Electronic security: myth busting
Security technology is advancing at a rate – some believe capabilities are quadrupling at each step change. In this fast-track environment, how can you identify the truth from the wide-ranging opinions and ideas that proliferate?
In this article, Jim Crouch provides his view and busts some of the myths surrounding security technology.
Myth 1: Electronic security replaces the need for security staff
This is definitely not the case – you will always need people to provide a presence, operate security systems and respond to incidents. Rather than replace people, with the correct system and training the latest security technology should enable the officers to provide a wider range of effective security and other services.
The most effective implementation of a successful security system requires collaboration between manned security personnel, the electronic security provider and the customer. If it is operationally scoped, specified and implemented correctly, it should provide major benefits all round. People will always play a central role in the way security is delivered.
Myth 2: Security analytics are just a gimmick
Recent advances around mega pixel CCTV cameras which provide highly detailed images, massive increases in processing power and major innovation in software mean that security analytics is now extremely effective and value for money.
There may still be a residual view that security analytics is of no use but this is mainly a result of high expectations not being not met some ten years ago when this capability was first implemented.
Today, the systems are far superior. For example, facial recognition software can now be up to 96-98% accurate and there is software that can search in a matter of seconds for an individual across multiple camera recordings. Of course, the use of analytics is not restricted to security – there are well-established retail marketing applications, industrial and health and safety applications and a myriad of possible uses linked to security, from ANPR, alarm zones, digital in-image tracking and route/path tracking.
This is an area where I feel quantum leaps will be made over the next 10 years in both the security and consumer sectors. I am really looking to see what the future will bring.
Myth 3: Security staff can’t use leading-edge security technology
Many of those in security system operator roles have huge potential to develop and flourish. Providing the electronic security provider works in close collaboration with the system operators in the control centre, the operators will be able to make the most of the systems installed. I find there are always security guards and other security staff with the enthusiasm and capability to develop their technology skills.
It is a great privilege to be able to harness the energy and aspirations of those security staff who want to develop their expertise and provide an enhanced service. This helps to explode a related myth that security is a dead-end job – there can be many exciting and rewarding roles related to security – not least, developing a career as an advanced systems operator with a high level of technology expertise.
Myth 4: Security systems should be implemented on the existing corporate IT network
In fact the exact opposite can be true. Many people believe it is most cost-effective to maintain one corporate IT network – but a separate network for security can be far more beneficial overall. The cost can be up to 30-40% less and with the introduction of a completely separate security infrastructure, which just happens to be a network, you have no restrictions on bandwidth, storage or any other restriction imposed by corporate IT. Plus, with the ever increasing camera appetite for bandwidth, corporate IT departments are only going to get more nervous. I do, however, understand that governance controls within some corporate global IT departments can require the security systems to site on their network, which means there will always be a mixture.
Myth 5: IP Security is not proven
I have found that for the past 2 to 3 years every new project has specified IP technology – so it must be true to say that IP is a proven technology. It provides the best performance, it is flexible, with in-built redundancy, easy to upgrade and scalable. But make sure you have your network installed by a qualified, fully trained provider with system and network capability or you may have problems which are not IP technology related.
Myth 6: Security cameras are invading private life!
There’s no getting away from the fact that security cameras are now integral to our lives but I believe the benefits outweigh any concerns and I don’t believe that security systems for protecting business make any infringement on our privacy.
The increase in technology benefits society in general. For many of us the priority is to protect people and property, and security systems are an essential vehicle to deliver that. I’m impressed and surprised by the range of applications now available. Technology, security images or other devices, are part of our world now and I don’t believe we want to or can turn back.
Myth 7: My Electronic Security Supplier keeps me fully updated with new technology
Sadly, this is not always the case since it may not be in your supplier’s best interests to keep you appraised of the latest technology. The best way to keep updated is to choose a supplier or organisation that makes this part of their service. You may not be an expert so it’s a good idea to have an independent, honest advisor with experience of a range of equipment. And don’t just rely on your system supplier for information: get a second opinion, talk to different consultants, advisors and the manufacturers themselves. You need to be able to have open and frank discussions to obtain a clear understanding. It’s all too easy to be trapped indefinitely with a single supplier/manufacturer with a closed system that no one else is allowed to support. For me, a supplier or a source with access to and experience with many manufacturers and an independent view is key.
Universal Security Systems Limited