Physical security, access control and surveillance moving into 2017
As we head into a new year at Security News Desk, Tim Compston talks to security vendors and industry experts who have been spotlighting what they expect to be making waves security-wise over the next 12 months – as well as the lessons learnt from 2016.
A wider view
On the subject of camera innovations which are making their mark, Jeff Whitney, VP Marketing at Arecont Vision, explains how the US-based business was very much an industry trailblazer when it introduced the first multi-sensor panoramic cameras back in 2006, featuring four fixed megapixel sensors in 180 or 360 degree configurations. Whitney is keen to extoll the virtues of a adopting a wider view: “A multi-sensor panoramic camera provides video from its entire field of view non-stop and is able to be digitally zoomed in without impacting recording of the entire scene. This ensures superior situational awareness and outstanding image quality over a PTZ, and reduces cost by requiring fewer cameras be used.”
In terms of the direction of travel of the market, Whitney acknowledges that the competition is heating up as other vendors seek to secure their own slice of the multi-sensor camera pie: “Until about a year ago, Arecont Vision was virtually alone in the multi-sensor megapixel camera market. We now see multiple copies and clones of SurroundVideo G5 (180 and 360 degree) and Omni G2 (omnidirectional) from a range of vendors. We believe that other vendors have finally awakened to the potential of multi-sensor cameras to reduce cost and improve video, and that 2017 will see further use of this technology that Arecont Vision continues to lead.”
Physical security trends
On the physical security side of things, innovative solutions are continuing to be developed to clip the wings of the soaring number of drones in our skies if they pose a threat to security, safety, or even engage in industrial espionage. The DroneTracker from Dedrone is one potential answer to this drone dilemma with a system of interacting sensors to reliably detect all types of drones based on multiple parameters such as noise, shape, and movement patterns.
Speaking to Jörg Lamprecht, CEO and Co-Founder at Dedrone, about the threat dynamics at play here he says at the start it was really around the sites with obvious security needs like stadiums or prisons: “That has brought a lot of business and enquiries, whereas in the recent two quarters it has been more datacentres, headquarters, and design centres once the news came out about the threat from ‘flying hacker laptops’.” Lamprecht characterises these as basically drones equipped with networking gear that can be used to hack into networks and capture data: “I think that the underlying thing we are seeing is the merger of physical and cyber security.”
Hostile vehicle threats
Considering what is likely to be driving the buoyant hostile vehicle mitigation market in 2017, Gavin Hepburn, Sales and Marketing Director at ATG Access, points to the smaller, non-coordinated attacks that seem to be gaining momentum: “These generally involve vehicles targeting crowded places with the aim of maiming or killing large numbers of people.” Hepburn believes that many temporary events will have to review and increase their security following the recent, and tragic, targeted attacks in both Germany and France: “Events which should be reviewed include crowded places within music festivals, city festivals, popular events, parades and political rallies for example.”
Hepburn goes on to acknowledge that vehicle barrier suppliers, like ATG Access, must continue to adapt to the changing face of this terrorist threat and provide innovations which best protect the areas of risk, and the general public, while, crucially, ensuring that sites remain operational and, in his words, ‘not a fortress’.
The right vision
Speaking to Mark Patrick, Group CTO at Digital Barriers, following a recent contract win with the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to enhance the capability of the Group’s ThruVis solution – and its Terahertz cameras – for the standoff detection of objects, such as weapons and explosives concealed under clothing, he believes that there will be a push in 2017 to extend a security presence further out from the central asset being protected: “If you think of an onion of security around critical infrastructure, like an airport, I think that we are going to see more and more of the security checks being performed in the outer layer of that onion so everything from the approach-ways to the parking garage to potentially further out when vehicles are stopped and people are checked.”
Dialling in to access control
Opening the door on what is trending for access control, John Davies, Managing Director and Owner – at TDSi, offers his insight on the role of smartphones: “A couple of years ago everyone was screaming and shouting about NFC [Near Field Communication] and NFC readers and smartphones replacing cards. That is still valid but I think what we have found this year – and it is going to come to the fore next year – is that rather than using NFC as a reader technology there is Bluetooth Low Energy [BLE] – that is either in a physical reader that is by a door or there are products out there using BLE readers within the lock sets themselves.” Davies thinks that there is going to be more movement towards a phone replacing a card as a credential with the adoption of Bluetooth Low Energy than we have seen, to date, with NFC.
For his part, Thomas Schulz, Director Marketing and Communications – Digital Access Solutions – EMEA at ASSA ABLOY, reports a major shift from wired to wireless access control: “Evidence for the market’s move to wireless includes some of our own research which found 29 per cent of premises using a wireless or hybrid wired/wireless access control system, with 5 per cent of premises already fully wireless.
In terms of why wireless makes sense, Schulz says that the technology is easy to install and to maintain: “With wireless locks it’s also cost-efficient to bring electronic access control much deeper into a site than would be possible with wired access control, boosting convenience, control and security in the process.”
According to James Somerville-Smith, Northern Europe Channel Marketing Leader at Honeywell Security and Fire, the biggest opportunity for the security and fire market in 2017 will be integration: “By combining different kinds of systems together, we can provide end users with considerable benefits that are greater than the sum of their parts. An entirely connected infrastructure is especially useful for large enterprises, with many staff, contractors, and visitors to track. By integrating security with HR and payroll systems, for example, an employee’s access rights can be automatically stopped as soon as they leave the company. Automating this kind of tedious administration can be extremely beneficial for staff who can focus on more pressing actions instead.”
Somerville-Smith also believes that as the IoT (Internet of Things) becomes a day-to-day reality more end users will come to recognise the benefits integrated solutions deliver: “There will be an increased demand for systems and devices that can work seamlessly together, under one ecosystem.”
Subscription and managed services
Moving on to Francis Lachance, Director, Video and Appliances Product Group at Genetec, one of the most significant developments for him, with regards to video surveillance, is the continued rise in the importance of subscription and managed services, and, in particular, end-users in security placing an emphasis on term, or outcome-based, ownership versus perpetual licenses: “In addition to the significant cost savings and flexibility associated with this type of ownership, moving more data and computing to the cloud will allow organisations to transfer a big piece of their cyber security risk to companies who have global teams dedicated to maintaining data security.”
Talking to Dr Boghos Boghossian, Technical Director at Ipsotek, about the latest advances in video analytics, he points to the logic of adopting a behaviour recognition model in preference to simple event detection. He goes on to outline how the patented ‘scenario-based rule approach’ that Ipsotek has developed is strengthened by the application of advanced conceptual logic and cognitive analysis: “The key differentiator here is that while there are many video analytics products looking at event detection, we actually focus on behaviour recognition through the identification of multiple events that may be occurring concurrently or in a certain sequence. This route allows us to better understand what’s happening in a scene behaviour-wise, and only then do we trigger the desired alert.”
Reflecting on the video surveillance market for 2017 – including cameras – Jon Cropley, Principal Market Analyst at IHS Markit, is forecasting worldwide growth of 7.4 per cent: “Demand is very robust for the cameras themselves but at the same time average prices are going down for cameras and related equipment at a very fast rate. This price erosion means that overall revenue growth is not as high as it might otherwise.” To put the price drop of cameras into perspective, Cropley contrasts the average global price of an IP camera of about US $500 in 2010 with a drop to only US $125 dollars by 2015: “That is a huge fall in a short period of time and those average prices are continuing to go down,” he concludes.
Cyberattacks on cameras
Seeking out the thoughts of Martin Gren (pictured below), Co-founder of Axis Communications and the company’s Director of New Projects, he believes that the key trend in the video surveillance area for 2017 is going to be in the realm of cybersecurity: “If we look at video surveillance cameras, they are now IP based and they are an intelligent network node. We’ve seen attacks initiated through network cameras that brought down some key services such as DNS and even brought down a whole country. This is a result of cheap and inferior IP cameras and DVRs. They were configured with a standard hard-coded router password and put on the open Internet. If this was in the IT industry it’s an absolute no-no but we in the security industry, we unfortunately lag behind IT security.” Ultimately, Gren warns that, as a video camera is effectively a network node, it is important to apply the same security measures as you would for any other IT device.
Considering the way forward in 2017, when it comes to video surveillance equipment, cybersecurity is also high on the agenda for Marcus Kneen, CEO at IndigoVision: “There is quite a lot being written but I don’t think that the real risks are hitting home.” He poses the question if nation states invest in companies who market themselves globally are the resulting solutions really going to be secure? Kneen cites the example of the US Embassy in Afghanistan which decided to take down cameras over such security concerns: “I think that one of the big themes for me in 2017 is can the owners of cameras trust their cameras? Can cameras communicate to others beyond who they are meant to be communicating with? You may have the stream coming to your NVR but is that the only communication to the world it is making or has it gone another route?”
Pauline Norstrom, Managing Director at NetVu Ltd, agrees that effective cybersecurity must now be front and centre for the physical security world: “The view of this company [NetVu] is that enhanced security features should be implemented. Just having the security features there doesn’t mean that they are going to be used. Combined with innovations which increase the security of the network when CCTV is implemented there must be an increase in the awareness of the need to secure it.”
Shaping up for 2017
In the end, 2017 seems to be shaping up as the year when efforts will really be ramped up not only to improve the effectiveness of physical security measures on the ground, to combat threats like terrorism, but also to ensure that IP-connected physical security systems are not left vulnerable to cyberattack.