The Interview: Dave Gavan, Wormald Security
Wormald team with Dave Gavan second right.
Dave Gavan joined Wormald as security division manager in August 2019 at a time Wormald has been focused on realigning its business as a leading independent fire and security provider. We sat down with Dave to ask him about his role in shaping the future direction of Wormald Security.
JA: What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in your years in electronic security?
DG: The transition to IP has certainly been the greatest change influencer of my era thus far. IP technology has been the catalyst in opening pathways to high level integration, global and national integrated solutions and, more recently, cloud-based solutions.
This change has also spawned the establishment of the security integrator where security engineers and technicians require extensive software and IT skills in addition to the traditional security hardware and cabling technician skillset.
JA: What is the role of process control and automation in the systems the team is designing today? Is it fair to say that integrated, enterprise electronic security solutions offer a completely different value proposition to the solutions of the past?
DG: In its simplest form, integrating the video management system (VMS) and electronic access control (EAC) systems into an integrated security management system (ISMS) provides considerable process control improvements through association of access and alarm events to video footage, event bookmarking, incident auditing, integrated reporting and increased situation awareness of the one operator interface.
In addition, we are also seeing demand for a physical security information management (PSIM) layer. A PSIM can provide increased benefit to clients who have a multitude of subsystems such as EAC, VMS, HR, HVAC, lighting, etc. Often these clients may have multiple disparate EAC’s or VMS systems which they wish to bring together into one platform. Further, the PSIM layer can provide cross platform workflow management, centralised staff onboarding, increased governance and overarching hierarchy of operator permissions and controls.
With new technology comes opportunity to extract additional value when utilised in the right application. In our experience, the initial and ongoing cost of implementing an ISMS differs greatly to that of an PSIM, so establishing a clear comprehension on the return on investment and total cost of ownership (TCO) at the outset is vitally important. In brownfield applications, the ongoing costs of maintaining the multitude of subsystems needs to be considered. Should the subsystems be upgraded, is a ISMS solution viable or is a PSIM more appropriate? Whether the products are non-proprietary, widely supported by reputable integrators and function on an open platform to enable them to bring in further best in breed solutions in the future should also be considered.
JA: Do you see an appetite for AI functionalities – video analytics, audio analysis – from your customers? If so, what areas are of most interest to them?
DG: The appetite for AI functionality is increasing as the technology advances and video manufacturers build further capability into their products. Analytics certainly are a real consideration in the modern integrated security solution. It is, however, extremely important that the nominated security integrator has working knowledge with the technology to ensure the scene, environment and objective are suitable for the effective use of analytics to reduce or eliminate false positives detection.
There are many areas where analytics are increasingly being used to detect crowding, provide retail and marketing statistics, perimeter protection, person location and facial matching and many other applications for the proactive improvement of site safety. Again, for analytics to be affective, it is vital to work with integrators with experience in this area and, in our view, only use best-in-breed, tried and proven products from partners who care for their reputation.
JA: In your opinion, how important is partnering with specialised providers for the modern security integration business?
DG: Partnering with specialist suppliers is a no-brainer, as they know what their products can do, where they work best, and what their limitations are. Partnering with best-of-breed product and service partners is a vital ingredient in providing a quality end-to-end service and integrated solution to the client. Reputable integrators and suppliers do not want to install a system that is not fit for purpose or won’t do what the end-user wants or expects. Working closely with our suppliers enables us to understand how systems will achieve customer outcomes and work together to determine the best fit for our customers and their sites.
JA: What’s the most interesting electronic security application you or the team have ever been involved in and why?
DG: The nature of the clients and environments we work in often prevents us from talking about and sharing what we have achieved, however, our most interesting projects are either technically complex or operate in highly secure interesting environments where encrypted Gallagher Class 5 or Type 1A SCEC endorsed solutions are installed.
From an integrated solution perspective, the solutions that comes to mind typically involve using one platform to bring together multiple systems. Integrating perimeter monitoring technologies, such as electric fences by Gallagher, thermal fence line and radar detection by AXIS for perimeter monitoring and surveillance. Integrated physical key management control by CIC, facial recognition analytics and site-wide IP video using a best-in-breed VMS platform such as Milestone and Geutebruck also springs to mind.
Dave Gavan, division manager, Wormald Security.
JA: What would you argue is the most difficult aspect of today’s security integrations?
DG: Increasing client awareness around the importance of IT infrastructure security and maintenance is an ongoing challenge. Often the physical security scope is short sighted and doesn’t acknowledge the need for or benefits of software maintenance agreements to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO). The IT components of modern security systems are critical elements. When a server fails due to lack of maintenance or if it has exceeded its effective life, the failure can cause considerable business disruptions, unnecessary additional costs and extensive delays in rebuilding.
It is also concerning to see seemingly high security environments overlooking the risk posed due to antiquated insecure card and reader technologies or the out-of-date legacy 1980s or 1990s systems running end-of-life Windows XP and Windows 7. The clients are often unaware their system is at risk or has already been compromised.
These legacy systems are often unsupported, and their system failures can create the same security vulnerabilities, disruptions, extra costs and operational delays as hardware failures. If software or systems are left to run after their end-of-life, or are no longer supported by the manufacturers, this should be a red flag for any business relying on those systems for their security or operational needs.
It is sometimes difficult to convince someone to replace a working system before it fails, but ensuring systems and components are supported is the key to a well-managed operational fit-for-purpose security system. The challenge for the industry is to raise awareness of these legacy systems and the level of risk exposure they create, increase the focus on quality and holistic purpose of the solution to elevate the standard of security to one that is expected in the modern era.
JA: We’ve touched on networking already – what are your instincts on cloud and the advent of 5G – obviously these technologies are going to impact on the way people network and the way businesses are run – will we see cloud and wireless networking flow through into our security solutions, or will bandwidth and security issues continue to create caution when it comes to high security applications?
DG: Again, cloud has value, as does analytics, and likewise its relevance is application dependant. In my view, Cloud, IOT and analytics are not going to change everything we do, as they are complementary solutions to help address the client’s needs. For example, cloud video storage for offsite redundancy in conjunction with on-premise storage can add tremendous value in disaster recovery for high risk sites. Cloud video and remote access control management can provide an overview of multiple sites, while being a very effective holistic solution as well.
An influential factor in determining the total cost of ownership (TCO) is the cost of transmitting large volumes of data upstream, then storing it, with the ongoing costs often higher than the cost of on-premise traditional solutions. Ultimately it comes down to the client’s particular needs and circumstances to evaluate the benefit.
4G and 5G technology are certainly changing the way we look at interconnectivity for remote sites, system support and federating solutions. Inevitably we will continue to see 4G and 5G technology being used where interconnectivity, mobility or high bandwidth is required in the future.
JA: What advice would you give to youngsters joining the electronic security industry today – what areas of personal development do you think they should focus on to ensure their own success?
DG: Embrace being a lifelong learner, as systems will continue to evolve and the way they are used and what they are used for will continue to change as well. When I started, multi partition alarm systems with a keypad programmed 4-digit code and dual end of line resistors were leading-edge systems.
At that time, it was hard to imagine we would have the technology we do now, and in another 20 years I am sure there will be considerable change that any industry starter will need to stay abreast of to be most successful. Key to professional success is finding an employer who values you and supports you in your career development.
JA: Wormald has been a household name in the Australian security industry for decades – dozens of our industry leaders learned their trade as Wormald apprentices. Can you tell us a bit about the Wormald of 2021 – what is the company known for today?
DG: Wormald Security is known for reliability, quality and always delivering 100 per cent to a high standard. The Wormald Security team values the customer and its reputation and knows that the reward for good work is future work. We specialise in quality high security and integrated solutions typically for Federal Government and enterprise clientele.
Wormald Security is one of the most experienced and longest standing Gallagher Type 1A and Class 5 channel partners in the industry, with many years of industry experience in installation, service, maintenance, life cycle planning and monitoring of a vast array of industry leading products, including Gallagher, Lenel, InnerRange, Geutebruck, Milestone, FLIR and AXIS, etc.