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Major physical security trends seen in smart city projects now

Major physical security trends seen in smart city projects now
Several trends are emerging in the smart cities market as more and more governments look to modernize their urban areas.
Smart cities are expected to increase worldwide in the coming years, bringing about a higher demand for security solutions and service providers. According to MarketsandMarkets, the global smart cities market size is expected to grow from USD 410.8 billion in 2020 to USD 820.7 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 14.8 percent.
In this context, there are a few trends that physical security integrators can watch out for. This article covers these trends in detail.

3 key themes emerging

The major trends in 2021 for smart cities are centered around three key themes, intelligence, transparency, and collaboration, according to Brandon Huard Nicholls, Industry Marketing Specialist at Genetec. Intelligence refers to the growing demand for technology that allows city stakeholders to analyze and comprehend their data, turning it into actionable insights promptly to improve response time to incidents.  

“Transparency refers to the growing demand for city operations, particularly in areas such as public safety and emergency response, to be transparent and secure,” Nicholls said. “As the amount of data being collected within cities continues to grow, it becomes equally important to have the right tools, processes, and policies to ensure this information is not only secure but that both regulatory agencies and the public know how city stakeholders are using this information.” 

Lastly, collaboration refers to the current trend of expanding networks for city-wide surveillance with IoT devices to extend to private businesses by striking partnerships and building collaborative frameworks. This means that together, private businesses and public departments can continue to enhance smart city projects and smart city safety.  

Towards a more open architecture

Nicholls points out that any tool that adheres to an open architecture framework is favored. This means cities can continue to scale their technology deployment without worrying about creating data siloes in the future.

For things like video cameras, ALPR, smart streetlights, and other devices, having open platforms that can collect and manage the data regardless of the hardware vendor is a key component to building smart cities.

“At the same time, the tools that allow for collection, management, and analysis of this data need to have the proper measures in place to ensure the right people have access to the right information, that this information is secure, and most importantly, that this information is auditable to enhance the chain of custody,” said Nicholls. “This means that cloud-based technologies and central management of those technologies are becoming increasingly popular.”

Data lakes and warehouses for easy access to structured data for quick analysis and insights are also becoming key as cities continue to become smarter. For the most part, many of the physical devices are deployed within cities, so demand is highest now for the platforms that will help them efficiently manage the massive amount of data being collected.  

Also read: The critical role of security integrators in making cities safer

Better data management methods

Data gathering tools are great. But officials also require more effective and efficient intelligence-gathering processes. Advanced, intelligent systems and sensors can capture a wide array of information but how do you ensure that proper methods are in place to take advantage of this data?
“Data obtained from IoT devices, social media, and the web, as well as security systems, help ensure safety and optimize operations,” explains Alan Stoddard, President of Cognyte North America. “But the amount of data collected today can be overwhelming. Cities need methods to transform raw data into valuable insight — only then can they reach more informed, intelligent decisions.”
A holistic approach to security and centralized security operations helps operators make sense of a wide variety of information sources to detect risk and activate an efficient response proactively.

Omnichannel access, especially mobile phones

Finally, there is also the trend we are seeing in the increase in mobile applications to drive citizen engagement. With the rise of smartphone use across the globe, users can capture high-definition photos and videos.
“In an emergency, data from citizens proves to be valuable in gathering pieces of the puzzle to aid officials in offering an effective response,” Stoddard said. “Operators in a centralized SOC can correlate data from shared reports, photos, videos, and other data enhance evidence collection and accelerate investigations.”


As smart cities continue to grow, systems integrators would benefit from tracking critical trends in the market. According to industry experts, these include transparency, intelligence, collaboration, open architecture, better data management, and an omnichannel approach to data.
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