When it comes to the accelerating pace of technological change – though that’s disputed – people often refer to Moore’s Law, whereby the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles roughly every two years.
In layman’s terms this means computers are becoming exponentially more powerful. We see how this manifests in the security sector with the rise of video analytics and the explosion in volumes of data generated, processed and stored.
The art of the possible is broadening all the time.
Articles about trends in security technology are among the most popular on this site and no wonder. Installers and integrators are anxious to up-skill and adapt their business models to thrive or even survive.
End users, meanwhile, must be sure that their systems remain fit for purpose, cyber-resilient, compliant with standards and regulations, energy-efficient and, in some cases, offer benefits beyond security.
AXIS Communications anticipates trends in the market every January and Johan Paulsson, the surveillance giant’s CTO, has done so again for 2018. Research firm IHS Markit, which has a division dedicated to the physical security industry, has also released a report on video surveillance trends this year. The eight trends below draw on both.
1. Creeping closer to the ‘edge’
“Two of the greatest trends that have propelled our industry forward in recent years are cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), both delivering undeniable benefits to businesses and consumers alike,” says Johan Paulsson of Axis Communications. “That said, they also come with implications, namely the rise in the amount of data being transferred, processed and stored.
“We anticipate that edge computing will become ever popular, alleviating this issue by performing data processing at the ‘edge’ of the network, closer to the source of the data. Doing so significantly reduces the bandwidth needed between sensors, devices and the data center.”
2. There’s the global market and then there’s the Chinese market
In IHS Markit’s report, Jon Cropley reflects on the dominance and exceptionalism of the Chinese market. The world’s other superpower is forecast to account for over 46% of global professional video surveillance equipment revenues in 2018.
Equipment supply is highly concentrated in China, with two brands – Hikvision and Dahua – hoovering up most business, notes Cropley, whereas elsewhere the market is generally much more fragmented, even despite some consolidation in recent years.
Cropley speaks more extensively about the topic in the report, also touching on HD CCTV, overall growth rates and the make-up of the Chinese domestic market.
3. More cloud-to-cloud integration
“The cloud ecosystem is increasingly the preferred point of integration, rather than the traditional on-premise system.” Johan Paulsson, CTO, Axis Communications
“Despite the move towards edge computing, the cloud will continue to play a significant role in IT infrastructures,” says Paulsson of Axis Communications. “As an increasing number of companies offer cloud-based services, the cloud ecosystem is increasingly becoming the preferred point of integration, rather than the traditional on-premise system.
“One benefit of integration between clouds is a significant potential reduction of in-house IT services required, creating great cost benefits.”
4. Deep and machine learning comes of age
Paulsson of Axis Communications: “We have now reached a stage where the full benefits of deep learning architectures and machine learning can start to be realised. The explosion of data available to analyse is helping businesses become increasingly intelligent.
“As applications develop, there are significant opportunities for predictive analytics which could facilitate incident prevention: from terrorist incidents to slip and fall accidents; from traffic issues to shoplifting; and even the tragedy of rail suicides.”
5. Cybersecurity and GDPR loom large
“The constant enhancement of cybersecurity will be a never-ending task, because well-resourced cybercriminals will never stop looking to exploit vulnerabilities in any new technology,” says Paulsson of Axis Communications. “And as the number of connected devices grows, so too do the potential flaws that, if left unaddressed, could provide the opportunity for networks to be breached.
“Legislation is being created to address these concerns. In the European Union, the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – the deadline for compliance being May – will unify the protection of data for individuals within the EU, wherever that data is held or used.
“If your CCTV system is not optimised for GDPR data requests, this is likely to pose a high administrative workload in validating and processing them.” Josh Woodhouse, IHS Markit
Josh Woodhouse of IHS Markit writes that “if an organisation’s surveillance system covers publicly accessible areas they may be required to provide a copy of any video footage featuring an individual to them on request. If their system is not optimised for this, this is likely to pose a high administrative workload in validating and processing these requests.”
6. Embryonic IoT market will mature
Paulsson of Axis Communications: “The IoT has reached a point where it is crucial to use scalable architecture to successfully collect and analyse data, and manage the network of connected devices.
“Such an IoT platform allows equipment from different node vendors to coexist and easily exchange information to form smart systems using existing network infrastructure. There are numerous companies, both well-established providers of technology and new market entrants, enabling platforms to support IoT devices, and the next year will see further maturation.”
7. Drone detection to be a bigger priority than drones themselves
In the IHS Markit report, Oliver Philippou notes that accidental or malicious drone tresspassers are not constrained by factors – regulatory, battery life and cost-related – thus far inhibiting the growth of drone use in the security market. With those barriers not likely to be surmounted quickly, she surmises that drone detection, for the time being, will be a bigger priority and source of investment than drones themselves.
A Channel Island prison has been one of the early adopters of such technology, deploying ‘Sky Fence’, which creates a 600-metre virtual shield around the prison that detects remote-controlled drones. Thus detected, rogue drones are then forced to retreat from the vicinity when sensors – dubbed ‘disruptors’ – block its frequency and control protocols.
8. Fault tolerance taken more seriously
“Many video surveillance systems still have fairly limited fault tolerance and failover capability,” writes Josh Woodhouse in the IHS Markit report. This year could witness a shift that aligns the industry more with the IT sector, which is more circumspect on this point. As CCTV becomes more valuable and versatile, the consequences of going down will be greater.
Most visual data captured by security cameras in the UK is wasted, according to the founder of a cloud-based surveillance company. James Wickes, CEO of Cloudview, says few businesses analyse the CCTV images they capture.
Should organisations make progress in exploiting the vast amounts of visual data captured, then the costs of downtime will accordingly rise and the motive for strengthening fault tolerance and failover capability will become more compelling, it seems reasonable to surmise.
Woodhouse also reflects on the CCTV dimensions surrounding the legalisation of cannabis supply in the US.