In May, I was excited to attend ASIS Europe 2022 where the atmosphere was excellent. You could feel that people were really pleased to be face to face again after two years of covid restrictions.
Nedap Security Management sponsored the welcome party, and it was ironic/funny that it was held in a room called ‘Zoom’—no one wanted to be on a video call! It was great to see people shaking hands and even hugging much-missed friends and fellow ASIS members. Our party had fantastic views of the beautiful city of Prague, and performances from a drum group and a magician brought a great energy to the evening.
Adding to the energy of the event was a heartfelt welcome was extended to ASIS’s Ukraine-based team at the opening session. And the theme of ‘ubuntu’ was explained. This is sometimes translated as ‘I am because we are’ (or ‘I am because you are’). It’s based on the notion of “humanity towards others” and was an encouragement for everyone to talk and share their knowledge and views, but with respect and cooperation.
And it set the tone for a conference with lots of rich and thought-provoking discussion. This year’s event gave all of us an opportunity to look at some serious and pressing security issues.
Below are my five top takeaways.
- Digitalisation could be key in defeating Russia and removing boundaries
The keynote from Tomáš Sedláček (economics philosopher and author of Economics of Good and Evil) was fascinating, and many people spoke about it afterwards.
Tomáš gave insights on the social and business impacts we may see in the years ahead as it looks like a war economy will lead the post-covid revival era. He questioned how the West can use its economy to defeat Russia economically and how digitalisation can help.Particularly interesting were his thoughts on society moving to a more abstract level to increase welfare. Could we move into a new republic of the internet where there are no boarders and no nations? Much food for thought…
- Today’s warfare brings a new range of security threats and challengesA discussion led by ASIS’s Ukraine team highlighted that war is affecting security at companies like never before. Cyberthreats are very high, social media has become essential for communication and even physical cash has come back into use as many electronic banking systems aren’t working.It was clear that the ASIS community is very important for the Ukraine team in terms of sharing its experience with industry peers to be able to update its response plans, but also those of companies abroad (TP: companies outside Ukraine are also learning from it)
- The future is about ‘letting the good people in’ rather than ‘keeping the wrong people out’We invited global security influencer Lee Odess to discuss access control’s future with Nedap’s Frank ter Kuile. They talked about the growing change in mentality around physical access control. So far, it’s been about keeping the wrong people out. In the future, it will be about letting the right people in – more about access and less about control.
“The future of access control is more access and less control.”— Lee Odess
The challenge will be to improving access levels and hospitality. And, to achieve this and more, solid integrations with systems for HR and CRM, for example, will become even more important. As will the smart use of data.
- Digital transformation adds great value to security and the wider businessOur second presentation, by Nedap’s Jeroen Harmsen, was also very well received. He talked about the digital twin model and how digital transformation enables organisations to get greater value from departments such as security, HR and finance.One example he gave to explain this thinking was Google maps. It’s not just a simple map made digital – there’s a model underneath it. So it not only helps you plan the shortest route, it gives relevant information such as the location of nearby fuel stations, shops and public transport, and the prices of local hotels.He proposed this approach could generate more value from physical access control systems by improving user experience and combining data.
- Security managers can play a big role in corporate sustainabilityThis interactive session was very popular and I was pleased to sit with people from Google and Amazon. It emphasised how important security managers are when working towards corporate sustainability objectives.On one hand, security teams can help with risk management. As climate change progresses, for example, how does it affect the weather and what impact does that have on assets and buildings? Do response plans need to be reassessed and updated?On the other hand, security teams can use data from their systems to help achieve sustainability goals. Building occupancy levels can, for example, be fed into facilities management to enable energy consumption to be reduced.