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.

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

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.

In case you missed it

What is the impact of lighting on video performance?
What is the impact of lighting on video performance?

Dark video images contain little or no information about the subject being surveilled. Absence of light can make it difficult to see a face, or to distinguish the color of clothing or of an automobile. Adding light to a scene is one solution, but there are also new technologies that empower modern video cameras to see better in any light. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: what impact does lighting have on the performance of video systems? adapts during pandemic to enable partners to ‘succeed remotely’ adapts during pandemic to enable partners to ‘succeed remotely’

As a cloud-based platform for service providers in the security, smart home and smart business markets, has adapted quickly to changing conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. In the recent dynamic environment, has kept focus on supporting their service provider partners so they can keep local communities protected. “We moved quickly to establish work-from-home protocols to protect our employees and minimise impact on our partners,” says Anne Ferguson, VP of Marketing at The Customer Operations and Reseller Education (CORE) team has operated without interruption to provide support to partners. Sales teams are utilising webinars and training resources to inform and educate partners about the latest products, tools, and solutions.’s partner tools are essential for remote installations and support of partner accounts. Helping customers remain connected Adapting to challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, is further investing in solutions that help customers remain connected and engaged. The company has created a resource hub called “Succeeding Remotely” that provides tools, tips and news links that partners can use to adapt their business operations. From adjusting sales and installation techniques to maintaining cellular upgrades, is helping partners stay connected to customers remotely, keep their teams trained, and address rapidly evolving customer concerns without rolling trucks.The company has created a resource hub called “Succeeding Remotely “Additionally, after seeing all that our partners are doing to support their local communities in need, we were compelled to highlight those efforts with ongoing videos called Good Connections, which we’re sharing with our partner community to spark more ideas and ways to help,” says Ferguson. “Though our partners have experienced varying degrees of disruption to their business, we’re inspired by their adaptability, ingenuity and resilience,” says Ferguson. “Along with establishing proper safeguards for operating in homes and businesses, our partners are leveraging our support resources more heavily, while our entire staff has worked tirelessly to deliver new, timely resources.” Do-It-Together solutions partners are successfully employing Do-It-Together (DIT) solutions, focusing on 3G-to-LTE upgrades, and pivoting to new verticals like commercial and wellness. Many are also streamlining their business operations and taking advantage of virtual training opportunities to enhance their technicians’ skills and knowledge, says Ferguson. Do-It-Together installs involve depending on customers to perform part or all of the installation process. Partners can send customers fully configured kits with mounting instructions, or technicians may guide customers on a remote video call.’s tools, training and products help partners modify remote installation options depending on each customer’s needs. End users can validate the Smart Gateway with their central station that sensors they have mounted were done correctly using the mobile app Smart Gateway For example, the Smart Gateway can be pre-configured with indoor and outdoor cameras for easy customer installation and to reduce the likelihood of future service calls. Also, end users can validate with their central station that sensors they have mounted were done correctly using the mobile app. “DIT is helping our partners continue onboarding customers and avoid backlogs,” says Ferguson. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the resiliency and level of future investment that our residential and commercial partners have shown in the face of adversity,” adds Ferguson. For example, a significant number of business customers have used the slow period to install systems that are typically too disruptive to put in during normal business hours. Similarly, service providers are adopting new technologies or business models, such as cloud-based access control. “They’re often saying to us, ‘I’m going to take this opportunity to make changes to improve our business,’ and have been working closely with us on training and business consulting to support their efforts,“ she says. Shift to the cloud Ferguson sees a growing preference for cloud-managed surveillance and access systems over ones that have historically been run on-premise. The technology itself is attractive, but especially driving change is the enhancement to the daily lives of service providers and customers, which have been strained during this time. “The foundational benefit of our cloud-based solution is the hassle-free, seamless customer experience it delivers,” says Ferguson. “We make this possible by taking ownership of the servers, software maintenance, firmware updates, health monitoring, and more. With cloud technology, these aspects become invisible to the customer and take a lot off their plate, which is more important than ever.” End users can take advantage of Smart Tip video tutorials to help with DIT installations, or they can use the Wellcam to connect with loved ones anywhere.End users can take advantage of Smart Tip video tutorials to help with DIT installations Partners can attend training workshops focused on remote installation tactics, while driving consumer interest in new offerings through’s Customer Connections platform. The goal is to make it simple for partners to stay connected to their customers to maximise lifetime account value. “We are well-positioned to endure the pandemic because of the strength of our partners in their markets along with our investments in technology, hardware and our team,” says Ferguson. “As restrictions slowly lift, there is cautious optimism that the residential, commercial, property management, plumbing/HVAC, builder and other verticals will recover quickly. We believe that as more partners adopt the DIT model and add commercial and wellness RMR, they will find increasing opportunities to deploy security, automation, video, video analytics, access and more throughout their customer base.”

COVID-19 worries boost prospects of touchless biometric systems
COVID-19 worries boost prospects of touchless biometric systems

Spread of the novel coronavirus has jolted awareness of hygiene as it relates to touching surfaces such as keypads. No longer in favour are contact-based modalities including use of personal identification numbers (PINs) and keypads, and the shift has been sudden and long-term. Both customers and manufacturers were taken by surprise by this aspect of the virus’s impact and are therefore scrambling for solutions. Immediate impact of the change includes suspension of time and attendance systems that are touch-based. Some two-factor authentication systems are being downgraded to RFID-only, abandoning the keypad and/or biometric components that contributed to higher security, but are now unacceptable because they involve touching. Touchless biometric systems in demand The trend has translated into a sharp decline in purchase of touch modality and a sharp increase in the demand for touchless systems, says Alex Zarrabi, President of Touchless Biometrics Systems (TBS). Biometrics solutions are being affected unequally, depending on whether they involve touch sensing, he says. Spread of the novel coronavirus has jolted awareness of hygiene as it relates to touching surfaces such as keypads “Users do not want to touch anything anymore,” says Zarrabi. “From our company’s experience, we see it as a huge catalyst for touchless suppliers. We have projects being accelerated for touchless demand and have closed a number of large contracts very fast. I’m sure it’s true for anyone who is supplying touchless solutions.” Biometric systems are also seeing the addition of thermal sensors to measure body temperature in addition to the other sensors driving the system. Fingerscans and hybrid face systems TBS offers 2D and 3D systems, including both fingerscans and hybrid face/iris systems to provide touchless identification at access control points. Contactless and hygienic, the 2D Eye system is a hybrid system that combines the convenience of facial technology with the higher security of iris recognition. The system recognises the face and then detects the iris from the face image and zeros in to scan the iris. The user experiences the system as any other face recognition system. The facial aspect quickens the process, and the iris scan heightens accuracy. TBS also offers the 2D Eye Thermo system that combines face, iris and temperature measurement using a thermal sensor module. TBS's 2D Eye Thermo system combines face, iris and temperature measurement using a thermal sensor module Another TBS system is a 3D Touchless Fingerscan system that provides accuracy and tolerance, anti-spoofing, and is resilient to water, oil, dust and dirt. The 2D+ Multispectral for fingerprints combines 2D sensing with “multispectral” subsurface identification, which is resilient to contaminants and can read fingerprints that are oily, wet, dry or damaged – or even through a latex glove. In addition, the 3D+ system by TBS provides frictionless, no-contact readings even for people going through the system in a queue. The system fills the market gap for consent-based true on-the-fly systems, says Zarrabi. The system captures properties of the hand and has applications in the COVID environment, he says. The higher accuracy and security ratings are suitable for critical infrastructure applications, and there is no contact; the system is fully hygienic. Integration with access control systems Integration of TBS biometrics with a variety of third-party access control systems is easy. A “middleware” subsystem is connected to the network. Readers are connected to the subsystem and also to the corporate access control system. An interface with the TBS subsystem coordinates with the access control system. For example, a thermal camera used as part of the biometric reader can override the green light of the access control system if a high temperature (suggesting COVID-19 infection, for example) is detected. The enrollment process is convenient and flexible and can occur at an enrollment station or at an administration desk. Remote enrollment can also be accomplished using images from a CCTV camera. All templates are encrypted. Remotely enrolled employees can have access to any location they need within minutes. The 3D+ system by TBS provides frictionless, no-contact readings even for people going through the system in a queue Although there are other touchless technologies available, they cannot effectively replace biometrics, says Zarrabi. For example, a centrally managed system that uses a Bluetooth signal from a smart phone could provide convenience, is “touchless,” and could suffice for some sites. However, the system only confirms the presence and “identity” of a smart phone – not the person who should be carrying it. “There has been a lot of curiosity about touchless, but this change is strong, and there is fear of a possible second wave of COVID-19 or a return in two or three years,” says Zarrabi. “We really are seeing customers seriously shifting to touchless.”