Do security industry associations hold us back?

The security industry is knee-deep in associations and organisations, and yet the sectors which are forcing through change and delivering added value are seemingly under-represented. This doesn’t seem to be a problem for them, and could be indicative of the friction that industry bodies can create!

The recent news that a lady in the US had taken a rare Apple 1 computer, worth $200,000, to a recycling centre without realising its value got me thinking. Forty years ago, when the machine was designed, it was little more than a bunch of PCBs. Those who purchased a unit had to add a whole load of additional hardware, and the computers were often fitted into wooden casings. It makes sense; it’s easier to fashion wooden boxes for limited production runs than plastics!

If you consider such an approach for Apple products today, it would be laughable. Would the iPhone, iPad and iPod have become tech icons if you needed to buy and fit power supplies, interfaces, cooling circuitry and other parts yourself? Would the public clamour to be seen with the devices if they were housed in homemade wooden boxes?

Of course, what lifted Apple – and numerous other technology companies – to a position of prominence was their free thinking, their flexibility and their vision which didn’t always conform with the mass market view. They were mavericks, and they enjoyed the freedoms that allowed. In fact, they exploited those freedoms to not just push the boundaries, but to break them down altogether.

Today Apple might be the mainstream, but their early position has been filled a hundred times over by new companies looking to force change and drive innovation.

Whilst many will point out that the security industry is conservative in its nature and dislikes change, the reality is that certain sectors are anything but! There is a growing number of companies that are thinking outside of the box, innovating and developing solutions that offer value to users. What is interesting is that despite the industry being knee-deep in associations and bodies, the sectors showing true promise don’t seem to have such organisations. There might be a few small groups, but they don’t really impact on the market, and usually have their own agendas to pursue.

In spite of this, those in the manifold associations seem to constantly tell us how their very presence is benefiting the industry as a whole, and how the future is safe in their hands. Every time I hear that I smell a whole bunch of something, and it ain’t bananas!

Standards can be good, because they guarantee outcomes. However, they do this by restricting development. In an industry as fast-paced as the technological security industry, those writing the standards struggle to keep up. Even the early adopters struggle at times, so what hope does a committee-based body have?

The modern security world is an exciting and cutting edge industry, and as we share more technologies with other sectors, it’s only going to accelerate in terms of development.

If we are going to have organisations and associations, they need to carefully consider how they are going to adapt. They need to fit in with the modern security industry, not the other way around!

BENCHMARK
Benchmark is the industry's only publication for installers and integrators which is dedicated to technological innovation and the design and implementation of smarter solutions. With an unrivalled level of experience in technology-based systems, Benchmark delivers independent and credible editorial content.

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