I do not understand companies that fail to recognize industry trends and respond to customer requirements for open standards. I see many major manufacturers in the physical security market resisting industry (and customer) efforts to open their APIs (application programming interfaces) to provide a collaborative environment. The companies that refuse to open their APIs to the industry, in this day and age, are “Dead Men Walking.”

They must think that Global 2000 companies will be buying closed architectures five years from now. They do not see increasing levels of involvement from the IT department (who went through this with IT vendors 15 years ago), or the more IT-literate security professionals being elevated into CSO positions.

The problem stems from the fact that the majority of these sales forces are not qualified to have a credible discussion with the IT group.

The future of video surveillance requires a deeper understanding of these infrastructure details. (Networking and storage represent 60-plus percent of IT budgets on average.) The value of these solutions lies in the ability to share the video. Integration and collaboration between people and among other applications like access control, biometrics, identity management, and databases are where we are heading as an industry. OPEN APIs.

Right in the middle of this scenario are large physical security manufacturers that do not envision a shared and open environment any time soon. Smart security integrators will see the trends and offer alternative solutions rather than get caught with an obsolete product line.

The next generation of intelligent video surveillance systems will offer unlimited scalability. The industry in general will move away from stand-alone DVRs or NVR platforms in favor of utilizing the existing IT storage infrastructure. The issue is reliability and administration costs. This is happening today and will accelerate as IT departments become more involved in security decision-making.

Video data mining will be optimized, similar to how databases look for trends or anomalies in data vaults today. The videos will become dual use, as surveillance cameras pick up behaviors from individuals with criminal intent as well as the shopping patterns of consumers.

The marketing and physical security departments may eventually share budgets for surveillance cameras, software and storage.

Think outside the box: Video is a lot more than a slip-and-fall application in the produce department at the local grocery store. It can be utilized for security purposes as well as assisting the marketing folks to maximize revenue per square foot of retail floor space. As we migrate from an analog to a digital future entire new horizons are opening for the vendors who do not remain closed in their thinking and API mentalities.

When you attend ISC West next month look into the new video analytics technologies, the open access control and identity management solutions, and the PSIM (Physical Security Information Management) platforms that tie these multi-vendor applications together to deploy a security policy across an IT infrastructure.

Ask the tough questions:
  • Do you understand IP networking and storage issues?

  • Do you have expertise in these areas?

  • Who and how much?

  • Do your software developers understand the IT infrastructure requirements involved in a successful deployment?

  • Are your sales and support channel IT-literate?

  • Have you installed global enterprise applications before?

  • Do you offer open APIs so we can share data among multiple vendors and applications?
Pretend you are an investor that needs to spend 15K on three vendors and decide which companies are best positioned for the future. Video is the foundation that is changing the nature of the security industry and it will be integrated into other applications as well as the global IT infrastructure. Invest wisely.