New Challenges for Security Industry in the Era of the Internet of Things



Foreword

The 17th China Public Security Expo held in Shenzhen in 2019 was still as big as the previous years. But I came out of the exhibition halls faster than I did before.

There are more and more homogenized products exhibited at the Expo, and fewer and fewer foreign manufacturers taking part; far less this year. According to a report, only 5%. For China, this is an achievement, because international products have been wiped out and replaced by the locally made products. This trend also means China is capable of producing the same products, as good as its foreign counterparts, and even more economical at that.

But this boasted achievement has quickly become a hidden worry in China.

Outsiders can't get in; eventually, insiders can't go out too.

Because we can almost foresee the outcome, in which foreign products have difficulty to enter China, and Chinese products will be harder to export as well in the future. (I will discuss this in the last chapter)

From the product is king, to the application is king.

The era of “Product is King” has come to an end, “Application is King” is taking the reign.

Now, the products are standalone dotted points, and the applications connect them all, and the connectivity makes the golden age of pure products obsolete. The 4G era of connecting people has completed its mission. The future 5G emerges to connect people and things, things and things. With the rise of IoT or Internet of Things, Internet of Everything, AIoT or Artificial Intelligence of Things, the factories that produce purely standalone objects are getting bitter.

Cheap labour drives the China’s economy. The security industry was initially hardware-driven. Surveillance cameras, access control barriers, clocking readers, and door locks, they all started with hardware. Later, during the era of computerization in the last century, these products were linked to computers. Usually, the front-end of the surveillance camera, access control, etc. is responsible for collecting data. Then the data is transferred into the computer system through some interfaces such as RS232, RS485, TCP/IP for further processing to output the results. From the standalone to the local area network, the manufacturing of products and the programming of software is a division of labour, and the combination of use is also divided. This model is beneficial to China. We witnessed how Hikvision and Dahua have rapidly emerged as international market leaders that dominate the surveillance industry.

Hardware-driven market to software-driven market 

Because the hardware has a big profit lies beneath, Chinese manufacturers have focused on hardware for their market expansion. The software has become a complementary accessory. It is usually bundled with hardware as a free of charge item, or charged at a minimum fee; hence, the overall software lacks comprehensive R&D planning and real allocation.

When the arrival of the Internet trend in the late 1990s, China's security industry was unmoved, security products were hardly in deep association with the Internet or could have many benefits obtained from the Internet technology. Simultaneously, Internet companies were born like rapid fire. The big guys in the security industry are still wandering in their comfort zone, thinking that as long as they are big and strong enough in their fields, they would be perpetually invincible.

Suddenly, big data appears, cloud computing happens, artificial intelligence rises, mobile internet strengthens, and the Internet of Things becomes a reality.

When these big concepts started to surface, security companies seem never to fail to boast about how their products complement the big technology trends. During the CPSE Exhibition, when we enquired further, we understand that most of them are still in the concept hype stage. The adoption is indeed quite shallow, let alone would cause a paradigm shift in the industry. The hype might fool the capital market, but not the real market and customers. However, this is quite a universal norm for China's security industry.

When we say Factory 4.0 or Manufacturing 4.0, strictly speaking, the factory in Factory 4.0 stage is no longer about a factory, but a tech company. The Factory 4.0 is not merely the adoption of cutting-edge IT equipment, or to enhance the automation process so that it can upgrade itself from Factory 3.0 to 4.0, and it is a thorough DNA reengineering process for an organization. For Factory 4.0, it is not only about the products networkability, but the products also have to integrate with various cloud applications to form a comprehensive IoT ecosystem.

If the progress of 1G to 4G in telecommunications impacted individuals and the B2C consumer market the most, the introduction of 5G is expected to affect B2B significantly, bringing vital change to all industries, the mega smart city projects included. We foresee through interconnectivity between IoTs, and the revolutionary cloud applications, this trend will redefine and rebuild the ecosystems between industries, which is also a massive opportunity for the security industry. It's just that, are you ready?


The four elements of the Internet of Things era

1. Cloud computing and cloud applications are the life support of IoT; therefore, the cloud is a must for all industries in the 5G era.

2. IoT is cloud-driven, and therefore, hardware-driven companies have to transform themselves into software-driven companies. For hardware vendors, this is a tough genetic modification project to undertake.

3. Since cloud computing can do 90% of IoT processing, hardware gets simpler and cheaper. This element is a big blow to manufacturers who merely rely on hardware to generate revenue.

4. The interconnectivity between objects in multiple scenarios and cross-platforms, spawn new consolidated ecosystems and multiple cloud applications.


The secured and unsecured security industry

As the 5G era approaches, the IoT era arrives concurrently. The security industry is at the crossroad of innovation. The imminent game-changer is approaching. And big tech companies are more sensitive and ready as compared to the security companies with their infostructure groundwork. And, the siege has begun. Huawei is coming, Baidu is coming, Alibaba is coming, Tencent is coming, there are many more out there making their ways.

No matter how they enter the arena, either as friends or foes, they will directly or indirectly compete and take up some good slice from the security industry. As foes, they compete directly in your territory, with cooler stuff; as friends, they seem to drive traffic to you from their internet platform, but in the end, they will get the upper hand, bag bigger benefits.

It is apparent that the platforms built by the Internet giants, such as the enterprise platform of Alibaba’s DingTalk, Tencent’s WeChat and Small Program, have become the pain points of many industries, including security.

Due to a lack of cloud computing full deployment, the hardware-driven security companies continue to provide free software as a strategy. And, this strategy has made them stalling in developing cloud applications that could generate them with direct profit from subscription-based Software as a Service (SaaS) model. At the same time, they are also unable to use the cloud to drive the hardware sales, and they end up losing at both ends.

China's tech companies have successfully replaced foreign security products to becoming threats to the security companies. For this new threat, I reckon security companies affected have to succumb and play along.

The game-changer in the domestic market is not affecting the overseas market just yet. Due to the diversity of the international market, the application of IoT does not influence product-oriented sales entirely. Apart from the impact of the Trade War between the United States and China, some market space for overseas products is still available. However, as China's labour costs rise, the advantage of low-cost products diminishing; and as the IoT and the cloud become mainstream, the export market will be affected tremendously, very soon.

The predicament of China’s export market in the future 

Some people may say, why should we separate the traditional Chinese security companies from the incoming Internet companies? If we regard China as a sole force, and these companies merge as one, can they not dominate the world?

Otherwise.

Because of China's Great Firewall Policy that segregates China's Internet world from the outside world, it separates the seemingly integrated Internet into two different forms. Extra and tremendous adaptation efforts have to be put in for overseas cloud applications to suit China’s environment, and vice versa for China’s cloud solutions. Integrating an application system is much trickier than adopting individual products; this is the common challenge for the industry players. 

The road to moving forward

Whether it suits your agenda or otherwise, technology trends and market ecosystems are moving the IoT way. Hence, how should the security industry player react? My brief view is as follows:

First, the need to deepen awareness about cross-industries and how it works; second, the need to define new products and standards; third, the need for deep integration of 5G and artificial intelligence, cloud computing and other technologies; fourth, the need for an organization to transform from hardware-driven to software-driven. 

Only by maintaining an open-minded attitude towards new ideas, willingness to cooperate with new partners, walking the talk, only then security industry players can create new values in the new cross-industry and cross-sector security industry.


Teh Hon Seng, Group CEO of TimeTec Group of Companies. Prior to forming TimeTec, Teh led PUC Founder (MSC) Bhd to be listed on MESDAQ (ACE) market of Bursa Malaysia in 2002. Teh initiated the R&D in fingerprint technology in 2000, which later developed into a renowned global brand for commercial fingerprint product known as FingerTec. In 2008, he foresaw the trend of cloud computing and mobile technology, and over the years, he had strategically diversified and transformed its biometric-focused products into a suite of cloud solutions that aimed at workforce management and security industries including smart communities that centered around the cloud ecosystem. Teh has more than 10 patents to his name, and he is also a columnist in a local newspaper and a writer of several books.

The 4 Main Drivers of Access Control Market Growth



Access Control is always viewed as a traditional market, stagnated and not at all sexy for newbies to
set foot in. Though there is some development observed over the years in this business of the old lock and bolt, only recently that it becomes more exciting and appealing with the incorporation of the latest technologies into its various solutions. 

We list down four main factors influencing the change of view in access control market progression in these recent years. 

Let's talk about IoT

The Internet of Things or acronym IoT is changing the entire designs of products and solutions for
numerous industries around the world, access control included. With the introduction of IoT into
access control, the possibilities it brings such as remote monitoring, simpler installation, data
centralization, real-time data, mobility, and many more, are excitable and valuable than before.
Forget cumbersome and expensive wiring when you can connect your smartphone to a Bluetooth
controller to control access to your premises. You can get notified when someone accesses your
premises in real-time, get a report of what's happening and top that with mobile credentials available 
on your smartphone, IoT provides convenience beyond compare. IoT really makes manufacturers
take a step back and rethink how they should offer their products and solutions to the consumers
going forward.

Cloud it Up
With Cloud, the access control that was once strictly location-based has now opened up extra
opportunities to its users. Cloud provides better data management and access to real-time data
remotely, and the fact that now consumers can subscribe to Access Control as a Service (ACaaS)
has facilitated high adoption, especially from small to medium-sized businesses. The reason
being, the deployment of ACaaS places system management, maintenance, and support to the
system integrator while the companies still can benefit from cost savings without compromising on
technical support and scalability. While the subscription cost might be a concern for starters, 
like all technologies, the pricing will stabilize over time to the advantage of the consumers, eventually. 

Open Platform Seamless Integration

The availability of open-platform technology has made seamless integration of access control
system with other solutions possible.  "No solutions fit all" is a fact, and by using the open-platform
capability, organizations can address their diverse needs by integrating their access control with
other solutions they require such as surveillance, attendance, and many more without much hassle.
It just makes sense to optimize the investment to its fullest by tapping on its full potential. 

Various Usage

All these advancements in technology providing an access control system to function more than
mere security with the addition of multiple functionalities into one system. For example, an access
control system that can integrate with a visitor management system. Therefore, it can control the
incoming and outgoing visitors into business premises, as well as an access control that can also
work as a clocking method for the attendance of the entire organization. 

The latest emerging technologies have given the access control industry a new lease of life, and the

players are embracing the development like no other. People are pushing the envelope with unique
creations that will propel this industry further in our effort to provide organizations with more reliable
security products and solutions. And for those who are adamant about sticking to the traditional way
about access control, the market continues to change at a faster pace, and it waits for no man. 









10 Most Common Recruitment Mistakes



The hiring process is one of the most arduous and tedious tasks, and possibly one of the most difficult processes. Making the right hiring decision is to find people whose values align with your company’s principles and objectives. If any business survives and thrives by the people they hire, though, hiring strategy is of paramount importance.

Be prepared for your potential candidates
“Hire right, because the penalties of hiring wrong are huge.”
Ray Dalio

If candidates were told to prepare before an interview, so should recruiters. Job ads on sites are generally lack of transparency. Simply put, the responsible duties that potential employees will be assigned to are commonly structured with unclear hiring policy. Recruiters often had their arrows missed the target because they did not get the duties right to give them enough power to get the hire right. A right job description starts by outlining the job, not the worker. Managers should discuss and review the job description to make sure it is current before hanging the ad up for vacancy. Getting the perfect fit might ultimately help you to recruit the right candidate, perhaps, a long-term valued company asset.

Be responsible for who you hired
“Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was - and still is - the most important thing we do. ”
Marc Bennioff

When a job description is up-to-date, recruiters will have a clearer picture of what (not who) to hire, since an overly-wide candidate pool can often divert attention during the hiring process. Moving on from the previous step, narrow down the requirements and characteristics that need to be successful in the slot. A tip to be better at what you’re doing:  Prep a personal ‘Interview Preparation Checklist’, ask yourselves sharp questions (E.g. Is the team truly need new blood to fill the spot? Is meticulous attention to details required? Is researching and writing skills important?) to be certain you are hiring who you are looking for.

Don’t rush the hiring process
“ I'd rather interview 50 people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person. ”
Jeff Bezos

‘Good enough’ is not what an employer should settle for, especially when hiring at emergency. Most companies wait to hire until it becomes an emergency, for the most part, decisions are made pretty quickly after the first week of interviewing. For the record, candidates seen the first week do not represent all the candidates out there. Vital enough for recruiters to consider the broad applicant pool in searching for the long term fit and best candidates for the company. Rather than falling into another pitfall, it is better that the recruiters spend more time to broaden their candidates' options in order to optimize company productivity in the long run. 

Ask for enough references
“ Hiring people is an art, not a science, and resumes can’t tell you whether someone will fit into a company’s culture. ”
Howard Schultz

A resume is an advertisement that serves to promote the good side of a candidate. They made it look great on the paper. But, how true it is? It is the HR dogma to ‘trust and verify’ if all candidates speak of the truth or they were merely inflating their accomplishment to get an extra boost on their application in order to stay on top of the long applicants' list. It is the recruiters’ responsibility to find out the credibility behind those stories speak out of a candidate’s mouth to avoid making major hiring mistakes. No companies want to hire a person who they cannot give in trust and to entrust them with important tasks and matters. Checking references might come in handy for you to make the best choice possible. 

Be rationalized and Less subjective
“ Never look down on people unless you’re helping them up. ”
Jesse Jackson

Most would probably agree that the first impression is a big step toward successful recruitment. For this reason, these days, candidates would go the extra mile to prepare their attire and physical appearances. Despite some recruiters do not wish to be accounted for this assertion, affirming that qualifications are the principal quality they are looking for, it is inevitable that humans natural born “gut feelings” would raise a judgment the first time you meet a stranger. Speaking of which, ‘Never judge a book by its cover’.  A firm handshake or good eye contact does not reflect a person’s competency level. Recruiters should look the inside rather than the outside of a candidate to make sure you get the insight information of who he is, such as experiences, skills,  capabilities, etc. Scorecard all interviewees and keep your eyes on the main goal you need to achieve. Hire people who add value to your company will save you an extra payout.

Let them do the talks
“ Hiring the right people takes time, the right questions and a healthy dose of curiosity. What do you think is the most important factor when building your team? For us, it's personality. ”
Richard Branson

How frequent an interviewer stops talking during an interview, almost none. Research indicates that 80 percent of the time while an interview is conducted, interviewers are constantly picking up the ball rather than throwing the ball at the candidates. An important task that recruiters often fail to accomplish is to learn the “brain and heart” of their potential candidates. Brain demonstrates wisdom and judgment while Heart reflects moral ethics and beliefs. This is why an interviewer should seize this chance to maximize the interview, and get to discover candidates’ ability to confront unexpected challenges and their likelihood of developing into a valuable team member.

Asking Yes/No questions were thought to be the doing of the hiring process, the answer is No. Recruiters are encouraged to ask open-ended questions that prompt insight and thoughtful response from them, gives them the opportunity to reveal themselves. This is the moment where you get to scavenge their background, talent, and potentiality. So don’t waste it!

Too much of a good thing
“ Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth… Hiring was- and still is- the most important thing we do. ”
Marc Bennioff

This may be uncommon to come across in smaller companies, generally speaking, this runs through the blood of big companies or corporates. Candidates may be familiar with big companies with standardized hiring processes do usually have a panel of people from irrelevant department on a first interview. Likewise, you do not need several interviewers for a single opening or to have untrained staff asking inappropriate questions that lower the standard of your company. Even though this may sound like a higher-level sort of interview, this can become a waste of resources if those involved in the process are not exactly needed. On the other hand, this can intimidate candidates and send the message that you rule by a strict hierarchy of control. Another question is, how well it is to maintain every candidate gets an equal share amount of attention, all while not wasting everyone’s time? Keep the process simple and go for efficient results. 

Refuse technology 
“Purchasing high-quality devices and technology in the workplace should be seen as an investment, not a waste of money. ”
Andrew Hunter

Prior to joining, candidates would want to feel that they are in a competitive business rather than falling into a dead-end in the abyss. Businesses need to keep up with tech advances for them to recruit and retain talent. Bringing in technological enhancement gives extra skillset to your employees, it will undoubtedly profit your business in return. Organization stagnant and less innovative business most probably wouldn’t please a leader. To achieve this, recruiters should seek wiser and convenient methods indispensably to conduct productive recruitment process.

Fail to tackle social media platforms
“Don’t build links. Build relationships.”
Rand Fishkin

Candidates never walk in your company with their resumes or sending in their application without going through basic background checks on your company. Who doesn’t want to get employed by a notable company, get a better monthly paycheck and strengthen their skills in a growing company? These all rely heavily on the images you built through channels of communication, for example, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. The most painful truth most recruiters have failed to notice is, social media posts not only have the enormous potency to reach out to their customers, they are also reaching out to new talents in the market who are seeking for potential jobs in the platforms as such. Positive culture and professional development mirror through these platforms can create strong constructive impressions and increase engagement between company, customers and potentially, prospective employees. Weak social media presence can really hurt your company - remember, that includes the people in it.

Ignore company culture and values
“If you hire good people, give them good jobs and pay them good wages, generally, something good is going to happen. ”
James Sinegal

People who you hired are going to live out the vision for your company. You sure do want people who (once or presently) step over your company’s threshold to describe their working experiences or to talk about your company's fame and fortune in the best light possible. Interviewers can be overly-obsessed with talking about the mission when they are set to hit the bullseye and forget to showcase the company’s style and culture. Showing that you care about candidates’ merits (honour their skills), concerns (fitting into the role and team) and what they deserve (benefits, perks, salary, and flexibility), can be a big differentiator for candidates. Looking at the bigger picture, employees are the greatest representation of a company. Therefore, hiring ideal candidates and make them another happy employee in the business not only helps to uphold your stand in the marketplace but an extra shield to potential liability in the future. 

“A business of integrity starts with who you hire.”
Hiring start with TimeTec Hire



The Need to Change is the Need to Make Things Better



This was how I applied for leave just a short two years ago. It was a three-step process every time. First, I called the HR manager Liza to give me the update on my leave balance. Then, I filled, printed and submitted a pdf form to her for the CEO approval. Last was the approval confirmation. Subsequently, Liza had to update me with the balance.

And I'm one of the many employees who are entitled to leaves in this company.

How could Liza get anything done with all the queries from the staff about the leaves? Why haven't we come up with a better system to deal with this every day, lesser ROI task?

Definitely, there is a better way of handling this repetitive, unproductive task for the admin.

The need to change is the need to make things better. If changing doesn't impact, why bother to change in the first place?

Why should a company be focusing on leave? The answer is, why not. Why should we put X amount of work that is giving us less return? Therefore, the goal is to automate the X so we can focus on other more profitable tasks.

So how does an automated cloud-based leave management system like TimeTec Leave change a company for the better? 

Stop doing a repetitive, unproductive task - Normal doesn't translate to practical. It's just that people have been doing a particular thing a certain way for an extended period, so it's accepted and becomes a norm. People used to hand wash clothes for hours before washing machine comes along. If you think that it's okay to print a form, fill it up and pass it to the superior which then give the form to his/her superior to approve, you are way behind time, and that has got to stop. If there is a better way of doing it, and it's not expensive, as a business, it's a crime not to explore.

Stop doing the calculation, recalculation and updating of data - Why do we always need to call HR for the leave balance? What do you have to do to cancel your leave application? Has the balance be credited into my account at the right time? When the system is set up right, TimeTec Leave answers all these questions for you through its app without your staff having to get involved in the (calculation) process. Less error, more effective.

Be quicker and more transparent - Approving a leave shouldn't take days, TimeTec Leave can settle it within minutes. A staff opens the app, apply for a leave, the superior gets a notification, approves the leave on the app, and the balance gets updated. Every detail is there for both parties to see. If the leave requires multiple approvers, multiple days, etc, TimeTec Leave handles it excellently on the app.

Provide more readily available Reports and Analysis - Investment in a new system must provide something better. With TimeTec Leave, reports and analysis are better and useful for the business. Now you know the leave pattern of your staff and departments, and plan your business around it to make your organization more productive, and your team more engaged at the same time. Subscribing to a system like TimeTec Leave gives you more data and more in-depth view of your company's workforce that you can use to strengthen the business.

Less paperwork, less wastage - Cliche? Perhaps. But, why do we need to use paper if it's not necessary? In these days, data is crucial, paperwork not. We can do a lot more without doing the paperwork, without using more resources and occupying more space. TimeTec Leave provides the data without taking space nor time.

Businesses need to start making changes for the better. Leave is a system where your organization should consider first because it covers all the workforce, and it is personal. Once you have gotten used to the efficiency of the cloud-based system, you wouldn't want to turn back, we promise.


Overcoming Hiring Challenges Towards 2020



Hiring is costly. The vacant position is costing your company money and the hiring process even so if the process is lengthy, and require substantial resources. Every company wants to cherrypick the available candidates out there, but without having the right candidates or the proper process, bad hires can cost your company even more money than it should. Out of desperation, companies often settle with the best of what they have at the moment, without finding remedies to the challenges that they are facing when it comes to hiring. Perhaps, companies need to find a way to overcome the hiring challenges they face as they march towards 2020.

How to appeal to the right candidates?
When a job post created, applications start pouring. The problem is, the majority of the applicants are not the ones you are looking for. So, what's the solution? It's crucial that the hiring team knows the criteria required for a position, and therefore, ask the right questions to sift through a pool of candidates. For example, if the role requires English proficiency, it's wise NOT to ask do you have English proficiency, because a majority who are desperate for a job would answer yes and hoping to go to the next stage of the hiring process. From my own experience, candidates who put 8/10 English proficiency could barely communicate in English well, let alone write a decent piece. Therefore, instead of asking for honesty, you should build a question that would make you come to the correct conclusion, like, how many grammatical errors can you spot in this paragraph? Or if the position is technical, let the candidate answer technical-related questions earlier on, so you won't be wasting time entertaining the non-qualified ones in the next stage.

How to employ good candidates?
Good candidates always know their worth. Hence, they rarely act out of desperation, they are good at pacing themselves, and at the same time, they keep their options open, considering a few offers that come their way carefully. Therefore, attracting good candidates require effective persuasion from employers who have to figure out what makes these candidates tick. Perhaps it's the money, perhaps it's leadership, perhaps it's the culture. Be prepared to influence these candidates with what they want rather than what the company needs.

How to hire fast effectively? 
Every day that a crucial position vacates, the company is losing money due to delayed operation or interrupted workflow. When a post is required, it has to fill up fast. There are two types of hire: Common roles, Crucial roles. For the common roles such as retail assistants, f&b workers, skip the complicated and long hiring process because it's utterly unnecessary, time-consuming, and not to mention, costly. The hiring process needs to be straightforward and pinpoint the questions to get decent candidates to fill up the post. Nevertheless, Crucial roles like the Chiefs would require a thorough hiring process and a sufficient timeline to reduce the risk. A rush decision on a Crucial role can have a devastating impact on the company as a whole.

How to create an efficient hiring process? 
Sifting through a pile of resumes can be daunting, ineffective, and possible bias, mainly when a group of people who measures it based it on their own standards and interpretation. The outcome of the resume selection process determines the candidates that the hiring team is going to meet during the interview sessions. To ensure that the interview candidates are a group of qualified applicants, the company has to improve the resume-sifting process and make it automated. The hiring team needs to input the metrics they want for a position and when the resume comes in, all the details filtered to present the best matching candidates with the qualifications in the shortest amount of time possible.

How to eliminate bias?
Even when the resume selection has been processed automatically, the overall hiring process could still be prone to bias during other hire stages. Therefore, a standardized scorecard is an excellent tool for interviewers to fill up for transparency. Additionally, the company could impose questionnaires and tests to gauge a candidate's level of knowledge and expertise in a subject or a position.

We are in 2019. It's about time that companies are taking charge of their hiring process and choose a system that can help streamline the process, offer better team collaboration, and keep all candidates information centralized.

TimeTec Hire by TimeTec Cloud offers a cloud-based recruitment solution that possesses all these fantastic features and more:

ATS - Applicant Tracking System
Job Post Templates - To help you get started with your job posts
Questionnaires Tool - Design suitable questionnaires to land you desirable candidates
Interview Scheduling Tool - To schedule interviews and keep everyone involved informed and prepared
Interview Scorecards - A standardized feedback form for all interviewers
Job Offer - To streamline job offer processes
Onboarding Process - To assimilate the new hire into your organization conveniently

Contact us for a demo, or you can go to www.timetechire.com and sign-up for a 14-day FREE TimeTec Hire trial account with 10 job posts, unlimited users.