In fact, so significant is this change that some companies – I’m thinking about the new Mobotix mobile application here – are suggesting that in a couple of years the primary method of managing cameras will be via powerful pieces of mobile software. And Mobotix is talking about getting into alarms and access control, with these elements of its solutions also set to be managed using iOS. 
And it’s not just Mobotix. Honeywell’s Tuxedo Touch, which we review in this issue, not only converts Honeywell Vista panels into automation and surveillance solutions, it’s a mobile gateway for all the functionality of Vista and Tuxedo. Individual cameras are also increasingly accessible via web browser with no need for a software management system. Sure, there are limitations to this sort of viewing but there are possibilities, too. 
So much so that I can’t help feeling there’s something vibrant about this new chapter in the industry’s life, something wonderful. The ability to make use of every piece of a security system’s functionality anywhere in the world empowers end users, technicians and sales teams. It’s the realisation of the idea behind that DSC alarm panel from the 1990s that let users speak to visitors through an intercom and unlock a door using a remote touchpad. Yet thanks to IP it’s so much more. 

“When individual lights are accessible online for management and diagnosis it must be obvious to everyone that we are witnessing the beginning of something new, something that will change the way our systems are managed, something that’s going to be profoundly empowering”

Today, alarm panels and cameras can be accessed via browser, smart devices can be integrated as inputs into video surveillance solutions, affordable network area storage devices like the iOmega StorCenter ix2 can set themselves up as cloud servers in support of IP cameras. But what I find most intriguing and most instructive is the increasing pervasiveness of online accessibility in our industry. 
Consider Raytec’s Vario IP. It’s a lighting solution available in white light or IR that can be accessed and controlled through a web interface from anywhere with a network connection – a smart phone, tablet or workstation. Vario’s web interface allows authorised users to activate a light or groups of lights, to select types of illumination and to diagnose device status. 
My point is this. When individual lights are accessible online for management and diagnosis it must be obvious to everyone that we are witnessing the beginning of something new, something that will change the way our systems are managed, something that’s going to be profoundly empowering. 
To my mind, what that new thing is going to be is a concept that might be called cloud. But when I say cloud I’m not talking about a storage solution like Google Drive, or RackSpace but applications that take communication and management to the device level. I’m talking about something that’s razor sharp and conceptually hazy, a quantum shift leading to fingertip control of all possible functionality. The birth of globally connected meta-solutions we can sense are taking shape but that we can’t yet quite see.