ISC West 2013 and “convergence” have arrived. The vision of end-to-end security is a reality for the systems integrators who have rounded out their product lines, acquired internal skill sets, and strategically partnered to address it. The enabling technologies and price points are integrating end-to-end solutions and evolving security to new heights. Miniature sensors and mobile devices are the sophisticated endpoints driving unstructured data through faster networks and middleware to back-end storage and cloud architectures.

The security industry is evolving quickly from “image” to “individual” profiling. This entails a lot more information and integrates individual biometrics (images), with traditional background investigations (text), and now social media (unstructured data) for behavioral profiling. Think in terms of traditional video surveillance systems’ evolution. Historically, coaxial-cabled and stand-alone systems offered little functionality beyond local video image storage. Today, video surveillance over IP networks integrates with analytics software and PSIM systems. Moving forward, biometric authentication (fingerprint, facial/Iris recognition) becomes part of the integrated end-to-end solution.

The surveillance subject is immediately authenticated and identified via local or remote database access that evaluates personal history and anticipates behavior in a specific environment. Biometrics are essentially endpoint solutions that are migrating from stand-alone deployments for authentication, to larger personal identity solutions that depend on integrated systems to be effective.

The huge amount of storage and network technologies that this requires speaks to broader integration expertise, an area where many physical security integrators have invested time and personnel over the last several years.

For example, Australian Border Security takes advantage of an average eight-hour flight time into the country to perform these background analytics after customers check in at a foreign airport, and prior to arrival in Australia.

Security is getting intelligent just as nanotechnology is creating biometric products smaller than postage stamps that can be embedded into identity cards, access control devices, cameras, and physical door locks.  The next generation of mobile phones and tablets will bring the technology spotlight to mass deployment opportunities for the first time. This is really exciting and worth exploring for potential business opportunities.

We are at the beginning of an anytime, anywhere, geo-location, personal device-enabled security surveillance society. As ominous as that sounds to some, it may actually provide a safer and more productive society in the long run — provided privacy rights (and our Constitution) are respected — monitoring everything from a person’s location to health vital signs, and bringing people back to live in major metropolitan areas. Enabling and revitalizing urban areas across the nation and around the world is the vision of the “safe cities” movement. The security integration opportunities around that global initiative are simply huge!

I recently attended the 6th Annual Biometrics in Law Enforcement and Intelligence Conference in Washington and came away convinced that the future of biometrics holds additional revenue opportunities for integrators. These biometric systems are graduating from government-mandated identity cards and border security systems into commercial enterprise, schools, and personal / home security markets. The commodity price points have arrived.

One solution is integrated biometrics on the front end, PSIM systems as real-time and predictive situational awareness middleware, and IP networking, databases, and life cycle-managed and virtualized storage enabling the infrastructure. This can involve on-site deployments, managed services offerings, hybrid cloud architectures and total cloud deployments. Integration experience and partnering are the future, as all types of sensor and geo-location technologies become embedded in everyday life and our security solutions.