12 Feb 2020

Editor Introduction

Ten years is a long time, but it seems to pass in an instant in the world of security. In terms of technology, 2010 is ages ago. Changes in the market have been transformative during that decade, and we called on our Expert Panel Roundtable to highlight some of those changes. We asked this week’s panelists: What was the biggest change in the security industry in the 2010-2019 decade?


In my experience and for much of my life, women have had to do a lot of work to prove themselves before gaining the respect of their peers. Especially in male-dominated industries, that has historically been a challenging task. But today, this respect is more readily given. In the past decade, I have seen the security industry take great strides forward, by implementing SIA’s Women in Security forum, for example, and SIA’s RISE group, which empowers the next generation of security industry employees. Inclusion, diversity and equality are now part of people’s vocabulary—and that was not true for much of my life. I believe these things are important. The world changes too quickly for one viewpoint to get very far. And it’s always only a chorus of voices, in conversation and cooperation, that is able see real progress.

Ric McCullough PSA Security Network

The biggest change in the security industry over the past decade has been the rapid advancement of the Internet of Things. To explain my reasoning, I need to go back to late fall of the year 2006. I was sitting on the balcony of a hotel, in the capital city of Hanoi, Vietnam, getting ready to present to Communist party officials and dignitaries why Vietnam needed a true National ID program. As I surveyed the flow of unending traffic and listened to the cacophony of sounds below, I realized that everyone had one thing in common – people were all talking on a cell phone! This was the first time I realized just how big IoT might be and how it would change the security marketplace and the world. I realized that ID’s, credentials, banking info, credit cards… all would eventually be housed on devices that were connected to the Internet.

There have been huge changes in the security industry over the last decade, but the seamless merger of the offline and online world has probably had the most profound effect, both in terms of technology and market behavior. From a technology point of view, online integration has completely revolutionized security systems. With the IoT we are seeing physical and logical security being fully integrated and ultimately, this is likely to become a key component of much broader, all-encompassing technology networks. From a sales point of view, these changes have enabled end users (and consumers as a whole) to be far more knowledgeable about the technology they want to employ and the price they are willing to pay for it. In turn, this has forced a behavioral change in those that supply security technology and services, ensuring a solutions-lead delivery model rather than “shifting boxes,” which was predominant beforehand.

Scott Lindley Farpointe Data, Inc.

As 125-kHz proximity became the predominant credential technology over the previous decades, 13.56-MHz contactless smart cards became the new standard in the last 10 years. At a cost often comparable to proximity card systems, smart card systems may be more secure and can be used for applications beyond access control, such as tool checkouts, the company cafeteria and so on. All the leading smart card providers conform to ISO standards. However, be aware. There are still highly proprietary, non-standard-based smart card technologies that could bind you to a single-supplier dependency and potentially restrictive pricing and delivery structures. Only in certain circumstances do you want to consider them. What's coming on strong? Mobile credentials are smart phone-based versions of traditional RFID cards and tags. Mobile credentials make it possible for smartphones, such as the Apple iPhone® and the range of Google Android® devices, to be used as for electronic access control.

I would argue that we’re still in the midst of the biggest change of the last decade: the rise of the cloud in security and business operations use and application. Cloud-based initiatives over the last 10 years have matured significantly, and I have argued that the cloud is the key to success as the traditional element of installation will go by the wayside in the future. As people, we use the cloud more often than we'd care to realize; through our use of social media, banking, photo sharing and storage, etc. In the past, we had to be more intentional about its use and doing things deliberately like installing new software and having to go download, install and patch it on a regular basis. But now, the cloud is just running in the background as part of our daily lives and this ease-of-use is now extending to business needs.

I believe the biggest change to the security industry in the last decade is the increased popularity of social media. According to Statista, by 2019 there were 2.82B social network users versus 0.97B in 2010. From a security perspective that translates to a good, bad and ugly impact.

  • The good: Report incidents, get tips, communicate warnings to the masses, find missing people
  • The bad: Fake news, loss of privacy, customer service complaints
  • The Ugly: Cyber stalking, bullying, identity crimes

From an overall business perspective, while it can be very valuable for marketing, it can also be our worst enemy when it comes to a security incident on our property. Good or bad, people are going to talk about it, and protecting our brand is harder than ever with 2.82B voices.  To protect ourselves we must invest in the tools necessary to prove due diligence and ensure compliance with safety procedures. 

Mike Bone LifeSafety Power, Inc.

There’s been a monumental shift in security industry technology over the last decade, but none as significant as the digital transformation and the move to IP and data-driven devices. Now, with everything connected and the internet of Things landscape here and looming large, nearly every device connected to the internet has the ability to generate information that can possibly assist with security, safety and system resiliency. In the category of power, the once static product category has also become network-connected, offering intelligent data and analytics on the current status of power, remaining backup supply and even the real-time integrity of connected locks and access control devices throughout the enterprise. With this new and robust information comes the opportunity to remotely manage and monitor system power intuitively and more fully – with a guarantee of solid system uptime and reliability to even mission-critical devices.

Ross Wilks Vanderbilt Industries

There are so many changes of note to mention, but one that stands out is the rise in integration between technologies. Whether the technology comes from within a manufacturer's portfolio or through complementary technology from other vendors, this represents a significant shift for the market from being highly proprietary to focusing on the needs of the customer and the ability to meet those needs in a number of ways. For example, when an end user makes a large-scale investment in technology, they aim to ensure the technology will serve them now and into the future. "Open" or integrated solutions, therefore, are better able to meet the needs of these customers as they continue to grow and change with the ever-evolving threat landscape that we face on a global level.

Hank Monaco Johnson Controls, Inc.

In the past decade, we’ve seen automation take the industry by storm. By taking the physical security solutions that have been the standard for so long – lighting, fire detection and suppression, mass communication systems, alarms, access controls and more – and strategically integrating them with building automation systems (BAS), building managers and owners have been able to improve their emergency response procedures by leaps and bounds. Speed is everything during an emergency, and automation allows us to streamline these processes by taking human error out of the equation. The faster and more thorough the emergency response, the better the outcomes.

Alex Johnson Verint Systems

There have been a lot of changes in the past decade regarding security, but most notably, the industry has become significantly more aware of cyber-threats. In the financial industry, in particular, this has been driven by the proliferation of IP devices; though analog devices still exist, most organizations have moved away from them due to a need for better image quality and the desire to obtain more information to solve problems. Even though cybersecurity has always been a concern, this shift has forced professionals to be more conscious of it than they were 5 or 10 years ago as today’s systems are more exposed to threats. Manufacturers have begun to implement cybersecurity protocols into every aspect of product development, from conceptualization to final deployment, in order to augment organizations’ goals to comprehensively protect critical assets. The more we learn, the better poised we are to make informed decisions.

Duncan Riley Twenty20 Solutions

The introductions of cloud storage and internet protocol (IP) cameras during the last decade have significantly changed the security industry. Cloud storage eliminated the need for complex, on-site hardware and allowed surveillance footage to be stored securely off-site where it can be accessed from anywhere using a computer or mobile device. In addition, cloud storage allowed security providers to give customers visibility to multiple sites and their data simultaneously by integrating footage into a single, online platform. The introduction of smart IP cameras further changed security by helping to filter what video content needed to be either stored or discarded. Combined, these innovations have made video surveillance more attainable, giving companies of all sizes the tools needed to keep their locations safe and make informed decisions even when not on-site.

Jessica Burton Seagate Technology

The widespread introduction of advanced edge devices, including surveillance cameras and other sensors connected to the network, has been a significant change over the last decade. Likewise, the number of edge applications, where enterprises are using regionally located servers and appliances (outside of data centers) for real-time computing, has also grown. One of the catalysts for the growth of edge applications is the continued adoption of artificial intelligence in security deployments. Today, retail stores, manufacturing plants and other businesses want to leverage their surveillance cameras not only for security, but also for data capture so they can make smarter decisions that improve operations. For example, Outback Steakhouse recently deployed a solution that utilizes video surveillance and computer vision technology for behavioral analytics. With this technology, the restaurant can analyze host availability, individual wait times, and customer bounce rates to identify ways to enhance the overall customer experience.

By far, the biggest change in the security industry has been the development and expansion of technology to mitigate, respond and resolve security threats across numerous applications (i.e., physical security, cyber, social media, terrorism, natural disasters, etc.). This has allowed many organizations to take advantage of capability beyond traditional security measures of simply and solely relying on human intervention, by harnessing the processing power of technology in filtering and correlating data from security assets, such as cameras, access control systems, intrusion detection, data analytics, and other systems.

Editor Summary

Our Expert Panel Roundtable offers a long list of changes the industry has seen since 2010 – from cloud systems to IoT, from cellphone devices to social media, data-driven devices to open systems integration, and from automation to cyberthreats. Several of the panelists also mentioned the likelihood that these changes – and others – will continue at a rapid pace in the decade to come. It seems change is the only constant in the security market, so we should all get used to it.