Technology moves quickly, as military and commercial tools and toys merge with security applications to create both new solutions and risks for the enterprise. What should you be on the lookout for this year?
The future, according to scientists and R&Ders, will be exactly like the past, only far more expensive. It can also be less expensive, more practical, more effective and at times more dangerous.
One of the first computers, the ENIAC, consisted of 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighed 30 tons. Today, there is more processing power in a typical lightweight laptop. Back in 1945, a computer bug – really a moth caught in the first Mark II – fried the computer works. Today, whole corporations can be brought to their economic knees thanks to Russian or Chinese cybercriminals.
In March 1876, Alexander Graham Bell famously said: “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.” Today, the number of smartphone users will surpass 2 billion worldwide, representing over a quarter of the global population. Thousands of security professionals can view their cameras on their phones. At the same time, it is reported that global terrorists communicate with encrypted phones.
Major law enforcement organizations are calling for “immediate action” to halt encryption on what some call dark smartphones. The Paris terrorist attacks late last year could have been thwarted, according to some, if officials had access to their dark smartphones. A report, “A Law Enforcement Perspective on the Challenges of Gathering Electronic Evidence,” authored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National District Attorneys Association, maintains that smartphones manufactured by the likes of Apple and Google should no longer come with built-in encryption, unless the government has easy access to encryption keys.
Tape to Hard Disc
In 1951, the first video tape recorder, costing over $50,000, captured live images from television cameras. Nowadays, there are millions of security cameras in the U.S. and petabytes of security video stored locally and in the cloud. Crime prevention’s their aim, but some may aim the wrong way.
Biometrics, say the experts, dates back to 1891 when Juan Vucetich started a collection of fingerprints of criminals in Argentina. Today, biometrics is automated and diversified, ranging from finger and palm, iris, retinal and face to voice and even behavior. With attention to better accuracy and faster throughput, biometrics seems destined to be the perfect balance of convenience and security or an imbalance of personal intrusion.
Virtual reality, another innovation, will make a big splash at this month’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), sponsored by the recently renamed Consumer Technology Association. Newer virtual reality headsets such as the Gear VR from Samsung Electronics, also a physical security tech player, make it practical and less expensive to use immersive video technology. At CES, such headsets are an emerging entertainment device; it’s just a matter of time for the tech approach to nest into physical security and law enforcement for patrols and investigations. But is it good to turn a security patrol into a gamer scenario?
And then there are drones, one of the hottest gifts this last Christmas. The earliest recorded military use of an unmanned aerial vehicle or UAV occurred in 1849 when Austrians attacked the Italian city of Venice with unmanned balloons loaded with explosives. Today, drones are patrolling the Mexico and Canada borders and are credited for thousands of arrests and the seizure of thousands of tons of illegal drugs.
Drones Doing Bad; Drones Doing Good
A growing number of utilities, ports and stadiums though are concerned about the dark side of drones. For example, some security operations are using or considering small radar technology to alert to drone intrusions. And drones have intruded into sports stadiums and parades, peeked into windows and landed on the White House lawn.
On the other hand, experts at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business say drones are already into law enforcement and security applications. “We are missing out on a commercial opportunity that other countries have already embraced,” says Smith School professor Oliver Schlake, a drone hobbyist who challenges his MBA students to develop business applications for the technology. Hank Lucas, another Smith School professor who wrote “The Search for Survival: Lessons from Disruptive Technologies,” says the impact will be immense as more companies discover commercially viable applications for drones. “It’s well beyond our imagination,” he says.
Storm watching:Drones can fly into the eye of a hurricane or hover over an active volcano, sending back data without risking lives. Global Hawk drones developed by Northrop Grumman can monitor stormy areas for up to 30 hours, generating data not available any other way.
Search and rescue:
After severe storms hit Texas and Oklahoma in May 2015, the FAA sent drones from one of its test sites to search for survivors along the Blanco River.
Drones equipped with headlamps, cameras and alarms can startle intruders and records their movements – and they often can arrive at the scene faster than police or private security officers. A company with commercial security contracts in New Zealand plans to deploy the technology by the end of 2015.
Innovation and technology as applied to the security industry can, not surprisingly, be a two-edged sword. Still, the good side of that tech sword can slice through crime prevention, situational awareness, forensics and other security tasks with ease.
One example: Innovative integration through diverse software is squeezing more value out of enterprise investments in security technology that evolves from protection and into the natural workflow of an organization.
At Austin Hall in the College of Business at Oregon State University in Corvallis, a security management system (VI Connect from Vanderbilt) represents one of the most unique systems integration projects within the higher education market.
The technology seamlessly integrates building access control into a single data management solution that not only enables school officials to streamline door access, but also allows students and staff to reserve one of 21 project rooms in the facility simply by using their existing credential. In addition to the project rooms, the building also features classrooms, faculty conference rooms, IT closets, a four-room research suite, a mailroom and an assortment of event spaces.
To help manage access control at Austin Hall, which includes credentials for approximately 4,500 students each semester, Kirk Wydner, operating systems network analyst for the College of Business, and his team chose to take an innovative and integrated approach.
Looking forward to working with all my clients this year across Security Solutions Industry: Service, Installation, Commissioning Project Managers, Design Engineers, Business Development.
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