Artificial intelligence is coming - hopefully with NEMA-rated gaskets for desert applications...

A PARTICULAR challenge for security people – and it doesn’t matter where in the business you sit – is retaining the ability to think with flexibility and be open to new technologies and new ways of using existing technologies.

This is especially at issue when you visit a big trade show like Security 2018 Exhibition & Conference July 25-27 in Melbourne (pre-register here) . There’s an inevitable confirmation bias that leads us to the same brand names, the same product stacks, the same ways of expressing our ideas of what an electronic security solution should be. Trouble is, we’ve reached a point where this sort of thinking is limiting.

When it comes to the big annual security show, SEN waxes lyrical about technologies ever on the verge of breaking through. In recent years, this focus has tended generally towards networking and to the avalanche of ‘techvolution’ certain to roll onto us once security solutions reach a state of digitization that pushes solutions and collections of solutions, beyond their angle of positive stability – the point past which everything must turn over.

Existing technologies are kinetic, driven forward by engineers, sales teams, satisfied users, complex business alliances and a vast weight of existing installations. All these things create a sort of technological momentum. But the potential for change fuelled by digital transformations continues to press, picking away at established ideas and prying open minds atrophied by decades of more-or-less reliability and operational success.

The word we used last year to describe the point past which technological development will start to run away was accelerationism. We’re not there yet but this year, that overhang feels more precipitous and it’s increasingly multifaceted, coming at us from all directions – posing threats, proffering opportunities, streamlining operations, reducing costs, while enhancing the potential for an increase in total performance.

Interesting too, people in the industry are starting to speak its language in flat tones of voice. Over the past 12 months I’ve heard revolutionary talk from mature industry executives in manufacturing, distribution and operations, each with decades of experience. That flat tone expresses acceptance and a readiness to get to grips with what looking back seems like tectonic change – huge yet so slow it’s barely discernible.

Only when you look back over a period of 30 years does it becomes clear how much is different, and much of this this difference is foundational. We have gone from one way of doing things to another way – a way which makes us hungry for wonderment and less fettered by old beliefs. The capacity for change and the preparedness to change is a virtue that carries with it huge operational benefits.

What is driving the industry forward in multiple layers is a hunger for higher performance that the processors of the past could not manage, the firmware of the past could not encapsulate, that the comms of the past could not carry, that the management systems of the past could not coherently display, that the end users of the past could not comprehend.

What will the electronic security industry be like in another 30 years? It’s very hard to say. There are operational parameters that will remain but it’s increasingly difficult not to feel the possibilities are wide open. With this disclaimer, it’s certain that the future will include enterprise security solutions of unprecedented power that are mutually self-teaching, ever more capable of sharing and that meld data on a vast scale with less need for human intervention.

* Image by Pat Andrews