Specifically Speaking with Robert D. Hammond, PSP, NICET III

Consultant at Security Consulting and Design
 - 
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

1. What's your title and role at the company?
 
I am a freelance consultant; my company’s name is Security Consulting and Design. I work directly with other consultants to augment their own resources. Much of my work is with my former employer C.M. Salter Associates in San Francisco. I work out of my home, on a small farm in the mountains of Western Maryland.
 
2. What kinds of systems do you design/specify and what services does the company provide?
 
The systems I design and specify are video surveillance, access control, intrusion detection, security intercom systems such as: area of refuge communications systems, video intercoms, and visitor entry systems. The services I provide are: security system design, specification writing, construction administration, and project management.
 
3. What vertical markets does the company specialize in? Any interesting projects that you can mention?
 
Currently a lot of my work is in: multifamily buildings, college campus buildings, K-12, office space, hotel, retail, entertainment venues, and municipal buildings.
 
Currently I am not doing much correctional work, but I do have an interesting project adding video surveillance to a juvenile detention facility.  This facility has all the challenges you would expect at an occupied correctional facility.  Of course, the installers don’t just show up with a tool belt and walk into the facility.  And their IT department is one overstretched IT guy. They also had the challenge of being mandated to store video for 12 months.  To keep the costs down, the cameras will duel stream, one stream at 12 frames per second, which will provide 30 days of high-resolution storage, and a second stream at 1 frame per second for 12 months of storage. 
 
In my first meeting with the facility people, I asked them what do they call the juvenile prisoners? I didn’t like calling kids prisoners or detainees. They looked at me askew and said, “we call them kids!” It’s refreshing that these hardened correctional officers hadn’t given up on the kids; they sincerely wanted to turn their lives around.
 
5. Can you talk about what new or emerging technologies you are seeing or specifying today?
 
I think most people in our business see the technology in IP video systems and other security IoT as the most interesting and dynamic part of our industry, and it is.  But one of the things that I think is a sleeper, is wireless electronic locks.  I believe these locks will drive down the price of electronically securing a door. Right now, the locks are priced to compete with wired access control solutions, but I think with competition, these prices will drop significantly.  Most of these locks communicate to the access control headend via Wi-Fi or a proprietary radio system. But I am watching the locks that communicate via the smart RFID tag.  In this system, the card tells the lock if it is authorized to unlock the door. An audit trail can be written to the card, and the card can upload the audit trail history when it is used at an online card reader. These offline locks won’t replace online card readers, but they are an excellent choice for low activity doors, or doors that aren’t practical to connect to a wired system, such as: individual offices, mechanical rooms, back-0f-house doors, and remote buildings without internet access.
 
6. What is your view on the industry moving forward?
 
Where is the industry moving? The technology pace will only quicken. Disruptive companies with creative new products will push industry stalwarts to innovate, or out of the industry. I am seeing a lot of interest from clients on moving their systems to the cloud.

Many clients, struggle with the mundane system administration tasks that are needed to keep their systems up to date, and to protect them from cybersecurity risks. Moving to the cloud lets the client offload these tasks to professionals that can manage their servers much more efficiently, securely, and at a reasonable cost. Right now, the cloud is a viable option for many access control applications. A lot of our video surveillance customers would also like to move to the cloud, but if they have more than a half-dozen cameras or so, the costs are too high. Once we see bandwidth costs drop, I believe we will see a lot more interest in cloud computing for video surveillance. Now that 5G is starting to roll out, maybe our bandwidth options will increase?