SJUK Exclusive: The future really is exciting

September 7, 2022
Security Journal speaks to Maureen Perrelli, Chief Revenue Officer at Brivo, about the company’s future UK ambitions.

Brivo is a US-based company, but you have a significant global footprint, including here in the United Kingdom. Do you see any regional differences on what challenges end users are trying to solve and how they deploy solutions, what functions they are integrating and how they are harnessing data they generate?

What we are seeing in the United Kingdom pretty much aligns with what’s happening in North America and, in fact, throughout all 40-plus countries where we are privileged to have customers using our solutions.

If you recall, about five years ago Underwriters Laboratories released a standard for access control for residential buildings in the UK, which closely mirrors the US standard. While neither standard is data-oriented—they are more about construction quality and performance capability— their existence shows that trends in the United States and the UK are very similar. Good practices beget good practices.

The key trends we are seeing throughout every geography we service are increased cloud use, mobile access and the integration of physical access with digital identity and access management.

What impacts are those trends having?

Cloud computing does away with racks and racks of servers and the staff needed to maintain, update, patch and replace them. Data is now accessible anywhere there’s an Internet connection, giving facilities and security personnel round-the-clock remote access to data and instant notifications, alarms and updates.

Access rights can be created, updated and erased instantaneously, without having to track down the privilege holder. It becomes a very cost-effective solution. Scalable, as well, because it is not constrained by on-site hardware or resource limitations.

Mobile solutions have been catalysed by Covid, in that staff now want to limit what they touch, such as access control cards, but also want the flexibility of hybrid work.

Employees can use their phones to get into any company sites for which they have privileges and their credentials can even be programmed for shared workplaces such as WeWork.

That not only adds convenience, but it reduces administration and cost—your security staff doesn’t have to replace lost or stolen cards or bring staff into the office to register them.

Finally, integrated cyber and physical access management provides a unified view of all access entitlements. There’s no need to cross-reference multiple systems and you bypass the chore of making identical entries in multiple systems and possibly introducing errors. It keeps records up to date and assists with regulatory compliance with mandates such as the Data Protection Act as well as internal or partner-required security protocols.

The latter is often overlooked but critical because a conscientious business partner will likely impose requirements to ensure an adequate level of data security and privacy.

OK, so that’s what’s happening today. What’s the next step? Where is the industry heading?

In the very near future, it’s generating, identifying, analysing and implementing data. The security industry and specifically the access industry, has created unimaginable quantities of data almost accidentally.

We haven’t done a good job of explaining where it dwells, how it can be integrated with other data, what kind of insights it contains and how it can bring about massive benefits such as cost efficiencies.

And we’re hitting the flexion point where we are strategically generating data rather than creating it almost as an afterthought or by-product. And all of that data is extremely powerful.

Can you expand on that?

Valuable data has been sitting on access control and other security systems, ignored and untapped, for years.

Proptech companies—firms that develop technology solutions for the commercial and residential real estate spaces—came in with a data-generating mindset from the beginning. Then they started to add access control to their Proptech software—along with features such as HVAC monitoring, room and workspace scheduling and energy use.

That was a shot across the bow of the traditional access control industry—treating access control as a feature of a broader suite of capabilities. Brivo is fortunate to have been an early adopter in this space, having been cloud-based since our inception two decades ago.

We see access control as a cornerstone, if not the foundation, of Proptech. Brivo is currently working with partners in real estate technology to integrate security systems into smart spaces. Soon, it will be common to digitally interact with our built environment, benefiting property managers, tenants and visitors alike.

How can property and security managers leverage the data sitting out there now, which they might not even be aware of?

They can examine security events such as door failures, door exits, forced-open doors, doors ajar and lock tampering. Data might show that corporate tenants are wedging open doors that lead from their suite to the common area where the restrooms are.

That could mean employees are frequently forgetting or losing their access cards and may be afraid to get a loaner or replacement lest they are charged a hefty fee. If this is happening across properties, you are promoting noncompliant behaviour, making workspaces less secure and perhaps even draining productive work time. That analysis could lead to changes that save costs, add productivity and increase security.

You said earlier that the value of security data increases as we match it with Proptech data. Can you elaborate on that?

Capturing, analysing and applying data lets property owners and managers use resources more efficiently and gain a competitive advantage. Let’s look at a simple example of connecting access data with lighting data. Cross-fertilising this data may show that staff prefer certain conference or meeting rooms.

Spaces can then be redesigned more efficiently so that, say, 40 people don’t have to trek across a campus to meet, or facilities can add resources such as AV to rooms to reduce scheduling conflicts for certain spaces.

What other efficiencies can be gained?

Facilities managers can compare their data on space usage, energy consumption, door entries and occupancy across their entire portfolio, by building type, by floor, by tenant, by industry, or by a multitude of other factors.

This data can be harnessed to optimally schedule space use and maintenance, ensure compliance, prioritize cleaning services, allocate power usage and much more. Data such as property use, amenity demand, tenant satisfaction surveys and occupancy rates can also be used to enhance the tenant experience, cultivate loyalty and attract new business, all factors that directly contribute to the bottom line.

What’s the immediate future of Proptech in commercial facilities now that Covid emptied offices and almost everyone has switched to hybrid work?

It makes Proptech all the more important. Commercial landlords face tough competition for lessors, so they are motivated to improve their offerings and create enjoyable spaces. That’s what’s known as the tenant experience and Proptech is at the forefront.

You gave your views on the near future of access control. What’s a bit further off?

Advanced analytics and real-time response. This year at GSX we displayed the anomaly detection feature of Brivo’s access solution. The software’s AI learns behavioural patterns of people in a building over time.

We use the power of neural networks to identify potentially suspicious activity in real time. Abnormalities are then prioritized for review by security analysts. Learning dynamic individual patterns is a game changer in access control. The future is exciting!

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This article was originally published in the September 2022 edition of Security Journal UK. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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