Advances in the IT sector benefit security, bringing new possibilities for manufacturers and service providers. “With the advent of new technology, including remote video access and control through the Internet and mobile devices, security and personal protection increased for both business and residential customers,” Martorello said. “These technologies are now working over a more secure communications path.”
Advances in security equipment have been influenced by broadband Internet access, which provides higher speeds and reduced costs in data transmission, Newbury said. This made remote monitoring an alternative to professional monitoring services during the recession, as people chose more DIY, self-monitored systems, Makosinski said.
As smart phones and other mobile devices become more common, homeowners can stream surveillance video on the go. “Many customers are very versed in the use of computers. They demand the same level of technology in the alarm and life safety systems used in their businesses and homes, and expect them to complement their personal lives and help run their businesses more efficiently,” Martorello said.
New technologies bring new opportunities. “Change and progress is good and should be embraced by all security professionals, as improvements in Internet services have driven new products,” Newbury said. “Remote monitoring is but one example.”
New Fish in the Pond
With broadband Internet and fiber networks reaching more people, telecoms and utility companies are offering security services to increase services and diversify revenue. While telecoms and utility companies come in and out of the market, it is a difficult market to succeed in and they often leave after a few years with limited to no success, Grossi said.
Trained personnel are vital for success. “Those entering the market won't be in business very long if they don't perform additional due diligence on their employees,” Martorello said. “This is not a major problem, since many off-site organizations offer training services.”
As bandwidth becomes cheaper, new business models are emerging, such as managed video as a service where video feeds are managed from the cloud with the VMS at the central server. Security personnel and business owners simply stream the feed whenever and wherever they please through a Web interface, leaving storage and transmission to the service provider.
However, hosted video stored off-site raises privacy concerns, since unauthorized outsiders could access the footage. “Snooping can potentially be a problem, but can be avoided with the proper safeguards,” Martorello said. “The IT department should also create a safety defense mechanism to prevent this from the technology side as well.”
Managed video is not for everyone. “In theory, these new business models can provide more services and flexibility, but in practice there is very little value to residential customers,” Grossi said.
Secure and Insure
Security and insurance is not an either-or decision; both are needed to ensure peace of mind for a homeowner. While taking measures to make a home more secure can have the added benefit of slightly lowering insurance premiums, it is ultimately just that — an added benefit.