Operational goals will define 2019 after the upheaval of the last 12 months.

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THE birth of the new year feels like returning to war after weeks in a peaceful city unaffected by conflict. Last week you lay on a blanket under a tree in the park, mind adrift in leaf movement and birdsong.

This week you’re peering through a periscope across No-Man’s Land, your view obscured by whorls of wire, drifting smoke, the shattered hulks of last year’s big ideas and the confusion of protagonists merging with allies, switching sides, the flags of proud regiments turned upside down. And all the while the painful screeching of chair feet over ideological concrete, mapping out your industry’s improbable new paradigm of global political confrontation and corporate intrigue.

Back in your trench, there’s no escaping the inherent bias imposed by the single optic of your personal theory of mind and the limitations of short-term memory. You can’t recall anything specific you’ve seen and heard – all that’s left is a general sense of unease informed by one discernible truth – everything in motion between one unseen place and another.

There’s inevitable hyperbole in metaphor but this observation shouldn’t be taken as a concession. The last 12 months have been a time of real change and the impact of that change is most notable in the electronic security industry’s altered sense of its identity. There’s a fraying at the edges as touch-stone faces and companies change their position through retirement, merger or acquisition. And there’s ever more pressure from adjacent providers of technology seeking to monetize their OEM bits of plastic.

We know that everything is changing, that everything always does, that it’s only the pace that varies. In the face of change, the key focus for suppliers of technology and services remains the operational demands of users of security technology. What are their goals? What are their agendas? What do they seek to protect and where do they look to save money while doing so? In what areas are these opposing demands most in conflict, most needful of thoughtfully balanced management? Despite the challenges of the moment, it’s important to remember that technology has not become less vital to security operations but more vital, even indispensable.

It’s in this underlying fundamental that the structure of the coming year takes shape – the intense need for clever tech, for greater depth of integration, for solutions that rely on partnerships of technology, as well as partnerships of infrastructure. Over-arching these fundamentals are the demands for dependable suppliers and capable integrators, highly motivated and properly trained, endlessly willing to go through hell on behalf of the people their customers are bent on protecting.

The ability to deliver holistic security and safety goals is there. A take-away from 2018 was an increase in the number of solutions weaving operational outcomes from myriad inputs, solutions that deliver security teams wide views in the highest resolutions. These are solutions end users want to see more of – the sorts of solutions government now demand agencies and private organisations measure their solutions against. Technologies that deliver on the promises of decades of incremental development to protect, inform and drive reactions in real time.

From the point of view of end users and law enforcement agencies it seems there can never be too much information, too much data quality, too much integral functionality delivered against a counter balance of sensible cost. Seen in this light, our best technology still has a long way to go.

For integrators, manufacturers, distributors and end users, change offers the ability to reinvent, to reposition, to focus again on the developments and solutions of the past to better inform the future. Regardless of the market’s changing landscape, the demand for cutting edge systems that make intelligence available anywhere remains its defining feature. In this context, the intrusion of lower quality solutions and unskilled providers delivers context against which the industry’s best teams will seek to define themselves.

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