What’s Trending for 2018
And will it be good your business . . . or not?
- By Fredrik Nilsson
- Dec 01, 2017
Technology is perpetual motion personified. It is always
marching forward, striving to become smarter, faster,
more resilient, and more efficient than its predecessor.
The same holds true for emerging trends that are reshaping
our future. The question is: Will this unstoppable
momentum sweep your business forward or leave it trampled
in the dust? To determine that you need to understand where the
security industry is trending and how you can adapt those innovations
to your advantage. You’ll need to consider such things as how
these trends might affect your business and whether you can live with
short-term disruption for the promise of long-term gain.
All trends have consequences. The five trends that will be dominating
2018 are no exception. Will their impact will be good for business
or bad? Ultimately only you can decide.
The Internet of Things: We are All Interconnected
IoT has essentially changed the world’s concept of the “workplace”
forever. The office is no longer defined by four walls or the workday
by time zones. The ubiquitous use of smartphones, tablets and other
mobile devices makes it possible for users to log onto the corporate
network, vendors’ networks, even strategic business partners’ networks,
at any time and from any place.
For the security industry, IoT connectivity began with the first
network camera, which opened the door to remote monitoring and
remote maintenance. Now the variety of security systems sharing the
corporate network includes IP access control systems, IP-based intercoms
and IP-based intelligent audio systems all taking their place
alongside network surveillance systems and sophisticated analytics.
This trend can be a double edged sword, however.
On the one hand, each new device, each new piece of software
or firmware integrated through the network presents an opportunity
to increase capabilities while streamlining operations and improving
situational awareness. On the other hand, it requires a greater depth
of knowledge to properly integrate systems and derive the most benefit
from them. Furthermore, every addition to the network increases
the number of entry points that hackers might exploit.
Cybersecurity: The Cautionary Side of
This brings us to the second trend: the IoT ecosystem necessitates
ever-greater cybersecurity. Ignore this new reality at your own peril, or in the case of the massive Equifax cyber breach, at the potential
peril of about 143 million people.
To mitigate risks in this kind of an open ecosystem, you need all
the vendors operating off the same cyber security playbook. This
means that while manufacturers and developers continue hardening
their product with stronger cybersecurity features, they also have to
consider how introducing those features might impact every other
device, application and operation on the network. IT, physical security
and technology manufacturers will have to work in close concert
to ensure that the ecosystem works in synergy at both an operational
and cybersecurity level. It will become increasingly important for
manufacturers and integrators to actively participating in professional
cybersecurity forums to stay abreast of vulnerabilities that might
compromise the security ecosystem and how to address them.
You will see more manufacturers providing management tools
to assist integrators and end users with ongoing maintenance and
version control of device firmware and cybersecurity features. But
for cyber protection to work, technology has to be complemented by
strict policies and procedures for using it.
That means cyber awareness and cyber security training will continue
to be paramount for the foreseeable future.
Users will rely on integrators and manufacturers to play a more
proactive role in helping them formulate, publish and enforce hardening
guidelines to ensure that the IT infrastructure and connected
devices are secured properly and that cyber best practices are being
followed. This would also include helping to craft a reaction plan
that can be instantly deployed in the event of a breach to minimize
Big Data: Creating Business Intelligence
from Raw Data
We all know that security systems continually generate massive
amounts of data and video surveillance cameras are probably the
biggest culprits. This brings me to the third trend: the handling of big
data. What’s happening with all that data we’ve collected?
We’re now starting to see the securing industry deploying ever
more sophisticated video analytics to extract quantifiable metrics
from visual images that can lead to actionable business intelligence.
That could be anything from measuring customer volume throughout
the day to determine staffing needs to reprogramming traffic
lights based on roadway congestion detected by citywide cameras.
With the ability to quickly aggregate and synthesize data from multiple
surveillance cameras and other security systems, analytics provide
users with a more in-depth assessment of the situation on which
to base a timely response.
Big data also provides a fertile ground for new self-learning analytics,
also known as artificial intelligence or deep learning, to parse,
learn from and make determinations or predictions that can increase
accuracy and further aid companies in their quest for broader insights
and faster alerts to potential threats.
Collecting, transporting and synthesizing this data into meaningful
business intelligence, however, requires disciplined use of resources
from the network infrastructure transporting the data to the
various technologies (on board analytics on cameras, local servers,
private cloud, hybrid cloud, public cloud) storing and disseminating
it securely. This opens a window of opportunity for big storage companies
and host providers to capitalize on the big data trend and position
themselves as strategic partners in the security industry.
This also highlights the need for video systems to leverage their intelligence
interactively to use bandwidth and storage more efficiently.
Smart Compression: Customized for
This brings us to our next trend: smart compression that optimizes
video transmission and storage based on retention value. Traditionally,
the primary variables at a customer’s disposal were frame rates
and resolution. But with new, smarter compression algorithms designed
specifically for the video surveillance industry, security users
now have more options for selectively transmitting and storing video
H.264 and H.265 compression standards were designed for consumer
electronics and the film industry and took an all or nothing
approach to compression. H.264 is the de-facto standard in video
surveillance today, with H.265 being adopted over the next few years
depending on products, computing power and patent circumstances
which are more complex for H.265. New security-centric compression
technology, on the other hand, dynamically allocates regions of
interest depending on activity in the camera’s field of view.
The part of the video frame containing interesting details are recorded
in full image quality and resolution, while areas containing
no forensic value are filtered out. This ensures that important details
like faces, tattoos or license plates are isolated and preserved, while irrelevant
areas such as white walls, lawns and vegetation are sacrificed
using smoothing. The result is optimal use of available bandwidth
and storage which leads to significant savings. Depending on video
resolution, frame rate and scene activity it can cut bandwidth and
storage requirements by half or more for most surveillance applications.
Sustainability: Becoming Better Global
This brings us to the fifth trend: sustainability which goes hand-inhand
with optimal use of resources.
Green-initiatives will continue to gain momentum. Sustainability
will become a significant influence on decision-making at every level –
from conserving power to minimizing waste. Achieving those sustainability
goals will necessitate greater collaboration between customers,
distributors, strategic partners, manufacturers and suppliers to ensure
better global citizenship across the entire value chain.
This will be expressed in a variety of ways from taking steps to
lower the entire chain’s carbon footprint and assure compliance with
environmental laws and regulations to addressing social and ethical
questions such as government corruption, human rights violations,
compulsory child labor, fair wages and sourcing minerals from countries
where their sale would be used to finance armed conflict.
or many companies, sharing a mutual commitment to sustainability
will become the litmus test for doing business together and the
foundation for building long-term strategic relationships.
What Will be the Impact for You?
The megatrends mentioned in this article are certainly not exclusive
to the security industry. You’ll find that they have permeated many
other industries as well. The questions you need to ask yourself are:
How will my business deal with them? Will their impact be cataclysmic
or catalytic? To know that you need to educate yourself. Attend
seminars to learn what thought leaders have to say. Engaged in conversations
with industry peers. And align yourself with vendors and
strategic partners who understand the long-term trajectory of these
trends and have a solid roadmap for embracing them.
This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of Security Today.