The 21st century is shaping up to be the century of data. We are collecting more and better data than ever before. And the possible applications include everything from improved security and more efficient movement through public spaces to better allocation of resources and strategic planning. But, while access to this data can help improve our lives in truly meaningful ways, we are also facing new challenges about how to better collect, understand, and make use of it.
It’s graduation time for high-schoolers and college students alike. The streets here are awash in young people in suits, prom dresses, and graduation garb. I love to see those fresh faces full of excitement, and a little apprehension, about the future. But it is not lost on me that, in response to recent events, while so many young people are experiencing this important rite of passage, many of us are having —or not having— difficult conversations about school safety. For anyone avoiding the conversation, it might help to know what the research about gun violence in schools is telling us. The current debate around school safety is centered on mass shootings. But research to be published later this year by Professor James Alan Fox and doctoral student Emma Fridel shows that mass school shootings are rare events. They have found that, on average, mass murders in the U.S. occur between 20 and 30 times per year while, on average, only about one of those incidents takes place at a school.
As part of a company with global operations, I have had the opportunity to see and support a wide variety of organizations as they grapple with security challenges on a large scale. One of the persistent challenges we’re facing in the 21st century is how to manage and make use of the ever-increasing amount of data being collected and stored within our security systems. Lately, a lot of my time has been spent with our European team out of our Paris office, getting ready for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Developed to protect individual privacy, the GDPR sets out a series of specific regulations as well as strict fines for non-compliance for organizations that collect and process personally identifiable information (PII) from EU citizens.
As you are reading this, the chances are pretty good that I’m on the road. Getting to meet new people, seeing their challenges, and helping to develop solutions is one of the best parts of my job. But, while this requires a lot of travel time, it has also afforded me the opportunity to see and know a wide variety of cities and their airports. In my experience, the best airports are those that have created a seamless collaboration between check-in, air-travel, and commerce. When travelers move easily through airport spaces, everyone benefits.
Temperatures here in Montreal have once again settled into the low negative 30s. Rather than complain, we embrace the cold and head outside. And this year, it’s with the added benefit of getting ready for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. To be fair, we are not all Olympic athletes able to compete in bobsledding, skeleton, or moguls. But we do feel like winter sports are an essential part of our everyday lives. We feel personally connected with the event, and, for me, this extends to issues of security. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to talk with Juliette Kayyem, a professor who teaches on homeland security at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. At the time, she said something that has stayed with me ever since: “If you want to have a perfectly safe Super Bowl, don’t have a Super Bowl.”
We recently caught up with Andrew Elvish at Genetec and chatted about his journey in becoming Vice President of Marketing at Genetec. Starting in February 2018, Andrew will be contributing a monthly column called Beyond Security for Security.World to share thoughts and insights on new and emerging trends in our industry.