Outlook 2038: Experts Weigh In

Access control and identification, alarm systems, computer security, guard services, fire prevention and detection, locks, keys and safes--the multiplex of components that form the security industry are countless. From the manufacturers that develop these technologies to the dealers that distribute them and the end-users that deploy them, security can expect to continue to see a steady increase in growth into the next century. This month, the leading security experts in the field assess where we’ve been, what we’ve seen and what we can expect to see in the next 30 years.

Looking back
For the North American market, the economic conditions prevalent in the beginning months of 2008 did not lend a promising outlook for the year to come, as the housing market crisis left many families unable to pay the mortgages on their homes. Discussion as to whether the U.S. was indeed in a recession made newspaper headlines. Further more, the wake of the financial crisis became a grim reality as the stock market economy suffered with the Dow Jones dropping 777 points this past September. Receiving loans from leading national lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac became less of a possibility as banks also cut down available credit and funding to the consumer.

Yet the security industry seemed for the most part unfazed. Product developments, new marketing strategies, buying motives and security/IT coordination helped push the industry forward to its current state. According to IMS Research, Austin, Texas, the billion dollar security industry had a 45 percent increased growth in 2007 in the market of network cameras, video servers and network video recorders (NVR). The security industry did see a slower start in increased developments and product needs because of the struggling U.S. economy, but IMS Research pointed to continued network video surveillance product growth, albeit at a slower pace. In addition, market growth is expected to recover by 2012 as the trend to network surveillance specifications continues.

The transition from closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance systems to analog to digital, the move from copper wire to fiber optics and new innovation in access control contributed to some of the developments in security solutions today.

“The move from analog to digital was one of the biggest achievements the security market has seen since 10 years ago,” said David Goffinet, senior vice president and chief operating officer, Image Vault, New Albany, Ind., a brand of FireKing Security Group. “The fact is you can get to the video from remotely anywhere. There’s been this blending of the security devices and IT, and really it’s the infrastructure that brought the technology forward.”

Yet the security market did not see as much unification to a common technological platform.

“The way the industry had operated in the past is – it was very fragmented,” said Dave Tynan, vice president of Sales and Marketing, Avigilon, Vancouver, Can. “There was the butting of technologies against each other, and it was the ‘mine is better then yours’ scenario.”

With advancing technologies, the desire for multi-layered technology versus single solutions became a demand as end-users sought to minimize complexity. End-users started to see more of a need for simplicity and the development of basic components became critical.

“Overall, the creation of the microprocessor has enabled manufacturers to develop more intelligent security and video devices,” said Dr. Bob Banerjee, product marketing manager, Bosch Security Systems Inc., Fairport, N.Y. “As processors continue to become faster and more powerful, we will be able to move more capabilities to the edge of a system by embedding greater functionality into edge devices.”

Technological breakthroughs
Whether gaining entry into an office building with an RFID access card or passing through the metal detectors at an airport security checkpoint, technology has come a long way.
The integration of diverse systems and the ability for these systems to communicate with one another on a shared platform is one such technological breakthrough, according to Fernando Pires, vice president of Sales and Marketing, Morse Watchmans, Oxford, Conn.

“Interoperability has enabled increased control over the security function even on the enterprise level with remote facilities,” said Pires.

New capabilities for video surveillance as well as access control and other security functions also added to the technological breakthroughs in the security market.

“Network integration and the development of IP-based systems revolutionized the industry,” said Gadi Piran, president and chief technical officer, On-Net Surveillance Systems Inc. (OnSSI), Pearl River, N.Y. “Hardware can be networked into remotely accessible and controllable systems, and for software, new capabilities enabled by IP technology. The industry is clearly growing in this direction.”

The topics of IP-based video surveillance technologies and access control are a natural development for the security industry, according to Fredrik Nilsson, general manager, Axis Communications, Chelmsford, Mass.

“Everyone seems to be talking about IP, not just the new companies,” said Nilsson. “People are becoming realistic about intelligence video. There is certainly a future for that but it’s hard to say whether it will be two or 10 years before the solutions are robust enough.”

With advancements in camera technology continuing to develop, including H.264, MPEG-4, pan-tilt-zoom, 360 degree rotation and much more, simple solutions incorporating ease-of-use, simple installation, data storage and bandwidth elements became essential focal points. 

“Advancements in camera technology have made the most significant difference, with ever-improving image quality and onboard intelligence for better identification and performance,” said J.M. Allain, president of Panasonic System Solutions, Secaucus, N.J. “Additionally, the move from a closed to an open platform through the implementation of IP-based systems has fundamentally changed the functionality of video surveillance systems.”

Others in the industry may perceive the transition to IP video surveillance as over-hyped when compared to the overall expectations. According to a recent report by MultiMedia Intelligence, Scottsdale, Ariz., network surveillance cameras represent about eight percent of the total surveillance camera market, yet the market segment is still growing nearly four times as fast as the overall video surveillance equipment market, including CCTV cameras, DVR’s, NVR’s and IP encoders/streamers.

Video analytics
Another major force in the industry is video analytics. According to David McGuinness, CEO of ObjectVideo, Reston, Va., analytics needs to be an ingredient appropriately incorporated within a system’s hardware that the user is already accustomed to working with.

“There was a time when there was the over-hyping of the capabilities of analytics and the values of what the software could provide,” said McGuinness. “It may not be a good idea to produce something new that may not be any better then what was already there.”

With convergence as the defining element in the security industry, more and more system providers are beginning to offer open platform solutions, with the capability of integrating different products on one network. For some, convergence is just the means to get systems to where they need to be.

“I think one of the hypes today is convergence. Convergence and integration is just a means; it is not the goal,” said Rafi Bhonker, international executive for Orsus, N.Y. “The goal is providing the end-user the application that they use to map their security safety strategies.”

“The solution to the issue of convergence is open platform,” said Edward Davis, vice president of Sales and Marketing, American Fibertek, Somerset, N.J. “It is the only solution that makes sense. ‘Ease of integration should be the mission statement for everyone in this industry.”

In 30 Years…
Continuing migration toward Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)–Steve Van Till, president and COO, Brivo Systems LLC, Bethesda, Md.

The line between physical and logical security is going to disappear and companies will focus on risk management–Dave Fowler, senior vice president of Marketing Development, VidSys., Marlborough, Mass.

Home management systems will be available in layers, such as energy managementPaul Dawes, CEO, iControl Networks Inc., Palo Alto, Calif.

Standards will no longer be a checklist but will be demanded by end-users moreRafi Bhonker, international executive, Orsus, N.Y.

Return on Investment (ROI) will become a key focus pointDave Tynan, vice president of Sales and Marketing, Avigilon, Vancouver, Can.