CCTV cameras - Expert commentary

The many faces of today's facial recognition technology
The many faces of today's facial recognition technology

The use of facial recognition has become a highly debated topic recently, and has increasingly and misleadingly been criticised by some for being an unethical tool used to spy on the public. The reason for such criticism is however largely due to lack of information and regulation around the technology. Used proportionately and responsibly, facial recognition can and should be a force for good. It has the ability to do a lot more to increase security in the future – from street crime to airport security, all the way through to helping those battling addiction, the technology can take security and operations to new heights. These systems can memorise the faces of persons of interest, networks of gang members, wanted criminals and those suspected of involvement in serious violent crimes The rise in knife crime Knife crime has dominated the headlines in the UK throughout the year. Recent statistics show the number of people being admitted to emergency care due to attacks by a sharp object to be up by nearly 40 per cent from two years ago, whilst the number of children under the age of 18 being admitted to hospitals with stab wounds is up by 86 per cent in only four years. This recent surge in knife crime has put police forces under immense pressure, and the intelligent use of facial recognition has a role to play in enabling more informed stop & search interventions. Currently UK police can stop and search an individual they suspect to be carrying drugs or weapons or both, or they can stop and search a person in a location where there have been or are considered likely to be “incidents involving serious violence.” In both cases they must do so with access to limited information, leaving themselves open to accusations of bias or discrimination. Knife crime dominated the headlines in the UK throughout 2018 Police systems benefiting crime investigations This is where facial recognition can offer up additional intelligence. These systems can memorise the faces of persons of interest, networks of gang members, wanted criminals and those suspected of involvement in serious violent crimes. Furthermore, these systems don’t need prior personal engagement to recognise an individual and see only data, not gender, age or race. Facial recognition thus helps eliminate both weapons and criminals off the streets and potentially prevent crimes before they have a chance to take place. The technology doesn’t take the decision away from the human police officer. However, it does bring greater transparency and context to the decision-making process of whether a stop and search intervention is justified.  Similarly, the advanced technology can recognise and match an individual seen on a CCTV camera at a crime scene to someone the police encounters on the streets some time later, justifying a stop and search on that individual. Its ability to check in real time if a person is on a criminal watchlist adds an extra layer to the decision-making process prior to conducting a stop and search, lowering the likelihood of discrimination. Facial recognition thus helps eliminate both weapons and criminals off the streets and potentially prevent crimes before they have a chance to take place. Gambling addiction and how facial recognition can help There are an estimated 593,000 people in the UK currently battling a gambling problem, making it a serious public health issue in the country. Having understood the gravity of the issue, the UK gambling commission have set limits and advice in place to help those suffering this addiction; yet as with all addictions, gambling is a tough habit to beat. In order to put effective limitations in place and make a real difference, the gambling commission needs the right technology to protect those most vulnerable in the industry.   Facial recognition technology is able to keep track of customers and thus help gambling companies in protecting their customers Facial recognition technology is able to keep track of customers and thus help gambling companies in protecting their customers to a higher degree. Monitoring those entering and moving around gambling areas is an extremely difficult task for human staff to do alone, especially in large crowded areas such as casinos. Facial recognition technology installed around the premises would be able to help the company and the staff to identify people who have registered as gambling addicts, and keep record of their day’s play in order to inform staff if and when it was time for them to stop. It would also be able to ensure effective self-exclusion procedures, by identifying a self-excluded individual via CCTV as soon as they entered the venue to then allow security staff to respectfully escort them out. Utilising facial recognition at airport security Facial recognition has by now become a normal sight at many airports around the world. Several people today hold a so-called biometric passport, which allows them to skip the normally longer queues and instead walk through an automated ePassport control to proceed to the gate faster without having to deal with control officers. Facial recognition used in this way has managed to significantly cut waiting times at the passport control, but it also has the ability to enhance security in and around airports. Facial recognition uses algorithms to match physical characteristics against photos and videos of people's faces Earlier this year, facial recognition technology managed to catch an imposter trying to enter the US at the Washington Dulles Airport. The false passport may have been uncaught by the human eye, yet due to the accuracy of the facial recognition technology it managed to help officers catch the imposter and bring him to justice. Facial recognition thus allows officers to identify an individual faster and more accurately than the human eye. Facial recognition uses algorithms to match physical characteristics against photos and videos of people's faces, which have been collected from visas, passports and other sources.   Facial recognition allows officers to identify an individual faster and more accurately than the human eye At airports the use of facial recognition has proved to both enhance security as well as speed up processes such as check-inWhilst some critics may worry about issues of privacy related to the technology, at airports the use of facial recognition has proved to both enhance security as well as speed up processes such as check-in and, in the future, even boarding proceedings. If used correctly and proportionately, facial recognition can help safeguard the public and improve national security on several fronts. Whilst the many benefits of facial recognition are evident, the lack of regulation and understanding of the technology has led to misconception around how it works and what it is used for. Facial recognition technology can match faces in crowded public places against criminal watch lists, and register faces that match with those on criminal watch lists – whilst ignoring everyone else.

2019 to see a rise in cyber and cloud security solutions
2019 to see a rise in cyber and cloud security solutions

2018 was a good year for integrators and manufacturers across the board. The economy has been strong which manifested itself in many ways but in particular construction was booming. This was very good for the security industry, especially those integrators and manufacturers who provide services and products in the commercial space. Two of the most unexpected things that impacted the market, and will continue to impact it into 2019, are the trade war and the rapid rise of interest rates. I have been monitoring both very closely and didn’t expect the trade ‘skirmish’ to escalate into the trade war it has become. Similarly, interest rates have started to rise which was a bit of a surprise and one that will definitely impact the nation’s economy and by extension our market. Upcoming cloud-based trends Cyber has definitely taken a strong foothold in the industry and with the continued expansion of cloud-based services I see three main trends coming in 2019. The first is the rise of cloud-based products and service offerings that security integrators will have access to. While we have had a few key players already offering cloud-based solutions for a couple of years on the video side in particular, I see this really picking up steam across all other security and life safety solutions. This really leads into the second trend which is integrators adjusting their business models to leverage these cloud-based solutions into recurring revenue models as managed security service providers (MSSP). The ability for integrators to develop their own managed service portfolio will be key; PSA is already working with several partners to help bring a portfolio offering to our membership which is really exciting. I anticipate that we will see about 10% of security integrators take hold of this new model in 2019 and then expect that number to increase by around 10% each year until the majority of the security business is cloud-based and integrators accept the new model of being an MSSP. Finally, of course is cybersecurity. Cyber has definitely taken a strong foothold in the industry and with the continued expansion of these cloud-based services, it will be more important than ever to integrators, manufacturers and end users alike. MSSP portfolio offering The more progressive security professionals will see cyber as an opportunity, a part of the MSSP portfolio offering, rather than just a threat that we have been talking about for going on five years. The winners in this market will be the integrators and manufacturers who can adapt to all these changes, leverage new technologies we are seeing with AI and cloud-based solutions, and those who stick to commodity-based solutions will be left behind. There are some remarkable things happening with AI technology, analytics, biometrics PSA’s growth has been remarkable. We have exceeded our own growth plans year over year and have also exceed the market projected growth marks as well. We continue to add more offerings to our membership to help them stay ahead of the curve, which in turn helps us to do the same. Right now, we are investing in programs that provide data to our integrators to help inform their business decisions. Data is key for any business and PSA has spent a lot of time working with developers and our integrators to understand what the most meaningful data is they need and how we can best deliver that to them by way of dashboards and reporting tools. Future technology advancements The biggest challenge we face is really tied to the higher interest rates that we have seen so far this year and what lies ahead. We help future fund projects for our integrators so when we see higher interest rates, we must closely monitor that and make business adjustments along the way as well to flex along with those rate hikes. I have been in this industry a long time so clearly my enthusiasm for what the industry is doing doesn’t fade. But what makes it really exciting right now is really related to technology advances. There are some remarkable things happening with AI technology, analytics, biometrics – you name it. It is a very tech heavy industry that people can feel good about being a part of and is an industry that will continue to grow so the opportunities are endless.

Video surveillance vendors will face further challenges in 2019
Video surveillance vendors will face further challenges in 2019

Video surveillance equipment vendors report their 2018 revenue data to IHS Markit in the first quarter of 2019, which is when we calculate the rate the professional video surveillance market grew in 2018. However, we expect this rate will have been around 10 percent globally -- slightly higher than the 9.3 percent growth in 2017 and much higher than the 3.9 percent growth in 2016. Changing market trends Despite this healthy rate of growth, 2018 was not without its challenges and surprises. Challenges included continued price erosion, cyber-security attacks on video surveillance equipment, component shortages and increased barriers to international trade. Surprises included the US Government banning the use of products from Hikvision and Dahua (the two largest global vendors of video surveillance equipment) in its own installations and the entry of new vendors like Motorola Solutions and Amazon into the video surveillance market. The effects of these trends and surprises is likely to reverberate through 2019 and beyond. Increased tariffs and other barriers to international trade, banning vendors, and potential changes in the product mix could cause average prices to rise. Larger vendors offering fresh solutions, and new ways to acquire those solutions, could affect traditional industry sales models and cause market disruption. Competitive supply base While the currently strong market growth rate offers big opportunities, vendors must move with the times, since fortunes can change quickly. Hikvision, Dahua and Axis Communications were the world’s largest video surveillance vendors in 2017. However, just ten years ago, the market was led by Panasonic, Pelco and Bosch. The professional video surveillance supply base remains highly competitive, and there are many vendors with lofty ambitions. In 2019, we can expect to see some vendors decline in the market, or even disappear altogether, as other vendors take the lead in shaping the industry’s longer-term direction.