As the year spins into its final months, some definitive trends have emerged: artificial intelligence (A.I.), video analytics and proactive deterrence and detection are creating interest in new markets as users look for ways to infuse safety and security into their surroundings.
Here’s a sampling of some of the hot markets for systems integrators to consider:
Campuses and classrooms—School safety continues to be essential, prompting increased funding and initiatives for security. The federal government and many states have initiated significant investment for security improvements in educational facilities.
Last year, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was signed into law, providing $1 billion in funding for schools to “put in place comprehensive strategies to create safe and healthy learning environments,” as well as an additional $300 million for training and equipment.
Security strategies in schools require a layered approach, adding in-house staff and installing such technology as electronic locks, access control, intercoms and paging, vape detection and metal and gun detection. Visitor check-in, lockdown drills and controlled access to buildings are among the most common school security measures.
The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools released its latest guidelines with focused best practice recommendations and tiers of protection redesigned for clarity. A new “enhanced technologies” section details solutions under consideration, including weapons detection, analytics, emergency communications and biometrics.
According to the guidelines, “a layered approach is essential to addressing a broad range of threats, as each successive layer provides specific components to deter, detect or delay and respond to adversarial behaviors in the event that other layers are bypassed or breached.”
Some of the classroom systems detailed in the guidelines include public-address, two-way intercoms, duress buttons, in-building emergency communications, distributed antenna systems, mass notification, building-wide communications and mobile applications.
Retail and pop-ups—Losses from organized retail crime (ORC) and shoplifting are rising. The proliferation of self-checkouts may also increase vulnerability to loss of product. Total annual retail “shrink”—the reduction in physical inventory from theft or other causes—was $94.5 billion in 2021, up from $90.8 billion in 2020. Nearly half was attributable to ORC, according to survey data from the National Retail Federation and research by the National Coalition of Law Enforcement. Video with A.I. and analytics is now integrating with antitheft technology to thwart ORC. Retailers are also focusing on smart surveillance, facial-recognition cameras, license plate and vehicle readers, autonomous security robots, RFID tags, smart locks and A.I.-specific software.
Office conversions—A casualty of the pandemic, massive former office parks stand vacant as companies downsize and the remote work trend continues.
Outside Chicago, Allstate left its Northfield headquarters for a smaller location. Healthcare company Baxter International also downsized. Before the pandemic, Motorola Solutions moved from its sprawling Schaumburg campus to the Merchandise Mart downtown.
According to Colliers, at the beginning of 2023, the area’s suburban vacancy rate was one of the highest recorded, at 26%, and this scene is playing out across the country. Moving into these spaces are massive logistics, manufacturing and transit hubs, necessitating a wide range of physical security—from perimeter protection and detection to video surveillance, access control and building intelligence solutions.
Cannabis cultivators and retailers—Some 23 states, the District of Columbia and Guam have legalized marijuana for recreational use. According to MJBiz, combined U.S. medical and recreational cannabis sales could top $33 billion by the end of 2023, largely driven by the opening of new adult-use markets. Retail cannabis sales are projected to be upwards of $53 billion by 2027.
Specific security regulations vary and are dictated by individual states. Since cannabis dispensaries are all-cash due to federal laws that classify marijuana as an illegal substance, these businesses are prime targets for criminals.
Generally, these facilities must maintain strict access control throughout the building and include alarm detection systems. Video surveillance is required 24/7 for all entrances and exits at dispensaries and growing facilities. States may also require video throughout internal areas.
Consultants specializing in these markets can assist system integrators and may be well worth the extra monies spent to avoid an errant or rejected proposal.
stock.adobe.com / nadl2022