What change would you like to see in security in 2022?
23 Dec 2021
Here’s a news flash: 2022 will be a pivotal year for the security industry. As we enter the new year, continuing change is a safe prediction for any fast-moving, technology-driven marketplace. Recent history confirms the ability of the security industry to shift and adapt to changing conditions and to provide an ever-expanding menu of technology solutions to make the world a safer place. Given that the new year will bring change, what will that change encompass? More to the point, what should it encompass? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the biggest change you would like to see within the security industry in 2022?
I would like to see more transparency and partnership between customers and providers. The purpose of business is to solve problems for customers. Doing this well requires mutual trust. Service providers must be honest with customers about which problems they truly can solve, and where they may not be a good fit. Conversely, customers must be willing to share their needs without being overly focused on the lowest price or fear of somehow being duped into buying something. If there’s no fit, both must be professional and walk away without ill will. A good fit can lead to a long-term, highly valuable partnership. The value of partnership is lost when organisations resort to ‘professional buyers’ or ‘sales closers,’ who are driven solely by cost. Then business becomes – or remains – merely a transaction at the expense of innovation. While transparency has improved over the years, we can still do better.
I’d like to see the industry embrace customer needs beyond perimeter security and into how access control devices including wireless locks and readers can be used to gain a better understanding of the way your space is being used. The security industry can solve new problems and offer unique solutions to hoteling and other flexible workspace needs. The customer’s needs are as much about efficient utilisation of spaces via access control as they are about security. All parties win when we collaborate and rise to the occasion and solve new challenges faced by our customers.
I would like to see faster adoption of new technologies, especially cloud-based technologies. The security industry has traditionally been slow to change. Change has lagged because of the cost of updating equipment, the risk a solution won’t meet your needs, the concern that the cost to implement a solution is more than the benefit it will provide, among other reasons. The number of new technologies is greater than ever, and the benefits they provide are significant. Leading the enablement of new technologies is the functionality of cloud-based solutions. Specifically, cloud-managed access control and cloud-hosted video management are two solutions that provide significant functionality, ease of use, and deliver reduced total cost of ownership.
The biggest change I’d like to see in the security industry next year is the wider adoption of video analytics in security systems and – on top of this – more diversity in the use cases for analytics to deliver added value for customers beyond security. Analytics has a major role in increasing the direct value of security systems by augmenting the role of security staff and making it easier to identify criminal activity, alert quicker, and more easily provide evidence to law enforcement and insurers. However, these systems also have a huge amount of unlocked potential to help customers increase the efficiency of their operations and generate value beyond security. For example, video analytics could inform footfall trends, customer satisfaction, and compliance policies. In 2021 I’d like to see security providers be more imaginative in how they can be a true partner to their customers and help to derive more ROI.
The security industry must adopt audio as an essential element to incorporate into security systems in 2022. Common pitfalls of current security installments, such as false alarms or delayed response times, can be answered with audio monitoring. As industry professionals, it is our job to provide expert level guidance and knowledge to those looking to deploy security measures. By not taking audio into account, the industry is not meeting that expectation. As sight and sound go hand in hand, we must change the conversation, specifications, and standards for modern surveillance systems to deploy both audio and video surveillance. At the end of the day, our collective goal is to keep people and property safe. Expanding our old ideas of a traditional surveillance system must continue to evolve. The time for audio to take its rightful place — not just as an add-on, but as an essential element of surveillance — is now.
We have seen a dramatic increase in safety and security needs in the marketplace, which is forcing security professionals to seek more versatile and well-rounded security solutions. The security solutions being sought include advanced audio solutions, as audio is increasingly recognised as a necessary technology to mitigate security risks. Humans instinctively respond to real-time voice, which makes audio instrumental in any security environment. Access control allows a team to safeguard a facility and allow entry, but it doesn’t provide real-time information. Video surveillance allows security teams to see and detect, but used alone, it has its limits with providing a complete view of a situation, as well. Audio brings those two elements together – it adds interactivity, and it allows people to hear, be heard and be understood, in any situation. Therefore, in 2022 and beyond, we look forward to the security industry continuing to incorporate audio in security solutions.
Recognising diversity needs to be a top priority for the security industry. By fostering diversity in the workplace, the security industry can attract and retain outstanding talent and provide optimal service for their clients. At Allied Universal, our inclusive culture encourages, supports, and celebrates a diverse workplace. It fuels our innovation and connects us closer to our customers and the communities in which we serve. We also believe that Supplier Diversity is an important component of our business strategy. Through subcontracted security partnerships and centrally sourced products and services, we work to integrate Supplier Diversity processes into how our company purchases goods and services. The security industry needs to do a better job on shining a light on this vital sector to attract the next generation of talent. I advise young people to look at industries that are growing, even in tough times, such as the security industry.
Why can't we obtain more clarity on how Government/Federal funding dollars are being allocated for the security industry? Most of this funding seems to be tied into different programs and, sometimes, it is difficult to identify how much funding and where the funding is coming from for the security industry. There are some options our customers can utilise like taking the SIA's Grants Training Course or checking in with FEMA to learn more about their Nonprofit Security Grant Program. They can learn how to navigate and leverage federal grants for security projects including commercial and non-federal projects. It still leads to a lot of work, although it is quicker to do. It would be beneficial if there was a more streamlined solution in finding these dollars. Securing your facility and protecting employees and the public is a top priority. The path to making this happen should be less convoluted.
I think the provision of man guarding needs attention in 2022. Over the last decade it has become a race to the bottom in terms of costs, which means the quality of the people employed and the service provided is too often compromised. Security operators need to realise that if you go cheap, you can cause a lot of potential issues. The UK government’s Protect Duty strategy was formulated after the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017 to ensure venues do the right assessment, and this is something you can’t do cheaply. Security team providers need to work with each other to improve these provisions, to empower teams and therefore the effectiveness of guarding companies. Naturally, security professionals should be paid what they are worth too! I wouldn’t be surprised if the government’s Protect Duty strategy becomes mandatory in a few years, which would be a positive step in improving this situation.
I’d like to see us continue to evolve as an industry, moving forward by embracing new ways of doing things rather than continuing forward with what we’ve always done. Customers are continuing to grapple with the ongoing constraints related to pandemic controls, emerging risks, labour shortages and supply chain issues, and as technology vendors we can help them address these challenges. There is significant interest in the ability to integrate any technology, regardless of type, manufacturer, or function to support an intelligent, data-driven security strategy. While video surveillance continues to be a priority for customers, we see a growing focus on critical event management with VMS and other security controls as components of a broader, more intelligence focused strategy. We are also seeing an increase in engagements where physical security and cyber security infrastructures are being integrated for greater awareness across the security function.
In 2022, I expect to see an accelerated rate of digitisation across nearly all industries, and I do expect this to happen as organisations address the changing work and business environment. Organisations are looking to find new ways to adapt to evolving market conditions and the technologies available today — from cloud and AI — can help support business, operational, and security initiatives. From a security market perspective, demand for video surveillance, intelligent IoT solutions, and cloud services will grow exponentially in the coming year. Cloud-based video surveillance is in demand because it is a highly valuable option across nearly every market segment. The initial fears around cloud have dissipated somewhat because it has proven to be a highly functional, flexible, and convenient method for businesses looking to protect and modernise their facilities.
Security, of course, is a wide-reaching subject, but from a building security – and specifically a hardware perspective – it’s vital that the industry aims to deliver only the best in security solutions. For too long, ambiguity has eclipsed the product selection process, and change is necessary. For example, I would like to see stakeholders (whether door specialists, hardware manufacturers or access control providers) working together at an earlier stage in projects, in a bid to provide enhanced, tailored solutions – helping set a precedent for building safety and security moving forward. It’s also crucial that we investigate how fire and security certification schemes could better work together, ensuring suppliers can navigate through the latest regulations successfully. In doing so, it will make it easier for suppliers to deliver better products at better value and with that, we’ll see product performance, and thus security, improve even further.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming popular in the security industry, but the sector needs to accelerate this adoption and hone in on its goals and deliverables, through better education about AI. For the security industry to benefit significantly from AI (plus its offshoots, machine learning and deep learning) there must be a baseline level of AI literacy across the organisation. Decision-makers must know the possibilities and limitations of AI, where it’s headed, and its applications unique to their organisation. With this, security leaders will be more informed when introducing AI elements to their security strategy and investing in AI solutions. They won’t buy an AI tool because it’s trendy, but because it aligns with their goals and needs. This knowledge can come in several ways, like short courses or training in AI products. On-the-job experience, such as working on pilot projects or embedding in a data team, can also help.
Security is a constantly evolving. By the time you read this article, there will be a new risk to mitigate, a new threat to analyse, or a new business challenge to solve. The fast-moving nature of this industry demands that manufacturers constantly improve their products or solutions so that security leaders can invest into augmenting their team’s ability to protect and secure. Video surveillance, the backbone of any robust security technology plan, must evolve as it is relied on most to deliver the visual data organisations demand to support ongoing strategies. The technology vendors that will thrive in the coming year will be those that will help security leaders keep pace with the newest trends, all designed to enhance security and operations, and drive increased levels of intelligence.
The security industry must take the lead on strengthening privacy protection. Biometric solutions improve privacy, especially when combined with cloud-based ID management, but they must also protect all biometric templates and identity data. Baseline protection starts with the software provider’s end-user license agreement. It should state that biometric data is anonymised and only used for the application when the user selects the option for capturing their biometric template. It also should include prohibitions against sharing data, and all transactions, photographs, biometric data, and other personal information should be encrypted and stored in a separate section of the operator’s network. Adding end-to-end encryption reinforces the already strong privacy protection of using a biometric in multi-factor authentication. Mobile-based access solutions should also use document scanning technology to read and validate whether a government-issued ID is real or not. Implementing these and other measures will protect privacy while enabling faster and more seamless and secure access experiences.
Our Expert Panel Roundtable is brimming with thoughts about changes they would like to see in the security industry in 2022, from faster adoption of new technologies to better education about artificial intelligence (AI). We should all embrace new ways of doing things, and manufacturers should help customers grab onto the latest trends. The Expert Panelists mention specific technologies that should be more widely adopted, including video and audio. The industry should recognise diversity. Business interactions should be more transparent. We need better clarity about government funding sources. Hopefully, change in 2022 will encompass all these worthy ambitions – and more – as the security marketplace evolves to become better than ever.
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