As the mouthpiece
of the electronic and networked security industry SE&N has a long history
of moaning about licensing but this latest development is hard to see as
offering any improvement, while disempowering our industry associations to the
detriment of us all.

The
recommendations indicate that manufacturers, distributors and installers may no
longer need to belong to an association to be licensed to operate in the
industry. But don’t think the reduction in governance will save your business
money because it won’t.

The aptly named,
SIR, which may soon become the oddly named SLED, is looking to siphon an
additional $A5 million out of the security industry in order to beef up its
ability to identify and investigate noncompliance with the Security Industry
Act 1997, a piece of legislation so anthropomorphic it’s a wonder it’s not walking
around on 2 legs.

While I can’t
dispute the need for a focus on the personal integrity of security officers,
applying the same rules to cable tuggers, code writers and propeller-heads in
the networked electronic security industry is drawing a very long bow indeed –
especially when this licensing is based on no skill set whatsoever.  

SIR asserts the
State Government’s 2003 reforms replete with heavy penalties for non compliance
with licensing have not worked. This suggests the industry associations
responsible for driving compliance have not done as well with it as SIR hoped.
Even if true, instances of serious non-compliance are relatively rare and
self-governance has at least offered license holders the cost savings of
competition. Not with SLED.  

From the
electronic security industry’s perspective it’s likely there will now be many more
annoying audits by representatives of SLED, none of whom will have any
comprehension of your business. Best of all this inconvenience will come at a
far greater cost.

As for
organisations like ASIAL and ISE, they are likely to become marginalised by a state
government with a primary devotion to the buffering of consolidated revenue and
no focus on what the market needs. Future industry input? Not likely. Attempts
to license IT integrators cheerily installing IP security solutions across the
state? I think not.

Something else
for readers to think about this month is diarising the middle of 2011 as the
date you’ll need to upgrade all your networked security systems to IPv6. As we
know, IPv4 addresses are running out and by mid-next year they’ll need to be
upgraded.

That’s right –
it’s going to be a little like the millennium bug. Every single device you
maintain or that is installed on your site with a NIC – cameras, some alarm
systems, door controllers, etc, is going to need to be tweaked by a competent
technician.

You can’t just
ignore this, either. IPv4 and IPv6 are not backwards compatible and this means
at minimum there’ll need to be firmware adjustments and at most there may need
to be installations of new hardware.

One thing that is
positive is that IPv6 has arrived with networked video solutions still in the
early stage of dominance and because the new format offers trillions of IP
addresses, we won’t have to think about this again in our lifetimes.

The advice of the
experts is that you should not underestimate the hassle of the IPv6 transition.
With legacy systems it’s going to be like changing tyres while driving along
the road – door controllers, cameras and in some cases entire security systems
will need to be taken off line for upgrade.

Finally, Security
2010, coming up September 1-3 is an opportunity for us to get a look at the
latest and the best electronic and networked security systems the market has to
offer. After a stodgy couple of years, the indications are that in 2010 we will
see some slick new kit, so don’t miss out on it!