World Security Report2015-03-19 10:27:52

"Security remains a core business for Siemens"

Interview with René Jungbluth, Head Solution and Service Portfolio, Building Technologies Division, Siemens

Mr. Jungbluth, the security industry, which tends to be conservative and traditional, is facing many new developments. Big data, the Internet of Things and open standards are some of the hot topics. At the same time, the supplier market is undergoing consolidation. What significance does the security business have for Siemens today?

Security remains a core business for Siemens. We pay attention to market trends and are open to the needs of our customers. Intelligent networked security solutions are the future of security in buildings and infrastructures. We're investing heavily in research and development of new security solutions for smart buildings and critical infrastructures because we want to be involved in actively shaping the future. For this purpose we operate dedicated security research centers in Europe, Asia and America - ideally situated and in close proximity to our customers.

Thanks to our local presence we're familiar with the legal and regulatory environment. This allows us to give our customers peace of mind when it comes to compliance and meeting legal requirements.

We're also advancing the Internet of Things emerging in the building technology sector as more and more field devices and sensors are being networked. Big data and data analytics for predictive and preventive security measures are forward-looking topics we're actively pursuing.

On the other hand, you're in the process of selling your Security Products segment. How does this align with your commitment to the security business?

Our Security Products segment develops and sells security products for intrusion detection, access control and video surveillance. This product business is not strategically viable for us. For this reason we've sold this unit to a leading security product and system supplier. This company, Vanderbilt Industries, is a strategic partner for us from whom we will continue to buy products. However, hardware is just one module in a comprehensive integrated security landscape. And that is where our activities are now focused in order to build on our traditional strengths.

But every security solution is ultimately implemented using products...

Of course, and that's why we continue to offer our own security products from our extensive Siveillance portfolio as well as security for Desigo CC, but those are software-based. Here's just one example: Recently we launched Siemens Siveillance VMS, an IP-based, open video management software solution. With our consulting services and our software portfolio we deliver complete customized solutions which, when needed, are complemented by products from renowned third-party vendors. These are thoroughly tested by Siemens to ensure that our customers can rely on them 100%.

Overall, how eager is the security industry to innovate?
There is no dearth of ideas for innovation, but not every innovative idea is practical. You always have to ask yourself if an idea will truly benefit the customer, how it can be implemented technologically, and whether it is cost-efficient. Especially in security, new product development cycles often take years; this has to be brought in line with feasibility and implementability.

How is Siemens, as a global company, able to meet the regional and local security needs and requirements, which can vary greatly?

In our Security Centers of Competence, which can be found all over the world, we develop suitable security solutions for local customers. Our integrated security concepts include consulting and risk analysis of the situation, design of suitable solutions, commissioning and continuous modernization all the way to employee training. On the one hand, we offer the investment security of a global company. On the other hand, through our subsidiaries worldwide we are in close contact with our customers and understand the specific business processes of many different industries. This is something that sets Siemens apart from other competitors in the security sector.

To what degree have physical security and IT security merged in modern building technology?

Not all customers are yet aware of the relationships between physical and IT security. The CIO is usually responsible for IT security, whereas the facility manager takes care of building security. Organizationally they are often in separate departments with separate budgets.

The fact is that building security is increasingly IT-based. For example, to an increasing extent access control and state-of-the-art video surveillance systems are communicating over the IP protocol, which allows data transmission over standard IP networks. While fire detection requires a dedicated network, there are no comparable regulations for access control and video surveillance. But because the security industry depends on standardization, it is pushing toward IT industry standards.

How can you merge existing heterogeneous security systems into a complete solution without affecting business continuity?

We never view security all by itself but embedded in business processes. We have solid knowledge of customer processes, for instance in production and logistics, in a range of industries. Our security solutions accommodate these processes and protect them without impeding or interrupting them. That is another essential advantage of the Siemens group, which is highly diversified and active in virtually every industry sector.

In today's business world, a wide variety of security systems are deployed, typically as standalone systems at specific locations. These insular solutions are often implemented without adequately considering the enterprise-wide security concept and the impact on operations. Employees may need different ID cards for access to different locations and applications, which slows down processes and increases susceptibility to risk. This is where our One Card concept comes in. It manages all identities and authorizations through a standardized, centralized software approach. Cardholder data is collected just once and automatically synchronized with the company database in real time. That saves time and money and allows the customer to establish an enterprise-wide security culture and enforce security policies. Physical Identity Access Management (PIAM) will play a significantly greater role in the future.

You mentioned "intelligent security solutions." How can they be integrated into building automation operations and processes so they add value?

In the past, and to some extent even now, the different security systems - access control, intrusion detection, video surveillance - have been viewed and operated as separate disciplines. Integration means developing comprehensive scenarios for these disciplines - and for building automation disciplines - that offer real added value to the customer. Let me give you an example: An access control system reads the badge of an employee who works on the seventh floor. The lighting and room climate is then adjusted based on the employee's workstation profile - just for his or her workstation, not everywhere. In this case, intelligence connects security with energy efficiency and comfort. And another example: If a fire alarm goes off late in the evening, the lights are turned on, and not just at the emergency exits, but everywhere along the escape routes.

For this type of intelligent security, we have developed Desigo CC, an open platform that integrates the different disciplines in the building. By enhancing the functionalities of existing disciplines to boost the comfort and security of people in the building, we create added value for our customers.

How important are security-related services and what innovations is Siemens offering in this area?

Security as a service begins with developing an optimal security concept for the customer. First I need to know what is important to the customer, and then I need to conduct an overall risk analysis. Finally I need to have the expertise to assess which measures might help minimize these risks and which of the current technical solutions will be useful in achieving this goal. Siemens has both the consulting expertise and the solutions. Yet cost-efficiency is always at the fore.

One of the innovative consulting services we offer to building operators is evacuation simulation. We analyze the possible escape routes in existing buildings or new construction. This analysis illustrates what would happen if a fire were to break out somewhere in the building. How can people exit the building quickly? Can the staircases accommodate enough people? Where are the bottlenecks that might be mitigated through construction measures? The simulation can also be used as a virtual training tool for first responders.

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