Everyone has heard the old adage, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” In an industry and a year marked by seemingly constant upheaval and change, it can feel like nothing is the same. But is that true? 

This fall found many of us engaging with each other over computer screens and watching both educational and social sessions in a series of virtual trade shows and other events — both those normally scheduled at this time of year and others rescheduled from the spring or summer.  

The organizers of events such as GSX+, ISC West and PSA Adapt worked hard to bring the best of what they could do virtually. Judging from comments in the chat sections provided, attendees truly appreciated their efforts. But there was also a sense of missing the things that can’t be done through a screen. Enjoying a round of virtual drinks is a bit less fun in your home office. 

Still, it was nice to “see” familiar names and faces and “go” to actual industry events, which have largely been missing from the usual calendar for many months. That sense of normalcy is comforting, even if it was different than we are used to. Some of what we are doing now will bring permanent changes. It is possible more people will continue to work from home, for example. The emergence of Zoom and similar platforms for video chatting may be a better sales tool than a phone call. Time will tell which new technology stays and which ones we put down with a sense of relief that we don’t have to do that again.

This is true of security industry technology as well. While thermal sensors are having a moment right now, it remains to be seen if they will be a permanent fixture. Hands-free access control? That was already on the radar but it is ramping up as a result of the demand for “touchless” technology. 

In this month’s cover story on solutions for top verticals, Managing Editor Courtney Wolfe writes about these technologies and others. Speaking of familiar faces, former editor Laura Stepanek is back with an article on appliance; and a former staff member from years ago, Allan Colombo, writes about cloud-based video. Finally, in the vein of using technology in new and engaging ways, we bring you a “virtual booth” experience in the form of a video article on new entry control products you might have seen at a live trade show.