Security technology is moving into the spotlight in 2014, and this goes well beyond its capabilities in the control room. Here are my predictions for nine key physical security trends this year.
PSIM – the next wave of adoption
Airports, utilities, mass transit, seaports and cities have all been early adopters of PSIM. In 2014 I believe we’ll begin to witness the next wave of PSIM adoption, especially within higher education and banking organizations.
Safety in numbers – collaborative PSIM
Experience shows that results are best achieved through collaboration between public and private sectors, among agencies, and across city departments. Threats can be identified and mitigated faster, investigations can be resolved quicker, and money can be saved. Through its inherent openness and ability to connect siloed groups and technologies, PSIM is a great collaboration enabler. I think we’ll see more organizations (particularly in the government/public safety sector) embrace PSIM for this very reason.
Extending security technology from the control room to the field
Collectively, the public and private sectors spend billions of dollars annually on security technology. They are now starting to think about how to extend these investments beyond the walls of the control room and into the hands of field personnel. We live in an age of instant situational awareness – information like knowing where to go and the best way to get there is right at our fingertips. What if field personnel could be equipped with a smartphone or tablet andsituation managementapplication that not only notified them of an incident, but showed them the best way to get to the scene, and the exact location of, for example, a shut-off valve? This isn’t just wishful thinking. It will soon be a reality.
Next generation security management systems
Is it any surprise that terms like ‘VMS-plus’ and ‘PSIM-lite’ are now part of the security vernacular? I think they’re more than just names; they signal a shift on the horizon for the physical security industry. There are cases where VMS is not enough and PSIM is too much. What organizations really want is the ability to pick and choose the security capabilities they need and get them for a palatable price. In 2014, I predict we’ll begin to see more hybrid solutions that allow organizations to pick capabilities according to their specific needs.
Continued crossover between security and business operations
In 2014 I predict we’ll also see increased crossover of security technology into other business areas. Advancements in video analytics and system integration have transformed security technology into a business insight tool that can yield a greater ROI for the entire organization. For example, by integrating an in-store security video system with POS technology and people-counting analytics, the marketing arm of a retail organization could determine the percentage of people entering a store who also made a purchase. Also, the same video cameras and analytics used today to detect overcrowding conditions in airports and subways can double as marketing tools (in a retail environment) by generating heat maps that show where people are congregating and shopping at different times, on different days. With this information, organizations can improve store layouts and marketing campaigns, and even optimize staff scheduling decisions, which all have an impact on the bottom line.
Third-generation CCTV video and real-time forensics
This coming year will bring about some interesting innovations in video surveillance. The industry is entering video’s next evolutionary stage: real-time forensics. What’s real-time forensics you may ask. Consider this scenario. A suspect entered your facility 10 minutes ago. You know this because you can see him breaching the front gate when you play back the video. But does this help you know where the suspect is right now? Of course not. Real-time forensics is the ability to use recorded video to analyze an image and provide forensic feedback in a matter of seconds. For example, if we go back to the suspect example, the analytics would take into account certain characteristics of the suspect and search for the suspect in video recorded on cameras throughout the entire building to track the intruder’s current whereabouts in real time.
Mobile video surveillance moves into the fast lane
Most transit agencies use Mobile DVRs to record video on their bus fleets. If the transit operator needs to retrieve video for an investigation, they need to literally send an employee out into the field to remove the hard drives or DVRs from the bus. Now, an innovative new video recording and investigation technology that can be implemented on a myriad of ruggedized mobile DVR hardware platforms will save time by allowing video recordings to be remotely and securely downloaded and delivered right to an investigator’s desktop. From the same system, the investigator can pull up audio recordings (radio, dispatch), even fixed video recordings, and drop them into one incident timeline. This new technology will surely put mobile video surveillance in the fast lane in 2014.
Big Data and physical security – where hype meets reality
Many firms are latching onto the “Big Data” buzzword so don’t be surprised if you hear a lot more about it in 2014. But I think 2014 will be the year that people start to figure out where the hype meets reality. The fact is Big Data, at least in the physical security realm, is still very much in the foundational stage. What Big Data is and isn’t in the context of physical security will be a big topic of discussion in 2014.
Continued focus on education
A final trend I want to point out was on my list last year too – and that’s the need for continued education, especially around the concepts of PSIM and Big Data. Here I am speaking from experience, having moderated a few dozen PSIM workshops this past year. These types of educational workshops will continue to be in high demand in 2014.