2010 Predictions: Transformative Technologies

Which security technologies will make the greatest impact in 2010? Which ones will be on their way out? How can integrators profit? Six of the industry’s foremost technologists from every facet of the supply channel reveal the answers.

Doug Marman: Remote guarding technologies that combine video analytics and IP audio to make remote video monitoring, with immediate response at the site, a reality. This stops crime before it happens. The technology has been gaining momentum, and 2010 should see break-out growth in this area, since it offers better protection than onsite guards at a fraction of the cost. It is being used as a police force multiplier, and opens up the ability to provide guarded protection for even remote utility substations or construction sites.

Over time, this could grow into one of the biggest changes to the security industry, since it stops problems before they happen, providing a superior value compared to traditional approaches. The biggest obstacle is that it is a new solution and it requires a monitoring service, which most video integrators have not yet started offering to their end users. 

Name a technology you believe is on its way to obsolescence, and why.

Bozeman: As offsite storage becomes more cost effective and feature rich, onsite storage in the form of locally installed DVRs will diminish. Adding to this trend is that compression algorithms are becoming more sophisticated, such as H.264 and beyond. This o
pens up a new universe of remotely managed, recorded and monitored video surveillance.

Boriskin: Technological silos are going away. It’s not because there is anyone necessarily driving them away per se, but because it is more cost effective and feature-rich to have systems that interoperate and because technology is so accessible. The flat API or legacy monolithic structures of applications are on their way out as well. I think they are going to be retained for backwards compatibility, but going forward I think you are going to see that new service provider, standards-based type of application. The underlying technologies support it and it doesn’t make any sense not to take advantage of it.

Collen: Analog cameras would be at the top of my list, along with DVRs. Basically, anything that is analog; anything that is not network-enabled is basically an opportunity for Cisco. Particularly, there is a lot for these technologies. They’re reaching their end of sale and support timeline.

Constantine: What’s going to be obsolete? Well, everything that’s the inverse of the winners and the benefits and the emerging applications that are available in the IP world. The things that are threatened now in an IP world are proprietary systems, proprietary recording and video management devices with proprietary camera systems. Things are going to move to open platforms now that we’re moving to IP and standards in IP. The price delta that exists today between IP and analog will may not disappear entirely but will be narrowed significantly. There’ll be a vibrant analog market for a long time, but it will lose share to IP over time as things evolve.

Grossman: Coaxial cable should be fading, but like VHS tape, appears to be hanging on long after its predicted demise. There are better alternatives available; UTP cable is easier to install and more versatile and IP cameras won’t use coax without costly adaptors. CRT monitors are going away as well, in favor of LCD monitors that are lower profile, consume less power, can be mounted almost anywhere, and throw off less heat. In some cases this is unfortunate, as commercially available LCD monitors often do not match the performance of consumer models.

Marman: The fire industry generally adopts new technologies slowly, but it is just a matter of time before beam detectors are replaced by video fire sensors. The video sensors are far smarter; they can see stratified smoke, which is a common problem in atriums and large warehouses. Video fire sensors are also better at ignoring objects that break the beam path, such as forklift equipment, which causes false alarms with beam sensors. On top of this, you end up with the big plus of video you can look at to verify the alarm and to see the extent of the fire.

How in sync do you believe security innovations are with systems integrators’ ability to market, deploy and achieve critical mass market penetration?

Bozeman: Historically, physical security [PS] integrators have not necessarily been in step with the latest innovations as the deployment of the latest technology is often a non-profitable endeavor. Experienced PS integrators know it’s often better to be state-of-the-smart vs. state-of-the-art.

Boriskin: When I first came to the physical security industry 13 years ago the rift between IT security and physical security was huge. The difference between those two has closed dramatically over the course of that time. Now certainly you see the decision-makers are more often IT professionals. We see that the skills being asked for to deploy physical security solutions are very IT centric.

Because the physical security industry has caught up so much with IT, more integrators have one foot in physical security and one foot in either logical security or the supporting infrastructure. For integrators like those they are really enjoying the change that’s come and they see the opportunities. For integrators who have been physical security professionals and have focused on that marketplace exclusively, there may be some fear out there about their ability to talk about the solutions and value proposition.

Collen: The biggest challenge is keeping on top of the new technologies because there are so many vendors. We ourselves have 60 technology partners that we try to affiliate with for analytics, storage systems and stuff like that. We try to introduce most technologies to our integrator base, but it’s definitely a challenge because for a lot of small companies with innovative technologies, the integrator may not have enough resources.

Constantine: In general, the manufacturers ordinarily lead. It takes time for the integrators to effectively sell the newer technologies. What typically happens is the manufacturers innovate, they develop new technologies or new applications and once they bring the product to market, the big wins are usually their direct sales team and large enterprise accounts because these are the guys who are paid to sell that stuff. Then it trickles down through the tiers of end users until it winds up with the small dealers and small- to medium-sized businesses. It takes a lot of time, training and education.

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