Security in Transformation
'Security in Transformation' was to have been the theme of this year’s ASIAL Security Conference in Melbourne. Despite the unprecedented times that continue to challenge the globe and led to the cancellation of this year’s conference, the idea of Security in Transformation remains a pertinent one for the industry, perhaps even more so nowadays.
As illustrated over these past few months, the security industry has been quick to respond to the COVID-19 threat. Thousands of security personnel have been mobilised rapidly to provide security and public safety services at hospitals, critical infrastructure and manufacturing facilities, shopping centres and supermarkets, through to monitoring alarms and securing hotels housing quarantined returned travellers.
We have seen the growth of AI-enabled thermal ‘fever’ cameras, hands-free facial recognition access control systems, automated visitor management systems, high resolution video surveillance systems providing entry management solutions, and the ability to incorporate medical testing as part of access control protocols.
COVID-19 has underscored the importance of building resilience to combat security threats and the need to be responsive and innovative. Business and governments of all shapes and sizes have come to understand the importance of ‘digital readiness’ to enable their continued operation regardless of what happens; floods, fire, pandemic.
Integrating technology, security personnel and processes (in terms of how security services are provided, how they are procured, and how they are delivered) will be a key priority for the industry moving forward.
The security industry remains a vibrant and growing industry that employs over 150,000 people to protect the many places where we live, work and play. As demand for security services grows, so too does the need to look at ways of increasing productivity and quality. Ensuring the industry is equipped to provide the Security of the Future will be met with the need to embrace technology. Integrating technology, security personnel and processes (how security services are provided, procured and delivered) will be the challenge.
Transforming the Security Industry
The idea of Security in Transformation focuses on how achieving a more integrated approach to delivering security solutions requires a multi-pronged plan of attack involving the following:
- Improved Security Regulation – national regulation of the industry is required to achieve uniform and consistent national standards. Implementation of the new Security Operations training package for entry level security personnel which came into effect from 1 July 2020 is a step in the right direction. However, variations in regulatory requirements between jurisdictions continue to expose inherent vulnerabilities.
- Skills Development – employers need to commit to invest in the upskilling and ongoing professional development of employees, and to provide clear career pathways to attract higher calibre entrants to the industry. At the same time – customers need to value the importance of quality security over lowest price security.
- Best Practice Procurement of security – more needs to be done to educate and promote to users of security the importance of best practice in procurement of security services. In this regard, it would be beneficial if the government took the lead.
- Technology & Innovation – there are a raft of new and emerging technologies that can be used to enhance and transform various operating models.
Whether it is the use of video surveillance systems with video analytics to enable a single security officer to oversee hundreds of cameras using analytics as automated ‘digital eyes’ to act when an alert is triggered; a mobile-enabled patrol and incident management system which can replace manual incident reporting and site management; use of an automated visitor management system to scan and verify visitor information to free up time for security officers to focus on higher-value tasks; or the use of robots to perform security patrols in designated areas – the opportunity exists for greater integration in the delivery of security services.
We are at an important juncture in the industry’s growth and development. As the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, organisations able to pivot their business and innovate have been rewarded, whilst those who haven’t have struggled.
The COVID-19 pandemic has, whether you like it or not, hastened the transformation of the security industry (along with many other industries) as business prepares for life in the ‘new normal’. For some this transformation could mark the beginning of the end, for others it will be the start of a new and exciting chapter.
Rest assured, when the ASIAL Security 2021 Conference is held in Sydney next July there will be much to discuss.
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