New Security Industry Association (SIA) member Vistacom has grown from a small family-owned business to one of the premier audiovisual (AV) integration firms in the United States today. The company, headquartered in Allentown, Pennsylvania, is expanding its geographic footprint with business across the United States and internationally.
SIA spoke with Jim Ferlino, president of Vistacom, about the company, the security industry and working with SIA.
SIA: Tell us the story of your company.
Jim Ferlino: Vistacom, originally named the Daveland Company, was started in 1954 by founder Jack Ferlino, my father. Starting out as a leader in the audio industry, installing the first intercoms and background music systems, the Daveland Company quickly grew, taking on larger projects like the entire sound system for Veterans Stadium, the former home of the Philadelphia Phillies and Philadelphia Eagles. As the industry advanced with the introduction of video technology, so did Vistacom. In 1999, Vistacom completed the AT&T Bedminster Network Operations Center, the largest control system in the world. From that point, Vistacom realized its strength as a leader in the control room space, a niche market within the AV industry.
Today, Vistacom’s strategy continues to focus on growing as a leader in the control room market. With dedicated control room staff in all departments, Vistacom has continued to develop the necessary skills and expertise to design, build and integrate operations centers that keep security top of mind.
What solutions/services does your business offer in the security industry? And what makes your offerings/company unique?
JF: Vistacom is unique to the market in that we aren’t a traditional security integration company. We are an AV integrator that works alongside security teams to deliver the technology, equipment and support needed to meet the 24/7/365 mission-critical needs of security operations centers (SOCs) and control rooms. We can analyze audio and visual elements of these, including recommending video walls, lighting options, operator stations, their comfort, video conferencing and communications and much, much more. Vistacom can recommend solutions that complement existing security solutions (such as video and access control) and display clearly for operators to respond to. From concept to completion, Vistacom designs and builds high-quality workspaces that maximizes situational awareness necessary for improved response time, reliability and decision making.
What’s something we might not know about your company – or something new you’re doing in security?
JF: One of the coolest technologies that we’re seeing is the incorporation of artificial intelligence into traditional security systems that alert operators to anomalies in video. This kind of tech is critically important to organizations that are gathering large amounts of video data and have multiple sites to monitor from an SOC. Within the control room/SOC space, Vistacom works to ensure that this information and these alerts are clear and available to operators when they come in, visible on a screen with clear audio to accompany alerts (if applicable). Along with this new trend, many of our recent clients have asked for mobile capabilities. Sending alerts and content from any source on the video wall directly to a mobile device is a feature of most of our recent control room projects.
What is your company’s vision, and what are your goals for the security industry?
JF: Vistacom’s vision is to be a premier communication solutions partner with a global reach, which means we strive not only to provide the highest-quality solutions and support, but also to help our clients achieve their unique business goals. Control rooms come in many forms, and technology is always changing, so we take it as our personal responsibility to fully understand organizational security processes and procedures in order to develop a unique system design for each client.
What do you think are the biggest opportunities in the security industry right now?
JF: Today’s changing business landscape brings on increasing pressures for businesses to operate and communicate more efficiently and reliably, which is true for the challenges both within and outside the security industry. The biggest opportunities are in making this communication as effective as possible through the dissemination of incoming information from a variety of solutions in a visually appealing, easy-to-use and unified interface. And with continued advancements in display and processing technology, video walls are improving aesthetically and becoming increasingly more intuitive to use.
SIA: What does SIA offer that is most important to you/your company? And what do you most hope to get out of your membership?
JF: Our business model allows us to work with a diverse set of clients and partners, and SIA brings the best security professionals together to not only network, but lead industry change and develop emerging technologies. Vistacom is looking forward to expanding our technology, clientele and knowledge with this new membership.