Articles by Tim Raynor
We still have some way to go before we see 5G service rolled out as a UK-wide service, but we can discuss future implications of 5G, and how it can improve device capabilities once its widely accessible. The impact of 5G lies within the increase in the amount of data that can be transferred between smart home devices through a cloud-based system. By utilising the cloud’s mass computing power and its ability to process data in larger capacities, we are able to receive more in-depth analytics that can help improve smart home devices by making them faster, more informed and intelligent. Will 5G boost innovation in the smart home market, if so, how? Innovation using 5G can be shown with current smart home CCTV systemsAn example of innovation using 5G can be shown with current smart home CCTV systems. Products at present allow you to use functionalities such as motion detection. As it stands, this is a basic form of monitoring that monitors changes in picture and notifies the owner when something unusual has happened. Once 5G comes into play, the video data captured can be sent off to the cloud, interpreted in more detail, and can allow the system to conclude whether the movement is from a human, object or animal. Facial recognition could also come into play here, providing a more seamless service when reporting incidents to the police. Similarly, you can use data from various different devices within your home to toughen security measures. A video camera used in conjunction with a presence or heat detector can eliminate small errors by providing the ‘bigger picture’ with more data points to work with - an amalgamation of all smart devices used in tandem. We can’t solely rely on smart devices to make decisions for us, but what we can do is improve device processing so that by the time we step in, we already have all the necessary information to assess the appropriate call to action. What will 5G enable homeowners to do within their homes? Smart homes using 4G currently operate in a fragmented fashion, incorporating Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other network protocols. Unlike 4G, 5G will work with low-power devices, making it useful for a broader array of connected products. This means that all devices we will be able to connect any internet connected product in order to allow integrated communication between all devices. Can be connected to work together in conjunction with your home system Your fridge and other kitchen appliances, for example, can be connected to work together in conjunction with your home system to create an entirely automated home. If your freezer is internet connected, you may get a notification if it loses power, but as everything else is also connected within your home, you will be able to determine whether it is a power fault or product fault straight away. Faster connectivity means that users can quickly take advantage of the data their smart devices provide, such as water use sensors which can monitor levels and allow for behaviour changes to curb water usage The same can be applied with vehicles. Cars in future will be autonomous and include an integrated dashcam which can then be connected to your security system to provide added security on-site in the peripheral of your home, alerting you to potential intruders before they reach your front door.
A total of £1.6 billion worth of goods are reported as ‘lost’ to in-store theft in supermarkets each year, with figures increasing steadily. The presence of self-checkout systems have increased in supermarkets, as well as other industry retailers. By 2021, we’re globally on track to have 468,000 self-checkout machines in operation, nearly double the 240,000 in existence since 2016. While this increase comes with such benefits as reduced wait times for customers and staff costs, it also comes with a risk of retail theft at self-checkouts. With the circumstances the world now finds itself in i.e. mass unemployment, financial uncertainty, the retail industry has seen an influx in these types of petty crimes, hitting retailers during an already turbulent period. While retailers are taking precautions to protect themselves and their patrons in this new era of in-person shopping, it’s important to ensure the business itself is protected. A popular method to combat these fears is to employ on-site security personnel, however, as we continue to adapt to new operating guidelines, retailers must begin thinking past the immediate future, and begin implementing long-term security solutions to prepare for life after lockdown such as strong CCTV systems with remote access. How has the security industry adapted its services to a post-lockdown world? Technological innovations like thermal recognition are key to adapting security systems for a post-lockdown world. Businesses which previously relied on facial recognition now must update their methods to account for shoppers wearing masks on-site and in-store. By 2021, we’re globally on track to have 468,000 self-checkout machines in operation, nearly double the 240,000 in existence since 2016 Biometric systems are now able to identify people with face masks, and thermal recognition such ADT’s Thermi-Scan system which can track human body temperature without the need for contact. Implementing these safe protocol procedures protect both employees and customers against virus outbreaks such as COVID-19. The need for these advances in video surveillance will reportedly increase the biometric facial recognition market by 14 per cent by 2027. Artificial intelligence has been hailed recently as the way forward for remote security needs, and whilst business-owners continue to navigate procedures of returning to work post-lockdown, having remote access to real-time security monitoring is essential now more than ever. What are the main measures stores can take to prevent or reduce theft? Strategically placing a multi-camera surveillance system to ensure clarity, eliminate blind spots, and deter thieves should be top priority. It’s equally essential to invest in a system which has an efficient playback programme, particularly in situations where reviewing important footage efficiently can offer vital information to the police force. Advances in video surveillance will reportedly increase the biometric facial recognition market by 14 per cent by 2027 As business-owners continue operating at reduced hours and with limited on-site staff, being able to access camera footage quickly and remotely is a key factor to consider. Whether owners opt to receive an alert on a mobile device allowing them to review notifications, or if their system is monitored by a remote security centre, it’s important to be able to access footage quickly for added efficiency and ease. Facial recognition and AI have been popular points of discussion in relation to security cameras and CCTV. While careful considerations must be taken prior to utilising any sort of facial recognition technology, including conducting a Privacy Impact Assessment, the benefits include being provided with real-time tracking of repeat offenders which immensely helps the prevention of in-store theft. Here are some key points to consider when choosing in-store surveillance: Assess your needs – To get the best out of your security system, it is essential to analyse what your requirements are for your business as they might have changed to adapt to a post-lockdown world Camera setup – With store layouts shifting to accommodate social distancing guidelines, it’s important to re-evaluate the current set-up of any security cameras. Depending on any layout updates, it might be important to consider operating multiple cameras in one area to ensure a peripheral view and eliminate any blind spots Camera positioning – For optimal performance, check that light sources are not obstructing your view such as glare from the sun. It is also worth considering the height at which cameras are installed to maximise surveillance Check the focus – It is worth testing camera lenses bi-monthly to ensure that lighting or weather hasn’t affected the focus of the lens, resulting in a blurry visual Remote access – As guidelines continue to evolve, ensure you’re able to access any necessary camera footage quickly and safely in case of emergency Will we begin to see a reduction of theft as new technology is implemented? We’re beginning to see incidents of shoplifting and theft being taken more seriously by law enforcement. In the coming months, for the first time in Britain nearly twenty shoplifters who were either caught red-handed or identified on CCTV will be appearing before magistrates. While currently these court cases are being pursued by a private police force, these actions come after a Government plea to high-level police to prosecute shoplifters stealing under £200. Retailers have long voiced concerns that forces have abandoned low-level thefts and these steps are small but show that businesses are being heard. As innovations in surveillance security continue, we’ll be seeing a move away from human involvement which will create a more reliable and efficient system able to rely on machine learning and analytics. While there have been wider strides made in utilising AI for surveillance, these are largely being used currently by local governments to alert police forces to threats of criminal activity. It’s not unreasonable to think that in the near future, these types of smart technology will be employed by private businesses to analyse suspicious behaviour or possible theft. However, as we see an increase in the advancement of security technology, we anticipate that those inclined to commit in-store theft will adapt their methods, therefore retailers should look to regularly evaluate their security needs to keep risks at bay.