Diebold and DVS on when to use bleeding-edge technology

Kevin Engelhardt and Phil Santore say emerging technology has its rewards, but it also has risks
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

DELRAY BEACH, Fla.—In deciding to use bleeding-edge technology, you need to eliminate legacy alternatives, weigh the risks and rewards, ensure all stakeholders are informed and aboard, and then proceed very, very carefully, according to Kevin Engelhardt, VP of security operations for Diebold, and Phil Santore, principal and managing partner for consulting group DVS.

“There’s a reason they call it bleeding edge,” Engelhardt said.

Engelhardt and Santore participated in an educational session called “Implementing Current vs. Emerging Technologies” at the TechSec conference, which took place here Feb. 7 and 8.

DVS and Diebold worked together on two projects at the new World Trade Center, including SAPS (Situational Awareness Platform Software), an identity management and PSIM-type software that was created with Quantum Secure and Vidsys.

Santore defined bleeding-edge technology as “untried, untested, on the drawing board or in a simulated production run.” Cutting edge, on the other hand, is “more sustainable, somewhat proven, it’s out there, someone is using it somewhere. It has more defined expectations,” according to Engelhardt.

The only time to use bleeding-edge technology, the two agreed, is when the client, consultant and integrator are all onboard. Further, it’s vital that the end user is “fully engaged … and the scope and outcome are clearly defined,” Engelhardt said.

That’s essential, Engelhardt said, because there will inevitably “be pain points even in the best relationship and in the best environment.” He said the SAPS project was a great example of where everyone was onboard, but “there were pain points because … the technology evolves, people’s perceptions evolve and the environment evolves.”

Santore called new technology a “tool in the toolbox” that consultants and integrators can find useful, but said a legacy technology can often “do the job just as well, at half the cost, with half the training, and half the headaches.”

What about the role of the manufacturer? It’s important that the manufacturer is fully onboard when using new technology and that they are financially stable. Does that mean that working with startup manufacturers is out of the question? Not necessarily, Santore and Engelhardt said, but it does mean that there are certain places and cases where the two are more comfortable deploying bleeding-edge technology.

 “It’s easier to roll the dice” on “edge devices” and in geographic areas where the integrator has a “real core of strong talent,” Engelhardt said.

He also said that integrators need to consider if the emerging technology of interest will “eventually be embedded in the core product,” such as basic video analytics being embedded into cameras.

How do consultants keep informed about new technology? Santore said his company has NDAs with major manufacturers so they understand their product road maps for planning purposes. And smaller, new manufacturers? It’s up to them to contact consultants and make themselves known.