Welcome to the democratisation of integrated solutions...

THE more security managers you speak with, the more clearly you can see a conceptual J-curve effect in the race to the bottom price, with end users increasingly granting their operational priorities precedence when it comes to calculating electronic security returns on investment.

Whether it’s public venues like stadiums and universities leaning in on the Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee’s Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism, or major sites looking to enhance the robustness and redundancy of fundamental security infrastructure, there’s considerable and thoughtful investment taking place on a global scale.

When you are taking security threats seriously from the point of view of overall business survival, buying inferior solutions simply because they are the cheapest option no longer seems a good idea. Instead, the greatest return on investment comes from solutions that offer the best performance in clever ways that enhance ROI more broadly, through sharing of information, reduction of burden on system operators and the guarantee that elevated operational parameters will always be met.

Something else that’s interesting from an observer’s point of view, is that security managers and their board-level steering committees are synthesising the latest security technologies, pushing on the borders of possibility in a way we’ve not seen before. One aspect of this shift is likely to be due to an increase in the number of well-informed, well-qualified security consultants working on behalf of clients to ensure the latest solutions are applied to threat profiles old and new.

Another aspect is certainly that as wider society becomes more tech-savvy, the possibilities of security technology – whether that be drones, artificial intelligence, biometrics, cloud-based infrastructure, 4K camera resolutions and all the rest – become front of mind. A CEO enjoying 4K resolution from their GoPro Hero6 on the front of a mountain bike or surfboard on weekends is not going to need the benefits of high resolution explained to them – they know more pixels means more detail, as well as more storage to handle the burden.

Of course, there have been falls in price, even at the technological top end and that’s no bad thing. We’ve discussed this before in SEN, but I can’t help mentioning it again, because there’s something wonderful about the possibilities. It’s the fact lower hardware costs, enhanced management solutions and powerful underlying infrastructure now put brilliant technologies into the hands of every security manager. It’s possible to buy outstanding security devices for far less money than ever before and this cost reduction is certain to be the real facilitator of universal integrated solutions.

Supporting the falls in hardware price from the point of view of brilliant applications, is software that is not just seamless vertically in terms of operational capability, but seamless laterally, in terms of sub-system integration. This is a huge deal. It means security managers can not only get the most out of existing sub systems but are encouraged to take on new solutions sure in the knowledge their long-term return on investment is a real number.

Of course, it’s not all about the top end. Think of NVRs that can handle huge cable runs, offer powerful IVA and LPR algorithms, support affordable thermal cameras and even more affordable motorized bullet cameras and compact PTZs. Think of affordable access control solutions that bring serious manageability to 16-inputs – comprehensive reporting, remote management, enterprise performance capabilities. It’s clear that the sorts of systems only heavyweights could afford 5 years ago are now stock in trade for SMEs.

From the point of view of installers and integrators, what’s required is a new language, a new way of talking about security solutions that disconnects them from the static and reactive system designs of the past. Today, modest applications can leverage the latest technologies across multiple layers of their business, streamlining management of sites, personnel, assets and resources.

It’s often hard to get the motor going after the Christmas period – half the mind is still snorkelling some special outcrop of coral reef, walking up a deserted beach, or looking out across a quiet holiday valley. But if anything can collectively launch us into 2018 it should be this – never before have we had such brilliant, such capable, such efficient electronic security technologies to sell, to integrate and to leverage for all we are worth.

By John Adams