SIA Member Profile: John Convy, Sr. VP Strategic Alliances, BRS Labs

Security Industry Association (SIA)

How did you get into the security business?

I sold the software company I started 10 years earlier, and had a 3 year non-compete agreement with the buyers, so I was looking around for new challenges when 9/11 happened. An friend of mine had just been appointed Deputy Sergeant at Arms for Security at the United States Senate, and he asked me to help him build a continuity of government plan. Researching the state of technology at the time introduced me to net-centric security, IP based video management systems and early versions of video analytics. Once I realized the potential that standards-based, open architecture technology could bring to mitigate terrorist attacks, I was hooked.

What do you enjoy the most about your role?

I enjoy the brainstorming and analysis involved with designing security solutions for different vertical markets, then recruiting the best technology partners to create the ultimate “solution set” of technologies. I enjoy the global nature of my role, and I also derive a lot of satisfaction from monetizing BRS Labs’ relationships with our partners.

What’s your prediction for the biggest trend that will take place in the security industry in 2013?

I predict the biggest trend will be the increase in size of surveillance deployments. This is the result of very rapid advancements in capability and scalability of intelligent video, especially facial recognition and behavior recognition. These two technologies are game-changers.

Facial recognition can now be utilized to scan thousands of faces in a crowd as they enter stadiums or transportation terminals, and detect people on various watch lists. It can also stitch together partial views to create a full face that can then be matched.

With respect to behavior recognition, up until recently it didn’t even make sense for decision makers to expand their surveillance systems, since they could barely manage the video feeds they already had. But now, behavior recognition software, utilizing artificial intelligence, can automatically detect dangerous behavior occurring in thousands to tens of thousands of cameras, so now it makes a lot of sense to expand systems, as long as they are all being monitored automatically for dangerous behavior.

What is the biggest challenge for your business?

The biggest challenge is overcoming preconceived notions about video analysis that they see on “CSI” and “Person of Interest”. So we need to educate people about what is realistic with this technology.

What does your organization receive from membership in SIA that you’d like to share with others?

Some folks may not realize how important SIA is to our industry because of their legislative initiatives, education programs and leadership in driving industry standards. They monitor legislation in all 50 states as well as in congress. Every year SIA proposes positive security related legislation and prevents bills that would hurt our industry from becoming law. They help consumers achieve “freedom of choice” because of their landmark work on industry standards. They have educated more people than any other organization in the security industry, and have been very supportive of my IP Video Surveillance Academy educational seminar series. In fact, Joe Gittens from SIA will be the opening speaker at our upcoming seminars in Boston on April 30 and Atlanta on May 2. For more detail about these seminars, see

Will you be attending the SIA Government Summit? If so, what are you most looking forward to about the event?

Sure I’ll be attending, and BRS Labs will be sponsoring this important annual event. It’s crucial to educate decision makers in the federal government, because they need to understand our industry in order to help fight terrorism and other criminal activities.

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts and/or profiles are those of the authors or sources and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Security Industry Association (SIA).