2017 was quite an interesting and eventful year for the physical security industry. The economy has been robust and technology has become progressively sophisticated—with interactive services, cloud computing and network-based solutions taking charge to provide new insights to installers and their end-user customers. The Internet of Things is creating increasingly integrated solutions, with a heightened emphasis on total connectivity.

Changing security expectations

World events have also put the spotlight on the need for comprehensive security at public events, tourist attractions and schools and campuses. Security is an expectation and systems integrators are becoming trusted advisors to their customers, who are looking to them to solve problems or issues. Residential systems are more robust and now, are migrating to the commercial side of the business. There’s a blurring of the lines of technology—many of the products that come to the security industry originate from the consumer side. This proposition is also changing expectations by both residential and commercial customers, who want common, easy operation from their smartphone or user interface.

Unexpected was some of the biggest deals in the industry, including acquisitions by dominant companies who grew even larger and continued ongoing consolidation on the manufacturing side. Those who remain will need to be progressive and step up their game with the latest proven technologies. Selling hardware isn’t the end game any longer. It’s providing solutions that generate revenue for security dealers and offer a solid return on investment for the end-user. In addition, solutions need to be easier for the user, and integrate many different systems and components across the enterprise.

Cybersecurity safeguards

End users want to get the most out of their solutions—and they want to be able to have more than safety and security. They are looking for the types of products that yield insights into system performance and give them the data the need for greater control and to proactively address any challenges or problems before they occur. Downtime is not an option and therefore, there’s an increased emphasis on consistent power so solutions are always on and running reliably.

For security dealers and integrators,
physical security and cybersecurity
services will be part of their offerings
and no longer separate disciplines

Cybersecurity is a dominant conversation in the security industry these days and that buzz will continue into 2018. Because solutions are increasingly network connected, they have vulnerabilities that will have to be addressed by service providers and manufacturers. Manufacturers will need to take the upper hand in providing hardened products—testing and certifying for cybersecurity safeguards. That is not an easy task and can be expensive, but it needs to be done.

Because cybersecurity is in constant evolution, many will go the route of outsourcing this component of their manufacturing to third parties well-versed in threat detection and hardening. Hardened products will also need to evolve with new emerging attacks. For security dealers and integrators, physical security and cybersecurity services will be part of their offerings and no longer separate disciplines.

Intelligent access control solutions

Manufacturers no longer operate in silos. They are working with systems integrators to more fully understand their needs and those of the end-user. Manufacturers are also partnering with technology providers—bringing in the expertise of others so their solutions are comprehensive and holistic. We will continue to see integration of formerly disparate components, open systems and open APIs. There will also be strong migration to access control systems with edge intelligence and power over Ethernet, leveraging existing cabling for network connectivity.

The winners will be those who take the lead in providing cyber secured and hardened products, as well as companies who partner with others to bring best of breed solutions to market. The losers will be those who continue to develop proprietary, closed systems and fail to recognise the importance of network connectivity for real-time, proactive reporting.

Without networked power, the
facility cannot yield the proper
insights it needs to stay reliably
connected 24/7

Ongoing partner success

LifeSafety Power® has been working consistently and diligently on elevating the status of power from unintelligent hardware device to network-connected component that yields rich data for the user and allows the installer to provide remote monitoring and managed power services. We have changed the paradigm of power but there’s additional work to do to get people to understand the new, critical role power plays in comprehensive enterprise and campus security.

Now, security installers can help the end user know what’s happening with locks, access control, gates or other connected solutions and fix problems before they happen. Without networked power, the facility cannot yield the proper insights it needs to stay reliably connected 24/7.

We have also had continued, ongoing successes with our many partners in the access control community and that’s where we will further focus our efforts in 2018—working with leading security solution providers to present the best technologies and solutions that are reliable, certified and present the types of insights security dealers need to offer customers to provide the highest levels of service. This will also help security dealers and integrators differentiate themselves and compete more effectively in the crowded marketplace.