As Managing Editor Karyn Hodgson writes in this month’s cover story, “From Chaos to Opportunity” (State of the Market: Security & Monitoring), “Integrators that have a mix of residential and commercial security work point to connected technology advancements and upgrades as the biggest driver on the residential side, while commercially there is a continuing trend toward both integration and security-as-a-service offerings.”
Her story shows how technology is still kicking up dust in the security and monitoring space, and how that dust is blowing some of the traditional players into new segments. For example, some residential security dealers are now trying to make a play in the commercial (SMB) market; while commercial security integrators are being powerfully pushed into cloud-based services and anything that generates a recurring revenue stream.
The security industry has felt this dynamic for a long time. Says Howard Fischman, Knight-Watch Security Systems, in the story which begins on page 60, “To survive in this industry these days you have to explore different avenues.”
Could those different avenues include do-it-yourself security, the cloud, home automation? Joey Rao-Russell of Kimberlite Corp., featured on the cover, says, “Both on the residential and commercial side, the way we think of dealers will change within the next two to five years.”
Some industry professionals are talking about extreme changes coming to security, not just gradual shifts to places like the cloud offerings and DIY security. Again, these changes are being fueled by the swift winds of technology. To better see what’s on the horizon, just look at what’s coming out of the government — or from groups that hailed from government intelligence or military — which has always been a breeding ground for many of the technologies used today in commercial security. This is where the industry always should be watching in order to predict the next trends and how security integrators should position themselves.
One of the most interesting things going on at the high end of law enforcement and security is real-time collection and analysis of information that could suggest a threat. In the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., one of the themes being discussed is social media and the various pieces of information available either from or about the admitted shooter, which could have been correlated to predict the likelihood of his rampage.
There is a company called Babel Street — and there are others like it — with software that can do this.
We first heard about Babel Street and its SaaS product, Babel X, through the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4). SDM sponsors the NCS4 Golden Eagle Award, which recognizes excellence in the safety and security aspects of sports venues by their designers, builders and integrators. Babel Street won the 2017 Golden Eagle Award for its work with Super Bowl XLIX. As the article in SDM (www.SDMmag.com/fifth-annual-golden-eagle-awards) describes, “Babel Street and its partner analysts were able to collect more than one billion documents related to Super Bowl XLIX and the Phoenix area, including 40,000 geo-located postings. From these, 124,000-plus were filtered for analysis, with 48 of those being passed along to the necessary individuals for further review.”
SDM contacted Babel Street in mid-February for an interview on how their technology, which mostly is used by government agencies, law enforcement and sports organizations, according to a Washington Post article (http://wapo.st/2CEJRYa), could be used by school districts to head off tragedies like school shootings; however, Babel Street declined to be interviewed at this time.
It is unclear what role security integrators would play in a world that uses social media intelligence, among other data, as a means to detect potential threats. What is clear is that integrators need to stay on top of offerings like Babel Street’s and others that are being used to detect, deter and surveil. Use the upcoming slate of trade shows — ISC West and ESX — to keep current. And keep your eyes on the technologies that the government and high end users of security are implementing, because those technologies very often find their way into the private sector of the commercial security marketplace.