Multiple key trends converge in drones, including robotics, video analytics, deep learning, IoT and cyber security.

IT’S impossible not to see the nexus between current technology trends and security electronics – so many of our best solutions have developed and matured over decades during which the market has paid them the merest attention.

That’s all about to change and the issues of the future are going to be about managing growth and positioning businesses to best deliver solutions the market finally has a hunger for. What’s most interesting about these key trends is the way they merge together in electronic security solutions.

Top of the list is artificial intelligence – AI is really starting to hit its straps across almost all business verticals – manufacturing, energy management, automation, risk prediction, operational efficiency management, and much more. Many of the industry’s best software management solutions already offer powerful AI functionalities and you can expect installers to want to know about these and end users to want to leverage them moving forward.

Whether it’s operational precision, enhancing efficiency, improving security by sharing resources or data across an enterprise, the hunger is there and it’s growing. AI is also going to allow for creative integration between multiple management solutions, creating super-PSIMs that will deliver situational awareness across multiple sites and organisations in way that empowers associated security and emergency services teams. The functionality to handle such applications is here and now – developing the human partnerships will be the thing.

Alongside AI is deep learning, software solutions that allow devices or systems to learn their environments to predict the way developing events will unfold, to ascertain what is typical for a location and to recognise aberrations. Deep learning algorithms can be applied to almost any input and this information can be used to monitor the state of a constellation of devices to provide highly evolved situational awareness. Human operators will always be needed to monitor security solutions, but deep learning will present them with event data bundled up in a completely new way. Instead of constantly scanning systems looking for trouble, operators will be able to get on with other work and will only be called upon to address serious events.

Meanwhile, machine learning has considerable ability to feed into security and automation systems as well. The alarm systems of the future will not only aggregate alarm inputs of all kinds, they’ll decide whether or not a genuine intrusion or life-threatening event is happening and then communicate with monitoring teams and/or emergency services – possibly by themselves.

And robotics comes in, too. When it comes to electronic security solutions, try not to see robotics as Dalek-style units patrolling a site, but as multiple compact PTZs empowered by deep learning algorithms assessing audio, optical and thermal sensors so as to recognise intrusion, bushfire, assault, gunshot and more, and to undertake proactive measures to resolve crises. In commercial and government applications, drones are likely to play a role as robots, with the ability to confirm accident, intrusion, or outbreak of fire.

Another major trend is edge computing, fuelled by the need to reduce the load on cloud solutions. This trend is going to lead to more capable security devices which can recognise event patterns and, as far as possible, respond to them locally – that might be by audible tones but could also be by contacting management, emergency services or maintenance crews.

The internet of things has a role to play here, too. Whether devices are connected via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or any other secure wireless comms path, central to increasing situational awareness and empowering deep learning algorithms and AI will be data inputs – thousands and thousands of data inputs. These will require devices with robust batteries, low current draws and the ability to communicate short distances via mesh, until signals get to edge devices for communication with regional or central management solutions. There are now over 30 billion IoT devices installed globally, collecting a vast amount of data.

It’s impossible to disconnect cybersecurity from all this development, because we still aren’t doing it properly and it’s always changing – all these devices, all these systems, all these networks, must be secured – the more connectivity, the more security. Cybersecurity is going to be huge in the future. It’s likely to be integrated into devices but there will also need to be an intensity of focus we have never seen before. That will bring in other trending technologies, including blockchain, which will ensure data cannot be intercepted during the process of transmission.

End users and the consultants serving them will need to confront the possibilities of security solutions whose capabilities and potential are on a trajectory of exponential lateral growth. From the point of view of security installers and security integrators, decisions will need to be made about which business models best serve clients as these trends unfold to expose a new sense of what constitutes an electronic security solution.