The consensus among the more than 20 experts participating in SSI’s Industry Forecast is that 2014 will be a strong, vibrant year of growth for security businesses. “I believe 2014 is going to be as good as or better than 2013, with a lot more for some and a little bit more for everyone,” says Operational Security Systems and Security-Net President Jim Coleman in a sentiment expressed almost universally among the suppliers, integrators and other industry professionals interviewed for this piece.
Fortunes should be particularly promising for those plotting their strategies according to several specific trends and opportunities prominent among these observers’ assessments. They can be summarized as: 1) Embracing, adapting to and training on new technologies, especially in the areas of mobility, cloud, analytics, video verification, open platforms, Big Data, PSIM and situational awareness; 2) Understanding end users’ organizational drivers, needs and regulations to provide total solutions with tangible ROI, and targeting high-growth vertical markets that include SMB, residential, health care, education, municipalities and retail.
As they say though, the devil is in the details, and there’s highly valuable finer detail in the direct comments that follow from some of the most successful people in the business. They are conveyed within the six defined categories of: Technology; Markets; Business & Operations; Overall Industry; Regulations & Compliance; and Pressing Issues.
2014 Security Technology
Steve Van Till, President & CEO, Brivo Systems
Cloud computing will gain share in all parts of the security market. It is already the only technology being used in new consumer offerings like alarm monitoring and home automation. Small businesses — which comprise 99.7% of all U.S. employers — show none of the “cloud reluctance” we’ve seen from the security industry itself. They want solutions as easy to use as the consumer technology they use at home, and the industry owes it to them to deliver it.
Mobility will be another dominant force changing the security experience over the next five years. The ability to issue mobile credentials that are tied to user identity and specific occasions will radically extend the reach of access management solutions.
We will begin to see social networks extending into security applications. Today they are used for little more than marketing in our industry, but that’s far from all they can do. If you look back in human history, all security came from social relationships — the family, the tribe, the village. Those institutions provided a context for people to watch each other’s backs. Social networks are making it possible to restore that framework, albeit more abstractly and spontaneously, through membership in groups that share a common interest.
Bob Banerjee, Sr. Director, Training & Development, NICE Systems
We are starting to see the next stage of video’s evolution — real-time forensics. This involves rapid forensic utilization of recorded video, or any past information, to determine what is happening right now. Different from rewinding video and drawing conclusions from a scene, rapid forensic utilization uses technology to analyze an image. For example, it takes into account the entire camera layout throughout a building, enabling a security operator to track an intruder’s current whereabouts in real-time. Real-time forensics can be applied to other situations, such as suspect vehicles moving through a city and can extend beyond video to systems like access control. This will require a complete rethink of the GUI due to time constraints imposed by real-time functionality.
Prior to the introduction of a PSIM, the predominant desktop application in a command center was the VMS — something security operators are comfortable with. People love their video, but they also know they would like some of the situation management features of a PSIM solution. A new set of solutions will emerge that seamlessly fuse PSIM and VMS into a next-generation security management platform, rather than keeping VMS as an independent subsystem. An analogy would be that a smartphone may have countless clever accessories that may be attached, such as to swipe a credit card, but the camera is built in.
Samir Jain, Director of Strategic Marketing, Honeywell Fire Systems, Americas
Manufacturers are taking human factors into account to make critical fire alarm systems easier to understand and operate. We’re going to see more user-friendly displays on panels that incorporate the same touch-screen technology incorporated into smartphones, tablets, car radios and GPS units. Also, we’re going to see more fire alarm systems expanded to include mass notification capabilities. These systems are going to integrate more easily with other types of building systems such as LED signs, as well as personal devices for direct recipient mass notification systems (DRMS). I expect facilities to start using these systems for more than just emergency alerts, but also to communicate nonemergency information like building closing times or general paging of personnel.
Software-based tools to help integrators better design, install, service, test and maintain systems are going to be more prevalent and readily available from manufacturers. They are going to help integrators do a more thorough, yet faster, job from start to finish. These types of tools can help integrators stand out in the eyes of customers, particularly when it comes to system troubleshooting and compliance-based maintenance.
Then there’s advanced detection. Nearly every type of commercial building has a server room that needs very early warning of smoke that aspiration detection provides. In addition, I expect to see greater focus on devices that reduce nuisance alarms. These are already being deployed in hospital operating rooms, nursing centers and industrial manufacturing facilities that have heavy amounts of dust, and we’ll see more employed in places like casinos, nightclubs and retail.
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