Criminals force entry into a building, set off alarms, and get away with valuable assets before law enforcement or security personnel can reach the scene. Then the security team and police can analyze footage in order to track down the perpetrators and attempt to retrieve the stolen items. This has been the typical scenario for the physical security of buildings since the emergence of CCTV. Artificial intelligence is helping remove some of the man-hours from analyzing video footage but the process is still forensic and reactive. For physical security to evolve, the mindset should now shift to a more preventative and proactive approach that utilizes the full potential of smart building technology.
“The fact of the matter is that most buildings today are operating in a forensic capacity. There is only so much that can be done to keep people in buildings safe but if a building is not using advanced technology to monitor and even prevent theft and violence then you could make the argument that they are not doing everything that they can,” says Adam Marlin of security firm Vaion (now Ava), in an article on Propmodo. “We have gone past the point of sitting in a room trying to find that perfect shot that will solve the case. While this might still make for a dramatic scene in a movie I think we would all agree that we would rather prevent this kind of drama from happening than have to live the scene ourselves.”
Physical security is fundamentally preventative. The doors, locks, and gates of our traditional buildings are designed primarily to keep threats out and assets safe. More than ever, physical security systems are able to be reactive, responding to threats as they happen with real-time data and surveillance. This is just the start of the smart physical security story, however, through the integration of security and the smart building we are seeing the next step of that evolution to proactive security.
“The key to being proactive is knowledge—the more pieces of data gathered, the greater the likelihood of recognizing a vulnerability,” says Matt Tengwall, VP and GM of fraud and security solutions at Verint Systems. “Businesses must go beyond simply utilizing video surveillance for security to achieve this level of insight. Tools such as embedded network video recorders, IP cameras, integrated analytics, the cloud, and powerful notification capabilities can be used cohesively to create a holistic security system, from capturing information inside and outside of a facility to conducting investigations.”
In recent years, IoT capabilities have increasingly been integrated into surveillance cameras, smart locks, and credential readers to make way for this more holistic approach. Eventually, the vast majority of physical security systems installed in buildings will become part of the BIoT (Building Internet of Things) business. A recent IFSEC Global study found that around 60% of access control systems are now integrated with other building systems, and a third of those integrated systems are classed as ‘highly integrated’.
“As is the case with many BIoT technologies, the true value of AI when it comes to physical security solutions only really emerges through the integration of systems and outputs from multiple building systems. This involves combining analytics from video surveillance systems with data from other building systems such as door entry systems, emergency notification systems, lighting and visitor management systems,” explains our latest research on the global physical security market.
“For applications in this space, the AI does the heavy lifting in terms of finding patterns or objects worthy of particular action, and this analysis prompts appropriate pre-defined systems responses and relevant operational procedures to kick in. Therefore, to get the full value from AI in the space, video analytics approaches will need to be properly integrated with other BIoT systems in a collaborative effort between solutions providers, systems integrators and end users,” the comprehensive new report continues.
Once effectively integrated, video surveillance, through computer vision solutions, can help service a huge range of applications to improve security & access control as well as other building systems. This culture shift for the physical security industry will also demand a restructuring of sales and distribution channels as offerings are intertwined with the broader smart buildings ecosystem. A fundamental ambition of the smart building is in its full automation, and the unification of physical security into that ecosystem is a big step towards that goal.
“Looking forward to the next 5 years we expect the impact of the introduction of integrated physical security packages and comprehensive BIoT systems to bring about further changes to the channels of distribution,” our recent market research suggests. “Integrators and distributors that develop their skills, awareness, capabilities and cross partnering to support the effective end-to-end deployment of wider IoT systems are likely to be the big winners over the period. This kind of approach will also allow them to offer an increasing range of value-added services.”