SDI Tradeshow Notes – A Systems Integrator’s Perspective on ISCWest 2016

After presenting several sessions at ISCWest 2016, the SDI Team hit the exhibit show floor with a systems integrator perspective to identify meaningful trends and value-add products and tools for our clients and projects. Whether you were in attendance at ISCWest or not, please find our following Tradeshow Takeaways to assist you with keeping your organization up to speed with industry developments:

CCTV Once Again Dominated the Showroom Floor.
  • The subscription-based model for enterprise CCTV software continues to gain traction.
  • Cloud-based security platforms are still being pushed, but video systems greater than ~15 cameras may see challenges. Relying on internet connectivity for recording video presents a risk, and the price of the bandwidth for enterprise systems can be price prohibitive.  However, a hybrid solution of cloud-based viewing and management along with local recording offers a well-balanced option.  The ability to view video and manage systems from anywhere is a big plus, especially with mobile devices.
  • 4K CCTV systems are now prominent at ISCWest. Our teams are further examining the use of H.265 compression with regards to storage, bandwidth, and existing end user workstations.
  • Edge technology continues to improve, and we found some nice cameras with storage and analytics embedded in the camera. We observed that with these types of cameras, this functionality is typically proprietary, and usually only fully functional with the manufacturer’s head end.
Visitor Management has Found Its Footing at ISC.

The ability of these systems to now be integrated to the back-end IT infrastructure is making them a viable category.

PSIM is Making a Comeback.

The systems have evolved from focusing on security systems to becoming an overall integration and data collection platform.  While our teams have been able to integrate these systems with various non-security related platforms in the past, it was a difficult process and the business logic was not really designed to handle these systems.  Vendors have realized that the Internet of Things-type of thinking, and it has pushed them to change how PSIM platforms are perceived.  Integrating to systems such as visitor management and business intelligence platforms provides an efficiency opportunity for clients.

IoT is Grabbing Serious Attention in the Security World. 

The ability to manage a growing number of inputs from devices in the environment adds new dimensions to situational awareness programs:  Data from alarm and video surveillance systems that are already found in the environment. Building systems and other mechanical systems. PSIM, Computer Aided Dispatch Systems and Video Management Systems are all being enhanced to accept new and differing IOT sensor inputs.

Biometric Iris Recognition Devices.

As security for systems (physical and virtual) continues to grow in importance, so also does the need to authenticate identity. Biometrics are an obvious path forward in this regard. The world of biometrics includes fingerprint, facial geometry, vein pattern recognition and hand geometry – and also iris recognition.  This technology is extremely secure and allows for recognition without ever touching the sensor device.  Further refinements are allowing for increasing standoff distances for recognition, increasing the utility of iris recognition in quickly processing individuals to permit access.

Automated Security Options.

Not only are systems becoming more connected as the world of IOT demonstrates, they are also becoming smarter. Alerting and alarm systems can be related to other digital systems to direct action (e.g. closing doors or directing other digitally controlled processes).  Relating digitally-controlled devices to notification systems is another example of the automated security phenomenon.  The integration of formerly disparate digitally controlled systems and processes is a growing feature of the security IT practice.

Wearables Are Quickly Coming into Play in the Security Market.

The concept of wearables has already revolutionized the sports industry.  Products like Fitbit and Go Pro cameras are all the rage.  These products are now coming to the security markets.  The visual and metadata inputs from human mounted sensors provide valuable real-time and forensic information.  Just as police departments are looking at body cameras, so too are guard and security forces.  Beyond the visual data, there is a growing understanding of the metadata that these devices can also collect like location, direction of travel, and even physical condition of the wearer.  This rich data field can provide great insight in managing incidents or evaluating them forensically.

Mobile Camera Solutions (Drones and Robotics) Are Here.

Along with the mobile solutions of wearables – where humans serve as the platform for camera movement – there is the growing field of automated mechanical systems that can serve as mobile camera platforms (drones and robots). Drones, or small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS), provide an excellent tool for area surveillance.  The platforms are growing in reliability, affordability and effectiveness as camera platforms.  They also pose significant threats to private industry for surveillance by competitors.  Additional concerns arise from the possibility of weaponized UAS usage.  FAA action on the issue of sUAS is expected to open this market for wider commercial use of aerial platforms for surveillance and other uses.  Less controversial and subject to regulatory impediments is the growing field of robotics.  These systems are still quite costly but the possibility for robots performing guard tours of areas like parking lots, warehouses, and industrial structure is becoming a reality.

Data (Video and Other Sensor) Analytics.

As noted above, with the growth of IoT, wearables, drones, and robotics systems are creating increasing amounts of sensor data.   The growth of these large unstructured data fields provides possibilities for security (and other operations) that are predictive – not just reactive.  This pool of data can prove extremely useful in analyzing both security and non-security operations for efficiencies and improvements.

Campus Security Focus.

We observed a significant emphasis on campus security at the conference, with many educational sessions that drew strong attendance. Campus security managers are looking ways to create safer and more secure campuses by integrating video surveillance cameras, video analytics, access controls systems and biometrics.   Campus security practitioners see the value in unifying these solutions and monitoring and managing them from a single location, like a  Command and Control center – especially during emergency situations. There is a push to balance user-friendly, secure, and easy to maintain toolsets for campus security solutions.

Physical Security Requires Cybersecurity.

The proliferation of mobile devices, IP cameras, and IoT as a whole continues to create significant challenges in IT world.  Securing these devices and guarding the massive data that these devices create continues to be THE overarching concern for CIOs and CTOs. Companies utilizing IoT services continue to look for a  “silver bullet” to fix their organization’s IT security issues.   During ISCWest, we observed an overall higher cybersecurity awareness and users actively looking for tools to create a security forcefield around their organization. Organizational cybersecurity awareness programs, training and educational sessions, and network listening and monitoring services are all growing service needs in the physical security world.

Contact SDI for assistance in driving these and other core technologies into your IT ecosystem.