November 29, 2012 By D. Craig MacCormack
Collaboration, cybersecurity, improved IT networks and increased efficiencies in the built environment are among the trends four industry experts say should be on the top of everyone’s mind in 2013 and beyond.
As part of the GovComm 2012 special industry panel discussion “Future Trends,” Randy Johnson, president of Facchina Global Services, pointed to collaboration as the area where he thinks there’s the most to be gained going forward.
“It’s a global business world and success is dictated in our ability to collaborate,” he says. “That means voice, video and data, and it works best when all three are used and are dynamic. There’s no greater power in the world than to see the person you’re talking to on the other side of the world and know how well – or how poorly – the conversation is going.”
Johnson sees flexibility, scalability, mobility, integration, instant access and easy maintenance among the key contributors to a good collaborative experience.
Mike Pflueger, senior vice president and chief solutions officer at Facchina, maintains cybersecurity should be a major focus, if it isn’t already. While a typical client can’t get the virtually invisible network encryption capabilities of the Department of Defense, there are ways it can improve in 2013 and beyond.
“Obviously, we’re losing the cyber war and will continue to lose that war,” he says, noting most firewalls can be broken by a 12-year-old and UPNs can be cracked by a 16-year-old. “We’re in a heck of a problem set. All of these defenses sit on an unsecure operating system.”
Pflueger recommends building a secure operating network, not one that sits on Apple, Google or Microsoft, for example, and seek out the strongest encryption you can find. Also, be sure to build cross-domain enablers and apps on a secure operating system, he says.
Commercial and federal clients will shift to a more powerful encryption, says Pflueger, meaning there will be multiple independent networks that need to be bridged for added functionality. Companies need protection from the Internet, but effective access to it as well, he says, and their capabilities need to be multi-domain aware and secure.
Tony Warner, president-elect of InfoComm International, sees Passive Optical Networks (PON) - similar to FiOS for the commercial space - as among the emerging trends in the built environment. If used as intended, PON and its big brother GPON (G for “gigabyte”) can reduce rack space and cabling as much as 90 percent, Warner says. That move toward centralization reflects a data center approach, improved monitoring and management and improved security management.
Warner also sees physical security information management (PSIM) as an emerging trend because it can lead to reduced staffing and improved accuracy and response times because the software can predict where a person will go.
Related: Why PSIM Matters for Access Control
High-performance buildings, which Warner also calls performance-based design, brings together three of the most-discussed trends in the industry under one umbrella: sustainability, innovation and intelligence. RTKL Associates, where Warner is a principal, used performance-based design at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA)’s headquarters in Virginia, and the building now saves as much energy as about 40,000 homes, he says.
Dave White, chief information officer at NGA, says the advent of the Intelligence Community IT Enterprise, will be huge for his agency and others in the federal space. IT is the largest expenditure for NGA, which has 29 percent of its workforce deployed outside its three main offices in Virginia and Missouri, with people in 11 different countries. The IC ITE will bring about standardization and automation as well as on-demand access for users when it’s officially launched, White says.
“It’s become more about the user experience,” he says. “It’s about putting the power in the user’s hands.” The IC ITE will allow for greater agility, mobility, capacity, access and a more defensible IT infrastructure as well as intelligence integration through integrated work groups, says White, who touted himself as a big fan of A/V, although he noted the intelligence community is moving away from large system integrators to help solve its problems and utilizing its Industry Integration Program.