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8.27.20 – SSI

Sources for SSI’s second annual Commercial Security End-User Forum expressed they are missing the chance to gather with colleagues and peers.

In speaking with a number of end-user security professionals about the ways they stay informed about technology, one thing is clear: networking reigns supreme in this pursuit. With COVID-19 wreaking havoc on the security industry’s 2020 trade show calendar, it remains to be seen if virtual gatherings can replace in-person events with equal engagement.

Sources for SSI’s second annual Commercial Security End-User Forum expressed they are missing the chance to gather with colleagues and peers.

“As a healthcare security professional, I often work with integrators that I meet at trade shows, such the IAHSS AC&E and GSX. Integrators that attend these shows seem to have a deeper understanding of the healthcare field and the issues we face each day,” says CoxHealth System Director of Public Safety Eric Clay. “This greater understanding helps us choose the right solution from the start.”

Clay also reads trade publications to gain insights on technology solutions they may not be familiar with. “We’ll look through those and find something that looks interesting to us. We’ll talk to one of our integrators and see if they have any sort of relationship with that group,” he says. “And then if not, then we may reach out directly to the company to see if they can put us in touch with someone that can help us kind of look at the product to see if it’s a good fit for us.”

Joseph Souza, director of security at the University of Florida, has for years taken advantage of education opportunities at trade shows as well, including ISC West and GSX. He attends vendor meetings and leverages his ASIS Int’l membership for learning opportunities. Visiting other universities and similar industries also gives him a chance to interact and exchange ideas.Related:Are You a Star Integrator in the Eyes of End Users?

He says he has a willingness to meet with sales reps, keeping an open mind on newer technologies. “I also bench and field test hardware and software, conduct proof of concept [POC] and reach out to other customers using new products, technologies or services,” he says.

As a longtime member of ASIS Int’l and an ASIS Professional Standards Board member, Robert Carotenuto says he has attended nearly every GSX conference (formerly ASIS Seminar & Exhibits) in the past 18 years. The conferences are fertile ground to discuss specific technology use cases, he says, and to discuss what works and what doesn’t.

“It is essential to have a group of people that you can benchmark against,” says Carotenuto, who serves as director of security at The Shed, a new $475 million, 200,000-square-foot cultural arts center located in New York City’s Hudson Yards. “When you work in the not-for-profit world, the first question is what’s it going to cost us? And the second question is who else is doing it? Are we the only ones that are going to do this?”

“It’s about sharing knowledge and information so that we can help each other out,” Carotenuto adds.