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Book Review: Technological Forces Disrupting Security

​The Five Technological Forces Disrupting Security. By Steve Van Till. Butterworth-Heinemann; available from ASIS;; item #2953; 244 pages; $62 member; $66 nonmember.

This provocative book by Brivo CEO Steve Van Till covers a wide spectrum of topics regarding emerging technologies and the speed at which technology integration is taking place. The Five Technological Forces Disrupting Security clearly explains why physical security industry professionals should educate themselves in this area and be aware of the benefits that technology offers, focusing on cloud, social, mobile, big data, and the Internet of Things (IoT). 

The author provides a unique perspective on how new technologies are affecting the physical security systems that we use every day. He demonstrates that the security industry has been slow to adopt change and is behind on making any real integrated transformation. Drawing on his years of experience as both a practitioner and a leader of industry associations, Van Till walks the reader through the issues of each technology, providing detailed guidance on how to understand what is working and what is not. He has a clear futuristic vision for the industry and how it should move forward, with strategies such as combining social communication with buildings instrumented with IoT. 

Not all emerging technology works well with other technology because many systems are proprietary, and several vendors are reluctant to adopt national or international standards when they upgrade technology. 

This book makes an excellent business case for moving to cloud-based security. Van Till emphasizes the importance of the cloud as the platform for everything else. He argues that if you’re not moving towards a cloud strategy in your physical security, you’re cutting yourself off from all the new technology opportunities available including mobile, big data, IoT, and artificial intelligence. 

The author also explains that information gathered through IoT will help the security professional make better decisions about what to do next, how to protect people, and how to keep buildings and assets safe. The proliferation of connected sensors leads to an explosion in information, thus to better situational awareness and safety. 

Well written and easy to comprehend, this book was named the ASIS Security Industry Book of the Year. If you care about technology and security in today’s facilities, you should read this book. Overall, it is an enlightening read. 

Reviewer: Mark H. Beaudry, CPP, is a frequent reviewer for Security Management and a longtime member of ASIS.