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1.22.21 – SSI

Interoperability and resistance to facial recognition are just a few of the issues security experts say must be addressed in 2021.

The entire world faced an unprecedented health crisis last year. Certain issues the security industry was planning to address were quickly pushed aside in order to concentrate on protecting its own employees and offering back-to-work solutions.

With a COVID-19 vaccine now being disseminated, the industry is looking forward to getting back to some sense of normalcy.

As part of SSI‘s 2021 Security Industry Forecast, we asked leading experts in the field what they believe the most pressing issue the security industry will face in the new year. Below are their responses.

▶ “The 3G sunset is around the corner with a date of February 2022. We encourage dealers to start now updating 3G devices in the field while they are at the homes and commercial facilities for service or maintenance. This will minimize resources and provide enough runway to migrate before the sunset. Telguard is offering discounts on cellular communicators at participating distributors to help manage migration costs.” – George Brody (Telguard)

▶ “The nature of the demand for security solutions is primarily changing due to urbanization. Global population is rising and the proportion of people living in urban areas is expected to increase some 6.7 billion by 2050. It will be a challenge to protect the critical components of an infrastructure network includes intrusion, vandalism and theft in those highly populated areas.” – Jerry Burhans (ABLOY USA)

▶ “Open vs. closed platforms and interoperability of technology. ONVIF, Zigbee, Thread, Sub-1GHz, 5G, LTE, Z-Wave and Z-Wave+, Bluetooth 2.4 and 5, Wave 2 and new smart home standards under development all make it very hard to connect and integrate, and even more confusing for a consumer.” – Clint Choate (SnapAV)

▶ “Google and Amazon are using their vertical integration to move further into your customers’ homes, from voice assistants to video doorbells to pushing the privacy issue higher on the radar. This is an opportunity for pros to create trust with customers — monitoring only what consumers want monitored.” – Brad LaRock (Alula)

▶ “Facial recognition will continue to be a question mark for the industry and the world. The technology is advancing steadily with better algorithms, but we’re tracking a number of cities that have proposed or voted on implementation bans. There remain gaps among the industry’s impressive technical ability, the public’s understanding and support, and the policy agendas of some isolated groups.” – Geoff Kohl (SIA)

▶ “Talent acquisition is the biggest deal. With 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day, replacing that skill and knowledge bank will be key to long-term success. Recruitment for next-gen talent, hiring and retention will separate those companies that grow and those that have a slowly diminishing balance sheet.” – Paul Boucherle (Matterhorn)

▶ “We will continue to struggle with cybersecurity and how we embrace technology that makes our systems safer, better, more secure and faster. As we continue to receive pressure for more robust and open architecture, we need to make sure that we are not the open conduit for bad actors to penetrate our fire walls. This is especially true in the IoT space.” – Kirk MacDowell (MacGuard)

▶ “Patent trolls have been more prevalent and aggressive in the physical security industry the past few years. While unseemly, it’s proven to be a lucrative business and will continue to be an attractive tactic until operating companies resolve to fight them.” – Charles Durant (Sandra Jones and Co.)

▶ “The industry’s lack of action on deceptive sales practices. It is a huge problem that puts consumers in the middle, often having two companies billing them. ADT has sued Vivint for the second time, CPI has initiated litigation against a door-knocking company, etc. You have larger public companies turning a blind eye to their sales practices to achieve growth.” – Richard Ginsburg (Alert 360)

▶ “For those security industry companies that successfully navigated and survived 2020, financial stability will remain one of the foremost issues. Additional government aid is unlikely, and industry investors will continue to be very cautious with their funding.” – Celia Besore (TMA)

▶ “Debt markets, attrition and paths to growth will continue to be pressing challenges for a variety of players. Although I don’t see this as extremely long-term. It will most certainly be challenging for some during the next 12-24 months.” – Peter Giacalone (Giacalone Associates)

▶ “Many businesses invested in cameras purporting to measure body temperature. The purchases were driven by COVID fears and slick marketing by certain manufacturers. Generally, these devices have not proven to effectively gauge if a person has a fever. In the long-term most of these cameras will be removed due to lack of effectiveness.” – Sean Foley (Interface)

▶ “It’s important to establish a baseline understanding of what terms like artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning and analytics actually mean — and what these technologies are capable of. Education is increasingly important as we move away from relying on human-based security and lean more on technology to identify and alert us to anomalous or troubling behavior.” – Fredrik Nilsson (Axis)

▶ “The state of the art exists today to have much more secure physical and virtual systems, but the public’s insatiable appetite for ‘convenience’ prohibits their deployment. I see this challenge getting progressively worse.” – Jim Henry (Independent consultant)

▶ “How the security industry deals with privacy issues will not be solved anytime soon. There’s an ongoing feeling within our industry that you can’t have both security and privacy, that it is an ‘either or’ proposition. But we happen to believe that you can’t really have one without the other.” – Andrew Elvish (Genetec)

▶ “Most of the monitoring industry does not seem to take the danger from false alarms seriously. For every signal cut off at the monitoring center there are two being generated by new DIY systems. We may be entering a period when very few companies can provide data and their own scoring to PSAPs, and bad will builds with municipalities.” – Jeff Kessler (Imperial Capital)