COVID-19 and the resultant lockdown saw an unprecedented demand for cloud-enabled technologies across Europe. Such services enabled people to stay connected and allowed some businesses to relocate personnel and continue to operate successfully. With enterprise-focused video conferencing mobile app downloads showing a weekly 90% increase in comparison to pre-COVID-19 figures, it’s clear that cloud services have proven invaluable in these challenging times.

Now, as the benefits to business of cloud technology become apparent, and the grip of COVID-19 begins to loosen, senior decision makers must consider the learnings from the past few months and look to apply them to boost productivity, streamline costs or become more agile in the long term. Digital transformation presents some enticing advantages for those companies that have been slow to adapt. The physical security industry, traditionally video surveillance cameras (CCTV) and access control, will have witnessed how cloud infrastructure is not only cost effective and safe, but is a force multiplier for connecting platforms, services and people with potent business benefits.

The future is VSaaS and ACaaS

In today’s modern, connected world, dated technologies are giving way to their cloud-enabled successors, video surveillance as-a-service (VSaaS) and access control as-a-service (ACaaS). In this context, cameras and readers are added to a network as IoT devices that bring security systems up to date and represent a vital component in any modern, cyber-secure digital strategy.

Frictionless access control has meant touch free access to buildings

But better security is just one benefit of a much greater system that can bring real value. Built in analytics, for example, that utilise the data from network video cameras and smart access control devices, produce valuable business insights that help to inform and automate decision making. In the recent pandemic, frictionless access control has meant touch free access to buildings; while occupancy tools have helped retailers adhere to strict government guidelines on social distancing.

And as more security equipment becomes connected to the wider IT network, the advantages have not been lost on the IT industry that is expressing more than a passing interest in the adoption and management of such systems. Morphean recently conducted a survey of 1000 IT decision makers across the UK and Europe, with the purpose of providing clarity around their security purchasing intent in the 2020s. Findings revealed that as many as 84% of IT managers are currently using or considering VSaaS or ACaaS systems, pointing to an appreciation of the convergence of physical security and IT security, and a willingness to embrace systems when integrated with IT in the cloud.

An adaptable business model with recurring revenues

Of course, it is not just the IT industry that is changing mindsets towards hosted physical security. As a result of COVID-19, end customers are demanding it too and found it easier to scale at speed when business circumstances changed. Rather than being tied to fixed IT infrastructure on premises, a hosted solution offered greater dexterity as operational challenges around the pandemic arose. Businesses were able to customise and scale quickly to meet ongoing need without the need for large upfront capital investment, instead, paying for the convenience as-a-service out of operational expenditure as a monthly cost.

This is the proven business model of cloud, yet the security industry has been slow to adopt it. One key challenge is the way in which the prevalent business models in the sector operate. VSaaS is still alien to installers and integrators used to selling hardware on narrow margins, reliant on existing financial arrangements with distributors to fund new equipment. Transitioning to sales cycles based on monthly licences rather than up-front purchases won’t be easy, but the security channel must learn how if it is to remain competitive and drive new business opportunities.

This recurring revenue model will be interesting for the physical security industry who will have witnessed uncertainty and, in some cases, a downturn in revenues as decisions around capital expenditure were put on hold during the crisis. Instead, convenient and recurring monthly payments will have put the installer on a firmer footing and guaranteed ongoing vendor support backed by the latest software updates and firmware upgrades to ensure delivery of a high quality service that’s always up to date and online.

What is driving your digital strategy?

VSaaS and ACaaS provide a flexible and fluid security and business solution

Cloud is here to stay. Its resilience and ability to connect the world during the COVID-19 pandemic has proved its worth, even to the uninitiated who have now witnessed first-hand the value of connected systems. VSaaS and ACaaS provide a flexible and fluid security and business solution to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving industry, where the changing threat landscape means investing in the cloud is an investment towards success.

CEOs and CIOs within the physical security reseller industry must learn the lessons and apply the learnings to drive their businesses forward in the ‘new normal’ where hosted security solutions must surely play a major part to expand their offering to a wiser customer base. Cloud-enabled physical security solutions represent an investment into improving security and operations, and a chance to forge new business relationships to face the challenges of an ever changing world.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

The future of accommodation: when coliving and PropTech combine
The future of accommodation: when coliving and PropTech combine

As technology develops at an ever-faster rate, the possibilities for where and how new innovations can be used are endless. The property sector is one such area where new technology, such as smarter video surveillance, is being used to improve the quality of life for families and communities by increasing security as well as implementing changes based on new insights. Specifically for the coliving movement, cloud-based video surveillance is helping operators to improve the communal spaces for their tenants in ways that on-premises surveillance never could. From tighter security measures to better social spaces, here’s how coliving is benefitting from the PropTech (property technology) boom. What is coliving? The coliving movement is the latest iteration of a recurring human trend. The act of communally sharing space and resources while benefiting from a supportive community is something we’ve seen time and again throughout history. A place that everyone can call home addresses multiple needs. With the concept of shared spaces, and the possibility to work and socialise together, it’s no longer simply a trend. Specifically for the coliving movement, cloud-based video surveillance is helping operators to improve the communal spaces for their tenants in ways that on-premises surveillance never could. As living expenses become ever higher, for many – particularly younger – people getting on the property ladder is difficult, and renting an apartment alone can feel isolating. Coliving spaces offer a ready-built community, and many responsibilities – like maintenance, for example – lie with the building owners, and the cost is included. Where does PropTech come in? PropTech is dramatically changing the way people research, rent, buy, sell and manage property. The combination of the internet, huge compute power, cloud platforms and artificial intelligence (AI) have all combined to create technologies that are transforming the way the entire property sector works. Whether that’s helping buildings to operate more efficiently or even become more sustainable, PropTech is a sector that’s on the rise. When it comes to coliving, PropTech is helping to make these environments safer and smarter for the people who live there. One of the fundamental areas of building design is people’s safety. Following the past year where health has been at the forefront of everyone’s minds, PropTech is enabling entrance systems with touchless doorways and innovative ventilation systems, for example. And even without taking the pandemic into consideration, people living in shared spaces need to be confident that the security is well-managed, and the management wants to ensure that only tenants and their guests can enter the premises. How cloud video surveillance drives better coliving Once seen as an ‘add-on’ to building design, video surveillance and access control are now becoming increasingly important elements of the PropTech movement, and they are equally as desirable for coliving too. Surveillance cameras are essentially sensors that can monitor activity, patterns, and any other changes in a given environment. Analysis of video data can occur in real-time to effect changes immediately, or video can be stored and evaluated at a later date. In a coliving environment, a cloud-based video surveillance system can help operators to understand how tenants use their space, and implement changes to benefit them. Traditionally, video surveillance data stored on-premises had limited uses, as it was often only accessed after a security incident, such as a break-in. The video therefore wouldn’t be used frequently and the camera and storage system would just be another cost not yielding any ROI. Cloud technology has had a dramatic impact on video surveillance. Remote management delivers the ability to modify, adjust and perfect the system without needing to be present at the site, while remote monitoring alerts operators to any unusual incidents such as an equipment malfunction or breakage. In a coliving environment, a cloud-based video surveillance system can help operators to understand how tenants use their space, and implement changes to benefit them. For example, surveillance can show operators which areas in the communal spaces are frequented the most and at what times, including areas such as the laundry room or gym where space might be limited. By using AI to analyse the video, operators can use insights from it to improve the existing set up wherever possible, and also learn lessons about how to better design future co-living spaces. In today’s world, this technology can also help to keep everyone safe and healthy. Cameras can identify if someone is wearing a face mask as they go to enter a building and deny entry until they put one on. Thermal cameras are another easy tool to screen people for an elevated temperature before they even enter a communal space. Though a raised temperature does not mean you have COVID-19, the technology can provide an initial screening, so that individuals with elevated temperature readings can be checked manually for other symptoms or possibly be recommended for a test. The future of smart living Coliving is not a new phenomenon – humans have been living in communal places for many years, working and socialising together for the benefit of everyone. What makes today’s coliving movement unique is the range of rapidly developing technology that is being implemented to improve the environments for tenants. As an arguably lower cost and higher quality way of life, coliving spaces are certainly here to stay, and so the PropTech surge is no doubt going to grow with it.

How AI is revolutionising fraud detection
How AI is revolutionising fraud detection

The Annual Fraud Indicator estimates that fraud costs the United Kingdom approximately £190 billion every year. The private sector is hit the hardest and loses around £140 billion a year, while the public sector loses more than £40 billion, and individuals lose roughly £7 billion. The effects of fraud can be devastating on both individuals and organisations. Companies can suffer irreversible damage to reputation and be forced to close, and individuals can experience significant personal losses. Everyone should be aware of the risks and take steps to protect themselves against fraudulent activity. Fraud detection technology Fraud detection technology has advanced rapidly, over the years and made it easier for security professionals to detect and prevent fraud. Here are some of the key ways that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionising fraud detection - with insight from Tessema Tesfachew, the Head of Product at Avora. An anomaly can be described as a behaviour that deviates from the expected An anomaly can be described as a behaviour that deviates from the expected. According to Tessema Tesfachew, “Autonomous monitoring and anomaly detection specifically, have made detecting fraudulent activity faster and more accurate. Machines can monitor data 24/7 as it comes in, build patterns of behaviour that take into account seasonality and shifting trends, and identify events that don’t fit the norm.” For example, banks can use AI software to gain an overview of a customer’s spending habits online. Having this level of insight allows an anomaly detection system to determine whether a transaction is normal or not. Suspicious transactions can be flagged for further investigation and verified by the customer. If the transaction is not fraudulent, then the information can be put into the anomaly detection system to learn more about the customer’s spending behaviour online. Accurate root cause analysis Root cause analysis goes one step further than anomaly detection, by allowing security professionals to pinpoint what caused the anomaly. Tessema explains how an example of this would be if a system detects that the rate of fraudulent transactions has increased. Root cause analysis would pinpoint the specific ATM or point of sale, where this increase is occurring. Swift action can then be taken to prevent fraudulent activity at that location in the future. Fewer false positives As mentioned, false positives can occur if a fraud detection system identifies behaviour that goes against the norm, for instance, if a customer makes a transaction in a new location. In many cases, customers are required to complete identity verification to prove that a transaction is not fraudulent. Digital customer identity verification can help brands build a strong and reputable image. That said, forcing users to complete identify certifications regularly can cause frustration and harm the customer experience. AI anomaly detection AI fraud detection systems can carry out accurate data analysis in milliseconds and identify complex patterns in data AI anomaly detection is far more accurate and results in fewer false positives. Increasing the accuracy of anomaly detection helps companies improve customer relationships and build a strong reputation. This will have a positive impact on brand image and sales revenue. AI fraud detection systems can carry out accurate data analysis in milliseconds and identify complex patterns in data. Machines are more efficient than even the most skilled fraud analysts and make fewer errors. This is why AI fraud detection software is the preferred option in larger organisations. Importance of fraud analysts However, fraud analysts still play an important role in fraud prevention. Using a combination of human intervention and AI is usually the most effective approach when it comes to fraud detection. According to pymnts.com, innovative organisations now use a variety of AI and supervised and unsupervised machine learning to identify and protect against fraud. AI systems can complete time-consuming and repetitive tasks, such as data collection and analysis. This means that fraud analysts can focus their time and attention on critical tasks that require human intervention, e.g. monitoring risk scores. AI can automate processes and enhance the quality of the fraud analysts’ work. Conclusion In to Tessema Tesfachew’s opinion, “Fraud detection has become vastly more efficient and effective with the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Previously, methods for detecting fraudulent activities were still data-rich, but relied more on human intervention and expert bias, and were thus, more time consuming and prone to error.” AI technology, particular anomaly detection, has streamlined fraud detection and created a more efficient, and accurate system for detecting and preventing fraud. Covid-19 has increased the number of online transactions, which creates more opportunities for fraudulent activity. However, it also allows businesses to gain more information on their customers and enhance the capabilities of AI security software. It is more important than ever for organisations to utilise AI technology in fraud detection strategies.

What new technologies and trends will shape video analytics?
What new technologies and trends will shape video analytics?

The topic of video analytics has been talked and written about for decades, and yet is still one of the cutting-edge themes in the physical security industry. Some say yesterday’s analytics systems tended to overpromise and underdeliver, and there are still some skeptics. However, newer technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) are reinvigorating the sector and enabling it to finally live up to its promise. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What new technologies and trends will shape video analytics in 2021?