24 Feb 2021

Editor Introduction

Our Expert Panel Roundtable is an opinionated group. However, for a variety of reasons, we are sometimes guilty of not publishing their musings in a timely manner. At the end of 2020, we came across several interesting comments among those that were previously unpublished. Following is a catch-all collection of those responses, addressing some of the most current and important issues in the security marketplace in 2021.

Susan Post Johnson Controls, Inc.

[On the convergence of security and health in building systems:] Security and health are two factors that are now inextricably linked. For a building to truly be safe for occupants, data-driven digital technologies and processes that maximise health must be prioritised in any security strategy. This can include thermal cameras, frictionless access control, clean air solutions, face mask detection, social distance monitoring and more. Suddenly, HVAC solutions with advanced ventilation capabilities and temperature scanning capabilities are just as crucial to a building’s security as video. What this means for the industry is that businesses need holistic, data-powered digital solutions that can do it all; provide protection from standard threats like active shooters while helping keep employees and occupants safe from the threat of infection. In 2020, no building is truly secure if it is not healthy. 

[On how blockchain is impacting the security/cybersecurity industry:] Blockchain technology is much more than a means to ensure anonymity for transactions on the dark web. Its uses in other industries are the subject of ongoing and advancing research. In the security industry, building and maintaining trust is crucial. This includes trust in system configuration and the policies that govern these systems. A key component to building and maintaining trust is accountability. Because blockchain is a high-assurance ledger, it provides users with the ability to verify what has happened in a data structure and to identify the source and nature of any changes. Through the use of cryptographic hashes, blockchain protects the integrity of the data structure by making it easy to verify that the data in the chain has not been tampered with. One possible application would be to pair blockchain technology with high-assurance identifiers, like hardware tokens, in order to improve the reliability of multifactor authentication and help protect against account takeovers and data breaches.

[On the need for more skilled workers in security:] Undoubtedly there is still a skilled worker shortage in the security market, and it is something the industry as a whole needs to address. In a nutshell, we need to attract more ‘young blood’ and the most obvious way to do this is to increase the numbers of apprentices and apprenticeship schemes. I believe part of the problem is that the security industry still needs to overcome an image of it being low-tech. Ironically it could not be further from the truth! Our industry needs to push the high-tech nature of security in the modern world. We need to show potential young employees that the image of burly security guards is only a small part of our industry. There are huge opportunities for tech-savvy and commercially minded professionals to build a solid career in an essential industry. Apprenticeships are a perfect way to introduce this to the next generation of security professionals.

[On the state of AI applications in security:] In the past 2 years, we have seen many AI applications appearing in the industry, and this trend will only continue with more vigor, particularly in the areas of face recognition, weapon detection, and edge analytics. On one hand, public opinions regarding face recognition technology versus privacy protection are increasing; on the other hand, active shooting incidents continue occurring; both fuel the demand for better AI tools for access control and public space monitoring as well as the discussion on how to convince decision makers to approve their use. Meanwhile, high-performance AI video analytics solutions at the edge will be released to help alleviating bandwidth concerns, now that affordable chipsets are available. There are now multi-functional, easy-to-use, easy-to-integrate, and easy-to-scale edge solutions at the show.      

Hartmut Schaper Security & Safety Things

[About the role of IT, and emerging applications:] 2020 marked a year in which IoT became a reality in the security and safety industry. We expect more innovative applications and intelligent IoT sensors to play an increasingly important role within image processing and analysis. Emerging applications that efficiently and accurately convert visual data into valuable information, will unlock additional value within the retail, transportation, smart cities and public space sectors. At Security and Safety Things we have creative solutions that will shake up the market and accelerate the speed of innovation even further.

Peter Boriskin ASSA ABLOY Americas International

[What’s new in smart buildings and mobile credentials?] As security innovations evolve to address today’s ever-changing needs, we are faced with new sets of challenges and opportunities. This is taking shape in the form of solutions that help balance connectivity, convenience, privacy and safety. With the proliferation of smart buildings, there is more and more data available allowing us to gain insight from that data to inform business decisions. What was once available only to cities is now more readily available to individual buildings as the technology becomes more affordable. With these developments, the need for privacy and cybersecurity is greater than ever before, and I believe we’ll begin to see more standardisation to ensure the proper level of protection. We have also surpassed the tipping point for adoption of mobile-ready devices, and this will likely be the year that support for mobile credentials becomes a requirement.

Editor Summary

The security marketplace presents a perpetually expanding breadth of challenges and opportunities. Our Expert Panel Roundtable stays on top of the vagaries and vicissitudes of this complex business. Fortunately, they also share their insights with our site’s visitors. We appreciate all the contributions from our Expert Panellists and look forward to continuing to share their insights.