Preparing for a Monitored Future

Oct. 9, 2020
2020 Monitoring Resource Guide: From COVID-19 to AI, new technologies and end-user demands are driving innovation
This article originally appeared in the October 2020 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, don’t forget to mention @SecBusinessMag on Twitter and Security Business magazine on LinkedIn.

Since the early days of our history, there has always been the need to sound an alarm. Whether the British were coming, or there was a threat of fire, weather or theft, making sure the right people were alerted in a meaningful way has always been important. Back then, the events we monitored and notified about were fairly straightforward – a fire breaks out, alert the fire department; a tornado is coming, sound the siren.

Fast forward to today and we have a proliferation of smartphones. IoT devices are connected to everything – thermostats, our refrigerators, etc. – monitoring different types of events and producing an amazing amount of data. Social media and an “always-on” society produce massive amounts of content. We are also dealing with a global pandemic, the likes of which we have not seen in a century.  

With today’s technology, we have the ability to almost anything. If there is any action that creates an event, we can monitor that event, collect data, alert someone about it and track a response. This is all still very fragmented, however, as legacy and modern systems need some way to talk to each other, and the technology continues to advance at an ever faster pace.

All of this expansion in systems, devices and data is creating significant opportunities for integrators to find new, innovative ways to help customers monitor and track data for health management, personal safety and property protection.

COVID-19 Monitoring

In the short term, monitoring will be incredibly helpful as we continue to navigate COVID-19. Advancements in this area are already evolving very quickly.

The ability to monitor crowds with temperature-sensing cameras as people enter a public space, create an event when someone has a high temperature, and then dispatch responders accordingly will help to keep the general public safe.

With more than 80% of Americans now owning a smartphone, it is possible to leverage location data and artificial intelligence (AI) to track where people may have had first contact with the virus, as well as notify others who may have been exposed.

Traditional Monitoring

For traditional property protection and personal safety, as the world becomes more wireless, we are able to monitor devices such as vehicles and home monitoring devices that previously could only be monitored via a hard-wired connection. We can now monitor vehicles using GPS sensors to find a perpetrator in a hit-and-run situation, for example.

In homes, we previously only had wired alarm devices; now, we can place wireless sensors and video cameras throughout a home that sense movements and send an alert to a homeowner’s smartphone.

Proactive Video Monitoring and AI

Video monitoring in and of itself is evolving and providing additional business opportunities for integrators. Proactive monitoring – where traditional video monitoring is combined with AI to analyze motion and determine threats – can deter a crime from happening by sending an alert to not only a live operator, but also by sounding an alarm at the scene, warning an intruder and likely sending them away.

In addition, with so much data being collected via monitoring, rather than focusing only on monitoring for events and delivering notifications, we can monitor the data itself leveraging more sophisticated AI technology to make important decisions. One example is the ability to monitor social media for signs of hotspots for crime, or even civil unrest based on the data available and the content being created. This advance notice can help government agencies and other businesses that may be affected be prepared and take precautions.

We also have the ability to monitor data itself, watching systems to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive files and information.

A lot of this monitoring technology and AI capability is already in place and is being leveraged on a small scale; however, as we see technology continue to improve and the associated costs of creating monitoring programs come down, we will see greater adoption among organizations of all sizes.

Of course, there is the danger in the misuse of these technologies, and personal freedom and privacy laws will be part of the navigation process.

Be a Trusted Advisor

This is where integrators come in – it is now up to the industry to stay ahead of the advancements, understand the trends and deliver the best possible solutions to ensure that event monitoring is seamless and effective, and provides value to both the integration business and the end-customer.

How can we help different industries protect their assets? How can we help integrate AI into video in different ways to respond to threats even more quickly? What data do our customers have available that we can monitor to help predict changes that affect manufacturing?

With so many possibilities, it is up to integrators and monitoring providers to get creative in finding new ways to identify events, monitor for them and deliver meaningful notifications that protect the valuable assets of people and property.

Matt Narowski is President of Bold Group, a provider of software for central station monitoring, alarm billing, business management and more. Request more info about the company at