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Redefining Security: As Connectivity Accelerates, Systems Bridge Multiple Markets

Security Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

A new suite of security product emerging from the trenches is not specific to commercial or residential only. Instead, multimarket products applicable to both are evolving as the internet of things (IoT), connectivity, and integration between systems and services continue to accelerate.

In the past, solutions were specific to residential or commercial, and there was little crossover. Commercial systems were often proprietary and closed, offering little integration to other products without heavy lifting by way of programming, modifications or additional hardware. The commercial security products market was the original test bed for many different technologies (often originating from the military and government sectors). Many were complex and expensive and couldn’t be used in the residential or even the small-to-medium business (SMB) sector.

Video analytics is a prime example of technology that is crossing over. When analytics first came on the market decades ago, the technology was hyped and overpromised. The data that was delivered was difficult for businesses to apply to security and operations. It was prone to false positives, and programming was unwieldy and time-consuming. With improvements in computing processing power, software and artificial intelligence (AI), video analytics is now common in networked security cameras. In addition, it is making its way to residential applications, capturing motion and interpreting it with deep context that enables a new breed of smart engagement.

Lower costs drive implementations

Video analytics usage in residential applications will become more common, said Brandon Niles, director of operations, Acadian Monitoring Services, Lafayette, La.

“Video analytics are becoming less expensive and often included with camera systems at no cost,” he said, adding that consumers are more knowledgeable and accepting of the technology while contractors use its features as a service differentiator. He’s most excited about AI, which he thinks will dramatically alter the industry once video and data are in place.

“Imagine the bank setting with video monitoring that gets events every time someone walks in the door,” he said. “Now imagine that same bank where we would only get events when someone in the bank is wearing a mask or a hoodie. We would be able to get the event, dispatch police or a guard, and keep them up-to-date on the potential threat even before panic buttons are activated. Right now, narrowing it down to this level just isn’t readily accessible at a price point that most people could afford. With AI, all that changes.”

With the move to increased network connectivity through broadband, cellular and Wi-Fi, security products are moving to greater applicability between markets. According to Parks Associates, Dallas, forecast sales of connected consumer devices will exceed 520 million units by 2022, including networked cameras, security systems and connected health devices, resulting in an emergence of a wealth of new residential devices.

Commercial products hit the easy button

The simplicity of consumer systems—with the rise of interactive services, the cloud and app connectivity—has also pushed commercial products in a similar direction of offering a better user experience through simpler operation.

Brad LaRock, vice president of marketing at Alula, a smart security systems provider headquartered in St. Paul, said the company is leaning into and investing heavily in this trend.

“Residential is taking advantage of things that were really formerly available only at the commercial level,” LaRock said. “Some of the products in commercial were overengineered and precluded use in residential. We are taking our broadband-based product line and extending it to both residential and small commercial.”

LaRock said the loT and network-connected activity is at the center of this ongoing transformation.

“Security has different definitions depending on the market,” he said. “The general awareness is that, once you have a network-connected device, you can bring video to life; access control to life. You are controlling who is moving in and out of the facility. That broadband, network connection is what powers that, and that’s where the core of that crossover is starting to happen. There’s a big portion of businesses that fall into the SMBs, four doors, 20 to 50 employees, who had been precluded from access control and other security because of the expense and the fact that systems were designed to serve bigger populations. Now you can serve those audiences at a more attractive price. In the same regard, the consumer system is becoming robust enough that it can serve those SMBs. That ease of use and a smooth experience is what small commercial is looking for. It’s more of a consumer feel.”

LaRock said today’s security customer wants a modern solution that blends into their life or business.

“The definition of security is redefining itself,” he said. “Different users have different views on what it means, and no one size fits all.”

About the Author

Deborah L. O'Mara

Freelance Writer

Deborah L. O’Mara is a journalist with more than two decades experience writing about security, life safety and systems integration, and she is the managing director of DLO Communications in Chicago. She can be reached at dlocommunications@gmail.com...

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