Security technology trends to watch in 2014

Industry experts discuss what lies ahead for physical security devices and software

1. The popularity of interactive services/interactive-enabled hardware will continue to rise. With the help of the smartphone, consumers are becoming accustomed to having remote, on-demand access and control of many different elements of their lifestyle on their smartphone. With Internet-enabled devices such as an intrusion alarm system as part of the connected home,  homeowners are able to control and receive information from other systems such as energy management and lighting, as well as have access to other security devices like wireless locks and residential camera systems.

2. Increasing acceptance of wireless intrusion technology in commercial applications. More sophisticated wireless offerings available on the market today provide more secure transmission methods, increased range and reduced battery consumption, making wireless security systems significantly more attractive for commercial applications. Featuring sophisticated 128-bit AES encryption, these systems prevent the wireless signal from being “sniffed” or hacked, so the signal cannot be overtaken through the air. More robust protection against signal interference, along with increased range, offers improved noise immunity from interference from other appliances or systems while improved range means increased distances between panel and sensor without the use of repeaters. Hybrid systems, which make use of both hardwired and wireless peripherals along with a full range of cellular and IP communications technologies, will also continue to be a driving force in the market as wireless systems ramp up in popularity.

3. Increase in alarm verification technologies/requirements for false alarm reduction. Budget strapped municipalities won’t be loosening requirements for alarm verification anytime soon, so the industry has responded with a few different solutions. Along with increasingly sophisticated sensor hardware, these verification methods are helping to mitigate the false alarm challenge. Visual verification occurs when an alarm signal activates a camera with built-in motion detection. The camera records a video clip and sends it to the monitoring center or law enforcement for action.  

Audio verification methods, such as two-way audio, allow the monitoring center to speak to the person on the other end, as well as hear what is going on. Another, newer type of audio verification is constantly recorded audio, which captures the 15 seconds before an alarm was generated and the 10 seconds after the alarm for increased about the incident.

Sequential detection is programmed into the alarm system, telling it how to respond to certain behaviors. The system itself can verify an alarm if more than one zone on a premise has been disturbed. For example, it will trigger an alarm if the front door is opened and a motion detector is tripped a few seconds later.

4. The industry is shifting to more reliable, sophisticated communication protocols. In an industry still grappling with decline of the traditional POTS system for alarm communications, the pending sunset of the 2G cellular spectrum means another shift in technology. At the same time, communications via IP and GPRS are gaining traction and reliability and will continue to lead the way as the industry analyzes how large of a leap to make — to 4G or straight to LTE — on the cellular side.

5. A growing appetite for localized touchscreens and applications. With consumers growing accustomed to the clean, user friendly interfaces on a number of devices, expectations for these same intuitive, touchscreen interfaces are also now prevalent with residential security technology. Together with mobile applications that provide anywhere, anytime accessibility, touchscreens are also becoming a modern, aesthetically pleasing addition to the residential security landscape that provides users local access to their devices.