Integrators, specifiers, manufacturers mix at AMAG Technology SES

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—With about 90 consultants attending, the AMAG Technology Security Engineering Symposium, an educational and networking conference held here March 4-7, was the largest in the event’s 11-year history.

 “We handpick the best consultants in the industry and invite them here,” said Jody Ross, AMAG director of business development. And this year, about “45 to 50 percent of them were new faces.”

According to informal surveys at the event, business is good these days for consultants. Eighty percent of the consultants said they’re working on new business, as opposed to more jobs for existing clients. In a show of hands, about 75 percent said they are “busy or very busy” and about 40 percent said they’re looking to hire more consultants.

Ed Chandler of Security By Design, a frequent attendee at this event, said he checked up on improvements included in the new version (V7.1) of AMAG’s Symmetry access control and security management system. He also views the event as an opportunity to give product feedback to AMAG and other manufacturing partners who attend the event.

AMAG’s manufacturing partners this year included HID and Stentofon, which have both been at all 11 AMAG SES symposiums. Dan Rothrock of Stentofon debuted a new (extremely audible) audio product called Turbine.

One point emphasized by Rothrock and AMAG at the event is that both partners are typically considered ideal for enterprise solutions, but both offer solutions for smaller applications—that’s fewer than 16 readers for AMAG, and for Stentofon, “a two- to 16-station IP-solution that doesn’t need a server or software licenses,” Rothrock said.  
Hawkeye Technologies showcased its Harmony Web-based solution that enables users to interface with AMAG’s Symmetry solution using any device with a Web browser.

ASSA ABLOY brought its demo bus to the event and highlighted its wireless lock lines, along with its new resi “phones unlocking doors” solution—a collaboration between Verizon and Yale, which was introduced at the CES show in January and some say may migrate into the commercial world.

NEC’s Miguel Llerena told Security Systems News that specifiers and integrators need to take more of an interest in the “how virtualization will play a role in this industry. They need to be aware and prepared.”

He said he’s working on eight access control systems, AMAG and others, that use a virtualized server. “Virtualization will happen first, then the private cloud and then the public cloud,” he predicted, suggesting that integrators get certified on VM ware or another virtualization platform.

Other partners at the event included SRI International Sarnoff, Innometriks, Intransa, Milestone and Winstead.

AMAG’s Tina Seraphin, who joined the company one year ago and is spearheading the company’s new professional services offerings, described the program, which she said was launched in response to requests from consultants.

It’s an extensive, structured program that provides a variety of extra support for integrators, Ross said. “More frequently, we’re finding consultants are writing into specifications that professional services must be included in the project,” she added. “It’s a safeguard, an extra layer. … Everyone can sleep better at night.”