2 Sep 2019

Editor Introduction

An aging employee population and the influx of a new generation of workers and customers is driving change in the physical security industry. Millennials – those born in the 1980s and mid-1990s – are especially impacting how the industry operates, the technologies it produces, and the customers it serves. This tech-savvy generation grew up with the Internet at their fingertips. They embrace innovation in all its glory and expect it to play a seamless role in their lives – and work. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How are millennials changing how security systems are designed, installed and/or operated?

Millennials generally want the same technology experience at work as they have at home. In the security space, there has been particularly strong demand in this demographic for an almost exclusively mobile experience. Integrating numerous applications into a unified, cloud-based access control experience gives people the “digital cohesion” of employing smartphone apps to open doors, authenticate to enterprise data resources and use a building’s applications and services. Today’s mobile solutions also deliver connected experiences in the lobby and at the turnstile and elevator, simplifying how occupants move through a facility. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-powered location-services solutions enable such applications as wayfinding systems that deliver turn-by-turn navigation inside large campuses and parking lots. As they are tightly integrated with advanced smart building solutions, today’s connected mobile solutions are also enabling applications ranging from HVAC load analytics to adjusting temperature settings or turning off lights when the last person leaves a building.

Ron Virden ACRE, LLC

Over the last few years, we’ve seen the millennial generation have a profound impact on the security industry, and this is largely due to the fact that those born in this time period have a very knowledgeable and in-depth experience with technology. Millennials are accustomed to smart devices, automation and at-your-fingertips accessibility, which has created new and unfamiliar demands when it comes to security systems and solutions. For example, in regard to access control, convenience is a top priority for millennials, who have no desire to dig through personal belongings to locate a badge or key. Instead, they expect applications on smart devices that can run in the background at all times, allowing entry by simply walking by a designated area. Organizations must therefore contend with determining how best to enhance the security of their facilities with technology such as biometrics and mobile credentials that appeal to a younger generation.

Millennials don’t want to compromise on the convenience of accessing and managing surveillance remotely. Most entered the workplace with the ability to manage their professional and personal lives on mobile devices. They demand that same convenience from surveillance. To meet those demands, manufacturers must combine the latest H.265 standard with compression and buffering technologies to enable live streaming and retrieval of footage through mobile apps. Compare the design and user experience of a Walkman to an iPod or an early generation Nokia phone to an iPhone – and it’s no surprise that millennials want sleek designs and intuitive interfaces. They expect the same simplicity and ease when it comes to video management system (VMS) and camera controls, and in certain environments, unobtrusive cameras and hardware. Because they’re used to managing their lives online, they have a heighted awareness of cyber threats and demand surveillance vendors apply the latest cybersecurity best practices. 

Millennials are changing how security systems are designed and operated because they are already comfortable with technology. Unlike the older generation of installers and manufacturers, they are comfortable with using their mobile devices for all sorts of things, ranging from viewing camera footage to mobile authentication for access control entry. At the same time, it seems there is an expectation for things to be more seamless and faster than in previous generations, sparking a demand for biometric technologies. Millennials want things to be easy; what is easier than accessing your security systems from your phone?

Alex Johnson Verint Systems

Millennials are changing how businesses connect with consumers as they demand to interact with and physically experience a brand. We are therefore seeing companies within the industry shift operations to accommodate this trend, which is becoming apparent in the convergence between two critical elements: security and customer engagement. As businesses adapt to create a richer customer experience, new security risks require these organizations to prioritize the implementation of intelligent solutions to convey a clear dedication to safety and providing reliable services — which, in turn, improves customer satisfaction. We’re seeing this trend play out in the interiors of bank branches, where these environments are embracing the demand of a more relaxed atmosphere, requiring an adjustment in security operations from a fraud and safety perspective.

Millennials are famed for their “always online” persona, but the way we all interact with security systems has changed over the last decade. IP connections mean many modern security systems are using services that utilize the Cloud, smartphones and apps. It’s not just the systems themselves; online media is also playing a role in security. YouTube and other video hosting sites are a prime location for advice and training, which allows manufacturers/providers to easily and efficiently share knowledge and expertise with installers and end users. Of course, the younger generations particularly favor online interactions (as it’s a key part of their business and social life), so the security industry needs to “move with the times” and accommodate this. With less emphasis on face-to-face interactions in business, we all need to understand these changes in demographics and meet the needs and expectations of the next generation of security experts and customers.

Editor Summary

It could be argued that Baby Boomers created the physical security industry as we know it, although its origins date back to the Greatest Generation. However, the future of the industry is certainly in the hands of Millennials, Generation Z and all the rest to follow. As our Expert Panelists point out, Millennials are already having an impact on many facets of our industry with plenty more to come.