The future of enterprise with unified platforms

Scott Elliott - Gallagher Security - the future of unified platforms

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Scott Elliott, Executive Vice President – The Americas for Gallagher Security, speaks with SJA Editor, Victoria Hanscomb, about the significance of unified platforms for the future of security.

Unified platforms

A tug of war between open versus closed systems has taken hold of the security industry as of late with many weighing in on which platform is better or worse.

However, Scott Elliott, Executive Vice President – the Americas at Gallagher Security, thinks the whole discussion of superiority misses the point.

“There’s a sense that one system might be better than another, but at the end of the day it’s all about what helps a customer achieve their specific goals,” said Elliott, who believes flexibility is the real litmus test of performance.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all platform out there. Finding the best combination of technologies, features and capabilities empowers customers to forge their own unique paths toward security and efficiency.”

He elaborated: “We want to build customer relationships for life and to do that we need to provide flexibility to our customers. That’s where Gallagher excels.”

Demystifying integration

Elliott went on to describe Gallagher’s integrated platform as unified rather than open or closed and says there are many misconceptions about what that means.  

As Elliott explained it, a unified platform enables bespoke solutions while also providing a safe and fluid user experience.

Users can choose the applicable integrations for their needs (like video, intercoms, biometrics, etc.) to round out their system while still benefiting from the consistency and ease of use inherent with proprietary hardware.

This flexibility empowers organizations to build the right platform for their business, Elliott said.

“When looking for a system, a customer should look for what provides the greatest value, whether that’s security related or extending beyond security, such as health and safety.” 

A wider impact

According to Elliott, the main reason to choose a unified platform is the ability to select the best-of-breed technologies that provide wider operational benefits in addition to security.

Whether customers have a business problem, opportunity or challenge, a unified platform allows their operational systems to be connected in a way that yields greater visibility across an organization’s ecosystem, enhancing situational awareness.

“There’s a lot of business intelligence built into what we do that people don’t normally extract; there’s a lot of useful metadata within access control, intrusion detection and perimeter protection systems that organizations aren’t necessarily leveraging,” he added.

“So, the question is: how do we take that data and help people?”

He highlighted that Command Centre, the powerful software at the heart of Gallagher’s solution, has over 1,200 integrations available to provide real solutions for customers and give them endless opportunities to make their platform serve their specific needs.

“There are thousands of ways that our product can be applied, but a customer may only use 10% because that’s the right 10% for them,” Elliott said.

“For example, we have a customer that’s deployed our platform to prevent repetitive work injuries and foster a healthy work environment, which illustrates just how many ways our solutions can be used.”

Success stories

One area where Gallagher’s unified platform has found success is in the mining sector.

Elliott shared that one of the world’s largest mining companies is making use of the company’s solutions to improve its processes.

“This customer is utilizing a lot of different Command Centre capabilities across the whole organization as it has well-regulated zones that need to manage the access of people in restricted areas and track assets from a location services standpoint,” Elliott revealed.

“They also utilize our compliance competencies, which measures the attributes that somebody might have such as whether they’re allowed to be in a particular area or whether they have a particular certification.

“It provides an extra layer of management to security.”

Elliott said at the end of the day, Gallagher’s mission is to keep workers safe, but that the company also wants to make sure that its customers are as productive as possible.

For example, shutting down a mine for just one hour can cost millions and if a fatigued worker clocks in and causes an accident, the damage can be catastrophic.

An integrated system with fatigue management and competencies tied to machinery stops these situations from escalating into tragedy, giving the organization and its employees more protection.

Elliott also cited Gallagher’s customers in the transportation and logistics sectors as pushing the boundaries of security system functionality.

One such customer, a large automotive manufacturer, has applied Command Centre in some unique ways.

“This manufacturer probably has 30 to 40 system integrations in just their production plant,” he said.

“It’s business critical to make sure the workers can get to their stations to manufacture their products and these integrations make sure that happens in a safe, efficient and controlled way.”

He elaborated: “We also utilize many complimentary technologies to allow fast throughput of the trailer units into logistics areas, which saves time and money and creates further efficiencies.”

Elliott pointed out that it’s not just about physical security – unified platforms can also protect a brand’s reputation.

He described a scenario where a large, long-haul carrier moving high-value goods experiences a security breach.

“There would be significant damage to their brand,” he emphasized.

“With a breach in security or disruption in service, the carrier may find it difficult to continue selling their services to their customer base who look for reliability in their logistics partners.”

To further illustrate the array of use cases in Gallagher’s unified platform, Elliott also highlighted how the education vertical is using the company’s solutions to expand the definition of school safety.

“It’s not just about access control and emergency management when we think of K-12,” said Elliott.

For example, he explained how many schools are integrating sensors with Command Centre to detect and reduce vaping on school grounds, but he emphasized that they’re capable of a lot more than that to improve wellbeing.

“Smart sensors can be used for anti-bullying as they can pick up keywords and send an alert to administrators with the location of where a student may be in danger.

“They can detect decibel changes consistent with a gunshot and trigger a lockdown.

“We even had one school that was notified of a change in air quality, enabling them to address an HVAC malfunction before it became a bigger problem, saving them a lot of money on repairs.”

Elliott said that Gallagher doesn’t just protect such industries – the company applies their feedback to improve its solutions.

For example, one of its customers, the fourth largest school district in the US, gave feedback that led to the development of new features, continuing the cycle of innovation and opening the doors for creative application across the many verticals Gallagher serves.

The innovation equation

Looking to the future, Elliott sees the security industry progressing toward more customer-centric solutions.

“That’s where we want to land. The customer will always drive the technology at Gallagher, the technology will not drive the customer.”

He noted that this approach requires balancing innovation with the core of what’s driven customers to choose Gallagher Security for over 35 years.

“We reinvest about 15% of our revenue back into research and development,” he said.

“That includes innovating products, but also enhancing those we already have.

“We have products on their sixth generation and we’ve enhanced them without intentionally making previous models obsolete for existing customers – not many companies can say a similar thing.”

He emphasized that Gallagher will not leave customers behind or force them into decisions they’re not prepared to make while the company innovates but cites generational changes as an example of why a forward-thinking mindset is necessary.

“Younger generations engage in this new digital world differently,” he said.

“They’ve grown up with it and their expectations for functionality, design and transparency are quickly becoming the standard for the security industry. No one can stick to the old ways and expect to stay relevant.”

Thinking holistically

Overall, Elliott emphasized that unified platforms enable new business processes that facilitate the desired outcomes for an organization.

“Whatever the vertical the customer falls within, we are leading innovation in that area based on what they tell us – customer feedback is at the heart of what we do.”

This article was originally published in the May edition of Security Journal Americas. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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