Recently I was invited by my friends at Nedap Security Managementto come to ASIS Europe 2022 in Prague. It was a fantastic honor to share the stage with Frank ter Kuile and present my views on the future of access control.  
A few weeks removed from this impactful trip, I wanted to share some quick takeaways and thoughts. 

  1. Nedap. What an amazing group of people. Like many of you, I have known about this company for years. Still, I never had the opportunity to meet anyone (fantastic and warm people) there nor get to see the history (its rich), product (its excellent), or services (the depth is eye-opening) they provide. Thank you to my friend and colleague June Song for the opportunity. I am forever grateful.
  2. Great conversations. Maybe it is a fact we were coming off of a pandemic. Perhaps it was the magic of the city of Prague. Maybe it was all of it. I found a curious group of people who were extremely warm and outgoing. Eager to learn more about me, discuss topics about software’s impact on physical security, balanced point of view on safety and convenience, and an all-around desire to understand the cultural differences between the country they were from or living in and the United States. What was striking to me, though, was that I found the longer you have worked in security, the same mentality exists no matter what country you reside in. It does tell me there is a global digital transformation happening in our industry and the struggles and opportunities are the same no matter where you are. I was hoping to find a difference in this aspect of our industry, and I did not find one. All that said, I highly recommend people make the trip to ASIS Europe 2023. I will make an effort to go to ASIS Europe moving forward.
  3. A stark difference between all shows in the United States versus this one was the lack of booths and topics on guns, gun safety, safe schools, shot detection, and active shooter technology. It was glaring to me. Instead, there was a high percentage of booths offering executive protection. The lack of one and heavy share of the other showed the different complexities and topics impacting our industry, customers, and society. Unfortunately, a week after the show, we saw this is in living color in the United States, and the irony was not lost on our colleagues in other parts of the world.
  4. Ukraine. Hearing first-hand stories and listening in on a discussion by security practitioners from Ukraine was heart-wrenching and eye-opening. It was impossible not to feel for them and their families while at the same time getting a lesson in preparedness and thoughtfulness. Outside of the personal stories that will forever live with me: one gentleman was very vulnerable and discussed how he was very prepared to help his clients but was shockingly ill-prepared to take care of his own family – the practical discussion about how when push came to shove, and they had to evacuate two things that were must-haves but sometimes overlooked were having cash (ATMs and banking did not work at some point) and paper maps (cellular was spotty, main roads were jammed, and you needed alternative routes to find a way out) was humbling. The first-hand recollections and stories are hard to articulate. Again, I am grateful—this time for many reasons.
  5. The keynote speaker, Tomáš Sedláček, Ph. D., who is the author of Economics of Good and Evil, and governmental advisor, provided the opening keynote. He discussed exploring the economic impacts of the war in Ukraine and how a borderless, digital economy will drive economic and societal change. Whoa. What a presentation. He was entertaining, in your face, and I often reflected on what he was saying by aggressively nodding to most of it. My takeaways and what resonated most with me were the idea that we are now in a period where we value jobs where  we “make thinks and not things.”  We need to “look for the spirit of things” and need to “suck the spirit out of matter” and make it digital. Google did this with the yellow pages, and we need to do the same with everything. It is what is happening right now in access control. We went from hardware that has software as a feature to software that has the hardware to support it. We turned the bent metal into bits. We are “moving to a much more abstract society” where the biggest change is that we are no longer different countries but a “Republic of Internet. The phone is the new country.” Maybe we will even be a “planetary Republic of Internet in 10-20 yrs?” Hmm. The last point was that “we focus [too much] on evil. We need to focus on good.”

I can’t wait for next year.