We recently sat down with Adlan Hussain, Global Head of Marketing at CNL Software, to discuss Innovation in Security and CNL’s intention to continue to lead developments in PSIM software.
1. Where will the major innovations in Security come from in the next 5 years? br>
Let us start by stating the speed of innovation in this internet era makes it difficult to predict innovation for five years forward. There are trends such as processors and storage for computers that will get substantially smarter and cost less, but when we talk about innovation, we are thinking about game changing technologies that will disrupt the industry. ‚Â We think two things will drive key changes in security: technology and compliance;
Technology: The two main technologies that will drive innovation are highly linked. Firstly, hardware will continue to evolve radically with more and more networked devices delivering ever-increasing capability. Secondly, the advancement of integration and management software needed to manage all these intelligent devices on the network.
A good example would be surveillance cameras. The growing capacity to store footage locally means that soon terabytes of storage at the edge will be an affordable option. With advances in analytics, the camera will have its own recording “rules” managed by a main suite of programs deciding: what recordings stay at the edge, what goes to a central library and what is deleted. This will not be a man managed video real estate, but a computer program that uses risk and probability analytics to determine what stays and what goes.
While this sounds a radical step, it is not at all and quite a few former NVR suppliers are already moving their systems from centralized recording to recording at the edge or on a managed set of SCSI disk libraries that take recording directly from the camera. This increases performance, reduces the bottleneck created at centralized servers and decreases the overall cost of a solution, while simultaneously reducing bandwidth requirement. Now that cameras are moving towards extreme high image densities, intelligent management of locally held video data will emerge as one of the newest and most important innovations that will eradicate the current DVR and NVR mentality.
Looking at access control and winding forward to when all the ironmongery needed for access control for example is network attached, powered by network connection and will probably include a mass of new devices managed by the access control system. We see that it is no longer a card presented to a door but can be a phone, tablet, RFID, biometric, VPN; in fact, the whole real estate of authentication ought to move to a self-managed model, reducing costs and need for security guards or personnel staff.
While it is difficult to look beyond the next twelve months to see what is going to happen in hardware. VMS and ACS systems as we know them are already being surpassed by smarter technologies, solving bigger problems on a wider scale. It is easy to forecast that existing suites of VMS or ACS applications will either get smarter or die a death as standalone applications.
Just like in the IT world, siloed applications died when users realized they could manage their businesses much better with integrated suites that improved company efficiencies and reduced costs. In a world where the demand to do more for less is increasing, the only fact we can be sure of is that this is a perfect environment for technology. Reducing cost has to be based on reduction of overheads, but without increasing the risk.
What we can say is it is unlikely to be the traditional installer equipment manufacturer who creates these innovations. The innovators will be those forward thinking manufacturers who are prepared to defy the past and provide new, smarter and cheaper hardware, which will require new software solutions to harness their intelligence.
Compliance: Large-scale solutions are becoming ever larger and with a mix of private and public applications and devices, there is an even stronger need for truly intelligent front-end software solutions managing authentication as well as compliance to pre-determined Memorandums of Understanding (MOU). Armed with logical capabilities to use public systems in the event of an emergency, we are seeing safe city projects embracing the idea of connecting security systems from all the schools in their district for example, but this is dependent on the ability to manage and enforce compliance through strong software technology.
Evidence trail, audit trails, hardened data retrieval and export, authentication, potentially through logical gateways will all be the norm within the next few years as system owners recognize that software solutions can quickly, consistently and cost effectively process the huge amounts of data generated from their security systems. With the real estates growing to hundreds of thousands of devices and operators, technology is fundamental to managing and ensuring the compliance to all laws and procedures.
2. How does CNL intend to innovate the market in 2013? br>
In line with the increased need of “smart” technology, specialization will occur within security manufacturers. Some will focus on low cost devices, others on innovation, higher performance, simpler operations etc. In this scenario, there needs to be an overarching software that pulls together all the smart sub-systems, linking and managing the entire real estate to maintain the increased numbers of devices with less human intervention.
CNL Software will maintain focus on our software platform, developing enhancements that will continue to add value to our user base, as well as making our software easier to configure and deploy for our channel partners. For us innovation takes many forms, and is not just about what we put in our products, but is as much about how we understand our partners, their clients and how we deliver solutions to them. We are pushing the boundaries of innovation within PSIM intelligence, with much greater focus on what end users can do better with the knowledge they already have. For example, managing multiple analytics solutions will be a de facto standard and rules based workflow will be required.
As our projects grow in size and complexity, the ability to connect multiple systems, at a large site or multiple security control rooms around the globe to create one holistic “Shield”, is becoming increasingly important especially for large-scale global corporate operations. This type of ‘federated’ solution allows multiple sources of alarm handling, remote management and the connection of operations to reduce cost, improve efficiency and bring greater visibility to the entire operation. It is important that these federated systems are not just seen as failover solutions, but as systems that facilitate unified processes and resource sharing with the ability to hand off operations to another center whenever needed. Using a federated system to create a “follow the sun” solution might mean that a control center in India could monitor UK operations overnight; reducing the need for night staff in attendance on site, unless there was an event that required it. It also allows global management of widespread security risks and disasters.
We are continually increasing the capabilities of our advanced video export function within our software, offering a one-click solution to gather all video related to an incident, which removes the need for the operator to reach into each of the native video recording systems or to understand how they work. This feature coupled with video analytics enables intelligent searches around defined parameters, further reducing evidence collection times. We will continue to look for innovative uses of this technology within our partner and their clients.
Our on-going commitment, to business as well as product innovation, has led to the creation of IPSCDevNet ¢â€žÂ¢ – the first development community for PSIM drivers, which we will continue to enhance with new concepts and ideas. In addition to the IPSCDevNet, we have a dedicated Channel Alliance Program (CAP), which helps ensure the process of educating deployment partners is as smooth as possible. We have also created relationships with ‘Services Partners’ who can aid Channel Partners with implementation, training, support and maintenance where required. To complete the CNL Software EcoSystem we have a program dedicated to working closer to Technology Partners.
CNL Software is actively supporting the development of “collaborative” partnerships in the physical security space between IT Integrators and Systems Integrators: bringing together the best in software and hardware expertise. These types of “collaborative” partnerships have been around in IT for a long time, but they are now winning large scale, complex deals in the PSIM space.
3. Is the security industries’ resistance to change creating opportunities for Startup businesses? br>
For other industries, a reluctance to invest in innovation may only affect operational efficiency offered to clients, but in the security space, it means those intent on causing harm are able to catch up; and this is not good for any of us.
As we have seen in the last decade, the majority of this disruptive innovation will continue to come from smaller, agile and entrepreneurial companies. This is especially true in the electronic security industry, where the larger companies are often very cautious to adopt anything new.
Typically, these large organisations prefer to acquire technology rather than to risk the development process. This is good news for bright minds, as it leaves the door open for them to create game changing innovations that can help to secure each and every one of us. As we have seen ourselves, once a technology is proven and is seen to be commercially viable, there are plenty of companies who like to follow genuine innovators.
If you want to prove this, the next time you attend a tradeshow, walk down the back of the hall and look at the small shell scheme stands, I can assure you that you will find far more innovation there than you will on the manufacturer islands at the front of the hall. We are also seeing large companies offering these small start-ups money to invest into their innovation; the value to them is an early opportunity to look for the next new thing with less risk.
4. In our research we are seeing a shift in security services; moving from just a cost centre for businesses to actually driving operational savings and delivering real ROI. How will this impact on the industry and how far can this trend go?
With the current financial climate, pressure on resources is a concern for all areas of an organisation. The cost and commitment of employing staff continues to grow and as it does, security departments are looking at ways to increase the value they extract from their team and help them grow additional capabilities within their organisations. Many organisations have introduced Chief Information Security Officers (CISO), a role that with an emphasis on the business implications of security risks is now beginning to incorporate physical security as well as information security.
PSIM has become the perfect catalyst for the transition from manual systems reliant on constant monitoring and input by security personnel to information-based systems, which proactively and automatically manage the increasing volume of information in the control room. To further drive value from the security departments of a company, PSIM offers data mining and analytic capabilities that are able to create highly specialized reports for other department heads.
For example, video data from a camera on a loading dock combined with a truck gate card reader, normally used by the security department, can be used by the HR department to enforce vendor compliance with drug tests and site safety induction currency. The facility manager can use the same data to monitor his internal staff’s safety procedures while loading the truck and verifying that the operator loading the truck has a current equipment operation license. This trend is set to grow, as more security infrastructure becomes IP based and products become available to allow them to talk to other business systems.
5. As platforms for sensing and analysing data, video cameras, security sensors, biometrics etc has enormous potential. How will they fit into the ‘Internet of Things’? br>
Firstly, as with the internet the security industry is finding that the real value lies not in the hardware or the device you are using, but in the software that is pulling everything together. Analytics or biometrics on their own will provide part of the picture, but pull them together with other systems, apply some intelligence and suddenly you have a stronger, tighter defence and improved security system.
Secondly, the move to the cloud will see a lot of change within the electronic security industry and will provide opportunities for new ideas and companies to grow, who offer a better service for less. How these two tends will meet will be interesting and PSIM will play a role here. Limited bandwidth, edge storage, coupled with rich data will mean an intelligent engine will be needed to ensure only the most relevant data is pushed to a reducing number of security operators.