Doug Bedell — September 27, 2007, 9:45 am

The Meaning in Situations

A place to glean “big picture” security themes was certainly this week’s ASIS (American Society for Industrial Security) conference in Las Vegas, where PRO Barrier Engineering was pleased to be among the exhibitors.

After roaming the displays, Geoff Kohl, editor of SecurityInfoWatch, came up with “situational awareness” as the inherent theme of this year’s show. “While I was tempted to say ‘integration,'” Kohl writes, “that’s really a cop-out, because that’s like saying the ‘theme’ of the human body is breathing.” Integraton of security techniqes, he feels, is now the security industry’s essence.

“Situational awareness,” on the other hand, is demonstrated in displays (like Honeywell’s booth) “where video management and access control are tied together” to provide, for example, full awareness of the doings at an entry point.

The security industry, Kohl writes, has gotten “very adept at installing more and more sensors” and extracting data from them. “However, having more data doesn’t give you awareness. Rather, it’s the linking of appropriate sensors together to provide meaningful information, and then feeding that data through converged or integrated management systems which defines situational awareness….And for an industry that sometimes had been stuck on watching for minute sensor actions, the focus on situation awareness is refreshing.”

In other words, meaning matters most – what’s the apparent meaning of data streaming in from the perimeter and elsewhere at a sensitive facility? Attention to inherent meaning is a welcome, sophisticated emphasis to find at any trade show. Sounds like ASIS is where it’s at!

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