The shortage of training for integrators emerged as a hot topic at the annual MercTech conference, which featured lively discussions of the access control market and beyond.
CORONADO, California – Mercury safety, the leading OEM access control technology company, hosted its annual MercTech symposium here, near San Diego, from March 2 to 3.
Now, in its fifth year, MercTech brought together some 50 consultants who interacted with representatives of several of Mercury Security's major OEM customers. The group of participating suppliers this year included Avigilon, Feenics, Genetec, Honeywell, LenelS2, Open Options and RS2 Technologies.
The essence of the event is to provide a free-wheeling platform for consultants and OEM partners to analyze product work plans, identify and discuss industry trends and challenges, and exchange general ideas on the direction of the product. the security industry.
Leaving aside the rainy weather, the Loews Coronado Bay Resort provided postcard views of the Pacific Ocean and the San Diego skyline, while the event was held in conference rooms with windows for general sessions and private suites for smaller meetings with OEM partners individual.
Opening general session
The president of Mercury Security, Matt Barnette, started the general session on the first day with presentations and a general description of the company. Founded in 1992 (and acquired by ACRE in 2013), Mercury's global distribution to date is around four million open platform panels deployed. Barnette shared a little curiosity to illustrate the explosive growth of Mercury since 2009: the company took 17 years to reach one million controllers distributed globally.
In total, the company based in Long Beach, California, provides its controllers and IO modules to some 25 OEM suppliers. Here's another factoid: the total capacity of the Mercury reader that has been converted with its Nearly Micro5 bridge product: 210,000. Barnette also reminded attendees that there are still many businesses pending conversion of the traditional systems of Casi-Rusco, which are being supported until 2020.
Also attended by executives from ASSA ABLOY Y HID Global, which one acquired Mercury Security from the ACRE holding in 2017.
Harm Radstaak, managing director of physical access control at HID Global, addressed the general opening session to discuss, in part, the company's connected architecture and cloud services. He highlighted Origo, the recently launched platform It combines HID technologies for mobile IDs (and eventually location services) with its access control architecture to join physical security and a wide range of applications, services and construction services. IOT use cases.
Regardless of the inexorable march towards adoption of the cloud and the IoT, Radstaak emphasized that the hardware will remain a foundation for future access control solutions. "The hardware is not going away … I'm convinced of that," he said.
Mercury Security's vice president of engineering, Michael Serafin, addressed the session to provide a "product trip" that reviewed the upcoming feature sets of the Mercury and HID portfolios. Among them, on-board controller applications. Along with an upcoming cable manager application, he said potential target areas could include hosted web applications, device protocol drivers, device integrations, diagnostic / troubleshooting tools, analysis processing, and more.
Serafin also highlighted Mercury's next-generation LP smart controller platform built on the Linux operating system. It is said that the new drivers offer advanced security and performance, as well as extensive support for applications and third-party integrations.
The attendees were informed that, as of 2019, Mercury Security no longer exists as an entity and has officially assumed the global name of HID. Mercury, however, will remain a brand within the HID family of products. HID competed against Mercury in the OEM market with its VertX and Edge controllers, and HID's Global Director of Product Marketing, Damon Dageenakis, said these two lines will continue, although they will be reintroduced into the market under different names.
Dageenakis said that future VertX and Edge products will be marketed to medium-sized companies, mostly overseas, and will be materially different when exploiting Mercury technology. While Mercury boards are red, VertX will now wear blue boards and will be released in September. The Edge team is scheduled for launch in 2020. Neither VertX nor Edge are destined to compete with Mercury panels in the market.
Among others to address the session, Donna Chapman of ASSA ABLOY, who serves as director of relations with security consultants, presented a preview of upcoming product launches. He highlighted the company's collaboration to support mobile access capabilities for student IDs with Apple Wallet. He explained how student identification cards can be added to Wallet on the iPhone with iOS 12 or Apple Watch with watchOS 5. The ASSA ABLOY reading technology, combined with the HID technology incorporated in the company's locks, will be part of of a broader technology solution that supports mobile student IDs at Duke University and the University of Oklahoma.
Round table of consultants: need for training of integrators
A roundtable of consultants was held on the second day of the event, which also included additional meetings with individual OEM partners. Although the round table was intended as an open dialogue, the need for additional training for integrators, specifically around the OSDP standard, consumed a considerable part of the session.
As specifications increasingly demand the installation of OSDP-enabled readers, and as Wiegand's wiring standard wanes, installation challenges are becoming a difficult point in the projects, several consultants said.
"We are certainly seeing an increase in the OSDP from both the sales of HID readers and the people who apply to Mercury. "Different manufacturers and PACS providers handle OSDP differently," Barnette explained. "Some of the distributors are surprised when they turn it on and the reader does not have an LED, they are used by default, so I think there is still some standardization in the way these things should come out of the box or that they should be put down in the configuration that does the basics from the beginning. "
Ed Chandler, president of Security By Design, explained that OSDP offers the functional ability to download firmware to readers, which is one of the highlights of the standard. However, this feature in general is not yet enabled because it is not fully compatible with the suppliers in the product portfolios. The adoption is expected to increase, given the hardening characteristics of the standard network. The integrators must prepare for the day when Wiegand, a much more vulnerable standard, is necessarily forced to graze by most specifiers.
"It's definitely a big vulnerability to be running Wiegand today, just like it's a big vulnerability with proximity cards and the previous version of all the symmetric keys," Chandler said.
As the discussion on the subject progressed, a resolution began to come together: the consulting community wants to see the installation certification requirements around OSDP technology, among others, to ensure greater efficiency at work sites and fewer complications. for the final customers.
It was suggested, for example, that a specification could include a line item that indicates that an integrator must have a certification from the manufacturer or similar to be eligible for the project. The education topic also included a discussion about working with the Security Industry Association (Sia), and possibly the Electronic Security Association (THAT), to create basic training programs.
One thing is clear: a village will need to remedy the needs and training requirements widespread throughout the canal.
"I find many integrators with challenges, but as with many sins of integrators, it is not clear that we have given them the right tools," said Rodney Thayer, a network security professional at Smithee Solutions. "The specific example is that PACS providers are not really good at helping you get information about troubleshooting and protocol tracing and things like that. Once you fix it, you can solve many problems. "