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Agencies Are at Risk of Security, Natural Disaster Threats

Organizations could lose millions — or billions — of dollars from physical security threats, natural disasters, terrorism and cyberattacks that could impact their brand, safety and security of employees and the public.

Maurice Singleton is the president of Vidsys, where he leads business initiatives for the development of innovative product enhancements, customer experience improvement, business growth and expansion into emerging markets. Vidsys provides physical and converged security information management (PSIM and CSIM) solutions whose security software platform enables organizations in a number of market verticals, including corporate, government, health care and critical infrastructure, to achieve more effective enterprise security and risk management. 

Singleton responded to a series of written questions.

Technology and data are permeating every aspect of our 21st-century society. How can organizations, both public and private, make sense of all the data/information that is being collected?

Organizations have to have an artificial-intelligence-driven solution or technology that is capable of doing the majority of the heavy lifting when it comes to gathering and analyzing data, allowing for the human workforce to focus its time and brainpower on using that analysis to make smarter business decisions.

What are the risks to organizations that are not actively pursuing solutions to data and information management?

Today, organizations are at risk of losing millions — or even billions — of dollars as a result of physical security threats, natural disasters, terrorism, cyberattacks and a host of others that could have negative impact on their brand, safety and security of employees and the public.

One of your company’s major areas of focus is on security, both for day-to-day operations and for significant major sporting events. How does systems integration come into play in such situations?

The ability to correlate information from various disparate systems is a key driving factor for integrating technology into a common operating platform. Systems that are designed for specific applications may or may not necessarily play a role in day-to-day operations vs. a “one-off” major event. In this case, systems integration allows for leveraging data from systems “as-needed.”

Cameras have become a significant force multiplier. However, you can have hundreds of cameras in organizations and at special events. How can technology be used to make sense of all the visual imagery and then find specific pieces of information, e.g., an unattended bag? And what about false positives that detract from confidence in the system?

Video analytics, along with other smart sensor technology, can be integrated with cameras to take full advantage of the visual imagery. In addition, correlating data detected by video analytics and other sensors, along with applying business rule logic, helps identify and filter false positives.

What connection is there to cybersecurity monitoring — if there is one?

Any system that is amalgamating several data streams is, in theory, an obvious target for hackers. Having a platform that incorporates a robust cybersecurity solution is critical to ensure that your security system itself doesn’t become vulnerable to attack.

One of the challenges we are seeing is that public policy is not keeping up with the rapid advancement in many different technologies that are rapidly being operationalized, e.g., drones. What recommendations do you have for governments and then the single agencies that are looking at new technological solutions, but they are reluctant to act due to lack of confidence?

Given the mission-driven focus of government agencies, it’s understandable that they are cautious when it comes to implementing new technology solutions. My recommendation would be for them to be vigilant in educating themselves about the technology and work closely with technology partners and systems integrators to better understand what’s proven versus cutting edge.

Many people feel that we are moving in the direction of a Big-Brother-approach to monitoring people. How does a government or company address issues around privacy and still use the technology that is becoming rapidly available?

Ethics in technology and concerns about privacy will continue to be a hotly debated topic. Again, education is the key to better understanding the capability of the technology and how it can be best leveraged for its intended use. In addition, governments should do everything in their power to ensure that any data they collect is secure and they should encourage an ongoing dialog with citizens about where to draw the line between security and privacy.

Lastly, as you stare into your technology crystal ball, how will AI and robotics impact the workforce of today and tomorrow?

AI and machine learning will have a profound impact on virtually every industry in the future. The overarching change, though, will be how humans and machines work together. AI is not – and will never be – a human replacement, but it will serve as a powerful workforce multiplier.

Eric Holdeman is Senior Fellow and Contributing Writer at Emergency Management magazine. He also blogs at 


Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.