Voice of Security recently caught up with Bill Taylor for a Q & A session hitting on a number of security industry topics. Bill has a long history in the industry and is the current Vice Chairmen of the SIA (Security Industry Association) Board of Directors. Additionally, Bill served as President of Panasonic Systems Networks before leaving them at the end of 2011. In this Q & A, Bill responds to issues in the security manufacturing space as well as offering insights speaking to larger segments of the security industry.
Voice of Security: Bill, with your manufacturing background in video surveillance hardware and software what technology advancements have had the greatest impact on the video surveillance segment of the security industry?
Bill Taylor: I believe the most significant technology advancements that have been made in the video surveillance business are related to the rapid growth and deployment of IP video.
Another way to characterize this is that video data is now captured, distributed, analyzed, and stored in digital form. Combining digital video with the almost ubiquitous availability of high speed networks, and the ability to collect, process, and analyze digital video – will allow us to look at the data in ways we have never been able to do before, or even thought possible.
Imagine being notified of a threat potential even when no one is watching the video monitors. Add to this better resolution, faster compression, and the ability for the end-point devices (cameras, access control, and various other sensors) to store and process more of the collected data locally, and that world of billions of smart connected devices doesn’t look so far away anymore.
Voice of Security: You’ve held a number of positions in Executive Leadership. We all know it takes many professional and talented staff members to make any Security Manufacturer a success. But how does a leader go about getting that staff to actually work together to achieve success?
Bill Taylor: More and more, the old notion of a hierarchical management structure is disappearing in favor of a fully empowered enthusiastic workforce. I think it takes a strong sense of belonging to a team that believes they can make a difference every day in order to harness the power of a highly diverse workforce comprised of engineers, product managers, marketers, and sales folks.
This is the result of having a shared vision and knowing what one’s role is in an organization (small or large). It then becomes the executive leadership’s primary responsibility to ensure that everyone on the team shares that vision, and understands his or her role in making the vision real.
Once the vision and mission are clear, it becomes easier for everyone to deliver on their commitments – Staff realize they don’t have to check with “the boss” every time a decision has to be made. If the goal is clear, and everyone knows what’s expected, I think we can trust a capable workforce to accomplish its mission.
Voice of Security: How do most security manufacturers learn what their end-user customer base (Security Directors, Investigators, Guards, and other Security Pros) want in a surveillance camera, DVR, or VMS system? Does that process need to change, and if so, in what ways?
Bill Taylor: The usual methods for collecting customer insights include focus groups, market surveys, and sales/marketing staff feedback.
In large end-user enterprises there are often security departments with certified security professionals who can be a valuable source of information for the manufacturer developing the “next new thing”. However, in some cases, the end-user doesn’t really know what they need, especially if the technology that solves the customer’s problem is highly complex. It is incumbent upon industry leaders to shine light on the technologies and services that will solve those problems and not wait for the end-user to tell them what they want.
This becomes more apparent with small and very small end-users (the branch office, a local convenience store, or even a small school district) who will not have the luxury of staffing a large security department, they may not have in-house expertise, and they may even rely on their friend and family networks to try and figure out their problems.
It’s understandable that the small business owner/operator doesn’t want to be a systems administrator or the security department – they want to focus on running their business, but with peace of mind that their facility, staff, and physical assets are protected.
Here’s where security manufactures, integrators, and service providers can provide significant guidance to these end-customers (this becomes challenging if the manufacturer goes through an indirect channel of distribution to educate the end-user, but more on this in a moment). The industry has a responsibility to these end-customers to make this complex technology easier to interact with, derive benefit from, and scale, as their little business gets bigger.