Imagining the future of security electronics.

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WHEN you walk into SecTech 2019 seeking a sense of the latest solutions in a few weeks’ time (pre-register for your city here!), make sure you’re not just ticking the boxes of the present but building ideas for the future.

Yes, the future seems vaguer as it becomes more digital, there are some areas we can guarantee will overhang in years ahead and they’re not all products and solutions. Privacy and ethics in the digital space is going to one key area of consideration. San Francisco is currently considering a proposal to ban face recognition and license CCTV on a per-camera basis every 12 months. While global application of these precepts doesn’t bear thinking about for electronic security providers, we can soberly consider that even unsupported accusations of unethical behaviour on cyber street impact on business in the real world.

5G telecommunications. I tend to think the advent of 5G will be more evolution than revolution but even if it simply forces users out of their miserably over-subscribed cable internet services and onto the fibre NBN, 5G will impact on possibilities and consumer expectations. When you look at recent moves by Apple and others to drive into the content space you can see market leaders are betting massive money on ongoing development of the infrastructure to support monster bandwidth.

Another trend that’s creating chat among futurists is the growth of autonomous devices and digital twins – that latter is a virtual system that monitors the state of a device in real time. My instinct is that these developments should come under the banner of IoT, because what we’re talking about is leveraging the data gathering capability of sensors to recognise and/or predict behaviours, as well as to give situational awareness in real time. Autonomous devices include sensors, cameras, drones – anything that can be automated to gather information.

Something SecTech visitors are bound to see is plenty of is AI and analytics – for security and automation people, analytics is best seen in an operational light. A complexity with all the talk about AI, IVA, analytics, machine learning, deep learning and VCA is exactly what the operational outcomes of such labels are going to be. For security suppliers it might seem to be about recognising threats as they happen, but for security managers it will be about how much time the system saves them when investigating incidents, as well enhancement of business efficiencies. Analytics needs to be application specific, but every business has multiple applications.

Users also like smart, secure and timely notifications – but not too many of them. Notifications are a worthwhile hook to pursue at SecTech. They can deliver situational awareness as well as assisting security teams in the timely management of unfolding events across a site. No matter how mundane the failure of a camera, a smoke sensor, or a door sensor might seem to be, notification and response is vital. At sea and in the air – places where error leads to disaster – there’s a maxim recognising catastrophe lies at the end of a chain of small failures. Security operations is no different.

When talking about smart systems, the ability to rapidly learn about an environment and respond to events is sure to seep into the electronic security industry over the next few years. In my opinion, this form of technology is likely to revolutionise the intrusion business. Sensor-cameras will recognise threats, do LPR, face recognition, fire detection, detect errant vehicles or individuals, alert operators or security managers to vulnerabilities, manage recording, fire automated outputs where appropriate (close gates, raise bollards) and do all this in a reliable way. Further development of GPUs and enhanced edge computing are likely to be required but the base technologies and operational hunger are there.

It’s appropriate that cyber security is thought of by experts as a journey, not a destination, because none of us can pretend we’ve arrived there. Cyber security is an area integrators, consultants and end users need to partner on. From the point of view of SecTech, make sure the solutions you spend time with have cyber security covered – that applies to mobile apps, automation devices and wireless network devices, as much as it applies to cameras, NVRs, servers and network hardware.
Along with all the cyber security acronyms, think about simple things like automated password management.

Cloud and video surveillance as a service. These are other areas you should expect to see new solutions popping up. Be aware of cyber security capabilities and think about network infrastructure – how much will these systems need? Where is the best infrastructure likely to be? For installers and integrators, remote management is a serious attraction of systems that live on networks – you should pay attention to the efficiencies of your own businesses, too. The ability to trouble shoot remotely saves time and money for the lifetime on every system you install.

Finally, integrated solutions. We’re reaching a point where even security and home automation solutions do alarms, access control, intercom, CCTV, automation of lights and air conditioning, fire, medical alerts, remote management and more. At the commercial level, simple security management and access control panels have profound automation capabilities, layers of programming support and entire suites dedicated to stepping installers through the integration process. These capabilities should be front of mind. If you’re serious about offering your customers clever and powerful security solutions, there’s never been a better time to take a hard look at what’s new at SecTech.

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