SOMETHING is going on behind the scenes in the electronic security industry that’s already having a profound impact on our solutions. It’s not one single thing but a confluence of wider technological developments, price, market trends and user demands.
For end users and installers, the secret to taking advantage of the changing situation is going to be about being open to the left field when meeting operational needs, about being prepared to insist on open platforms offering the most lateral integrations. For installers and integrators, it’s about being entirely immersed in the spaces between technology.
There’s a bigness to the potential capabilities of electronic security solutions in the future that we’ve alluded to many times over the past couple of years. For a start, and despite ongoing issues and gripes, communications are improving. There’s more bandwidth everywhere than there used to be and far fewer holes in service. There’s also zero downtime. Performance is evening out. The odd quirks of past networks are barely there at all. The public internet is pervasive, dependable, ever more affordable.
Consumers – and that includes us security people – are only too happy spending time on our devices. Sure, what we are mostly doing is reading words and looking at images, but we’re also happy looking at video, being directed to locations, being woken up by, taking pictures with and driving remote applications. We use our phones for everything all the time and especially when waiting – it’s become a kind of global reflex action. Then there’s cloud. People are beginning to use cloud for business and personal storage on a grand scale. For big providers, it’s become impossible to build data centres fast enough to keep up with demand.
And there are established yet now game-changing technologies. IVA is the one that sticks out as being barely on the cusp of its future potential – how IVA will be in 10 years is impossible to say but it will be many times more useable, more discerning, more accepted. But the future won’t just be about IVA – powerful though that is to inform security teams of developing events. Management solutions are increasing in a sort of neural capability, too. They’re not becoming brain boxes – that’s not what’s required – instead they are becoming more capable of putting data together to alert operators to probable conclusions. And not only this, modern security teams need them to offer this capacity – it’s becoming an expectation.
The sense of the future of the industry – not yet clear, but taking definite shape just under the surface – is there to be seen in underlying consumer technologies. There’s a murkiness to these observations but they are real. The world is becoming connected and technology is becoming mutually informative in deep and subtle ways we barely notice. Consider the widespread interpretation of data used by ISPs and internet behemoths to promote stuff to customers, which is beginning to be employed by security teams to monitor, inform and protect staff. Using such data, journeys and locations can be predicted, communications be monitored, conclusions can be drawn, aberrations can generate alerts.
There’s also considerable enhancement and diversity in security technology. Price feeds into this but in a much more measured way than you’d think. It’s possible for end users to install superb solutions for far less hardware cost than ever before and to leverage these capabilities for all they are worth. Solutions are becoming cleverer and quirkier and their capabilities can be more readily integrated than in the past.
A thoroughly integrated electronic security system can bring dozens of sub systems onto a single workstation and use thousands of data feeds to inform security teams. These devices can be affordable biometrics – this is an area that seems to have broken through lately – inputs and outputs of any kind. A PIR sensor, a fire sensor, an audio sensor, a 2-way help point intercom, a video stream from a drone, or a news report, or a cluster of tweets repeating a pre-selected word over and over.
The shape under the surface is a consummation, an aggregation, an operational expression of the evolution of consumer and electronic security technology in ever tighter lockstep. The comms is there. The interface is there – not only informing but gathering data – the remote storage is there, too. But most importantly, in the face of a more uncertain world, acceptance of holistic networked technology is turning into growing appetite.♦
By John Adams