For a start there are the infrastructure realms of comms, storage and display. In 2011, comms, storage and display technologies are in lockstep with consumer and wider commercial standards and it’s a relief to know we have some small certainty when it comes to standards. 
When it comes to video I think SMPTE has things nailed with its Full HD standard and H.264 is doing a fair job with compression. Acceptance of Full HD as the default video surveillance standard means quality consumer monitors meeting the SMPTE standard are the perfect tool for video. Not all Full HD monitors are the same, however. Users should pay extra for constant duty LCD monitors if they want performance and longevity.
These quality monitors have an impact on access control management solutions too but to a lesser extent. Full HD monitors give operators plenty of room to juggle functionality and gives legroom for the integration of surveillance components with access management moving forward. 
With access control, the network bandwidth is so tiny there’s no need to take this element into account from an IT perspective. Instead, key IP and networked elements of access control include integration, the maintenance of distributed intelligence and secure communications. 
So, these core infrastructure elements of IP and networking are fairly well established in our electronic security market. They meet wider industry standards and are now relatively low cost. But to my mind the big impact the digital revolution will have on our industry is only now beginning to unfold. 
As the infrastructure of our electronic security solutions settle at industry standards and create a level playing field we are going to see engineering teams turning to outright performance to win business and it’s here the sparks will fly. When every camera is full HD, when each comes with a megapixel lens, when all are running a chipset from Sony, JVC or Hitachi and are shipped at a similar cost then designers will need to come up with something new every 12 months. 
That something is likely to be enhanced digital performance driven by firmware innovation. Sure, such digital functionality is not new but what is new is the fact manufacturers now consider it the frontline of differentiation. Engineering crews are now reaching out for functionality that will offer sales teams the wow factor they need to make a sale. 
Furthermore, firmware advances can be applied after the fact to quality Full HD IP cameras. Already some manufacturers, recognising the longevity of surveillance installations are already touting their product’s ability to have an injection of mid-life smarts. Consider the fact Pelco’s Sarix and Sarix SureVision cameras comes with an SDK for integrators and end users to play with. 
With access control solutions, most the important functionality is in the hands of operators and given access control’s more mature symbiosis with computer systems, servers and networks, it’s not surprising that hotting up existing software to enhance performance is nothing new. What is new is the fact access control systems are putting real time interface design capability into the hands of operators. Gallagher v7.00 springs to mind. 
We talk about technology a lot in SEN. When you’re driving a monthly magazine with a voracious appetite for words there’s a need to churn the latest information and that means ruminating over technology that time often shows us was simply vapourware. 
But when it comes to the digitization of security electronics, it’s my opinion we are reaching a baseline. In the future our hardware will be built as platforms with integral storage and processing capabilities allowing serious enhancement during product lifespans. 
We will see functional analytics. We’ll see face recognition. We’ll see cameras as intrusion detection devices. We’ll see access control solutions that give operators complete situational awareness and allow instant response on multiple paths. We’ll see our digital revolution.