2015 security technology forecast

Jan. 12, 2015
Experts discuss trends expected to have an impact on the industry this year

The security industry certainly saw no shortage of technology developments last year that will have a significant impact on the market moving forward. Whether it was buzz surrounding 4K resolution in video surveillance or the traction that mobile solutions finally gained in access control, 2014 will be remembered as a turning point for a number of different technologies.  So, what does 2015 have in store for the various product segments within the industry? SIW recently reached out to several experts to get their perspective on the trends that will shape security technology moving into 2015 and beyond.

Video Surveillance
Predictions by Fredrik Nilsson, general manager, Axis Communications:

1. Influence From Consumer and IT Markets. Consumer and IT technologies continue to impact the physical security industry and drive innovation. Ultra HD or 4K video has been a hot technology in the consumer space for several years already, but will really start impacting security during 2015. 4K surveillance cameras began to ship in 2014, so the next step for the market is to adapt our infrastructure to the 4K standard. As hardware, video management systems, display screens and bandwidth adapt to 4K Ultra HD in 2015, we'll see several full-4K options become available, allowing end users to see the full benefit of the technology.

Other hot consumer technologies, such as Near Field Communication (NFC) and the Cloud will also be key in 2015. NFC (think Apple Pay and Google Wallet) can also be used for access control in the future. The Cloud has been widely accepted in the consumer space thanks to online banking, photo and document storage and more. In the security industry, everyone talks about it, but few have a real plan for executing and understanding how it will affect their operations.

2. Integrated Systems. In some areas, the technology is actually ahead of the industry. Integrated systems are one such example. Most security managers agree that fully integrated security systems (i.e. intrusion, access control and video) are the ideal. Yet the reality is that most systems today - even new ones being installed - are still standalone systems. End users are rapidly replacing "closed" appliance-based solutions with platforms linking security devices for scalability, agility and elasticity.

3. Cybersecurity. Cybersecurity was a hot topic in 2014, and it will carry in to the New Year as big data breaches continue to happen. Vendors and integrators, along with security departments, need to be prepared to take responsibility for securing their systems. With the increasing involvement from IT departments, integrators and physical security practitioners need to understand their concerns and ensure that cybersecurity measures are in place.

4. Video Verification. Most alarms today are not verified by video, which means that guards/police are dispatched on many false alarms. Throughout the last year, many towns and municipalities began implementing fees and penalties for false alarms. Video verification could help reduce false alarms, and also better prepare safety staff as they respond to a real alarm. Hosted video is a scalable way to provide video verification, and the Cloud is poised to be a key trend in 2015.

Physical Access Control Systems (PACS)

Predictions by John Fenske, vice president of product marketing, identity and access management, HID Global:    

1. Increased Innovation Fueled by the Move to Interoperable Platforms Based on Open Standards.  The industry is well into its transition to access control platforms based on open standards, creating the opportunity for organizations to move beyond static, proprietary access control architectures to more secure, open and adaptable solutions that support demand for new products and technologies.   Innovation will accelerate in an industry that is now free to pursue new capabilities without the fear of being anchored to legacy or obsolete software, devices, protocols and products.

2. The Adoption of New Credential Form Factors. Today’s solutions meet growing demand for new credential form factors including mobile devices that offer a more secure and convenient way to open doors and parking gates.  In 2015 and beyond, we will see the transition to a single card or phone that can replace previous mechanical keys and dedicated one-time password (OTP) solutions for physical and logical access control.  Using Bluetooth Smart or NFC technology on cards or phones, users will be able to simply “tap in” to gain access to facilities, VPNs, wireless networks and cloud- and web-based applications, and take advantage of an access control ecosystem that provides a seamless user experience and can flexibly scale and adapt while delivering growing value to the organization.   

3. More Convenient Ways to Open Doors and Gates. Bluetooth Smart short-range connectivity technology is one of the most exciting drivers for the adoption of mobile devices for access control.  Combined with gesture technology, it offers the additional user benefit of being able to open doors from a distance by rotating a smartphone while approaching a mobile-enabled reader.  This new gesture-based technology capability will create new ways to open doors and gates, and will enable many additional future applications. 

4. Advances in How to Manage Identities. As physical access control applications merge with logical access control applications, they will both also merge onto cards and phones, and organizations will be managing multiple ID numbers for multiple uses on multiple devices.  This will create the need for more centralized identity management systems that are easy to use and support multiple application identities with different lifecycles, while also ensuring security and privacy for online transactions.      

5. Using Biometrics to Help Change Security from a Barrier to a Guardrail. The industry will continue moving toward a biometric authentication model that is focused less on technology and more on the user experience. Biometric templates will also move with user IDs onto mobile devices.  Meanwhile, credential delivery and management will grow in importance, using cloud-based solutions into which all entities have been biometrically authenticated. 

Video Management Systems (VMS)

Predications by Gadi Piran, president, OnSSI:

1. The Internet of Everything. In today’s professional security systems, almost every device can or will feature communication in the coming year. This provides new and exciting opportunities to offer deeper integrated solutions aimed at improving overall situational awareness and increasing system capability. This level of integration requires open-platform solutions, with manufacturers looking to add new technology partners in 2015. This expands possibilities and functionalities of new integrations and communication with security and surveillance systems. A larger and ever-expanding pool of devices and systems that are or will be integrated, introduces a number of potential challenges related to complexity and management. This can force organizations to make significant investments in the training and staffing required to ensure that security teams are proficient at working with these more complex systems.

In light of these developments, the scalability offered by VMS manufacturers makes them ideally suited to form the core solution for the advanced management these disparate devices and systems require. Open-architecture solutions further expand the functionality of security systems by facilitating greater integration between multiple systems and components. This enables more streamlined communication between various operations, increasing the effectiveness of security systems. As such, open-architecture VMS solutions will emerge as the clear choice for these potentially daunting tasks in 2015.

2. Doing More with Video. In many applications, video is used mainly for post-event investigation and documentation. Advanced functionality and capability, however, are changing this paradigm by allowing customers to accomplish more to get closer to prevention. 

One function that will emerge in the coming year is the rise of predictive analysis. Software detects and analyzes abnormal behaviors based on established policies, issuing automatic alerts enabling management to take action when needed. Utilizing information and insights from trends reporting, security staff can implement additional policies to further increase the effectiveness of the security program. Video content analysis (VCA) provides the ability to detect specific targeted behaviors, movement patterns, areas of interest and more to provide instant alerts to appropriate personnel. With video data playing a vital role in today’s integrated solution, precise control and management of all video sources is more critical than ever.

A second function that will continue to grow in 2015 is situational awareness, which can be challenging with large or dispersed geographical areas, such as those in transportation or organizations with multiple locations nationwide or around the world. In security, time is of the essence, but high camera counts and multiple integrated systems can make it difficult to extract meaningful information in real time. In the next 12 months, detection, analysis, push-video delivery, first responder alerting and video-assisted response will become much more intuitive and usable, increasing safety and security levels.

3. The Cloud. As nearly everyone in the security industry knows by now, one of the most prevalent trends in recent years has been the expanded use of cloud technologies for security and surveillance. While some may not initially have recognized the potential of utilizing the cloud in security, its growing role has become an inescapable fact. The trend toward more widespread uses and adoption of the cloud for security and surveillance will continue in 2015 and beyond, with an increased amount of control and management solutions either residing in the cloud or integrated with cloud-based software solutions. With cloud-based solutions, compatibility with third-party software takes on critical importance. The same is true of the ability to accommodate multiple clients via the cloud in a SaaS model. As more and more cameras and other devices incorporate cloud storage capabilities, the number of providers across the security spectrum who offer service model technologies will also increase.

4. Cooperation and Collaboration. Collaboration between various entities, such as law enforcement and private security firms, is not a new concept. In 2015, however, it will be interesting to watch how this collaboration increases. For example, rather than deploy its own cameras and software, a police department may want to utilize those that have been implemented at a college or other institution. In this situation, not only would police have access to video coverage of various locations throughout their coverage area, but the college would also benefit from the increased security that comes from having its campus directly monitored by the police. So while this situation may have been viewed as advantageous to the police alone, growing awareness of the mutual benefits of cooperation and collaboration will lead to more of these types of relationships in the coming year.

Physical Security Information Management (PSIM)

Predictions by Dr. Bob Banerjee, senior director of training and development, NICE Systems' Security Division

1. The Security Operations Center’s Expanding Role. As new vendors enter the PSIM space, the existing pure-PSIM players, who are sub-system agnostic, will also evolve toward broader solutions that will make PSIM a serious misnomer. These broader solutions will enable security operations centers to leverage PSIM to redefine their roles and responsibilities beyond physical security to include safety and operational issues as well.

2. The Security Operations Center Becomes the Fusion Center. Driven by a desire to mitigate risk or improve business continuity, industry visionaries are beginning to look beyond the traditional security operations center. As a result, we’ll see the security operations center begin to morph into a fusion center for physical security, safety, cybersecurity, and networking operations.

3. The Command Center Becomes a Contributing Business Asset. PSIM’s expanding capabilities will empower command centers to become contributing business assets through heightened awareness, efficient processes, predictive capabilities, and seamless 24x7 multi-location follow-the-sun performance. Command centers will also be able to measure and monitor actions to determine how to improve and streamline their operations.

Through their application of PSIM, command centers will be able to positively affect the bottom line, increasing their value to the organization, and their funding opportunities. Every market and end user is different, so the examples are diverse. For example, in airports extending PSIM to field operators through a web application could help them more efficiently manage day-to-day tasks, such as Federal Aviation Administration-mandated Part 139 airfield inspections. These same types of capabilities could be extended to inspections for roads, bridges, tunnels, and railways; management of turnstiles; and monitoring of pharmaceutical storage units. The GDP of the U.S. in 2013 exceeded $16 trillion, and if a piece of software can in any way influence the margins on that number, it will be funded a lot faster than the traditional security budget.

4. New Trusted Advisors. Just as PSIM expands its applicability beyond the traditional realm of security, so will the entire ecosystem associated with the new command center. New skills will be required to discover latent needs and to select, install, configure, and maintain such a system. Not everyone within the security space is comfortable talking about streamlining operations with a global COO, but those who are capable will become trusted advisors. We will undoubtedly see new entrants performing the role of trusted advisor, and increasingly they will have management consulting backgrounds.

5. Anticipating Events Before They Happen. Traditional security systems are designed to detect when something bad has happened, like when a door is forced open or someone drives through a restricted area. Those systems don’t have the full picture or complete situational awareness. But a PSIM solution can detect early signals and anticipate potential risks through data correlation. These are the early stages of true big data, and we will begin to see increasingly smart systems capable of detecting anomalies using both structured and unstructured information, including social media feeds. 

About the Author

Joel Griffin | Editor-in-Chief, SecurityInfoWatch.com

Joel Griffin is the Editor-in-Chief of SecurityInfoWatch.com, a business-to-business news website published by Endeavor Business Media that covers all aspects of the physical security industry. Joel has covered the security industry since May 2008 when he first joined the site as assistant editor. Prior to SecurityInfoWatch, Joel worked as a staff reporter for two years at the Newton Citizen, a daily newspaper located in the suburban Atlanta city of Covington, Ga.