Numerous influencing factors are causing widespread transformation in the physical security industry. Trends include the internet of things, cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence, data privacy and the move to service models from traditional hardware-centric installing companies.
High-power PoE standard
Ratified and approved in September 2018 and expected to be published in early 2019, IEEE 802.3bt, the 100-watt (W) power over ethernet (PoE) standard, is opening the door to new connected technology applications. IEEE 802.3bt standard is also backward-compatible with all PoE devices.
PoE wattages have stepped up dramatically over the years. The original 2003 PoE standard, IEEE 802.3af, allowed for maximum of 15.4W. The next iteration, IEEE 802.3at, increased maximum power to 30W. IEEE 802.3bt allows for more than six times the amount of power than the first PoE standard.
IEEE 802.3bt covers Type 3 (60W) and Type 4 (100W) power variants. Close to 100W of electricity can be carried over a single cable to power devices such as wireless access points, thermal cameras, heaters and illuminators, LED lighting fixtures, digital signage, display screens and small-cell base stations.
“This is huge for electrical contractors,” said Steve Surfaro, owner of Surfaro LLC in Phoenix and chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Public Safety Working Group. “The implementation of the standard will allow cost savings with an easier cabling architecture that can be scaled out simply, along with the ability to utilize a zone cabling design or topology.”
Zone cabling lets contractors leverage consolidation points to reduce the overall cost of adding or moving network cabling. Leveraging horizontal cabling and wireless access points, for example, multiple high-powered PoE ports can serve high-wattage pan-tilt cameras, lighting, televisions, displays and more.
“Many hospitality markets and hotels are already making use of it,” Surfaro said. “We will see a full array of products to support it, infrastructure devices that are fully forward compatible. This high-power standard will also mean labor savings and promote green building compliance, as well as opportunities in smart buildings.”
Facial recognition makes strides
Facial recognition is finding applications in security, safety and even customer marketing. Retailers and event planners may use it. As a guest walks up to a camera, it compares their face to the image on file and texts management that a VIP needs to be escorted, a great perk for customer loyalty programs.
Facial recognition is also increasingly deployed for deterrence and crime reduction, applied in real-time to minimize threats and prevent incidents.
“Facial recognition is definitely one of those tools that’s going to continue to grow in use,” said Lindsey Silva, security consultant for Blue Line Technology, Fenton, Mo., and owner of security and consulting company Sentryn.
The company’s First Line solution is a nonintrusive, biometric verification system that can read, evaluate and verify a face while a person is walking up to a door, or through a metal detector or turnstile. Synced with door locks at multiple entrances, the solution allows businesses, convenience stores and other facilities open late at night to achieve another layer of security.
“If someone approaches the business, they need to have their face visible and register as ‘unknown’ for the subject to be granted entry,” Silva said. “When an individual must look into a camera without a mask before entering an establishment, he or she is more likely to not follow through with potential unlawful activity. They know their face is captured on camera.”
Silva is seeing greater acceptance of facial recognition by the public.
“In one pilot program, women felt safer at night shopping at a particular establishment,” she said. “Facial recognition is becoming a necessity within public safety as an investigative tool and a force multiplier for guard services, giving them more information to use.”
Audio solutions emerge strong
Audio is providing an essential layer to physical security solutions, said James Marcella, director of industry associations at Axis Communications, Chelmsford, Mass.
“Audio technology allows security professionals to interact with people remotely as well as provide an automated response to prevent situations from escalating to an incident by identifying aggressive voices, glass breaking and even gunshots,” he said. “With this new audio technology and analytical capabilities, security professionals can proactively detect, interpret and respond to events and emergency situations.”