In 2009, my colleague Fredrik Nilsson wrote an article about new technologies unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas and how they could drive potentially affect the surveillance industry. HDTV, H.264 compression, wireless bandwidth, and more solid state storage packages were the trends he identified. Four years later, I’d say he was on to something.
I attended CES this year and thought it would be a great time to revitalize this concept with a slightly longer list. Thus, here are the top ten tech trends as seen at CES with an interactive look at how our security industry might one day benefit.
10: Crowdsourced Intelligence and Technology Funding
In his book Ninja Innovation, Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), discusses how the most innovative companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft achieve victory. Thinking like a ninja — through discipline, a mission-oriented strategy, adaptability, decisiveness and a will for victory — allows many solution providers to get funded through online platforms. This concept of “crowdsourcing” has helped build an army of ninja innovators. One 2012 crowdsourcing project enhanced a bus stop in Georgia.
Did you know that there are several modular, security-equipped waiting stations available to deploy in the security industry? Crowdfunding represents a viable way to rapidly deploy surveillance-ready modules to enhance child safety, for instance, at financially challenged schools in high risk neighborhoods.
Additionally, crowdsourcing could help create and sustain video analytic apps for tasks like monitoring occupancy and capturing vehicle license plates. Here, the IP camera becomes a ubiquitous sensor for future software development.
9: Display Standards Move Forward with UltraHD
HDTV is today’s visual standard; however, UltraHD is further down the road, and made a huge splash at CES 2013. This illustrates how standards-based image quality unites and delivers, and could one day drive surveillance toward UltraHD once storage, display and bandwidth technology are ready.
8: Robotics for Everyone
A quick story I heard in one booth: In Afghanistan, a counter insurgence team readies to neutralize a suspect facility. The team surrounds the facility and, instead of storming the building, hurl armored robots into exposed pipes and windows. These remotely controlled, armored mini tank-like robots, complete with surveillance and multi-surface traction, enable soldiers to locate threats, hostages and escape routes.
Back at home, floor-cleaning robots avoid edges, furniture and entrances with very similar mapping technology found in their armored cousins.
The next step is robots for healthcare, education and, of course, security. These larger, industrial, purpose-built robots are being introduced and represent significant ways of lowering the cost of operations, security patrol and incident response. One such healthcare robot enables the attending physician to be virtually “face to face” with patient and telemetry. The nurse “force” is essentially multiplied for routine functions, enabling staff to focus on more complex, time-critical decisions.
In the same way, robotics for security will not only multiply that force, but extend surveillance — and in a much safer way for our law enforcement partners.
7: Optics, Lenses and Better Pixels
You are no longer considered a geek if you carry around a larger lens on a small camera. Consumers are enjoying a lower price point of digital imaging devices that employ specially matched lenses to HDTV-ready cameras, creating a world of professional-grade photography enthusiasts.
HDTV-ready optics on IP cameras really matured in the security industry in 2011 and 2012. Lenses have been lagging behind the Moore’s Law-driven processing and sensor capabilities of IP cameras, but if CES is an indicator, they are catching up.