is the time for end users” seeking personalization data and multiple technologies for secure solutions.

Beyond the expanded feature sets and flexibilities that openness brings to the table, Provoost also firmly believes that it’s time to walk away from a past that is still hanging on by its proprietary fingernails.

According to the GE executive, the security industry’s reliance on proprietary technologies and platforms inhibits innovation, integration and the assimilation of emerging technologies. “In a world that demands higher security, from retail to banking to military installations, too many systems are plagued by issues arising from proprietary technologies. This is self-defeating…it creates major problems for security dealers and integrators and hinders end users from having flexible, scalable security platforms that protect their people and assets. OPEN should go a long way in eliminating these problems,” Provoost concluded.

Organizations ranging from ISO and ANSI to the Security Industry Association and IEEE’s Open Security Exchange also are addressing open technologies and architectures from a variety of directions. Provoost doesn’t view any conflicts. “As an industry leader, we see the need to set the bar.”

To make his point again, Randy Provoost repeated his first thought of the interview: “This is all about action-oriented results.”

Then he was off again to talk with a group of systems integrators about OPEN, technologies and how to better serve end users into the future.