Security technology trends to watch in 2014

The dawn of a new year promises to bring a bevy of new products and innovations to the physical security industry. End users continue to migrate away from legacy security systems towards technologies that enable them to be more proactive in mitigating their risks. Last year’s investigation into the bombing at the Boston Marathon showed the potential waiting to be unlocked in using big data analytics to comb through troves of video evidence. The ability to remotely access and control security systems from mobile devices also continues to rise in prominence. SIW recently reached out to industry experts across several product categories to get their take on what 2014 holds for security technology.

Video Surveillance

Predictions by Fredrik Nilsson, general manager, Axis Communications:

1. Security goes all IP, beyond just video. IHS Research predicts that 2014 is the year IP video revenues finally surpass analog. This technology shift has been inevitable because end-customers and integrators alike enjoy much better functionality, scalability, and total cost of ownership while having the option to choose the best-in-class technologies that are right for their specific application. These are the exact same reasons we’ll see more systems shifting to open IP technology, especially access control. Not only will this afford much more flexibility in the solutions they use, but also finally deliver on IP’s promise of true system integration between video, access control, intrusion detection, alarms and the like.

2. Technology makes IP in small systems a reality. While IHS predicts 2014 is the revenue tipping point for IP over analog, in the same August article, Principal Analyst Jon Cropley said that less than 20 percent of the cameras shipped in 2012 were network cameras. Nearly three-quarters of new cameras installed remain analog. In an all-digital world, it’s a stat that would shock many outside of the security industry. But we know that a major reason for analog CCTV’s continued life is the small and mid-sized systems market.

IP is essentially the de facto choice today for systems of 32 cameras or more because of all the benefits that digital technology brings. Systems between 17 and 32 cameras have been shifting to IP technology thanks to continued price decreases, ease-of-use and ease-of-install. However the 16-camera-or-less market has been dominated by analog because of perceived barriers of cost and complexity.

The good news is that edge-based technology – such as in-camera SD card storage and/or NAS devices – eliminate the need for the most expensive part of an analog system, the DVR. This makes going IP a cost-conscious move for small systems. For those analog users who still have life in their analog cameras, they can leverage video encoders with the same embedded edge storage capabilities and intuitive software to bring their systems to IP. And with hosted video adoption continuing to rise each year as more and more integrators understand when leveraging the cloud makes sense for their customer, the small system market is ripe for converting to IP in 2014.

3. New life for old infrastructure with bridge technologies. The shift to IP video is a forgone conclusion. However, not all customers are ready to make the leap to all IP – especially if they are currently using adequate analog CCTV systems. Yet these customers will soon face a mid-life crisis with their DVRs.

While the lifespan of a typical analog camera is eight years or more, it’s not uncommon for the DVR to fail in half that time. This is the mid-life crisis of the DVR – and it presents a great opportunity to use IP technologies and establish a migration plan. Instead of replacing the failed DVR with a new one, more users will turn to technologies that can bridge the gap to IP, such as video encoders and coax-to-Ethernet converters. These devices range from single port to multi-port blade solutions.