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Security 50: Top technology trends of 2021 (and 2020)

Security 50: Top technology trends of 2021 (and 2020)
Technology-wise, many flourished this year. Yet none received the kind of interest, enthusiasm and inquiries than one technology in particular, whose momentum is predicted to continue in the near term. But is it really the cure-all solution that addresses users’ ongoing security challenges?
Technology-wise, many flourished this year. Yet none received the kind of interest, enthusiasm and inquiries than cloud, whose momentum is set to continue in the near term. But is it really the cure-all solution that addresses users’ ongoing security challenges? Is it the perfect technology that makes users’ problems go away? This note discusses cloud and other prevalent technologies of 2021.
Cloud in security, in the forms of video surveillance-as-a-service or access control-as-a-service, is picking up steam. According to MarketsandMarkets, the VSaaS market is expected to grow from US$2.2 billion in 2020 to $4.7 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 16 percent.
Indeed, a lot of users migrated to cloud due to its various benefits. “The platform-centric VSaaS model reduces user costs, simplifies application management, and makes the infrastructure more flexible and extensible. It is not only suitable for centralized video surveillance, but also for centralized equipment operation and maintenance management and centralized alarm processing,” said Pan Lingyu, VSaaS Product Director of Dahua Technology.
“VSaaS truly allows for end users of all industries and operational sizes to have an advanced surveillance solution that can both meet their security needs and is easy to maintain in the long-term, and which can prove to be the most cost-efficient throughout the system lifecycle. The partnership and service model that VSaaS enables for end users, manufacturers, and integrators also creates much more lasting relationships and retention rates, while also ensuring that customers can access the best features and functions that fit their operation and knowing that a trusted partner is there to support them if any issues or concerns arise,” said Danielle VanZandt, Industry Analyst for Security at Frost and Sullivan.
Further, cloud adoption has been accelerated during the pandemic. “Cloud migration for data analysis and forensics has been pushed faster than I originally expected. The pandemic pushed companies to start looking at occupancy rates in buildings, seating arrangements and many other health related topics. Cloud in general has allowed for faster development of those products and faster distribution and access to those as well,” said Jason Glover, VP of Sales at BCD.

“VSaaS is not a new concept and has been a trend in the security industry for many years. But recently it has become much more popular since the online operations requirement have grown because of the pandemic. Meanwhile, the development of mobile Internet, IoT and 5G technologies also accelerates applications of VSaaS,” said Keen Yao, VP of Hikvision. “The cloud-based VSaaS applications enable users to view real-time security events through app and to accomplish remote inspection tasks. This brings vast benefits in efficiency, flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and security. From small business markets to enterprise level, we can see the strengthened trend that more and more businesses are leveraging the VSaaS applications.”

Cloud stands out, but is it the panacea to all your security challenges?

Yet this is not to say cloud is the perfect solution that addresses all user needs. In fact, a recent “Technologies that Impact Security” survey finds VSaaS ranked only slightly above the average level for suitability and maturity.
“The cloud offerings of established major video surveillance vendors generally form a small part of their businesses. Cloud-specialist offerings from newer vendors are really only just starting to challenge the scale of many of the incumbent vendors. Presently we believe many cloud video surveillance offerings have not yet matured,” said Josh Woodhouse, Lead Analyst and Founder of Novaira Insights, and Jon Cropley, Principal Analyst at Novaira Insights. “Cloud remains a high growth area, but from a small base.
Indeed, there are certain challenges to cloud adoption. Storage in cloud for an extensive period of time, per certain industry requirements, can be quite expensive, not to mention some industries don’t even allow remote storage. There are also privacy and cybersecurity concerns, as well as other issues.
“Cybersecurity concerns that cast doubt over cloud-based video were also compounded when hackers exploited a remote backdoor exposing 150,000 Verkada cameras in the spring of 2021,” said Joon Jun, President of IDIS Global Business Division. “There are practical challenges to overcome, too, since most VSaaS vendors offer only a small range of 2MP cameras that won’t be fit for purpose for a range of applications. For instance, a 2MP fisheye or panoramic camera is not going to give security managers the performance they need to reliably detect, investigate and prosecute crime. A lack of specialist cameras, as well as more popular ‘work-horse’ models such as 5MP and 8MP PTZs, will limit deployments to indoor settings that don’t require wide-area coverage.”
As a result, hybrid solutions have become the preferred choice for many users. “Hybrid solutions make the best use of cloud, on-premise and edge computing environments in relation to the customer need. There are many factors that will influencer a customer’s decision, both internal and external. The specific nature and functionality needed from the security solution, policies and regulation relating to data processing and protection, cybersecurity, resources for system use, management and maintenance, and many more considerations will influence the most appropriate mix of environments. Ultimately, we believe that most surveillance solutions will be based on a hybrid model,” said Ray Mauritsson, CEO, Axis Communications.
“At this point, most of the access control ecosystem does rely on some form of hybrid cloud solution. For instance, device provisioning requires the cloud as does firmware distribution. Control and access management are usually implemented partially local on-premises and partially in the cloud. Low latency and high reliability are paramount, but remote monitoring, control and analytics are also increasingly important. Our platforms are open to support these and other use cases,” said Vince Wenos, SVP and CTO of Allegion.
And this hybrid cloud model is expected to remain popular in the near future. “Cloud is here to stay. I think some of the laws and rules/regulations need to catch up to cloud. There are some areas in the world that won’t allow video surveillance data to be moved to the cloud for example; that does not stop the management of those systems from being cloud-based. I really believe that on-prem management of the directories, users, etc. will all move to the cloud and the on-prem storage will remain intact for the time being,” Glover said.

Other top technology trends 

Besides cloud, other technologies also dominated the security scene in 2021. And they are set to influence security in the near term. We discuss these technologies below.

AI in video surveillance

Ranking high, in terms of both maturity and suitability, on the survey is AI, which continues to receive inquiries from customers and whose growth is set to continue.
“Interest in AI video has ramped up considerably since 2019. With many facilities shut or partially open security managers had more time to assess AI and deep-learning based software. Early adoption was hampered by premature launches, with some vendors over promising. But today algorithms have significantly improved,” Jun said. “For instance, when we first launched our AI solution we were achieving 96-97 percent accuracy, but today the latest iteration of IDIS Deep Learning Analytics is delivering 98 percent precision. By the start of 2021, our systems integrators and end-users were expressing confidence that AI would not only improve security operations but have the ability to deliver value to wider stakeholders.
“The demand for AI has exploded in recent years, which is expected to continue in 2022. By embedding AI into end, edge and cloud scenes, more and more AI-based devices will be widely applied in related fields and various industries. With the evolution of AI technology, AI-based analytics will gradually be applied to low-end products, and user experience will be significantly improved,” said Yin Jun, VP of R&D Center at Dahua Technology.
“AI – or more accurately deep learning – is definitely an area where we see growth and innovation, and where there is significant customer demand. The benefits of deep learning will not only enhance the capabilities of surveillance solutions designed for safety and security, but open up new use cases in operational efficiency and effectiveness,” Mauritsson said.
And more and more, AI will be moving to the edge, driven by more capable camera SoCs that support complex algorithms. "Increasingly powerful edge computing has become available for security cameras now, and this makes us believe edge computing stands a good chance of ‘putting AI everywhere,’” Yao said. “Automatic number plate recognition, automated event alert, people counting, heat mapping, illegal parking detection, and hard hat detection, as well as a number of other AI applications, are becoming popular in the security market. With increased edge computing and optimized AI algorithms, it will become normal to see security cameras shoulder more intelligent tasks in the near future.”

“The latest generation of chipsets which will become more widely available in the market in 2022 allow for greater edge processing. Some vendors have already integrated these chipsets into their latest camera lines. Other vendors will soon follow suit. There continues to be development in ecosystems which allow for a range of AI-based applications to be installed on cameras. This is not a new concept. Yet, the improvement in analytics performance combined with higher processing capability of the latest chipsets, now make this concept more attractive to integrators and end-users,” Woodhouse and Cropley said.

Touchless technologies

Touchless solutions are still in high demand as impacts of the pandemic are still felt in various sectors. “Increased biometrics integration and touchless technologies remained very popular throughout 2021 as many end users began to figure out their return-to-work strategies and how to restart more normalized operations in the pandemic era,” VanZandt said. “Changing customer sentiments away from shared touch points, as well as a rise in more remote security operations and management solutions also created new operational models for internal security teams via integrated remote and on-site operations.”


Cybersecurity and related solutions also took the center stage. “With the intensification of attacks from ransomware and killware, the entire industry will need to increase its efforts to protect systems, devices and customers. While cloud and network security technologies are advancing and being rapidly deployed, the technologies for device-level security will not be far behind as we head into 2022 and beyond. Embedded hardware authentication, and the technologies needed to provide it, will become much more prevalent in the next few years,” Wenos said.
“There will also be an increasing focus on data security and data protection. Cyberattacks are on the rise and the damage is now enormous. Here, I see MOBOTIX as a pioneer in the industry. Cybersecurity ‘Made in Germany’ is part of the MOBOTIX DNA. We only install high-performance and high-quality electronic components. This principle is consistent right through to the digital world,” said Thomas Lausten, CEO of MOBOTIX. “Cybersecurity enjoys the highest priority at MOBOTIX and is lived and implemented throughout the MOBOTIX Cactus Concept. Data security with regard to the German Data Protection Act (DSGVO) is also elementary for MOBOTIX.”

Digitization and integration

Technologies which augment video surveillance to provide value beyond security are important. “Video analytics are the typical example; yet, specialist IoT hardware have a role to play in the market. For example, environmental sensors integrated into the surveillance system can add new types of data streams to lead to new applications and value creation,” Woodhouse and Cropley said.
This integration trend is also being driven by the pandemic which has forced users to cut down labor-intensive processes and digitize workflows, a trend that is continuing. “It’s hardly surprising that there’s demand across the world to integrate video with a wider range of third-party systems – including intruder and fire detection, frictionless and touchless access control and visitor management, popular databases such as Microsoft Active Directory, and sector specific systems such as Point-of-Sale (POS) in retail and logistics and manufacturing operations software,” Jun said.

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