Sandy Hook. Virginia Tech. Orlando. San Bernardino. These names — once known simply as schools and cities — now endure as symbolic reminders of once-unfathomable tragedy. Sadly, these horrific mass shooting incidents are now not only fathomable, they have become tragically commonplace in what feels like an increasingly dangerous and hostile world.
As a society, we struggle with how to prevent these tragedies. We know there is no simple, quick fix, and ultimately, we can’t eliminate the depraved intentions of determined assailants.
Fortunately, the construction industry is perfectly positioned to help significantly mitigate these types of attacks, and in the process, provide people with the confidence and freedom of knowing they are safe and secure at home, work, and school.
A tough question
Of course, we all want to build safer, more secure buildings. The key question is: How do we create safer, more secure buildings while also meeting the design, budget, and timeline needs of our client?
We already have at our disposal many of the tools needed to make that a reality: smart design, access control software, video surveillance, intelligent locks, and attack-resistant doors, frames, and hardware. Unfortunately though, much of our industry is still reliant upon outdated supply chain structures and complex collaborations.
All too frequently, projects are still being driven by a “low-bidder” mentality, where the actual system that incorporates the physical, electronic, software, and digital solutions is provided by multiple purveyors of varying qualifications in a complex, inefficient and process. At the end of the day, this disintegration is more expensive, more time-consuming, and more stressful for every stakeholder in the process.
Most concerning, though, this inefficiency often leads to failure at the door opening. And in a world of increasing hostility, where a door can mean the difference between life and death, failure is not an option.
The Opportunity of 8/28
In the contract hardware space, we’ve seen for several years the accelerated convergence of the mechanical and electronic components of the door opening. This collision was prominently marked in 2016 when the CSI specification for electronic locks migrated from Division 8 to Division 28. I call this “the age of 8/28.”
In the age of 8/28, doors and hardware are inextricably linked with life safety and security. Even the smartest and most sophisticated “access control” solution is only as strong as the sum of its collective parts — from the many mechanical and electronic components of the actual door structure to the software and hardware that manages the flow of data.
It’s this very complexity that presents the real innovation to be found in 8/28: totally integrated safety and security solutions.
To achieve this innovation, we must go beyond the latest and greatest products, “added value,” and even “access control.” Traditional door and hardware companies must ‘own the door’ from the overall security strategy and design of the opening, to the specification, sourcing, and installation of the product to the training, monitoring, maintenance, and ongoing support of data-driven hardware and software.
Ultimately, this provides end users with absolute confidence in the ongoing safety and security of their buildings, while finding a way to simplify daily use and ensure absolute lifetime value.
To achieve this, an unrelenting obsession with 100 percent total integration at the door opening is required; casual ad hoc “collaboration” will not get the job done. We must forge deep, ongoing partnerships that align superior product, service, and expertise on every opening of every project.
At the end of the day, the innovation of total integration saves us all time, stress, and money. Most important, though, it empowers us to provide safer, more secure spaces for people to work, learn, and live. That alone is why we must fearlessly embrace the challenge and opportunity of the age of 8/28.
Byron Whetstone is president and CEO of American Direct. Since starting the company in 1991, his vision and devotion to creating a culture of constant innovation has led American Direct on a trajectory of success. In early 2016, his progressive thinking lead to the acquisition of AccessNsite access control solution, an unprecedented move for a traditional door, frame and hardware company.