Envisioning What Might Be Ahead in 2020
Delivering even better clarity in the camera of the future
- By Fredrik Nilsson
- Dec 01, 2019
You have probably heard the old adage, “Hindsight
is always 20/20.” Looking forward though, our
vision is not nearly as clear. That is because the
security industry is a highly-dynamic ecosystem.
Technology continues to evolve at an ever-faster
pace. New markets emerge. Old markets mature. New players enter
the arena. Old players fall by the wayside.
Taking a cue from current trends, however, it is possible to
imagine where our trajectory might take us in the coming year.
Next-generation Surveillance Cameras
Will Deliver Even Better Clarity
Video surveillance cameras have a long history of striving to
deliver better-than-human-vision. Analog CCTV cameras with
CCD and CMOS sensors supplanted earlier tube cameras. Network
cameras supplanted analog ones. Now we have cameras
that operate in extremely low light, have wide-dynamic range to
see clearly in shadow and bright sunlight – beyond what the unaided
human eye can perceive.
We have seen camera resolution standards increase from CIF
(0.1 megapixel) to 4CIF to 720p and 1080p to 4K (8 megapixels)
Given these achievements, you might conclude that video
quality and usability have finally reached their limits. But you
would be mistaken. In the coming year I expect camera manufacturers
to continue pushing the envelope – increasing processing
power and improving low light capability to deliver even higher
forensic quality video.
Does this mean you will need to replace all your legacy cameras?
Of course not. The average life expectancy for many cameras
remains very high, especially compared to other IT equipment.
But when it comes time to replace end-of-life equipment, or add
surveillance cameras to support additional applications (think
gathering business intelligence across multiple departments), innovations
coming out in 2020 will likely accelerate customer use
of IP-based technology.
Will Continue to Accelerate
As the security industry continues to experience big shifts in technology,
it is having a major impact on market players. We saw this
when the industry shifted from analog to IP.
Many new players jumped into the arena, further fragmenting
an already fragmented market. As a result, today’s Top 10
list of players looks very different from the one 10 years ago. We
have seen a continuing movement towards consolidation: larger
players swallowing up smaller ones, major players changing ownership
and other players deciding to divest themselves of their
surveillance business in order to pursue other opportunities.
Today the top 10 players in video surveillance control about 50
percent of the market share, which is low compared to many other
technology markets. I expect consolidation to accelerate in the coming year; increasing the market share of the top tier players.
Internet of Things Will Drive
Internet pioneer Robert Metcalfe tells us the value of a network
increases exponentially with the number of devices connected to
it. Nowhere is that more evident than on the Internet.
Cisco estimates by 2020 the Internet as a platform will have
50 billion devices connected to it. In a separate analysis, Morgan
Stanley estimates that number may reach as high as 75 billion
next year. How will this play out in the surveillance arena?
We are already seeing deployments where there are more IoT
security devices like surveillance cameras and other sensors residing
on large corporate networks than any other type of devices.
This has necessitated a closer alliance between security vendors
and their customers’ IT departments to manage the multitude of
devices and balance bandwidth allocation for streaming video
with other traffic in the pipeline.
The plethora of IoT devices on the market has also sparked
a shift in security system development from proprietary, silo-ed
solutions to ones based on an open platform. In the coming year
we will be seeing even closer collaboration between security IoT
manufacturers, software developers, analytics companies and
other players. These are win-win partnerships not only serving
to enrich the capabilities of a manufacturer’s products but also
provide developers with a broader customer base.
This platform-based approach is also spurring product development
of new IoT devices previously only found in the analog
world. In the coming year, you will be seeing a burgeoning market
for network-based speakers, network-based intercoms, intelligent
audio systems and network-based access control devices as part
of a company’s security portfolio. The shift to platform-based solutions
is also opening up more opportunities for companies to
offer hosted video and software services.
Cyber Security Will Continue to be
Both a Threat and an Opportunity
As IoT becomes more widespread, each new connection represents
a potential entry point for a cyberattack.
This begs the question: what is the IoT manufacturer’s responsibility
when it comes to protecting the customer? Certainly
patching vulnerabilities after an attack is certainly an important
step. But users and the entire supply chain need to work in concert
to avert future attacks from occurring.
Cybersecurity will continue to be a challenge because the goalposts
are always moving. The minute you think you have secured a
device, hackers will find dozens of new ways to break in. Because
the IoT umbrella is so broad and constantly innovating, it is naïve
to think that any single security standard will solve the problem.
In the coming year, we will be seeing greater collaboration between
companies to ensure new devices, patches and upgrades to
one system do not introduce vulnerabilities in another. Manufacturers
will provide tools to automate upgrades and patches,
and develop new procedures to ensure that customers implement
those changes throughout their ecosystem in a timely manner. We
might see some companies rebuilding their code from the ground
up, recognizing that making security an inherent part of the coding
process can drastically reduce the number of cyber issues.
2020 will also be a year where we will see the embedding of cybersecurity
features at the chipset level gain traction in the industry.
With every market sector facing a rise in cyberattacks in the
year ahead, we will see user organizations and the entire products-
and-services supply chain step up cyber education and work
harder to instill a culture of cyber security in their communities.
Intelligent Features Will Gain More
Traction in Surveillance Solutions
While deep learning and artificial intelligence are still in their
early stages, the trajectory of evermore precise and reliable video
and audio analytics will continue apace.
We will see a marked increase in software development companies
entering the security arena; offering customized analytics
to meet the specific needs of individual users.
This will lead to greater adoption of analytics and a rise in
reliance on the business intelligence those applications provide.
However, just like the over-optimistic enthusiasm for analytics a
decade ago, it is still important to separate hype from what is really
Global Politics Will Have a
Major Impact on Our Industry
The security industry used to operate in a veritable bubble, rarely
affected by affairs outside our own industry.
Today, you would be hard-pressed to open a newspaper or ejournal
without finding stories or op-ed pieces discussing current
events that could fundamentally change our industry. It could be
global sanctions banning certain players from specific markets,
tariffs imposed on crucial components and raw materials, controversial
technology like facial recognition raising issues about
privacy, or GDPR regulations governing how we must protect an
Global politics can have far-reaching implications for our
industry, which in itself is global in nature. We are intrinsically
connected to each other in so many ways. For instance, OEM arrangements
might include a product you think is being supplied
by a local vendor. But, in fact, it is really a rebranded product
from another country that might be on a sanctioned list. Or the
product might be using firmware or chipsets from technology
providers impacted by trade bans or tariffs.
The Need for 20/20 Foresight
Predicting the future is always an interesting exercise. Looking
back on the trends I projected last year at this time, I was right on
target for some and a bit premature on others. Looking ahead,
the one thing I can guarantee is that our technology and political
worlds will continue changing faster than ever. To be successful in
the year ahead, you will need to keep a watchful
eye on both the arc of technology innovations
on the horizon and the breadth of geo-political
events that may affect our industry.
This article originally appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of Security Today.