Tech Trends: On the Hunt for ISC West Game-Changers

This article originally appeared in the May 2022 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, don’t forget to mention Security Business magazine on LinkedIn and @SecBusinessMag on Twitter.


Editor’s note: Security Business welcomes security consultant Paul Benne, President of Sentinel Consulting, as our newest Tech Trends contributor. A former firefighter, Mr. Benne has been entrenched in various leadership roles in the security industry for more than 35 years.

It was December 1987 – I was working a temporary security job for a company that closed its facilities for two weeks during the holidays. It was me and one other security officer patrolling a massive, four-building complex of offices and warehouses. As I donned my gear – a handheld radio and a manual Morse Watchman guard tour clock – I departed for my two-hour-long tour of the facilities.

We security old-timers may recall those tour clocks – it was an actual ticking clock with a shoulder strap that had a unique feature, it had a hole for a key to be inserted into the clock and turned. These keys, strategically mounted throughout the facility on short chains, left unique impression and time stamp on a tape inside the clock. This ensured that the guard was visiting key locations on a scheduled basis.

As I reached that last of the multiple buildings, I was called to investigate a door alarm in building two. I said to myself: “It will take me 15-minutes to walk there, and then 15 minutes to get back to my current location to resume my tour. That’s at least half an hour, and to top it off, I will need to write a report on why my tour clock is now off schedule. There has got to be something better than this slow and inefficient method of touring and responding to alarms…there has to be a game-changer.”

Fast-forward to today, and significant innovations have modernized how security guards account for their time and thoroughness of patrols; however, these advancements, in my view are simply innovations – such as digital clocks, randomized tours, exception reporting, and automatic uploads and report generations.

Not all innovations are game-changers, but all game-changers are innovations. The game-changer for guard tours turned out to be video surveillance, which greatly increased security’s situational awareness and response time to alarms – making it possible for security to truly be in multiple places at once. This later evolved to game-changing advanced video search capabilities and analytics that would cut countless hours of work down to just minutes.

Stemmed by product development through engineers, product managers, and externally by requests of end-users and integrators, innovations are occurring all the time. While innovations are a frequent occurrence in the security technology business, game-changers are much rarer.

Game-Changers at ISC West

I truly enjoyed walking the ISC West show floor in March, looking at the latest innovations – new versions of this and that, bells that whistle and whistles that ring like a bell; however, I was truly in search of the next game-changer.

Aisle after aisle presented new versions of old technology. I noticed the continuing race to the cloud, like it is the new gold rush. But after an extensive hunt, I came across a few innovations that have the potential to become game-changers: 

The SentryCard from Sentry Enterprises (https://sentryenterprises.com/sentrycard): This biometrics-on-card solution is entirely powered by the induction coil of the card reader. This allows fingerprint biometrics to be added to any access control system without changing or modifying the access control equipment.

A user would enter the card number under the user’s profile just as they would with any blank access card, then the SentryCard gets programmed at any reader with the user’s thumbprint. After the card is programmed, it is locked and can no longer be programmed with another user’s fingerprint information. If you present the card to the reader without the correct fingerprint on the card’s sensor, or without a fingerprint, the card is dead, it does not read.

As I’m sure you are already thinking, the game-changing implications are significant. From compliance with GDRP and similar legislation to the ease of implementing a biometric solution to validate users into critical areas without upgrading system hardware, this solution may do just that.

Databuoy’s Shotpoint indoor and outdoor gunshot detection and localization system (https://databuoycorp.com): It is not the first to the gunshot detection rodeo, but the Databuoy system offers something unique: The ability to visualize outdoor gunshot trajectory, pinpointing the exact location of the shooter in three dimensions. This game-changer not only allows for pinpoint accuracy – quickly identifying the shooter’s location and drastically reducing response time to neutralize the threat – but it also provides significant evidentiary information about the origin of the shot.

Rajant’s Kinetic Mesh industrial wireless infrastructure (https://rajant.com): Yes, wireless mesh networking (yawn) has been around for many years, but this is different. The mesh radio’s nodes, known as “breadcrumbs,” are omnidirectional radios that allow for the network endpoints to move and stay connected without realigning antennae. In doing so, it continuously maintains, monitors and selects the best channel and pathway to maintain connectivity between nodes. This game-changer allows integrators and end-users to deploy endpoint security technology on fleets of vehicles, staff or fixed objects while the network self-heals and adapts to changing environments.     

Paul F. Benne is a 35-year veteran in the protective services industry. He is President of Sentinel Consulting LLC, a security consulting and design firm in based in New York City. Connect with him at www.linkedin.com/in/paulbenne or visit www.sentinelconsulting.us.

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