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The Physical Security industry has been built around the need for buildings and urban places to be made secure and safe from theft, violence and more recently terrorism. Whilst these factors will remain important drivers for the foreseeable future we have already entered a second stage of development which is to integrate all aspects of the physical security business; In order to share data and information between them and improve the performance and effectiveness of security for a lower cost than the combined parts.

Sharing information is not limited to the prime security functions and can include operations that manage the business enterprise. This in particular has enhanced the benefits that video surveillance and access control can deliver to end user clients through reducing TCO. Our new research report – ‘The Physical Security Business 2016 to 2021’ – covers all these issues in detail.

This form of integration has been operating for more than 10 years and for the most part has been achieved by joining the different silos at the top end through a common software platform. This is not an elegant solution because it is not sufficiently flexible to add on further equipment at a later stage without incurring significant costs. However in large installations the benefits derived for the building operators has justified the cost.

More recently integration has extended to joining other Building Automation Services (BAS) with Physical Security systems for the same reasons noted above. Provided that the different systems operate on TCP/IP there should be no further complication in joining them together but only if one common communication protocol is used for all devices. These systems conform to the definition of a Building Internet of Things (BIoT) but so far they are being installed in high specification medium sized buildings and have limited but effective software platforms.

In larger buildings or multiple building estates where there is a need for sophisticated analytic software then you need Big Data software in order to crunch the vast quantities of data generated. This is bringing about the “dawn of Data-ism”, where algorithms and Big Data will eventually make buildings operate efficiently without the need for human intervention.

The enabling technology to achieve this is the Internet of Things which joins all the sensors and actuators on a communications network at the field level. This allows sensors to be simply added on at any time in the future. Whilst there are thousands of installations operating today that have proven that this is the way forward, there is still no agreement yet on the definitive communication standard operators. Large building estate owners are still slightly hesitant to begin major investment programs.

So the impact of IoT on the physical security business has only just begun but it’s momentum is now building up as manufacturers prepare to meet the technology challenges.

The physical security industry for the most part provides its own software and hardware which is unlike other Building Automation Services (BAS) where software specialist are more likely to provide the software platforms on which the different systems can exchange data and make it actionable.

This would suggest that whilst integration across the physical security business is being mainly operated from within, they are not in a strong position to deliver holistic solutions across the full BIoT.

Here independent software houses are more likely to provide appropriate software platforms and the physical security industry will need to fit in with this. In addition BIoT projects will require the contractual procedures of designing and constructing buildings to undergo fundamental change and this will mean major adjustments to the supply chain. Manufacturers and System Integrators will need to be more “IT-ized” and to up their technical skills if they plan to lead through physical security operations.

The recent announcement of Bosch and Sony establishing a partnership for their video security business goes much deeper than the many hundreds of alliances that have been made in the video surveillance market over the last ten years.

Effective from the beginning of 2017, the two companies aim to combine their technological expertise to set new standards in high-resolution and low light video imaging. As part of the agreed partnership, Sony`s video surveillance customers in all markets except Japan will be served and supported by the sales and marketing organization of Bosch Security Systems.

This union should significantly reduce operating costs through reducing duplication, strengthen their technology and improve profitability. There are suggestions in the trade press that the rationale for this union is to combat the dominance of Hikvision and Dahua in response to the race to the bottom. This partnership will have little impact on that issue.

The combination of super high resolution, low light cameras with inbuilt leading analytics will however make their products more appealing to the growing BIoT business and we believe this is their objective. The video camera should become the “King of Sensors” and its capacity and capability to deliver actionable information will be critical for BIoT and Smart Cities.

For more information on all the factors effecting the future of the Security Industry, take a look at our report ‘The Physical Security Business 2016 to 2021; Access Control, Intruder Alarms & Video Surveillance’

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