IP offers tremendous benefits, but presents a high technology threshold to cross over. “The market is highly fragmented,” Holtenhoff said. “As the world moves to IT-fication, we're going to see shakeout.”
Scaling the IP learning curve can be lucrative but difficult. “Since the cost of entry to IP-based security is higher than it used to be with analog, there will be fewer players in the future as IP technology becomes more advanced,” Clocher said. “Only a few companies will be able to master this technology to the degree needed in the video security space.”
However, a steep learning curve for IP does not mean the security industry will wind up in the hands of a single company. "Our industry is specialist," said Charlie LeBlanc, President of Security Services for FrontierMEDEX, a US consultant.
"For a large company, it consolidates all that and reduces the ‘speciality' for efficiency. It's hard under one umbrella to be efficient and active with the client base."
More Than You Bargained For
The migration from analog to IP means security is no longer an isolated system but a business enabler. “What we learned in the past few years is people understand the value of IP-based solutions,” said Bill Stuntz, VP and GM of the Physical Security Business Unit for Cisco Systems. “You get information on the basic situation and better communication for first responders.”
As security goes IP, network administrators deal with more security management, introducing a new dynamic involving more stakeholders. “Over the next five years, the convergence of security and business operations management will in crease several-fold,” Koh said. “Business cost is increasing globally, and well -managed companies are on a constant lookout to improve processes.” The security platform, with a renewed focus on understanding more diverse customer needs and solving their business problems, will be key to achieving this.
More companies now extend the value of their offerings by addressing business efficiencies, not just security needs. When solutions not only improve security but also enhance the bottom line or business processes with concrete metrics, security proves itself to be a smart investment. The IP world operates on a larger scale, requiring a better handle on a wider range of organizational needs and “turf war.” “IP has greater benefits for multiple sites,” Stuntz said. “Those small sites will hold onto DVRs and stand-alone systems longer than large customers. The opportunity for growth is on the IT side.”
IP offers the ability to specialize through more data, for better management and know-how. “IP and integration have been around for a long time now, often used but never completely understood or embraced,” Hussain said. “Fortunately, time and money have been invested in creating systems that take the complexity out of integrations, allowing physical security information to be aggregated and managed. We see huge growth here in the next few years as organizations look to harness the power of these systems.”
Smarter integration promises to make security better. “The first set of the value proposition delivered to the customer is more effective security systems,” Stuntz said. “We can be tying the security systems into operations in a store. The same cameras used to protect the store at night could look at traffic or shoplifting patterns in the day. Customers can get multiple uses of the cameras, spread costs throughout department sand accelerate deployment.”
IP goes beyond securing an enterprise, producing a result that was not previously possible. “The same hardware, software and databases that comprise an access control system can be used in a manufacturing setting, for example, to integrate with plant automation systems in order to ensure that the right number of qualified personnel is logged in at assembly workstations,” McCaughey said. “IP makes this integration possible, achieving a new result that impacts the customer's bottom line.” Such business-security integration requires understanding customer operations and business requirements deeply.
Take retail. Management may be interested in understanding customer and employee behavior, or improving operational efficiency. “The key is minimizing the time and equipment on-site, while making it easy for a broader range of users to access the information they need on a range of devices — Web, mobile and so on — in a range of formats,” Brown said.
IP demand will grow in both the public and private sectors. “We see a decent shift from analog to IP-based security, and that's because, as SMBs and enterprises grow particularly in emerging markets, they realize the advantage of having safety and security based on IP as opposed to analog,” Kan said. “Governments are taking stringent measures to enhance security infrastructure. Additionally, large enterprises, transportation and educational institutions are investing in securing their premises from external threats.” [NextPage]
As IP defines the future of security, technology developments are reshaped as well. PSIM, VCA and cloud-based services are three things that will influence the industry, if not the world.
PSIM as a term is relatively new, but has gained greater recognition in the past five years. Today, PSIM is in the early growth stage of its product life cycle, having passed through the development and market introduction stages but not yet reaching maturity, Hussain said.
Several criteria mark the early growth phase. First, increased sales have resulted in cost reduction from economies of scale. “Globally, the number of PSIM deployments have increased significantly over the last year,” Hussain said. “There are currently in excess of 400 deployments worldwide, and this number increases every week.”
Second, there is greater competition in this space. While not all solutions offer the same degree of integration, it reflects the market's need for true PSIM solutions, Hussain said.
The rise of HD imaging makes intelligent video all the more relevant. While more pixels may not necessarily make the algorithms more accurate, basic motion detection could significantly reduce storage costs by only recording in HD when something happens. If nothing occurs, the camera can record at a lower resolution.
VCA does not occur in a vacuum, as it requires some way to report an event. “Our view is that the algorithm is only half of the equation,” Holtenhoff said. “The ability to get benefit out of that is a VMS that leverages metadata.”
Analytics help make data more usable, processing information from cameras and storage. “What you have is a big warehouse of data, without the ability to search through the data or analyze it in real time,” Holtenhoff said. “It's like going to the library to find a book on Shakespeare, but there's no coding tool.”
Intelligent video is clearly a trend, enabling a camera to count people or monitor traffic. “You have one product, and if the processor is smart and flexible enough, you can generate multiple uses,” Clocher said. “One analogy is in the morning, I use my iPhone to listen to music, then call my customers when at the office, then in the evening my kids turn it into a gaming console. Finally, I use it to read my favorite newspaper. It's exactly the same for cameras. It can be for security; then you have an intelligent app in the camera. You can then differentiate and add features to the camera, thanks to software. This is what's happening today.”
The cloud concept is simple enough to understand, but devilishly tricky in the details. Present iterations are mostly private cloud offerings from vendors teaming up with alarmmonitoring companies for hosted video, access control or more holistic management solutions.
While there is palpable excitement, not everyone is convinced the cloud is the way to go. “Cloud and hosted services are OK for consumer business models, but not for professional ones,” Santambrogio said. Megapixel video over a wide-area network would not be practical, limiting use for enterprise users.
In his experience, customers prefer on-site storage for bandwidth and privacy reasons. “People don't like to store this kind of data in an unsecured data center,” Santambrogio said. In sensitive markets such as Italy, privacy would be the main argument against public cloud deployments.
The hype about cloud is offset by practical concerns. “Cloud is talked about, but the adoption rate is not as broad as people are saying,” Holtenhoff said. “There's a lot of pulp, but it hasn't delivered yet.”
While the kinks are being worked out, there is no denying that cloud deployments reduce upfront equipment cost. “We absolutely believe in a future with more video surveillance being delivered as a service based on a hosted model,” Mauritsson said. Axis will continue to roll out its hosted offering in more markets through partners.
CNL was among the first vendors to offer SaaS in 2004, which required a significant upfront investment in time and effort. “We still see them as an option for a large number of organizations, but this is still a real challenge for the enterprise-level solutions we are deploying through our channel partners today,” Hussain said. “There are no major technology barriers in the way, but how to operate, who will operate and how to deploy are still significant unknowns that need to be decided for this to become a reality.”
Honeywell has launched private cloud services in the U.S. through its various offerings. “Cloud is a technology trend for the central service model,” said Jerry Jia, Technology Director for APAC, Honeywell Security. “Every day, millions of events from customer panels go through the Honeywell private cloud.”
For Sielox, its hosted access control services have been a sustainable business model, especially for the company's business partners, said Karen Evans, President. Managed platforms eliminate the need for full-time IT professionals or investment in new hardware.
Cloud will figure prominently in the future. “A lot of excitement has been generated in the area of Web connectivity of field devices, such as sensors, based around the much discussed concept of the Internet of Things,” said Clemens Krebs, Head of Marketing Communications for Bosch Security Systems. Key standards bodies include the IP Smart Object Alliance and the Internet Engineering Task Force.
As the security industry shifts from explosive growth to a steadier pace, it is buoyed by companies committed to the long term. The recession proved that smart companies in step with customer needs and a continued R&D investment could help survive lean times. Security will also evolve into a business asset, creating lasting value. Overcoming the IP learning curve will be mandatory for success in the future, which in turn offers tremendous benefits. Convergence, change and customer service are the way forward for those willing to win.