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In my coverage of China Tariffs impacting the security industry over four recent articles, products on the tariff schedules routinely integrated into security solutions included burglar and fire alarm control and transmission panels, video surveillance lenses, HDTV cameras used for broadcast use cases and fiber optic media converters.

The general ‘callout’ of ADP (Automatic Data Processing) devices and peripherals technically includes servers, workstations and microcomputers, all of which are commonly used to support security solutions. The underperformance, from June 15 to August 24, of U.S. stocks with high revenue-exposure to China, and that of Chinese stocks with high revenue-exposure to the United States was significant and almost identical at 3.2%, significant losses to some investors already involved in security industry M&A activity.

Significant public safety

Facial Recognition (FR) vendors leveraging AI expanded their market focus to retail and public safety

While it was not apparent that practitioners’ security program budgets kept pace with the growth of the more popular solution providers like video surveillance and cyber security, the ICT industries supporting the security economy continued to expand, especially in wireless and wired infrastructure, including preparations for 5G wireless rollouts. These omnipresent technologies drove significant public safety, smart city and public venue projects in 2018.

Facial Recognition (FR) vendors leveraging AI expanded their market focus to retail and public safety. In 2018, virtually every public presentation, webinar and published Q&A on social media monitoring and facial recognition technologies I worked on, involved significant pushback from privacy advocates, almost to the point of alarmism.

Massive risk reduction

Several solution providers in these areas have made significant strides on data protection, accuracy, powered by AI and documented crime reduction cases; however, this real news is quickly shadowed by privacy advocates, seemingly ignoring massive risk reduction, especially in the case of active assailants and gang-related crime. Will FR become mainstream? The cautious security industry may take a cue from the maverick retail industry, sports venue and VIP verification solution providers that grew in 2018. 2019 trends: presupposition or repudiation; winners and losers.

Several solution providers in these areas have made significant strides on data protection
Chinese tariffs have had a huge impact on the security industry, which can be seen from changes to U.S and Chinese stocks 

Although technology adoption forecasting is inexact, there are definitive opportunities in the security industry born on necessity. With the widespread problem of false alarm transmission and inability for first responders to ‘be everywhere,’ developers of solutions that provide automated verification and alternative security incident detection are expected to become mainstream.

Promising detection systems

The use of AI, NLP, LiDAR, UAS (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles aka drones) with surveillance and thermal imaging will grow, mostly due to higher acceptance in other industries like autonomous vehicles, rail safety, terrain and post devastation mapping/rescue. However, legacy ‘listing’ or certification organisations will be forced to make an important decision for their own survival: work toward integrating these promising detection systems into acceptance by insurance, licensing and standards development organisations.

2019’s ‘true’ Industrial Philanthropists will be needed to fund early warning tech for firefighters and the presence of active assailants

2019’s ‘true’ industrial philanthropists will be needed to fund early warning tech for firefighters and the presence of active assailants. For these use cases, 5G infrastructure rollouts, FR acceptance, lower cost perimeter detection and long range object and fire recognition by LiDAR and Thermal imaging will all be watched closely by investors. Should public agencies and philanthropical solution providers in the security industry cross paths, we may just yet see a successful, lifesaving impact.

Cyber risk profile

The ‘Digital twin’ refers to a digital replica of physical assets (physical twin), processes, people, places, systems and devices that can be used for various purposes. Your ‘Security Digital Twin’ has a similar physical and cyber risk profile, either through common threats, similar assets or both. Good news: managing your risk, protecting assets and securing your facilities in 2019 will get easier as security digital twin profiles will grow in maturity, while keeping their data sources private. This will be accelerated by the maturity of AI-based, auto-generated visualisations and image recognition, that happens to also drive the FR solutions.

The 5G wireless infrastructure market is emerging as far more of a quantum leap in connectivity, like ‘wireless fiber optics’ performance, than an upgrade to 4G LTE. The 5G infrastructure market will be worth $2.86 billion by 2020 and $33.72 billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 50.9%.

Intelligent applications

The explosion of ingested voice, video, and meta-data, the interconnectivity of devices, people and places, and the integration of intelligent applications into expanding ecosystems all require faster communications. To be more accurate, 5G rollouts will accelerate in 2019; however, current project funding will include and be impacted by future enterprise security connectivity: 5G and FWA (Fixed Wireless Access).

Quite simply put, larger solution providers are gently coaxing practitioners into seemingly ‘open systems
5G rollouts will accelerate in 2019; however, current project funding will include and be impacted by future enterprise security connectivity

Quite simply put, larger solution providers are gently coaxing practitioners into seemingly ‘open systems;’ the negative discovery during an M&A process, audit or integration with a smart city’s public/private partnerships will continue to be revealed, and related industries will force reform. Autonomous things will be enabled by AI and image recognition. With few affordable rollouts of security robots and outdoor unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) that leveraged platforms popular with research and even NASA, the autonomous security robot was mostly MIA from a security practitioner’s program in 2018.

Perimeter intrusion detection

One platform was even accused of intimidating homeless people in a public place, at a major city. Industries mutually beneficial are often unaware of each other; this will change gradually: one major domestic airport is currently evaluating a UGV platform performing perimeter intrusion detection, runway weather conditions and potential aircraft taxiing dangers. The platform is being used largely in transportation research, yet offers significant opportunities to the security industry.

Research firm Gartner estimates that 70% of today’s technology products and services can be enhanced with ‘multi-experience’-based VR/AR/MR

The ‘immersive experience’ of virtually any security or threat detection is a twist on virtual/augmented/mixed reality (VR/AR/MR) with additional sensory features. Although VR/AR/MR is well underway in other industries, there are several companies with solutions like VR-based active assailant training that could provide a fighting chance for practitioners, employees, visitors, faculty and children. Research firm Gartner estimates that 70% of today’s technology products and services can be enhanced with ‘multi-experience’-based VR/AR/MR.

Security ecosystem members

Not necessarily MIA, but of special mention is the need of security and safety practitioners to prioritise communications systems over ‘nice to have’ expansive video surveillance systems for mass casualty threats. This will eventually improve with 5G for Enterprise solution rollouts.

At the past GSX and upcoming CES Technology trade shows, a new roundup of technologies is discovered: a wider diversity of protection promise to save ASIS members on their technical security program is realised.

With each of the ‘winners,’ (5G, AI, NLP, LiDAR, UAS [Unmanned Aerial Vehicles aka drones], thermal imaging, digital security twins and smart-city-friendly technologies) it is both exciting and challenging work for both security practitioners and solution providers. All things equal and with the necessary technology acceptance testing processes, this is a truly great time for security ecosystem members.

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Author profile

Steve Surfaro

 With thirty years of security industry experience, Steve Surfaro is Chairman of the ASIS Security Applied Sciences Council and Chairman of the Public Safety Working Group for the Security Industry Association.  He is also Standards Team Leader for the DHS S+T Video Quality in Public Safety Group.  Steve is published in a wide range of security publications and delivers industry-accredited sessions each year to audiences in the Americas, Middle East and Asia.

Steve is a subject matter expert in smart cities and buildings, cyber security attack trends, forensic video, data science, command center design and first responder technologies.

He recently served as Public Safety Solutions Designer on the Super Bowl LIVE! Event, a multi-day sports themed event in Downtown Houston that attracted over 1M fans. 

He received his Bachelor of Engineering from The Cooper Union in New York City and lives in Phoenix, AZ.

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