In an ever-evolving digital era, a groundbreaking development is reshaping physical security: The convergence of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT).
During VerkadaOne, our inaugural industry conference, leaders and experts in the space got together over a few days to discuss current trends in physical security and share valuable insights with attendees. One of the customer panel discussions, "The Convergence of IT and OT," highlighted a key and often overlooked value of adopting a cutting-edge physical security solution: improved operational efficiency.
Verkada VP of Product and Operations Brandon Davito sat down with physical security and operations experts Delia Midamda, Cloudflare's Head of Corporate Physical Security, Frank McKinney, Carolina Ingredients' Chief Operating Officer, and Patrick Allen, Dairy Farmers of America's (DFA's) Senior Director of Network Services, to discuss the merging of IT and OT technology and insights into how they're leveraging Verkada to improve the safety and operational efficiency of their organizations.
Below are a few themes that arose from the panel discussion.
1. Frank McKinney, Carolina Ingredients: Project Planning and Justification
For Chief Operating Officers (COOs) like Frank McKinney, project planning and justification aren't just administrative tasks — they're necessary for improving the efficiency of their organizations.
Effective project planning is crucial for manufacturing organizations to ensure that operations run smoothly, risks are managed, resources are utilized effectively, costs are controlled and quality is maintained. However, none of this is possible without leadership's sign-off. When making a case for a project, it's critical for project owners to clearly articulate its monetary and operational impact, whether that's cost reduction or time savings.
Frank spoke at length about utilizing Verkada to develop airtight project plans for Carolina Ingredients' 56,000-sqft food manufacturing plant. He reviews and analyzes camera and environmental sensors data from Command to develop plans that clearly illustrate why a project is necessary, the operational benefits and the projected capital payback.
Since partnering with Verkada, Frank has unlocked millions of dollars in cost savings for Carolina Ingredients.
"And you want to justify projects? I justified $425,000 worth of vertical lift modules and the reassignment of three employees, with two hours of video and data analysis." — Frank McKinney
2. Patrick Allen, Dairy Farmers of America: Employee and Organizational Safety
In a manufacturing environment, safeguarding an organization from liability while ensuring employee safety is essential. Modern physical security systems help organizations reduce risk by providing real-time alerts to respond quickly to incidents and assist with liability protection by producing verifiable digital records.
During the panel discussion, Patrick explained how Dairy Farmers of America has improved safety standards for all their 400 facilities — including 90 manufacturing plants — while protecting the organization from false claims.
To ensure the safety of DFA's employees, Patrick is always looking for ways to improve their already rigorous safety standards to avoid injuries or stop trespassers from harassing plant workers. Armed with 4K cameras and unlimited cloud storage for archived footage, Patrick has clear visibility into potential hazards at DFA's plants and uses video clips as a reference when setting safety protocols. Additionally, with the people of interest feature, he has caught repeat trespassers the moment they step on the premises.
On the liability side, authenticating employees' workplace injury claims is also a priority. Verifying these incidents falls under Patrick's domain, and he's been able to curtail false claims by quickly and efficiently reviewing footage within Command.
"Offering a layer of safety for both DFA and our employees is my number one priority, whether that's catching false claims or instituting operational protocols that ensure employees leave our plants in one piece. The Command platform has been a big help with that." — Patrick Allen
3. Delia Midamda, Cloudflare: Return to Work Initiatives
As organizations recalibrate their workspaces after the pandemic, physical security solutions such as Verkada can play a significant role in driving these objectives. Modern security systems can aid in monitoring foot traffic patterns, enabling a better understanding of how best to utilize an office and design an optimal layout. With integrated AI capabilities, these systems can provide valuable insights into peak usage times, busy zones and underutilized areas.
Cloudflare is leveraging Verkada to identify ways to maximize its office space and create ideal working environments for employees. The organization has not mandated a return to the office; however, Delia uses the heatmapping and occupancy trends features within Command to maximize their office space and encourage employees to work from their facilities.
With heatmapping, she knows what areas of their offices have the most foot traffic. With occupancy trends, she has comprehensive data on how many employees are actually coming into the office. Delia has worked with Cloudflare’s places team to redesign their offices to make them more collaborative and valuable in a post-pandemic environment.
"We're utilizing heatmapping to identify where employees congregate the most within certain design layouts; those insights are informing our decisions as we build new offices and renovate old ones." — Delia Midamda
4. Verkada: Customer-Centric Innovation
How organizations leverage physical security systems is rapidly evolving, whether that's a manufacturing plant referencing footage of an incident to develop new safety regulations or a technology company using occupancy trends to redesign their office layout. Security systems must continue to evolve to keep up with the growing needs of customers.
From the beginning, the team at Verkada has taken a customer-centric approach toward innovation, which has led to the creation of six product lines and a multitude of advanced security capabilities — all tied to a single cloud-based software platform. The latest innovation from Verkada is Helix, a powerful, new enterprise video search and integration engine.
By allowing customers to provide context to their video security footage, Helix expands and accelerates the business value of the Command platform beyond physical security.
Customers can now pull transaction data from a variety of sources into Verkada Command by leveraging the platform's flexible APIs. Helix uses this data to index video footage based on the customer's required attributes and offers flexible search tools to quickly locate the desired video clip.
For example, a car manufacturer may need to investigate the cause of a defect in one of their vehicles. The manufacturer's quality team can use Helix to swiftly pull footage of the specific car. A quick search using the car's VIN would return footage from every step in the manufacturing process, allowing the quality team to accurately diagnose the issue.
This capability demonstrates how Verkada is expanding the value of Command beyond just traditional physical security and into other use cases. These alternative applications of physical security systems are not only making organizations safer but more efficient.