An Industry Convergence Success Story

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In the physical security industry, the word convergence was declared dead in 2010. Its tombstone could have read, “Here lies a word that in its short life was often misunderstood. It arrived full of promise, but left unappreciated, generally considered a hollow concept of little value.”

As sad as this story might be, it is not the story of convergence in other industries.

Automotive Industry

Did you know that the automotive industry (my early engineering career) held its first Convergence Conference in 1974? Did you know that they have been holding the conference every other year for over 40 years? It was silly of me to ask; unless you worked in the auto industry, you would never know. That’s because they never talk about convergence to their customers. Why?

They know that their customers don’t care about convergence. They care about their driving experience.

That’s the focus of their Convergence Conference: the driving experience of their customers. And they take maximum advantage of information technology convergence to make that future experience. Figure 1 below shows the Convergence Conference home page of SAE International (formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers).

Figure 1. The home page of the 2014 SAE Convergence Conference

So while the security industry was busy killing convergence, the automotive industry was busy using it to create breakthrough automotive technology. Because the pace of technology advancement keeps getting faster and faster, the SAE uses 40-year look-ahead to design tomorrow’s cars. They know that technology advances will make those design feasible sooner then they think.

It’s not hard to see which industry’s approach was smarter. The auto industry used convergence to create self-parking cars, radar-braking systems, and now self-driving cars (autonomous driving or auto-pilot).

And along the way, the safety features of cars reduced the annual death toll from automobile-related deaths by 25%, from 40,000 (10 years ago) down to 30,000 today.

Where is the security industry’s self-driving car? Where is our industry’s significant reduction in annual security incidents?

I guess in our industry we shouldn’t have killed convergence.

Note: If you didn’t arrive at this article via the article Real Words or Buzzwords, click the link now to learn what happened in the Physical Security Industry.