At the recent ABB Automation and Power World 2013 (APW2013), it was pointed out during a panel interview of Process Automation experts that in many languages around the world, a single word has a shared meaning for both security and safety; in traditional Chinese: 安全, Spanish: seguridad, French: sécurité, German: sicherheit, Russian: безопасность, Swedish: säkerhet, and at least 36 others1.
From this, one might draw the conclusion, that in many cultures, these two English words are indistinguishable, or perhaps should be. By contrast, in process businesses around the globe, the two subjects are frequently treated as completely separate topics and specialties. Historically, safety has related to protecting the process and people through the use of mechanical intervention, automated systems, and training. Security has generally been the subject of preventing unauthorized access to facilities and corporate intellectual property using physical barriers, automated systems, protection personnel, and in more recent years, cyber protection methods. In most cases, the individual items in either area were probably sourced from separate suppliers.
But now in the 21st century, should we really be thinking in terms of combined or integrated safety and security, and perhaps as important, looking to single sourcing an overall safety and security solution? We normally try to keep this blog from being a direct advertisement for ABB products, but on this subject, I am going to take an exception.
In the APW2013 Technology & Solutions Center, attendees were able to get a vision of the possibility to accomplish this blanket approach. On the traditional safety side, one could find everything from mechanical safety connected to robotics area entry protection and a variety of machine safety products available from the Low Voltage business unit, to integrated process safety with System 800xA High Integrity SIL2/3 integrated safety automation and the operator effectiveness features of the System 800xA Operator Workplace that can place safety procedures, material safety datasheets and other important safety documentation at the fingertips of plant personnel with just the right-click of a mouse. Integrated Fire & Gas safety solutions common in the Oil & Gas industries are also available. Even the Software Pavilion had examples of safety with the Ventyx eSom electronic mobile procedures capability related to lockout-tagout electrical and maintenance safety procedures. And should your needs include low and medium voltage switchgear, or high voltage products, ABB can deliver a full range of solutions with best-in-class safety designs.
In the traditional security environment, attendees were able to find cyber security products from Industrial Defender, one of ABB’s newest partners along with new wireless infrastructure and network management products from one of ABB’s newest acquisitions, Tropos with designs targeted at offering the best in secure, wireless networking. Security video solutions are now available with the integration of VideONet into System 800xA. And that same automation platform with its core integration capability may be used to provide a single portal to integrate best-in-class third party building security/automation solutions to complete your full facility perimeter security needs.
Safety and security may be two different words in the English language, but when we look at all of the great examples of the synergy between the two from the ABB Automation and Power World 2013 Technology & Solutions Center, we might be able to agree that they really are the same.
1 According to translations done with Google Translate