Brent Says 2015 Holds Cybersecurity Challenges, Integration Opportunities
Louroe Electronics CEO Richard Brent predicts where he thinks the electronic security industry is headed in 2015.
The January edition of SSI includes our annual industry forecast as a cornerstone of our special 2015 Industry Forecast Issue. For the piece, I interviewed more than 20 of the industry’s most knowledgeable market analysts, business experts, security dealers, systems integrators, supplier representatives and trade association directors. Some of their perspectives can be found in the magazine article, with the balance of their assessments appearing in separate blog posts.
Featured in this installment: Richard Brent, CEO of Louroe Electronics
What are some of the major security technology developments you see for 2015?
Richard Brent: With the advances in technology, the security industry is moving forward with major innovations in surveillance. IP technology is becoming very prevalent in both audio and video, however, two major trends we’re seeing in monitoring technologies is real-time response and system integration. Currently, surveillance tends to be reactive. The goal is to capture reported offenses and deliver helpful evidence in post-incident investigations. Going forward, monitoring will take a much more proactive approach, allowing end users to respond to threats in the moment. Additionally, more surveillance solutions are integrating audio with other visual systems and alarm verification. Integrated systems deliver a more accurate assessment of a situation, which helps the end user to better protect people and property. For example, a central station guard who notices a suspicious person walking onto the premises can speak to them immediately rather than having to wait for an officer to go to the area. If a dispatcher receives an alert that there was a potential break-in on the property, he can look at the video feed and listen to the audio playback to determine whether it’s a false alarm or if a dispatch officer may need backup. Integrated solutions help the end user to react faster and smarter and the demand for a total security solution will only continue to increase 2015.
What are some of the major security market developments you see for 2015?
Brent: With recent cybersecurity breaches at Target, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase, Sony and Apple, the market and focus on cybersecurity has exploded. As companies figure out how to secure their consumers’ information, we’ll continue to see higher budgets, new CIO hires and more initiatives for cybersecurity. Additionally, the security industry will see a greater use of security technologies to improve business operations. Surveillance systems are not only being used to record robberies, but also to monitor employee-customer interactions and inventory practices. The visual and audio record provides accountability and verification. The result is better customer service, less shrinkage and a high return on investment on the initial installation costs for the security equipment.
What are some of the security business and operations shifts you see for suppliers and integrators in 2015?
Brent: Manufacturers are seeking more input from their customers and the market on their products and allowing the feedback to influence their design. Customers are realizing that the security product’s price reflects only a minimal percent in the total cost of ownership. They’re learning to take maintenance and upgrade fees into account. Suppliers are responding to this heightened awareness by trying to reduce the overall cost of the solution. As a result, manufacturers are designing and marketing more durable products with a track record of sustained performance and little or no maintenance. As the industry continues to focus on cybersecurity, integrators may see the demand for data management and information systems eclipse the demand for security, fire and safety.
What are some of the significant overall industry, legislative and standards issues you envision looming large during 2015?
Brent: In the past few years, we’ve seen greater collaboration between technology providers. A great example is the formation of Open Network Video Interface Forum [ONVIF] to develop a global standard for IP security products. We’ll likely see more alliances like ONVIF in 2015. As systems become more integrated and advanced, it is critical that subject matter experts for each component lead the discussion to ensure maximum interoperability and functionality.
The legality of audio monitoring is one of the most discussed questions in the security industry. When people hear the words “audio recording,” many still think of covert, NSA-like surveillance. Today’s audio monitoring couldn’t be further from that image. Most cameras have microphones that can be configured to record sound. However, there are many misconceptions as to when it is legal to record. Generally speaking, it is legal to record when there is no expectation of privacy and there is clearly visible signage, such as in a public place. In such a situation, one must refer to the state law. Each state has different policy on the number of parties required to give their consent for the recording.
The big question that people discuss is whether monitoring is an invasion of privacy or a tool to ensure security. In 2014, we saw an increasing number of end users and politicians advocate for the use of both audio and video surveillance for security purposes. New York Senator Charles Schumer and Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal called for video and audio recorders to be installed on New York rail cars after a train derailed in 2013. Last year, we saw Pennsylvania and Illinois update their statutes on audio so that it could be used for security purposes. In 2015, the industry will likely see more thought leaders shed light on the value of audio security as well as how to manage monitoring and the expectation of privacy.
What type of year in 2015 are you anticipating for security suppliers?
Brent: The market for security manufacturers will continue to expand in 2015, giving new suppliers the opportunity to offer innovative solutions and claim their stake in the marketplace. The increased competition will force even the best players to reexamine their strategy and product offerings. There will also be more consolidation within distribution in 2015, which will lead to opportunities from scale.
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