The Internet of Things (IoT) is having a huge impact on all our lives. Just think about all the potential connected systems within a home or work environment. All manner of appliances, from ovens to heating systems and lighting can now be part of a smart home network.
We all have an expectation of integration that wasn’t evident even five or 10 years ago. This expectation is evident everywhere, just look at the integration capabilities of new cars for example. Inevitably, it is also shaping the way we security providers build and enable our systems as well.
There is a big focus on smart homes at the moment, but actually, the root of much of this expectation comes from the smartphone in your pocket. Ever since the iPhone kick-started the smartphone revolution over 10 years ago, you would be hard pushed to find many people without one!
Of course, it’s the interoperability of online services which is important. We literally have the majority of online services in the palm of our hands. Online technology is the enabler but having personal access to it has been the big game-changer.
Technology providers have rightly fed people’s desire to do more with their technology, specifically via their smartphones. Consumers want it to be easier and don’t want the technology to impinge on their lives. We all want it to augment our experiences, whether it’s in the home, during travel or in the workplace.
Innovation in Security
The integration of online services has had a profound impact on the physical security industry. Nobody would now dream of having to use a hard-wired access point to access data from a security system, which was normal a few decades ago. Security users don’t even expect to have to use a large PC to log on either.
Interestingly though, the idea of using a pocket-sized smart device to access sensitive security data was totally unthinkable until fairly recently. Not just because of the technology limitations, attitudes and expectations were different as well. There was a lot of debate as to whether anything online could be considered truly secure (let alone trusting physical security systems to use this approach) and yet now we all bank and share sensitive data online. Look at the use of QR codes for secure ticketing at airports or entertainment venues as well – smartphone authentication is already very common.
At TDSi we very quickly took the path to greater integration, especially when smart devices became popular. It was very clear that the days of proprietary security systems were well and truly over! Smart home technology is just the latest phase in this integration, but smart security systems are already a reality for many end-user organisations.
Technology Taking the Strain
Integration of systems is only the first step in the evolution of physical security. Being able to remotely access and control this technology is a minimum expectation, we are now seeing a greater expectation of automation which will be a significant game-changer.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an often overused term, but if you think of it more as security automation, we already have many of these systems in place. Many CCTV systems already use automation to find individuals in a crowd (be that a criminal suspect or a lost child/vulnerable adult) and only need to alert the operator when necessary.
Automation is also being aided by smart devices becoming an integrated part of security. By using their inbuilt authentication methods (such as fingerprints and facial recognition) it’s not always necessary to manually issue cards/fobs. Sending credentials to a smartphone and using NFC or other authentication methods allows people to securely access their workplace, hotel room or home, often without the need for human intervention.
Automated technology is perfect for administering secure but mundane tasks, ensuring security teams can concentrate on more important needs that actually require the intelligence and attention of a human being.
Security has always had to match expectations – from the earliest lock and key systems, to electronic locks and the latest IP integration that is commonplace now. Undoubtedly expectations of future generations will change again.
Biometrics are already very common (fingerprint readers and facial recognition are already standard on many smartphones and security systems) and it seems reasonable that we’ll expect security systems to recognise individuals with minimal interference in the future.
As security providers, TDSi recognises that public expectations are very important. If a system doesn’t meet the expectations of end-users, it is unlikely to be picked as a solution. As our society continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see where the technology and expectations go next!