What is on the Horizon?
- By Martin Gren
- Dec 02, 2020
The security industry has
a long history of pushing
the technology envelope.
Whether taking quantum
leaps or building incrementally
on past achievements, we’re in constant
forward motion. While no one can
guarantee how that will play out in 2021,
here are a few observations about where I
think we are going.
MEETING NOVEL CHALLENGES
WITH NOVEL SOLUTIONS
Technology continues to advance at an
accelerated pace. Software and hardware
are being integrated in novel ways to create
smarter solutions. We are seeing more solutions
being designed to serve multiple purposes
from safety and security to business
operations. What’s driving these trends?
Some of the impetus is simply the natural
evolution of technology and the fiexibility
that networks offer. Another thing spurring
innovation is the need to respond to crises.
As the well-worn adage says, “Necessity is
the mother of invention.” COVID-19 is no
exception. During 2020, many IP devices—
originally designed for security—have been
integrated with other technologies and put
into service in new ways.
For example, hospitals using IP cameras
and networks to scale their ability
to visually monitor patients remotely, ef-
flciently manage resources and rapidly
respond to emergencies. They are using
audio and object detection analytics to
recognize a patient in distress from a fall,
injury or other difflculty, and expedite lifesaving
response. They’re using in-room
video cameras to monitor patient vital
signs remotely through integrated telemetry
systems. In today’s COVID world,
this greatly decreases the frequency of inperson
encounters between patients and
medical staff thereby reducing exposure
and the risk of transmitting the virus—
and ultimately improving healthcare outcomes.
COVID-19 will continue to have a major
impact on how the world operates in
the coming year. To help their customers
remain safe and protected in this new reality,
security professionals will flnd themselves
creatively adapting traditional surveillance
and security devices to new roles
and employing new technologies–offering
solutions for touchless entry, social distancing
and virtual interactions designed
to contain the spread of the virus. With lessons-
learned and resourcefulness in mind,
technological advancement, integrated network
solutions, and future challenges will
increasingly create opportunity for IP solutions
to add value.
OVERCOMING ERODING TRUST
IN INSTITUTIONS AND TECHNOLOGY
It is no secret that trust in business,
government, media and NGOs has been
eroding for a while. Trust comes in many
forms: being an honest and transparent
partner, standing behind your products
and following a consistent business model.
Furthermore, it’s crucial to deliver products
that can capture, process and store
data responsibly and protect against cyberattacks.
This starts with forward-thinking
and best practices in the design, development
and testing of products in order to
As security professionals, we need to
embody a strong business ethic, one that
resists corruption, demonstrates social responsibility,
and personifles good global
citizenship. We must manage that flne
line between protecting individual privacy
and providing sufflcient surveillance to
make the community feel safe and secure
in public and private environments. It is a
dynamic landscape that that requires navigating
changing attitudes and regulations
both within the United States and across
DRIVING NEW APPROACHES
As the technology ecosystem continues
to expand, so, too, does the threat landscape.
With an exponential growth in connected
devices, the need for heightened
cybersecurity measures is more important
than ever. This has led to some important
trends in the areas of zero trust networks,
layered cybersecurity, lifecycle and device
management and OEMs.
Zero trust networks. To counter the
high risk of a permeable network, companies
are adopting the philosophy of
“never trust, always verify” everyone and
everything trying to connect to their systems,
before granting access. In zero trust
networks, the identity of an entity is veri-
fled multiple times in different ways, depending
on its behavior and the sensitivity
of speciflc data in the network being ac cessed. Network micro-segmentation lets businesses apply varying
levels of security to specific parts of the network where more
critical data resides. Granular network perimeter security – based
on users and devices, their physical locations, and other identifying
data – determines whether their credentials can be trusted to
access the network.
Layered cybersecurity. Another trend gaining traction is hardening
a device’s operating core where sensitive information such
as end-user data, log-in credentials and network access certificates
reside. In the coming year, I expect more manufacturers will be incorporating
chipsets encoded with protective features like device
identification to prevent port hijacking, secure boot and signed
firmware checking to prevent unauthorized or malicious downloads.
They’ll be implementing a more layered approach to cybersecurity
so that each layer of hardware and software shields the
layer below with additional security features. To further reduce cyber
vulnerability, we’ll see more manufacturers automating procedures
to ensure that customers implement changes, upgrades, and
patches throughout their ecosystems in a timely manner.
Device management and lifecycle management. Two other
aspects of cybersecurity coming to the forefront are individual
device management and comprehensive lifecycle management of
the entire surveillance solution. With cyberattacks becoming increasingly
numerous and sophisticated, it’s becoming even more
important for manufacturers, integrators and end users to work
together to institute consistent hardware, software and user policies
that conform to cybersecurity best practices and continue
over the lifetime of the ecosystem and its individual components.
Fewer OEM relationships. OEM partnerships will become less
common as it is difficult for the end-user to know the real manufacturer,
which is a must for valid cybersecurity processes.
SHIFTING MORE COMPUTING TO THE EDGE
Billions of devices are already connected to the network and
this number continues to increase exponentially. With all that
potential computing power at the edge, there’s more momentum
for manufacturers to harness that in-camera resource to help customers
detect and identify threats, and make split-second decisions
on how to mitigate them.
Driving the move to edge-based processing is the opportunity for
customers to reduce system complexity and lower their operating
costs. They can build faster and more scalable systems, and facilitate
more complex, real-time analysis of events at the point at which they
occur, which can lead to more timely response to incidents.
In the coming year we’ll likely see more powerful edge devices
embedded with deep-learning processing units (DLPU). These
devices will provide a perfect platform for third-party developers
to create analytics based on AI and deep learning that can provide
more granular object classification and more predictive behavior
analysis. Furthermore, because these deep learning programs
only transfer relevant video over the network, customers will be
able to lower bandwidth consumption and reduce their storage
needs. With the improvement in analytics accuracy, customer will
also experience fewer false alarms which will lead to additional
cost savings and more efficient use of human resources.
REACHING FOR MORE PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS
Inspired by the way the human brain processes information,
manufacturers will continue the trend of building cameras embedded
with deep learning processing units. Developers will be
able to use these DLPUs to improve the reliability of their video
analytics algorithms and enhance surveillance, security and business
These deep learning tools correlate the massive amount of
data collected by devices and sensors to train the analytics to better
recognize patterns, classify information and make decisions
by labeling and categorizing what the camera sees. While it will
still take some discernment on the part of customers and integrators
to separate hype from fact, the opportunities for deep learning
solutions will rise as the technology matures. With continued
investment in refining this learning process, I expect we’ll see
dramatic increases in video analytics accuracy, and a demand for
these solutions, in the coming years.
BRIDGING THE EDGE AND CLOUD COMPUTING DIVIDE
As we look towards 2021, with more processing power available
in edge devices, hybrid computing solutions will become an
emerging trend. Companies will be looking to implement smart
architecture that directs processing tasks across the edge, core,
and cloud to wherever it makes the most sense. These multi-tiered
solutions will give customers the flexibility to deploy and manage
their ecosystem more efficiently and more cost-effectively.
The traditional client-server model alone presents limitations,
inefficiencies and network performance issues due to centralized
cloud servers that must respond to a multitude of device requests.
Leveraging a hybrid edge-cloud model—where central and edge
computing resources are combined—can reduce cloud hosting
costs, bandwidth and latency issues. With more powerful devices
companies will be able to take better advantage of processing at
the core, the cloud and now, the edge—essentially where another
server can process significant amounts of data on the device.
As an added benefit, edge devices offer an unparalleled level
of built-in cybersecurity features. Many of these devices can
be managed with on-premise tools that allow users to perform
device configuration, back up, firmware upgrades and manage
cybersecurity controls—ensuring a greater level of security than
MITIGATING RISKS AND
CAPITALIZING ON OPPORTUNITIES
As in past years, the security industry will have its hands full
mitigating the risks of cyberattacks, navigating regulations on privacy,
information collection and storage, and meeting customer demands
for tools that can help them be more proactive in protecting
their people, property, and electronic data. But
with each challenge there comes new opportunity
to devise new technologies and solutions to
create a smarter, safer ecosystem that can better
meet customers’ security and business needs.
This article originally appeared in the November / December 2020 issue of Security Today.