What Lies Ahead for 2019

What Lies Ahead for 2019

Looking ahead is an exercise of evolution

After spending close to 20 years in the security industry, it is always a good exercise to see what projections came through the last year and which ones we foresee in the coming years. Some will be spot on, others will have been delayed or major events will have thrown trends off.

Typically, we see an evolution and not a revolution, so many of the trends are similar to prior years.

The Internet of Things: Connectivity Brings New Opportunities

The trend toward connected devices continues with no end in sight. Billions of security and non-security devices and sensors are installed worldwide, and they generate mountains of data that is ripe for collection and analysis to provide a more complete picture of security and overall operations. The more data that can be assimilated from disparate security and non-security systems, the better the intelligence that results from analysis.

The capabilities of IP-based systems are constantly evolving, and recognizing the growing thirst for data. Technology providers continue to seek new and creative ways to harness the potential power, flexibility and intelligence the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data offers, and IP camera providers have been at the forefront of this movement.

According to IHS Markit, the video surveillance market is expected to grow 10.2 percent in 2018, reaching global revenues of $18.5 billion. This continued growth is significant, as camera networks are uniquely positioned to serve as the foundation of IoT networks. For many years, camera providers have worked to integrate their offerings with access control, POS, speakers, HVAC, building automation and other security and non-security systems and devices. Analytics create a wider range of potential applications, such as in retail and city surveillance, and VMS offer the ability to easily combine a number of data sources to create a broad overall view of processes, situations, operations and much more. Therefore, expect to see camera networks filling this role more and more in 2019.

Along the lines of camera networks as the foundation for IoT applications, one technology that offers tremendous potential for security providers is IP audio. Mirroring the trend of IoT in general—ease of management, integration, interconnectivity and more—the market for IP audio systems is expected to grow exponentially. The benefits of integration between IP audio and IP video include enhanced security, situational awareness, business intelligence and more, which should contribute to greater-than-expected growth in the IP audio segment.

Cybersecurity: Still a Primary Concern

As has been the case for several years, no discussion of future trends would be complete without talking about cybersecurity. The combination of increasingly connected devices and systems with the fact that cybercriminals continually grow more crafty and relentless in their attempts to breach networks make cybersecurity a perennial top five trend for the security industry.

In the connected world, cybersecurity has become one of the biggest concerns for companies and governments alike. What may have started out as people attempting to hack into systems for the challenge or for the fun of it has evolved into big business on the Dark Web. For example, governments have gotten in on the act, sponsoring hacking attempts with the goal of uncovering secrets.

The variety of IP-based systems that are integrated and/or interconnected raises the stakes for cyber attacks. Without certain safeguards in place, the security of any network is only as strong as the security of the weakest system or device within the overall ecosystem.

Many IP camera manufacturers provide equipment that is by default set to provide high levels of cybersecurity and provide regular firmware updates and patches to address emerging cyber threats. A number of providers also make sure integrators have access to their hardening guides, which lay out best practices for configuring devices to ensure the greatest level of cybersecurity.

Technology is important in addressing cybersecurity, but as important are processes, tools and education. The main questions to ask yourself before selecting a vendor are:

  • How quickly can they come out with a patch should a vulnerability be found?
  • How fast can 50, 500 or 5,000 IoT devices be upgraded?
  • Will cyber patches be available for a camera that was installed five or eight years ago?

Artificial Intelligence: Living up to the Hype?

At the moment, there is a high level of excitement and hype around artificial intelligence (AI) in the industry, and there are a number of providers who are incorporating AI into their solutions. However, because AI is still an emerging technology, it is relatively unproven. Yes, the day will come when AI is a force multiplier for security, but that day is still far off.

In the meantime, because AI is still an emerging technology, it is important to set realistic expectations that reflect actual capabilities that are currently available, rather than those promised for the future, as AI becomes a more proven solution.

Analytics and video intelligence are also maturing every year, but that should not be confused with real AI. Video analytics is certainly improving and can prove highly useful in some applications, such as license plate recognition, retail analytics and facial recognition, depending on the requirements of a deployment.

New Business Needs: Tools and Services

With security equipment becoming more advanced and capable every year and cost of technical staff more challenging to find, it is no longer enough to rely on hardware and software solutions to succeed in security. Therefore, another trend we will see in the coming year is companies diversifying to offer advanced design, installation and maintenance tools along with services to augment their products.

This will benefit integrators, who face numerous challenges to keep up to date with continuous advances in technology to stay ahead of their competition. By offering services, manufacturers can collaborate with integrators to offer the expertise to create custom solutions that incorporate the latest security advancements. End users can take advantage of these services to augment security and IT teams to deliver added value, industry insight and practical experience without having to find and hire qualified employees.

Partnerships: Key to Long-Term Success

As to be expected with security becoming a more interconnected business, security professionals who try to go it on their own are in for a very rough ride. In the face of this reality, companies will be seeking out partnerships to help them compete in the ever-changing landscape.

This trend will be particularly fruitful for those integrators who do their homework because partnering with the right company can lead to long-term success.

When choosing a provider, it’s important to partner with a company that offers advanced technologies, a wide breadth of offerings, system and solution thinking, and the tools to successfully design, install and deploy the most effective security systems for customers. It’s imperative to look for companies with longevity, a proven track record and a reputation for delivering high-quality solutions. Additionally, a partner should also deliver added value in the form of services and support.

Be Prepared

As mentioned before, many of these trends are not unique to 2019. However, they could have significant impact on your business in the coming year and beyond. Your mission, whether or not you choose to accept it, is to make sure you’re positioning your company to take full advantage and responsibility of the coming trends and technologies. Thankfully, there are a number of resources available to help you make sense of it all and be prepared for whatever comes your way.

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of Security Today.

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