After a year of rebounding from the pandemic and despite the economic headwinds swirling around us, the outlook decidedly does remain optimistic for 2023. According to a recent report by Capitol Group economists, “The economic environment is changing rapidly, and risks are rising. But signs of growth remain as the world recovers from the pandemic… There continues to be areas of solid growth across the economy. With market volatility rising, look for a mix of old-economy companies that make tangible products and tech leaders with proven earnings growth.”
Tech leaders, indeed, have much to be optimistic about in 2023. And, as organizations look to reduce operational spending while also tackling increasing crime, many technologies are coming of age at just the right time to answer the call. Here we take a look at five key trends to keep an eye on in 2023.
Harnessing AI-Powered Analytics
Interest in deep learning video has ramped up considerably in the last year, and 2023 will move us past the early adoption phase. Systems integrators and end users continue to express confidence that AI video will not only improve security operations, but also deliver value to wider stakeholders by helping overcome specific challenges, uncover valuable business insights, and reduce the time it takes to find relevant video evidence.
It’s now an expectation that deep-learning algorithms correctly distinguish a human or vehicle, and deliver accurate intrusion, line cross, loitering and object detection. Assisted by highly accurate AI-driven alarms and alerts, operators can better determine what action to take and move more quickly to initiate appropriate responses. In addition, metadata facilitates faster forensic searches, speeding up investigations from days to hours or even minutes.
The need to reduce the false alarms generated by conventional analytics continues to dominate the conversation. This is especially true for customers with a large number of cameras or extensive perimeters who are looking to increase operational efficiency. Organizations are eager to take a more proactive approach to monitoring – delivering cost savings while increasing domain awareness and enabling faster responses to incidents and threats to ensure the best possible outcomes.
Customizing Monitoring Services
Today, AI video is allowing virtual guarding and monitoring firms to provide a far more customized and competitive offering that’s attractive for even smaller organizations, particularly those impacted by staff shortages, hiring difficulties, and wage inflation for onsite guards. And the latest deep learning tools are helping the cause, as they eliminate the need for operators to monitor multiple streams and relieve the response burden on control room staff.
Monitoring station operators can now receive highly accurate, prioritized alerts to immediately begin assessing and verifying threats. This empowers them with the ability to quickly and effectively intervene with live, personalized audio to notify intruders that they are being monitored and that law enforcement has been notified should they proceed any further. Monitoring firms can also configure analytics relative to the risk profile of each customer site and relay information to the right people at the right time, to ensure events and incidents are communicated appropriately across the business to support a coordinated response.
This proactive and customized approach helps organizations in myriad ways. It can reduce guarding costs, prevent crime, mitigate risks, reduce insurance premiums and reporting burdens, as well as increase resilience and preparedness. And, as monitoring firms begin to work more closely with end users to customize their specific requirements, they are finding more ways to deploy analytics into other operational areas and finding even more efficiency gains for them. And it is a win-win, because this also results in more RMR for these forward-thinking monitoring companies.
Leveraging Business and Retail Intelligence
While the primary driver for demand for AI-powered video intelligence is the brick-and-mortar retail sector, we’re now also seeing demand extend into other related markets. Given the current economic climate, pressure from e-commerce, and the proliferation of home entertainment, retailers and hospitality providers recognize a clear need to remain competitive and relevant.
The primary purpose of security cameras is still to detect and deter criminal activity, and tackle shrinkage in particular. But retailers are now targeting wider benefits as they look to drive more efficient store operations.
By employing edge-AI cameras or box appliances, heatmapping data gathered and stored over time, people counting, occupancy monitoring and related functions, hospitality and store managers can now better understand customer flow patterns and peak footfall by day, week, and season. This data provides insights into customer and visitor behavior that allow stores, restaurants, fashion chains, and hospitality venues to better analyze – and improve - their operations. Camera systems boosted by AI analytics are making it easier for managers to get at-a-glance insight from dashboards and reports, which gives them access to better intelligence around purchasing activity, staffing efficiency, and individual store or site performance.
This information is becoming increasingly important as these businesses seek to improve customer ROX (Return-on-Experience) and convert browsing into purchases and increase customer/ visitor loyalty. AI-assisted automated monitoring and notifications, for instance, are helping to reduce waiting times for customers at check-outs, click-and-collect desks, fitting rooms, and curb-side pickups and direct staff more quickly to where they are needed most. They are driving efficiency by allowing staffing levels to be optimized. And for operations with multiple branches and sites, they help to ensure consistency of service and staff performance.
Fighting Off Cyber Attacks – and Winning
Cybercrime reached record levels across the globe during the pandemic, which had serious ramifications for U.S. businesses across the entire world economy. And although video surveillance systems make up a small portion of cyber risks, endpoints, transmission, and storage are a growing target for hackers. Most security professionals understand the need for secure access, transmission, and recorded data.
There’s also more awareness that, during implementation, engineers need to harden devices. Big time. And systems cannot just be set up and then left alone. But, despite the broad awareness of the myriad risks inherent to these devices, many still lack robust cybersecurity infrastructure. This creates network vulnerabilities in networks and increases the attack surface, leaving them susceptible to malware. Today an increasing number of attacks are delivered via IoT devices, including DDoS, ransomware, and social engineering threats that trick users into making security mistakes. Most cybersecurity attacks exploit a vulnerability, such as a coding mistake or bad design. The use of remote back doors as a supposedly hidden technical support tool, for example, should be a thing of the past for surveillance vendors. Hardening guides need to be regularly updated, and manufacturers need to be both proactive and reactive when it comes to firmware updates to ward off continually evolving threats. For their part, end-user organizations need to be ever more vigilant internally and ensure their physical security departments work closely with their IT counterparts to further defend themselves against cyber-attacks.
Adapting End-to-End Solutions
The industry is seeing the term “end-to-end solution” coined by a range of vendors, And, for good reason - both end users and systems integrators realize that a single-source solution saves both time and money.
A true end-to-end solution encompasses everything – from cameras, recorders, a choice of VMS, deep-learning analytics, mobile apps, video walls, and monitors, through to network accessories – to meet customers’ needs across a range of vertical sectors. It means seamless connectivity and user interfaces that deliver richer functionality and make installations easier with less chance of costly project overruns. It also reduces maintenance burdens and means less hassle and lower labor costs – especially when it comes to large deployments across North America.
For systems integrators, an out-of-the-box solution better supports pricing, design, and workflow to make projects faster and more efficient, leading to recurring revenue and upgrades, thanks to on time and budget projects. There’s also the assurance of forward-and-backward compatibility, making it easy to upgrade and knowing that when customers want to add a new camera or deploy the latest deep learning analytics, it will simply work. And work simply!
It’s important to note that an end-to-end solution can go well beyond surveillance. We’re seeing year-over-year increases in demand for integration with third-party systems, including access control, intruder, and site-specific security and safety solutions. End-users and systems integrators are becoming more aware of the benefits of a ‘single pane of glass’, so they can manage all their sites and devices from one user interface. Organizations are also increasingly looking for federation services that provide centralized control rooms with the administration tools and domain awareness they need across their entire estate, while empowering local security teams with functionality via client software to deal with incidents and threats on the ground with the same, seamless user experience.
Moving forward with a flexible and scalable VMS will be an essential ingredient to nearly every mid-to-large sized security application.
2023 promises to be a year rich with tech advancements and achievements. To find out more about the latest innovations, IDIS America will be exhibiting at ISC West on March 29th – 31st in Las Vegas.