Just Google something like “How many times a day are people caught on video?” and instead of a definitive answer, as I expected to find, I was bombarded with local stories about incidents that had been caught on “videotape” – police beatings, gang shootings and stabbings, sex crimes, car crashes, robberies, theft and more.

 Amidst the chaos there were a few articles that addressed my question; a common answer is about 300 times. Attend a convention, such as ASIS 2009, and those numbers probably triple. But to be there in person – last month’s show was held at the Anaheim, Calif. Convention Center – and to see some amazing technology in action was well worth having my image captured by the thousands of cameras on display.

SDM will publish its coverage of ASIS in next month’s edition, story by story. But for me, two overarching themes stood out from the more than 70 meetings SDM’s editors had with exhibitors.

First, I saw that technology is being transformed into more of a solution than just technology for its own sake. Some technologies, when first introduced, can be like diamonds in the rough. Look, for example, at PSIM or physical security information management systems. Incredible concept, but it seemed that first versions were overly complicated.

Granted, as an editor I don’t have the same experience as someone who uses a PSIM platform daily. But still, one of the chief concerns of end users is difficulty correlating data from disparate sources and have that data be meaningful and actionable.

At ASIS 2009, I saw among the latest versions of PSIM platforms real improvements that help to transform security data into easy-to-decipher information. It was exciting to see so much refinement in these products – some of which stemmed from partnerships with other tech companies and some from internal development – targeted to the real needs of end users.

The second overarching theme is that the security channel must do a better job of educating the market about solutions that can and will make them more effective practitioners. They need to sell solutions, not products! SDM and its sister publication, SECURITY, recently conducted a roundtable discussion about security needs and solutions in the healthcare market, and PSIM came up as one of the topics. Some end users we spoke to felt that they needed to learn more about how such a solution could assist their efforts and show a return on investment. They felt they hadn’t been exposed enough to the solution.
Another example is this month’s cover story. (See “Total Control.") Security dealer Craig Metzger of GuardMe Security, based in Old Bridge, N.J., was simply responding to a customer’s need to bring its 17 retail stores under a common intrusion alarm platform for a more unified operation. In the course of doing that, Metzger discovered an additional opportunity to introduce his customer to suite of services that allows security staff to have total control from any remote location over their alarm status and function.

It was a heads-up move on Metzger’s part to recognize his customer’s need without it being spoken – the ability for managers to remotely access and control their security systems at multiple sites – and to recommend a service to fill that need. That’s where the real work is done; that’s how the security channel converts technology into real solutions.