As a “futurist” for lock manufacturer Allegion, Robert C. Martens says he is “part strategist, part predictor” – looking at megatrends, current events, technology changes, and how those changes impact Allegion’s business customers and partners. Spanning both the commercial and residential businesses, Martens considers various scenarios for business leaders and partners, specifically regarding where technologies and electronics are going.

Today, he spends a lot of time thinking about the Internet of Things. Martens sees a tremendous amount of “disruptive innovation” in the market, specifically in the residential market where the Internet of Things (IoT) will be a huge force, led by “mega-tech” companies such as Apple, Google and Samsung. He expects the disruption to spill over into the commercial markets sooner or later.

IoT is compelling and is here to stay!

IoT may be a buzzword, but it’s an older term that’s been around since 1999. It’s also a trend that’s here to stay, whether we like it or not. Driving the IoT is a proliferation of lower-costs sensors, combined with burgeoning availability of inexpensive bandwidth, and less costly computer processing. In fact, sensor costs are down 50 percent, bandwidth costs are down 50-fold, and processing power costs are down 60-fold since 2010. Taken together, this is a formula to combine massive amounts of data with low-cost processing to analyse the data to find patterns in the seeming chaos. “It sounds confusing, but it doesn’t have to be,” says Martens. “Everyone has the ability to play there. It’s not a space that will exclude people, it’s just a matter of what level they engage.”

The IoT is a broad term that encompasses connected homes, smart automobiles, wearables, smart cities and industrial automation. IoT represents the third evolution of the Internet. The first came in the 1990s when there were about 1 billion people communicating through PCs and desktop computers. In the early 2000s, about 2 billion were connecting using mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones. Projecting progress of the Internet of Things, there may be between 50 and 200 billion IP-connected devices by 2025. Sensors will send data via the Internet with no human intervention. “There will be an exponential leap in the amount of data being thrown to the Internet,” says Martens.

Allegion’s Robert C. Martens sees a tremendous amount of “disruptive innovation” in the market, specifically in the residential market where the Internet of Things (IoT) will be a huge force, led by “mega-tech” companies such as Apple, Google and Samsung

Mega-tech companies will drive IoT

The interest of mega-tech companies in the Internet of Things will drive how technology is implemented. For example, Apple’s HomeKit is a built-in iOS 8 feature that allows iPhone and iPad users to communicate with and control products in a connected home ecosystem. It promises a more integrated, holistic experience for home automation. A homeowner can tell Siri to unlock a door.

Martens expects more dominance of networking standards such as Bluetooth Low Energy (LE), low-power WiFi taking the place of radio communication standards such as Zwave and Zigbee. Rather than communicating with each other, devices will be communicating via the cloud using application protocol interfaces (APIs).

Power and connectivity still a challenge?

Power consumption is always a concern for IoT devices, especially locks. Allegion has a HomeKit-enabled lock called the Schlage Sense that uses Bluetooth LE to enable batteries to last more than a year.

Martens also points out that connectivity won’t be the deciding factor for homeowners’ lock purchases anytime soon. Rather, people will still shop for individual locks and other devices, and connectivity will be flexible. For its part, Allegion is looking to make its locks as flexible as possible – able to use various platforms. Homeowners can operate the devices alone, or put them together will compatible platforms. “Our goal is to load the lock with as many options as possible, so however you want to access that door, you can do it,” says Martens. 

An example of new lock functionality is the use of accelerometers in locks that can sense the difference between a door that is slammed or kicked in (which could be tied into an alarm). An autolock feature allows a door to lock automatically after 15 seconds or 2 minutes (selectable), thus increasing security if a homeowner forgets to lock the door.

IoT crossover from residential to commercial

More and more people are walking through the door wanting to use their phone. We are seeing significant amounts of automation moving into the commercial space. IoT is only going to move as fast and be as successful as integrators allow it to be”, predicts Martens

As home automation catches on, it’s just a matter of time before end users begin expecting the same automation experience in the commercial setting. “It’s happening. The real question is how long before people say, I have this at home, I need it at work,” Martens says. You can already see the early signs with a shift toward the idea of using a smart phone in lieu of a card-based credential to open a door.

“More and more people are walking through the door wanting to use their phone. We are seeing significant amounts of automation moving into the commercial space. IoT is only going to move as fast and be as successful as integrators allow it to be. If integrators drag their feet, other integrators will take their place. It is absolutely a requirement for someone with tribal knowledge of security for IoT to become a reality. You need physical security knowledge. The people who drive it, they are going to see a significant surge in demand for their services.

“Disruption is flowing from residential to commercial,” Martens says. “As a leader in the commercial and residential space, we [at Allegion] get this, we see the disruption. It’s a matter of change management, a question of whether the integrator community is ready to take this on. I’m confident they are starting to. The people I fear for are those who think it’s a flash in the pan. It’s not, and those who get a head start will do extremely well. It will be a fantastic business, all it does is expose more their deep, rich knowledge [of security]. Somebody has to put sensors in the right order to do it right.”

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

Author profile

Larry Anderson Editor, SecurityInformed.com & SourceSecurity.com

An experienced journalist and long-time presence in the US security industry, Larry is SourceSecurity.com's eyes and ears in the fast-changing security marketplace, attending industry and corporate events, interviewing security leaders and contributing original editorial content to the site. He leads SourceSecurity.com's team of dedicated editorial and content professionals, guiding the "editorial roadmap" to ensure the site provides the most relevant content for security professionals.

In case you missed it

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.”

How to maximise your body temperature detection systems
How to maximise your body temperature detection systems

There are many companies jumping into selling temperature detection systems to the state, local governments, hospitals, airports and local businesses, but do they know how to drive one? Anyone can get behind a car and drive it into a wall by accident. The same can happen with a temperature detection system.  The first thing you should ask is “does my firm have a certified thermographer?”. If not, the firm are at risk of getting a low quality system that is being resold to make quick cash. Businesses that are doing this do not know how to operate it properly. Asking the right questions Secondly, you should ask whether the system is NDAA compliant. NDAA compliance means that your temperature detection equipment is protected by U.S. law. Does your system have a HSRP device (blackbody)? HSRP (Heat Source Reference Point) is a device that will allow the camera to detect the correct temperature a distance. Even if the room temperature does change throughout the day, treat it as a reference point for the camera to know the temperature at that distance. Can your system scan mutliple people at once? Can your system scan mutliple people at once? This is a bad question but often asked since most systems will say yes. For ease, everyone wants to scan many people at once, but the best practice according to FDA and CDC guidelines is to run one person at a time for best accuracy. Why? The HSRP (blackbody) device tells the camera what the correct temperature is at a given distance away from the camera. Every foot you are away from the HSRP device will be off by 0.1 degrees roughly. If you are in a room full of people, let's say 6, in view of the camera, every person that is not next to the HSRP device (5) will be given an inaccurate reading. Hence why it is so important to run the system correctly with just one person at a time. You will also need to follow the 6 feet rule. If you take that into consideration, one at a time at 6 feet apart, the device should tell you how you need to run the system. Sensitivity of thermal imaging Is your system’s sensor accurate enough? The FDA recommends an error of ±0.5°C or better. When looking for a system, make sure it is better than what they recommend. I would recommend ±0.3°C or better. Do not purchase a system over ±-.5°C degrees as you are doing yourself and your customers or employees an injustice.  Another thing to look at is how many pixels it can determine the temperature from. Some cameras can only tell the temperature of 6 points on the screen, whilst others can take a temperature reading from each pixel. Take a 384x288 camera, for example, which would be over 110,000 points of temperature taking on a single image.      Thermal cameras are very sensitive, so there are a lot of do’s and don’ts. For example, the system cannot see through glasses or hats. On the below image you can see a person with the visual camera on the right, whilst on the left side is through a thermal camera.  Both are pointing at the same area. It is clear the person on the left side is “invisible” to the thermal imaging camera. Demonstrating the sensitivity of thermal imaging If you are a company who wants to detect the temperature of customers or employees though the front door, window or a car window, the answer would be no. You need a clear line of sight without any interference to scan for temperatures. Other things you need to look out for is wind and distance away from the HSRP (blackbody) device. Air and distance away from the HSRP device will make the system less and less accurate the more space between the device. Air and distance away from the HSRP device will make the system less and less accurate Thermal imaging and COVID-19 If you have a clear line of sight, is there anything I need to know? The answer is yes. Reflective materials such as metal can interfere with your temperature readings. Reflective materials are easily picked up from the thermal side so pointing at a medal, glass or anything reflective can cause inaccuracies within the system. In the age of COVID-19, temperature detection systems are more important than ever. Organisations must get a system in place to help scan for high temperatures in order to reduce the spread of the virus.

What are the security challenges of the oil and gas market?
What are the security challenges of the oil and gas market?

Protecting the oil and gas market is key to a thriving economy. The list of security challenges for oil and gas requires the best technology solutions our industry has to offer, from physical barriers to video systems to cybersecurity. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: what are the security challenges of the oil and gas market?