The demand for integrating all 3 physical security functions has slowly but surely gown over the last decade and this is now being enhanced through integrating other Building Automation Services which together with IT Convergence has further contributed to reducing the Total Cost of Ownership of such systems.
Now we are entering the era of the Building Internet of Things (BIoT), and through IoT technology it will further bring down operating costs whilst at the same time improve security and building performance. There is now sufficient evidence to show that growth is not being limited by demand but is being restricted by limitations in the capability of the supply chain to deliver and service reliable systems.
Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) software was the first product to target integration across the security and safety business. It was first adopted in the public sector and the large complex commercial building sector to create interoperability between safety & security systems including fire detection, extinguishing, evacuation, mass notification. 10 years ago it was heralded as “the next big thing”. Most installations are expensive, complex to install and are not “open”. Nevertheless they are still being installed; Not driven so much based on ROI but on risk analysis where failure to act quickly would have devastating consequences.
Running parallel to this has been the need to converge physical security controls to the business enterprise commonly referred to as IT Convergence and this has provided huge benefits to the building owners and operators. It is now a standard feature in Smart Buildings. Video Surveillance in particular has proved to be very successful in integrating with the business enterprise and has added value to thousands of buildings for very little extra cost. There is still a lot of mileage here in analyzing video streams and with the possibility now of connecting across all aspects of physical security actionable data has resulted in increasing performance.
The physical security supply chain will naturally target integration and connectivity within its domain and indeed there are still significant opportunities to integrate functionalities within each category of the physical security business. A good example here is in the Access Control market where Identity management is now frequently being integrated.
HID Global are major players in Identity Management and have been promoting its integration with Access Control for some years. This is becoming a much more important feature now that the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is set to go into effect in May 2018, triggering penalties for non-compliance with the new set of rules. As IT department’s rush to ensure that everything is ready for the change, one key area that needs to be incorporated is data that is held within the Access Control system. This is yet another driver for Access Control and Identity Management to Integrate into one system, particularly for the enterprise market.
Virtually all the security, safety and environmental controls in smart buildings now operate through IP Networks and this makes connectivity between them much more practical but it still needs a common communication protocol to be used to enable data to be transferred and understood.
There are a number of open communication protocols that are being used but none so far is appropriate to cover all the different BAS services in complex buildings. Nevertheless there are BIoT solutions but they do not have the capacity or capability to link everything in complex buildings on a two directional network; even though they are close to achieving this.
The final link in this chain is bringing all these developments together onto to a limited number of platforms having the capacity and capability to join all the devices on a two directional network that can operate without needing human intervention. That we can call a Building Internet of Things (BIoT).
A number of companies from the physical security business have now developed software platforms that can integrate access control, intruder alarms and video surveillance, connecting different manufacturers products together and although not fully “open” has created a much more viable and robust system. Not surprisingly this has created great deal of interest but end user clients would much prefer fully open systems.
It is the major conglomerates that have most interest in supplying integrated systems and have developed software platforms to do this. They have encouraged other suppliers to join them so that end users can get a better choice of equipment to meet their needs. However subsequently they have modified their sales strategy to focus on specific vertical markets such as Transport, Retail and Healthcare etc using products manufactured from within their group.
The main route to market for total solutions is at present direct to the end user or his consultant but Systems Integrators (SI) are now active in promoting this business and this has opened up a second channel. In the US some of the Major SI’s have now got involved in the design and installations of not just physical security systems but further integrating environmental controls and lighting.
What we are seeing now is the first stage for transition into a full BIoT System. Whilst full BIoT has yet to overcome some major technical obstacles, building owners believe that this is the solution for them. This is now the time for security product manufacturers to seek out strategic alliances and build stronger relations with system integrators. We have recently identified 3 physical security companies that are developing Big Data products to bring all the relevant data together and analyse it.
We have almost reached the point where the technology to deliver BIoT solutions is in place but the channels to market need to be developed. SI’s in the physical security business are not aggressively taking up the challenge to address the opportunity despite the fact that there is a latent demand waiting to be exploited.
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