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Firas Jadalla, the Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa at Genetec, speaks about challenges and opportunities to expect in 2021

What sort of opportunities did 2020 bring along?
Due to COVID, we saw technology advance at an unprecedented pace. While adapting to changes was a bit challenging for businesses, we saw some of them take advantage of the situation and profit from it.

The increase of frictionless shopping in the region can present new challenges in terms of store monitoring and loss prevention. When it comes to security operations, it has been an opportunity for us at Genetec to help retailers do more with less. One way to do this is by centralising security operations by deploying a unified platform like Genetec Security Center for example. This reduces the expense associated with having dedicated personnel in each store without compromising on security or loss prevention.

What were your key achievements in 2020?
Even though 2020 has challenged most of us, we were able to focus on the fruitful opportunities that expanded our horizons. At Genetec, we have recently grown our control revenue at almost five times the pace of the market in August, we also received a UL 2900-2-3 Level 3 cybersecurity certification for the second year in a row, and are proud to be the only VMS vendor in the world to have achieved this certification. What we pride ourselves the most with, however, is adapting to the technological advancements and incorporating them into today’s needs.

Do you see opportunities in the regional markets with new markets opening up?
We see opportunities with the increase in the number of businesses that are digitally transforming in the UAE. Considering the fact that businesses like retailers and banks are looking for ways to be more tech-savvy and to cut costs due to COVID, we see different ways through which we can contribute to the region. With our unified system, for example, retailers and banks can find easier ways to record footage through video surveillance systems, which are becoming essential today and have been for some time.

These tools help loss prevention departments protect people, property, and merchandise from the slew of threats retail establishments face daily. Moreover, we also see great ways through which we can help organizations and businesses with the access control of their people and employees. Since COVID restrictions are prohibiting crowded places, new capabilities such as the Genetec Occupancy Management Package, enable stores to operate within established guidelines for occupancy density while leveraging existing systems to adapt their strategy and respond to new risks.

This solution can count the number of people in a store, visualize the data, and send alerts to employees when occupancy limits are being reached. In addition to providing demonstrable compliance with local mandates, this approach is considerably less costly than using dedicated staff for counting and thus delivers instant ROI. It is also less prone to error than human counting methods.

Video management systems can also be set up with a “one in, one out” policy to control access. Waiting shoppers are notified when they can enter a store via a “traffic light” device, for example. With this technology, a retailer prevents overcrowding without having to place an employee at the entrance and risk possible altercations. Approaches like this are far more customer-friendly than some of the cruder approaches that mandate shopping cart use (whether or not you need a cart) to count customers and measure store occupancy.

According to you, which technologies will be in demand in 2021?
With cybercrime damages expected to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, this evolving issue shouldn’t be taken lightly. Threat actors continue to develop new ways to attack organizations, though less than 50% of companies are prepared for a cybersecurity attack. That’s where cyber hygiene comes in.

By maintaining the security and upkeep of your organization’s systems, devices, and procedures – whether that’s through secure corporate communication or purchasing cyber liability insurance, among other options – there are greater chances of falling victim to a cyber-attack. Effective cybersecurity software systems are going to be more in demand in 2021 since hackers are becoming more tech-savvy and cybersecurity software with frequent and efficient updates is extremely relevant in 2021.

Outlook 2021: The New Year Will Bring Increased Sophistication of Attackers

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