Today’s business landscape is changing rapidly. In almost every part of the economy, even sectors which once seemed relatively slow moving and predictable, we are seeing major challenges and disruptions.
Each business faces its own sector-specific pressures: retailers, most obviously, adapting to the challenges of e-commerce, oil giants facing hefty carbon taxes, the education sector shifting to e-learning, healthcare providers treating increasingly aging populations as well as coronavirus patients. And above all this, organisations are being hit by wave after wave powerful global, economic, and technological forces.
Whether it’s the sudden tsunami of the pandemic, the shift towards green energy, extreme weather events, increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, evolving physical threats, or the steady but inevitable rise of artificial intelligence (AI), businesses are having to get used to the fact that, looking ahead, the only real certainty is a lot more uncertainty.
But this doesn’t have to be bad news. Along with all these challenges come very real opportunities. Change is typically only a real threat for those that can’t, or won’t, adapt. For those that can and will, it can bring major benefits.
Tech savvy organisations know that to evolve and adapt they need to eliminate disparate systems and silos of information, to help them deliver the insights and decision-making power. The same is true when it comes to orchestrating changes to better manage staff and facilities.
Whereas just a few years ago it would have been impractical and unaffordable for many businesses to integrate security systems beyond access control, surveillance and intruder, today they can use the next gen software platforms that make it far more straightforward to connect with an array of security and life safety systems as well as back-office systems and prevalent databases.
And the latest research from Data Bridge Market Research released in June backs this up, forecasting the systems integration market to rise an estimated value of USD 58.73 billion in 2018 to USD 90.82 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 5.6% in the forecast period of 2019-2026.
Enhanced protection and streamlined operations
Even a minimal level of integration, such as pulling together access control and surveillance, makes security and safety operations simpler to operate from a single interface and offers clear advantages and a practical way forward for even for the most complex, multi-location organisation.
But going beyond this, today organisations can benefit from easy, off-the-shelf integration with dozens of building management systems – from elevator controls, fire detection and parking management to asset tracking – and streamline identity management by exchanging data with Microsoft’s Active Directory and other popular databases.
An easy-to-use, centralised system can reduce the burden of ensuring enterprise security from all angles and eliminate the need to deal with repetitive challenges, such as managing and responding to alarms and processing and analysing data from disparate systems.
Integrated solutions also offer remote access capabilities which allow security managers to maintain oversight away from the control room. Single or multiple facilities can be monitored from any location, and problems can be addressed as soon as they occur.
Assimilating alarms from multiple systems also gives operators improved ability to visually verify notifications and automatically capture events using video, ensuring critical incidents are never missed. And streamlined reporting gives managers the required intelligence to implement changes quickly. Adopting the latest AI technology will also act as a force multiplier by further enhancing situational awareness by eliminating false positive alarms, speeding up investigations using metadata and automating previously labour-intensive tasks.
As a result, an integrated solution will increase operational efficiency by allowing security teams to detect, verify and respond quickly and effectively with easy coordination and streamlined processes.
Benefits of end-to-end solutions
Next gen software that comes with off-the-shelf integrations is also helping tackle industry specific challenges. In the hospitality sector, for example, forward-thinking hotels can now integrate their front of house and back of house operations using Oracle’s OPERA to not only improve efficiency – reducing pressure on busy reception desks by automating aspects of check in and housekeeping, for example – but they can offer guests a significantly enhanced experience, with hassle-free arrivals and departures, and more efficient room service. That gives them a competitive advantage.
In healthcare settings, it’s now much easier to divert medical teams and reallocate resources from hospital to hospital, with integrated systems that allow floating staff to work flexibly wherever they are needed. We’re seeing a growing number of examples of this in action, and seeing how the resulting efficiency is helping healthcare providers manage times of peak demand more efficiently. Ultimately, these solutions make life less stressful for individual medical workers too, particularly at times when they are under pressure: making it easier for them to access the right facilities and associated IT systems and networks, even when the location is unfamiliar to them, and cutting down on the effort it takes to get where they are needed.
In sectors from retail, finance, and logistics, to manufacturing, integrators and technology vendors are delivering ever more capable, more flexible solutions. And they are making them applicable to for every type of medium-to-large business, from those that operate standalone large buildings and campuses to those with complex, dispersed, and multi-site estates.
And scalable, flexible, and futureproof solutions can be adapted to meet new requirements and changing priorities – new functions added for example – with minimal expense and disruption. And today it is faster than ever for engineers to develop new integrations using the latest architectures and APIs. This has reduced the time it takes to satisfy customers’ requests for new integrations from months to weeks. This means that organisations can move as quickly as they need to by upgrading and scaling systems, to pivot operations and stay fully in control.