2020 threw us a curveball that no one could have anticipated. Even a year after COVID-19 halted life as we know it, there are still many challenges that lie ahead. Supply chain management, new digital and physical security risks, and the changing face of business continue to drive innovation.
The pandemic brought physical activities to a near-complete halt in 2020. Customers paused ongoing projects, postponed those in the pipeline, and began seeking ways to minimize damage. Integrators couldn't go out into the field and had to find ways to manage the new normal.
What did manufacturers do in 2020?
Some manufacturers were able to find some solace in the fever management solutions. Crowd control and occupancy management became common buzzwords. The industry and business were no longer the same. New business models were explored. New uses for old products were tried out.
Sometimes it felt as though there was so much time and nothing to do. At other times, it felt as though you had too much to do and too little time. Perhaps putting an end to such confusion was more critical to many companies as they doubled down on doing what they already knew - meet the customers changing demands and invest more resources in R&D.
More efforts to support customers
According to Matt Tengwall, GM for Fraud and Security Solutions at Verint, customers worldwide continued to thrive and grow and find new ways to approach this new normal and engage a growing community of collaboration.
"Within our own company, we took the opportunity to further support our customers from a customer service and technical perspective," Tengwall said. “As new challenges arose, Verint's leadership in the banking market allowed us to understand how to best respond to our customers' pandemic-related challenges with specific, focused solutions."
Video solutions became more important
Leveraging video to support remote workforces, monitor social distancing, address new risks, and manage various buildings with varying occupancy levels were a priority for many customers. Companies invested more into this segment and saw significant innovations in response to the need for more data.
"Technology is evolving rapidly, and that can make it difficult for customers to keep up," Dilen Thakrar, Director of Product at Oncam pointed out. "When organizations implement any new video solution, they should carefully consider how their technology needs will evolve: these solutions need to be flexible and modular without having to overhaul video investments completely."
Meeting labor shortage became a priority
As the pandemic created chaos worldwide and forced people to stay in, labor shortage became a significant issue for many security customers. Many had to lower their operating costs, forcing them to lay off or furlough some employees.
But this labor shortage impacted organizations as they restarted security initiatives, mainly in states where mandates and limitations on operating environments remain stringent. Fortunately, some security solution providers have stepped in to ease this concern.
"To help our integrator partners accommodate demand where end-users face labor gaps, we have expanded our training and professional services support efforts with extended hours and remote access by our solution experts to aid remote installation and configuration," said Alan Stoddard, President of Cognyte North America. "Recent supply chain issues have also had a limited impact as providers grapple with the acquisition of hardware to complete project requests. However, we have seen an increase in activity from 2020, as well as an increase over 2019 pre-pandemic."
What's happening in 2021?
After the disruptions in 2020, companies have been looking to get back on course and build for the future. The past year highlighted long-standing norms about how companies operate and how people live. While it might have been tempting for companies to retreat to what they knew, 2020 brought the need for a different approach.
Progress faster than ever before
As video surveillance took center stage with helping organizations address COVID challenges, the market saw technology progress in a matter of months that could otherwise have taken years. The importance of digital connectivity became the center point for our everyday lives almost overnight.
"As security professionals, we know how vital video is to monitor facilities and keep people safe," explains John Rezzonico, Founder and CEO of Surveill. "On top of data demands, many organizations had to reduce staff, cut overall costs, improve processes and adhere to changing regulations. These movements have directly affected the demand for video technologies."
"Even in the most uncertain times, we've continued to innovate at Surveill because we knew we could provide mission-critical organizations with a scalable video management solution," Rezzonico continued. "Designed and optimized to consolidate video workloads, the Surveill suite of video solutions delivers an IT-friendly infrastructure with the performance, scale, and resilience required to support today's demanding security and IoT requirements."
Emerging risks and solutions to meet them
Verint's Tengwall said that they have seen more demand for fraud and security solutions in 2021 as they helped clients address new risks like ATM "Hook and Chain" attacks. ATM crime has been on the rise for some time, and authorities have attributed this rise in incidents to the "low-risk and high-reward" of the crime, making video surveillance a vital requirement for any ATM protection strategy.
"Verint's video surveillance solutions are designed to help protect against such attacks because it offers banks the ability to safeguard ATMs through a layered approach of operations software and analytics that work in tandem," Tengwall explained. "Finding video technologies that mitigate new security challenges is at the core of our mission and supports the opportunity for more significant business growth."
Primarily, demand stems from end-users looking to address emerging security risks and support health safety protocols. But customers are also finding new ways to use security and surveillance solutions to support training related to branch operations, optimize safety at stand-alone kiosk locations, and analyze marketing programs.
The transition from 2020 to 2021 has seen dramatic change and progress in the security industry and market. The most interesting aspect is that the change happened at an unprecedented pace. Customer priorities changed, and this impacted the demand, while restrictions limited the opportunities to implement projects.
Fortunately, technological advancements will take the industry forward at a much faster pace than previously anticipated. We shall have to wait and see what happens to COVID-19 in the coming months, but it certainly looks like the security industry has learned how to deal with such a crisis.