SecuriThings team participated at the IFSEC 2018 in London last week. IFSEC is perhaps the worlds’ largest physical security show outside the US, and as such, attracts nearly 30 thousand visitors from the UK, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. It was a very interesting event to discern industry trends and talk to analysts and media, systems integrators, installers and end-clients, all looking to see the latest and greatest from all the major industry brands.
- Security – what you see?
Although IFSEC is traditionally known as a physical security event, it has change to an integrated security event, focused on Video Surveillance and analytics (Even IFSEC acknowledges it – see the following Article). Walking down the halls, you could see any signs of “pure” physical security- barriers, turnstiles and fences took a small portion of the display halls. The camera is the new boss in town, with nearly every booth displaying cameras of different kinds or supportive equipment. Industry reports support this observation- over 130 million new IP cameras are expected to be shipped in 2018 alone. It seems that the low price, improved performance and connectivity all together makes security cameras an integral part of every security solution, and often, replace the traditional perception of fenced perimeter in exchange for an active warning system (aided by analytics).
- CCTV no more
CCTV means “Closed Circuit Television”. Well, the new improvements in video surveillance technologies have changed this concept so much that is no longer an adequate abbreviation. The new paradigm of video surveillance (which, in itself, is rather dated- no one records the footage on video tape anymore) is based on high-resolution cameras that film a certain area and stream this footage over a closed or open network to monitoring stations or recording devices. In this regard- it is no longer a “Closed” system anymore- just about anyone with access to the network (in case of an on-premise installation) and user credentials (in case of remote monitoring/ cloud monitoring) can view these images. This connectivity allows for greater flexibility and facilitates new business cases, including surveillance as a service, which, in itself, increases the appeal of video cameras use and increases its adoption by new verticals.
- Cameras- more than meets the eye
Security cameras (and edge devices as a whole) are becoming increasingly sophisticated devices. Many cameras now include PTZ functions, digital zoom, automatic adjustment to the environment and built-in analytics. Some even include Infra Red and low- light sensors. In the process of doing so, device manufacturers are increasing the cameras image processing capabilities and the required computing capabilities to support this. It also enables multiple uses for cameras- from traffic monitoring to loss prevention to safety monitoring and more.
- Analytics, AI and Machine learning rule
Wandering the halls and reading the signs on the booths, one might be excused to think that this is an IT conference. Nearly every booth had the combination of the buzzwords “Connectivity”, “Cloud”, “Analytics”, “AI”, “Machine-Learning” (and sometimes deep learning). It is no wonder that vendors are now promoting sophisticated software solutions as an “Add-on” to their existing portfolio. Moreover, ongoing consolidation (through M&A) means that even traditional security companies now own pure software companies, and are anxious to boast about these new capabilities. Which leads us to the next trend-
- Integration and unified offering
Companies (At least the large ones) now tend to offer unified solutions- they will provide the cameras, DVR/NVR, VMS, Analytics and Facial recognition- all managed from a central PSIM system. Even companies who don’t offer this directly have technology alliances and “eco-systems” that support this. The appeal for end-users is obvious- they can buy the entire solution from a single vendor and would not have to break their backs trying to integrate 3 different systems. This represents a risk for smaller, niche companies, that need to partner with larger companies (or alliances) in order to survive.
- Cybersecurity for connected devices is required
With so much emphasis at IFSEC on connectivity and increased capability of the sensors, it has become obvious that physical security (or more accurately- video surveillance) deployments are becoming vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Traditional IT security solutions could be used to secure the network and Data Base (or recordings’ depository)- but novel solutions are required to secure the actual connected devices. Only a fraction of the device manufacturers on display declared to possess built-in cybersecurity capabilities, and these usually focus on encrypting the data. Security of the device itself is absent- which will probably mean that the next wave of IoT-related attacks will hurt many security devices that are, for now, unsecured.
- Face it- face recognition is here to stay
Facial recognition which was considered sci-fi only a decade ago has gone mainstream- with multiple vendors offering FR solutions. Moreover, it is now possible to conduct the analysis on the camera on nearby, so the cost of delivering real-time facial recognition is rapidly dropping, which leads to greater adoption. It also means that sensitive information is now being processed at the edge, and with new privacy regulation (such as GDPR) coming into effect, these devices should be secured to a much higher level than is conducted today.
- Local event, global flavor
IFSEC is unique in a sense that it is truly global- it is not UK-centric (and certainly not US-centric). There are US vendors, European vendors and as well as Chinese vendors (who are, at the moment, not that popular on US soil due to the allegations and the US- China impending trade war). It allows visitors to inspect technologies from all over the world and compare performance and methodologies.
IFSEC is a terrific event for everyone in the physical security industry. It has demonstrated the industry is rapidly evolving and we suspect that in a year or two it would focus entirely on Video surveillance and supporting technologies, as well as on cybersecurity solutions to complement such systems.