By Robert Gaulden, project based business leader, electronic access control
The era of smartphones brought with it incredible convenience. As consumers, we are tying an increasing amount of applications to our daily lives with mobile. Smart technologies allow your lights, thermostats and locks to be controlled via app. Delivery solutions allow you to give someone access to your house or car via an app. These trends are impacting the security industry and creating an environment where consumers are connected to their phones now more than ever, allowing for mass amounts of data to be produced. In coming years, the security industry will have to react and evolve in drastic and exciting ways. Advancements in the mobile platform point to exciting innovations to come, and the security industry is on the cusp of seeing rapid innovations, as well.
The number of smart devices that have been introduced in recent years is one of the most important trends impacting the security industry. Companies now have the ability to embed more sensors and more technology into their products. As a result, lights (Phillips Hue), thermostats (Nest) and locks (Schlage) have become smart by their ability to understand your preferences, connect to a network, be controlled remotely or offer some level of automation. These products gained traction in 2018 and will continue to do so in 2019 and beyond.
Other trends impacting the security industry, similar to controlling your thermostat through your smartphone, revolve around mobile. Delivery solutions like Amazon Key, an in-home and in-car delivery service allows authorized shippers to gain access to a user's home, post office box or trunk, has progressed to mainstream.
The amount of data being produced as a result of consumers’ new mobile-centric mindset means the security industry will have to evolve quickly. It will be forced to improve cyber security efforts and become more proactive.
The security industry will struggle to comb through all this new data and figure out what exactly to do with it. Because there is so much data being produced, standards will need to be put in place to make sure it is protected. Cyber security efforts will have to evolve drastically to protect not only the number of devices in use, but the data that it being generated from these devices.
Advancements to cyber security have started at the hands of end users, they are more diligent and aware than ever. End users, such as a company’s facility personnel teaming up with their IT department to install wireless locks throughout their building, are now requesting information like cyber security plans and protocol. As a result, manufacturers, suppliers and those in the supply chain are forced to continuously refine their cyber skills to match the wants and needs of the end user. An important element of the evolution of cyber security that will continue to grow for 2019 and beyond is the increasing number of IT and cyber-related staff.
As stated earlier, the security industry isn’t accustomed to having this amount of data being produced. Beyond that, they have never been forced to figure out what to do with that data. The security industry has always been mostly reactive. For example, well hid security cameras in an office building will help you figure out who took something off your desk, not stop them from taking it. If the security industry can find patterns and trends in the data being collected, it can become much more proactive.
These patterns and trends include information such as, knowing how many people are normally in the train station at 4 p.m. on a Thursday. If sensors can determine that there are three times the amount of people in the station than on a normal Thursday afternoon, a quick decision can be made to ensure the station is properly staffed for the influx of people.
Artificial intelligence has the ability to make that decision, instantly, when it senses something abnormal. Immediately shutting down the escalators in a train station during an emergency, for example. The escalators are shut down in order for people to safely file down all four like stairs, instead of everyone having to cram into the two escalators moving down while the other two escalators moving upward are empty. This is using data to proactively keep the building, and the people inside of the building, secure.
In coming years, the technology and the security industry will continue to improve and grow in drastic and exciting ways. The industry will continue to find new ways to maintain or increase security levels and provide a more convenient experience for customers. This will allow technologies to deliver better customer experiences whether it be for their home, office or public space. Technology will continue to improve the tradeoffs people will need to make and have been making between security and convenience.