The major theme at last weeks IFSEC exhibition was about integration across video surveillance, access control and intruder alarms but nothing that showed how it was going to develop fully integrated and automated systems through Internet of Things Technology.
Surprising because the Physical Security industry within the Building Automation Systems business has been the leader in IP Networking. IP is still the game changer; driving right across all three business sectors Video Surveillance, Access Control and Intruder Alarms.
The Physical Security industry is now fast moving to an all IP driven business that has already vastly improved and extended the value propositions for its customers. So why the lack of interest in moving on to the next stage to play an active role in delivering full automatic solutions? We are now on the threshold of bringing all aspects of the buildings technical performance together and further improving the performance of the business enterprise within many of the verticals.
This has been made possible by the Internet of Things (IoT), which allows one common IP platform to link all the sensors and devices together to interchange information and through analytical software and Big Data optimise the controls automatically. The terminology applied to buildings to describe this, we call the Building Internet of Things (BIoT).
The exhibition showed no lack of interest by Security suppliers to bring about the integration between all Building Automation services with new software products. Virtually all the major companies were exhibiting software products that could integrate different manufacturers products across a number of services.
But as building owners are well aware these have too often failed to deliver the goods and they have been locked into a proprietary system that lacked robustness proved expensive to operate and difficult to scale up once installed. Some of these deficiencies can be overcome but will never challenge the prospect of a fully automatic system through IoT and Big Data technology.
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A discussion with Per Bjorkdahl Chairman of the ONVIF Steering Committee revealed some reasons why the Security industry is not at this time so bullish about BIoT. He points out that the physical security community’s discussion with IoT is somewhat different from those of other industries.
Our business is securiing things, people and information and we seek to make assets safe using a combination of physical barriers and technological tools. Our approach to IoT, therefore naturally requires more caution and nuance than most. Those of us in the industry know that information is not only power, but that it can also be detrimental to physical security when it falls into the wrong hands. The physical security industry must exercise caution in developing products for IoT and capabilities. More data sharing inevitable means that a security breach on one device or system could result in vast amounts of data from many systems and device being compromised.The fact remains that without a solution to cyber security the future of IoT will be held back. We have yet to be told that the problem cannot be solved and therefore we assume that the billions of US dollars that continue to be pumped into IoT technology will not be wasted. It is right that the physical security industry embraces IoT cautiously but it still needs to be preparing for IoT.
Physical security whilst being the largest contributor to the world’s $120 billion BAS market needs to be investing in IoT solutions now in readiness for a cyber security solution.