Live from CES: Security related tech trends - Part 1

Jan. 12, 2021
Expert Steve Surfaro takes a closer look at innovations in 3D cameras, 5G, AI, WiFi and more

The all-digital version of the world’s largest electronics exhibition kicked off today with about 1,000 vendors – down from 4500 – but offering significant technologies to industrial security, public safety, and smart space developers.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) recreated CES using Microsoft Team’s virtual conference technology with exhibitors listed online and attendees building a virtual agenda from companies and their microsite “panels.” More than 100 hours of streaming content and communication functionality will be open for 30 days after the event concludes on Thursday.

According to Gary Shapiro, CTA’s CEO and “ninja innovator,” the primary trendsetting consumer-focused technologies are in 5G infrastructure needed to support broadband streaming services, 8K TVs, AR, VR, health tech and UAS (drones). For industry, the top CES 2021 trends to watch include are 3D cameras, 5G, AIoT, biometrics, smart locks, drones and WiFi 6E. Here’s a closer look:

3D Cameras and LiDAR

A CES 2021 honoree, the Kandao Obsidian Pro is a professional 360 camera with eight APS-C sensors, capable of delivering a 12K 3D 360 stream at 30fps
via WiFi 6 connectivity. This is one of the few products including image stabilization and a 9-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) that reports force, angular rate, and orientation. Although this is aimed at the content creation market, the cost of 3D 360 cameras are decreasing, making them attractive for public safety at crowded, high risk events.

The ability of a 3D camera system to observe, inspect, and scrutinize objects with depth of field (DoF) is gaining traction in pandemic entry screening, automotive screening, food, pharmaceutical, machine vision use cases and event security. As I reported at last year’s CES, the use of LiDAR in small 3D DoF cameras delivers a wireframe “image” that preserves privacy, yet identifies a face, even one partially obscured by a mask or PPE.

Just prior to CES 2021, several reports surfaced that Apple will adopt LiDAR technology on "all 2021 iPhone models" and Samsung will as well on multiple Android platforms, confirming the increase in LiDAR adoption as a “Facial Authentication” and object recognition sensor.

The Intel RealSense ID combines active depth with a neural network, a dedicated system-on-chip and embedded secure element to encrypt and process user data. Using deep learning, it adapts to users over time as they change physical features, such as facial hair and glasses or appear in different lighting conditions.


5G network rollouts from Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T continue, and industrial applications continue to have an impact on the economy. 5G-enabled corporate campuses, schools, fulfillment centers, manufacturing, critical infrastructure, agriculture equipment, UAS, autonomous vehicles, facility perimeters, borders, smart spaces, biometric screened entries, are all use cases where wireless infrastructure investment will be paid back through economic expansion and the necessity of connectivity in a pandemic.

5G-enabled solutions satisfy a very high demand for data and millimeter wave to deliver gigabit wireless services. Qualcomm and Intel technology introductions continued at CES 2021 in the form of new low-power chipsets and wireless equipment.

Security integrators have unique opportunities where 5G build-outs are happening, and the CES 2021 carriers presented an array of use cases experiencing this growth. As we presented the 5G Network Slice concept in previous SIW articles, the three categories include Enhanced Mobile Broadband, Massive IoT, and Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Applications.

Enhanced Mobile Broadband enables information displays and supports hundreds of mobile users in public safety, transportation, smart offices, smart cities and connected vehicles. Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications itself leverages sensors such as IP video cameras and LiDAR already being deployed on transportation routes.

Bosch brings technology to the COVID fight

Bosch made it clear during the CES 2021 opening keynotes that company executives see its future as leading the artificial intelligence of things (AIoT) – led by its rapid Covid-19 home test. Bosch also introduced a sensor that measures factors such as air quality and relative humidity – data that is important in the
fight against coronavirus.

Bosch security cameras can also help in the fight against the virus. AI makes it possible for them to execute a wide array of customer-specific applications. For example, a new camera solution with integrated intelligent video analysis measures body temperature contactlessly, anonymously, and with high precision – with a maximum deviation of half a degree.

Moreover, using a software solution for the open camera platform of the Bosch startup Security and Safety Things (, these cameras can detect whether the number of people in a shop complies with the prevailing coronavirus restrictions. This platform was designated a 2021 CES Innovation Award Honoree.


CyberLink’s FaceMe Know Your Customer (eKYC) Solution introduced at CES 2021 can be used during in-person interactions at a physical bank branch, or to authenticate customers remotely across digital channels. The solution can enable remote onboarding and subsequent step-up identity verifications, and is compatible with smartphones, computers, ATMs, and security cameras. CyberLink is currently celebrating a top-ten performance in the most recent round of the NIST’s Facial Recognition Vendor Test.

Additionally, Qualcomm announced the 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2, the latest version of its ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor. The new version offers a larger surface area for the sensor and faster processing to unlock phones even quicker. By combining the larger sensor with faster processing, Qualcomm promises that scanning a fingerprint to unlock a phone will go 50 percent faster with the 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2.

Smart, voice-enabled door locks

The Lockly Duo gets its name from how it connects to both the deadbolt and door latch at the same time, simultaneously locking and unlocking both when it
is operated. The level-style smart door lock includes a hack-proof digital keypad that randomly shuffles the order of the numbers, preventing anyone from guessing your code by the location of fingerprints. The Lockly Duo can also be unlocked via its integrated fingerprint reader, and there is integration with Alexa and Google Assistant for remotely operating and checking on the lock's status.

So-called eKeys can be shared with friends and family, giving them access to the lock via the Lockly smartphone app. Lockly says the Duo is the only lock in the world that can monitor the open/closed status in real-time and alert you on your smartphone about changes in status.

There are numerous other locks with voice integration, real-time status, Bluetooth and even 5G compatibility, that will be highlighted in my next column.


The Skydio X2, an AI-enhanced drone made for Enterprise and First Responder use, was recognized with an award prior to CES. The drone pairs with Skydio Autonomy, an AI-driven system that gives drones the skills of an expert pilot, with a foldable, highly portable airframe that leverages hyper-strength composites to withstand demanding environments. X2 mounts a dual 12MP color optical plus 320×256 FLIR thermal sensor and is equipped with GPS-based night flight and strobe lighting, making it ready for both day and night operations, while providing up to 35 min of flight time on a single battery. It provides an aerial data collection solution for situational awareness, asset inspection, and security patrol.

Look for more from CES on drones and counter UAS in my next column.                                                 

Wi-Fi 6E

Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) technology is all about better and more efficient use of the existing radio frequency medium. Most of the Wi-Fi 6 enhancements involve a
new multi-user version of OFDM technology (MU-MIMO). Affordable MU-MIMO connectivity within consumer smart home and industrial Smart Spaces is so significant as security, environmental and safety users can easily coexist. Wi-Fi 6 and previous generations of Wi-Fi use the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radio bands. A “Wi-Fi 6E” device operates on the 6 GHz band.

As the Wi-Fi Alliance puts it, Wi-Fi 6E allows for “14 additional 80 MHz channels and 7 additional 160 MHz channels.” These channels help reduce congestion, particularly in areas where lots of networks are operating.

The best Wi-Fi 6 routers combine sleek designs with the AX wireless standard for faster connectivity for every IoT device on the smart home or industrial network. Introduced at CES 2021 is Netgear’s first Wi-Fi 6E router, the Nighthawk RAXE500.

(Screenshot courtesy SOSLAB)
SOSLAB’s solid-state LiDAR ‘ML’ won the CES Innovation Award in the Vehicle Intelligence & Transportation category with its modular optics and size, which is smaller than that of the iPhone 12.