Virtual roundtable on new and emerging technologies

Experts share their views on technology with Security Systems News
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Friday, March 23, 2012

YARMOUTH, Maine—PSIM, cloud-based services, mobile apps, video analytics, identity management and access control—such new and emerging technologies and issues are changing and shaping the industry. Which ones are advancing most rapidly and are the most important? And what other new technology trends are on the horizon?

Security Systems News recently posed those questions to a panel of industry experts who agreed to participate in a virtual roundtable discussion on new technologies. Find out what the panelists had to say about mobile apps (“no longer an extra or nice to have,” but a necessity) and PSIM (“a real need for efficient PSIM products to capture, analyze and utilize all of the outputs of [sophisticated security] subsystems.”) And learn about their predictions for the future.

The panelists included Bob Sommerfeld, president of G4S Technology; J. Matthew Ladd, president of The Protection Bureau; Chris Peckham, chief technology officer at Kratos Defense & Security Solutions; and Jeremy Brecher, VP Technology & Solutions, Diebold Security. Sommerfeld, Peckham and Brecher also are members of the TechSec Advisory Board. The panel moderators were SSN editor Martha Entwistle and SSN managing editor Tess Nacelewicz.

Martha and Tess: At TechSec this year, we focused on a number of new and emerging technologies and issues surrounding them, including PSIM, cloud-based services, mobile apps, video analytics and identity management and access control. In which of those have you seen the most advances in the past year?

Bob: Probably the most advances we have seen are in the PSIM products and adoption by end users. As IP technology impacted and advanced security systems and networks over the past few years, more and more sophisticated subsystems were installed and integrated together. As this trend continued in both scope and quantity, the ability to manage, integrate or operate the system as whole became more and more difficult. The magnitude of the issue, particularly for larger or diverse systems, has now resulted in a real need for efficient PSIM products to capture, analyze and utilize all of the outputs of the subsystems, along with a means to manage, maintain and efficiently operate the disparate systems as a whole system/security network.

Matt: I would say that in the past year, mobile apps have shown the most advances. We are now finding that with many of the leading products, especially in video, mobile apps are becoming the norm. As the smartphone continues to be a major part of our society, customers will expect mobile apps to be a part of their security systems. There does need to be caution on the security of these apps—they increase the ability for “hackers” to have greater access to your security systems.

Chris: The area in which we have seen the most advances in the past year would be the deployment and rebranding of services within the cloud.   There has been growth within a number of areas in physical security that are leveraging the flexibility of cloud-based services. These systems are being deployed as both platform (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS). We have seen more growth in the area of access control using the cloud, but video solutions with hosted platforms have also come into the market.

Jeremy: This year it would be mobile apps from a technology perspective. Mobile apps are no longer an extra or “nice to have.” Most people today expect to be able to access their systems via mobile. The iPad has done a lot to promote that because you can get decent functionality and speed from it. Android use has picked up and is showing a lot of capability in the security space. In addition, after many years of false starts, video analytics seems to be coming back around. The trick was focusing on a few real problems that can be solved instead of trying to solve everything. Also, the manufacturers are being open and realistic as to what analytics can and cannot do.

Martha and Tess: What emerging technology do you consider to be the most important for the work you do at your company?

Bob: We really expect all of the emerging technologies, along with the current product sets, to continue to be enhanced and advanced. IP technology coupled with ongoing software development will allow continuing upgrades to product offerings at palatable price points. PSIM products will continue to be refined to meet end-user needs. They will continue to allow advanced integrations of multiple and disparate systems—both technologically and geographically—and we expect they will become highly “customizable” to meet specific requirements. If you couple this with the efficiencies (both operational and economical) of managed services (cloud-based) and the large menu of variations for remote monitoring, there are great and expanding opportunities for the technology-based provider of life safety and security services.

Matt: Video analytics is one of the most important emerging technologies for our business. We have many existing customers and prospects that have legacy video systems, and with the increased reliability and decreased price point of analytics, they will be more likely to upgrade their existing systems. Video analytics has not only the ability to increase the effectiveness of video monitoring, but it can also provide an ROI for customers by allowing greater use of the video systems.

Chris: We see the area of identity management and access control as being important. The use of this technology will allow for tighter integration and stronger deployment across the enterprise. Technology is also being developed that will allow users to store, transport and then use identity information across a number of platforms and form factors. These credentials will also be much more secure than access cards, as well as providing greater flexibility.

Jeremy: In the past year or so I have been focused on connected and managed services. The next generation of video and access control platforms being released by manufacturers will fit natively in that model (SOA, Web services, etc.). Technologies such as virtualization, NFC and 4G will help support the use of cloud or managed services. We have seen acceptance of this model with our customers in both the traditional IT space as well as security. It is all about reducing costs, mitigating risks and improving customer satisfaction.

Martha and Tess: What other new technology trends do you see on the horizon, and what are the drivers of those trends?

Bob: A more holistic approach to security at several levels—opportunities through expansions and enhancements by manufacturing to incorporate more features and capabilities directly into products and product offerings; an opportunity to deploy more diverse subsystems and components to meet the security and operational needs of end users, that are efficiently managed and operated by PSIM products; opportunities for integrators to expand their services, offering larger, more complex, customizable and integrated “total solutions” encompassing multiple subsystems in a holistic manner to meet the very specific requirements of customers; and opportunities for operational recurring revenues offering managed services, ongoing maintenance and remote or supplemental monitoring of disparate components from multiple product providers.
My previous comments, although intended to be inclusive, do not specifically mention all of the recent advances specific to video. Analytics is becoming a very effective security tool when used appropriately and incorporated/integrated with other compatible subsystems. And the advances in camera quality, IP cameras, megapixel, etc., in a more cost-effective environment will continue to drive the expansion and deployment of vast surveillance systems, and also become a component of a holistic security network.

Matt: Although not a new technology, I see wireless networking to continue to grow and be an important part of a customer’s security. With wireless technology, installation times can be cut down and access to systems can have a greater impact of system utilization.

Chris: The pieces are finally coming into place that will allow for the convergence that has been discussed for several years. The integration across physical and logical systems, cyber and various other platforms including PSIMs is now possible and will allow for greater visibility into the events within an organization, with information being sourced locally, regionally or even globally from a wide range of sources. This will enable users to correlate events in a way that was not possible before this integration.

Jeremy: More than ever, our customers are facing more compliance and audit requirements. I think we will see more tools and services around assisting or managing the activities required to maintain compliance.
Virtualization is fully accepted and the norm in traditional IT. While it exists in electronic security, it has not been fully accepted to the same extent. The tools and scalability that come with virtualization are very powerful. Leveraging the power of virtualization and Web services architecture is what will take security to the next plateau.
The last trend is e-wallet or mobile smart card (NFC) technology. When standards take hold, this will be a great platform to leverage for the next-generation credential of physical access control. It will also support the shift to a “smarter” card and a more passive reader, plus the ability to provision/modify easily and in real time. The current culture is driving that, and more and more can be accomplished with just your mobile phone.