Current Events and Macro Trends Offer Important Lessons for the Security Industry
- By Fredrik Nilsson
- Dec 02, 2020
As much as we focus on how technology trends affect the security
industry, it’s also important to pay attention to broader global trends.
There are many to consider, but there are two in particular that should
be examined more closely because they carry important lessons and
potentially profound effects: The COVID-19 pandemic and corporate
RESILIENCE IN THE FACE OF CRISIS
Similar to other major crises, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a
devastating impact on the economy. And, like other crises, it presents
the opportunity for us to strengthen our resolve. As businesses scramble
to implement new norms of operation, physical security tools are
providing added value that’s helping them curb the spread of the virus,
meet safety guidelines, reopen their doors, and stay open.
- We are seeing more demand for touch-less door entry solutions
like video intercoms and mobile Apps that can authenticate users
through their smartphones to automatically open doors.
In order to promote adherence to pandemic safety guidelines, there
are businesses using intelligent IP audio systems, triggered by video
or access control systems, to communicate important health information
to everyone entering the building.
- We are also seeing greater use of video analytics customized to
detect whether individuals are wearing face masks.
- Many businesses are using occupancy estimator analytics to track
in real-time how many people are on premises to ensure the total
doesn’t exceed government mandated limits.
- Some organizations are using cameras embedded with a heat mapping
analytic to identify high-traffic areas within their facilities. By
understanding where people congregate, retailers and other organizations
can take steps to reconfigure spaces and reduce bottlenecks
as well as identify and treat areas that require more frequent and
- With the goal of lessening health risks, hospitals are installing video
cameras and intercoms in patient rooms to reduce the frequency of
in-person encounters between patients and medical staff. This is
also helping them stretch their limited supply of personal protective
There is no silver bullet solution to any problem, but the inventive
use of technology coupled with common sense can help to make
things safer and “more normal.” Crises can create confusion and cloud
decisions for a population that’s desperate for answers. As trusted advisors
it’s up to us to provide information, offer guidance and dispel
misconceptions. Thermal imaging cameras created such a dilemma
during COVID since many in the industry speculated that they could
effectively detect human fever on a broad scale. However, as experts
we know that these cameras are not designed or approved by the FDA
for this purpose and they pose accuracy issues with regards to long-range
fever detection and mass screenings.
The COVID crisis surely tested the world and our industry, and it
continues to do so. It has highlighted some strengths and weaknesses.
There’s no doubt that flexible solutions, diverse ecosystems and strong
relationships have helped provide protection and mitigate losses in
this crisis--and they have the potential to do the same in the next
SUSTAINING FOR THE LONG-TERM
As prominent members of the global community, businesses are
increasingly expected to be stewards of social, environmental and
business ethics. More businesses are realizing that corporate social
responsibility is more than an obligation or a fad, but instead an essential
part of long-term success, or sustainability. In the coming years,
security companies will need to step up their commitment to sustainable
business practices throughout their entire value chain.
It is important for sustainability to be considered at all levels of corporate
decision making, because it’s surely a factor in customer buying
decisions. People want to do business with companies that reflect
their own values, whether that’s actively pursuing energy efficiency,
contributing to industry thought-leadership, or addressing issues that
serve the greater good. For businesses, sustainability is about enduring,
succeeding, meeting present day needs without compromising
Some of today’s most innovative companies are finding balance
and advancing the three Ps: Planet, People and Profit. Everything from
instituting stringent anticorruption policies and environmentally friendly
operations to implementing diversity and inclusion practices, and community
service programs are providing companies with a return on
investment. This return comes in the form of trusted suppliers, talent
retention, quality products, loyal customers and a healthy bottom line.
In the security industry we deal in trust, compounded by issues
like cybersecurity, technology ethics and data privacy. We are held to
a high standard and our decisions can have crucial consequences on
our future. The three tenets of sustainability -- business, environmental
and social ethics -- can offer us sound guidance. How important is
it to focus on sustainability? Well, consider this, since the Fortune 500
list began in 1955, only 52 original companies remain.
CORE VALUES TO NAVIGATE CHANGE
As an industry, whether responding to the expected progression of
macro-trends or the impact of unanticipated events, certain values —
innovation, ethics, trust — never go out of style.
With those values embedded in our industry’s
DNA, we’re better positioned to navigate whatever
changes the future may have in store for us.
This article originally appeared in the November / December 2020 issue of Security Today.