The security industry as we all understand it today is due for a much-needed paradigm shift. The solutions that security dealers and integrators are installing and deploying today have advanced considerably and for many, those systems do an excellent job safeguarding the homes and small businesses of their customers. However, all of those installed solutions have one inherent flaw: traditional fire alarms and security systems are only reactive in nature.

By reactive, we mean that although today’s fire alarm and security systems are excellent at informing customers of a harmful or damaging event, such as a fire or perhaps a flood that is in progress, they are very poor at predicting when trouble is about to strike.

Analytics Predict Damaging Or Fatal Events

Knowledge that an event such as a flood is currently taking place within a small business or a home is an incredibly powerful and valuable piece of information. In the case of flooding, the ability to detect and shut off a water leak within the first 30 minutes is capable of reducing damage costs by up to 90 percent. However, imagine if, for example, you were alerted of a drop in a building’s temperature coupled with a low outdoor wind chill before a pipe burst and caused a flood? You would then be able to investigate the issue and take measures to stop the flood from occurring. Today’s technology advancements make this possible and are why the security industry should be shifting from reactive to preventative security solutions for their customers.

Monitoring for a change in two data points is the current limitation of today’s fire
alarm and security systems

Systems that can predict damaging or fatal events — such as carbon monoxide build-up, mold damage or flooding and even fires — may sound like science fiction but they exist and they are possible today through the power of predictive analytics. Put simply, predictive analytics is the use of data, statistical analysis, and machine learning techniques to identify the probability of future outcomes based on historical data. To better understand the current state of the security industry and where it needs to evolve, we need to break down how predictive analytics play into that shift in layman security dealer and integrator terms.

Dangers Of Binary Data Messengers

In their most basic form, many of the standard devices and solutions security dealers install every day are “binary” data messengers. A door/window sensor, for example, understands two data points — “open” and “closed” — and communicates that status to the overall system, which may ignore the message unless the system is armed. While a smoke/CO detector may appear to be a more complicated example, within fire alarm and security systems it behaves in the same way the door/window sensor example does by communicating “smoke/CO detected” or “no smoke/CO detected” back to the overall system.

In our current industry state, systems monitor for dichotomies: open/closed, locked/unlocked, motion/stillness, smoke or CO detected/no smoke or CO detected, and water/no water detected. While the ability to detect these status changes is important, monitoring for a change in two data points is the current limitation of today’s fire alarm and security systems, and the reason why we need the additional layer of predictive analytics to move the industry forward.

Rather than relying on a system consisting of binary data messengers that only communicate two data points, a better solution is a system of data collectors and messengers that can constantly measure an environment, store that information and establish baselines and patterns.

One predictive analytics system accurately anticipated and warned users of a fire 18 minutes before any smoke alarms sounded
A system using predictive analytics can alert a building manager, property owner or other professional to the change in status that might indicate a future fire, flood, or CO leak

The ability for a system featuring predictive analytics to identify the likelihood of future outcome (i.e., potential flood or fire) relies on that system’s ability to supply historical data from multiple sources. As common sensors that security dealers install regularly continue to advance, standalone devices are getting better at measuring several data points. For example, a single PIR motion sensor may also be capable of measuring sound, lux levels, temperature, and humidity, making that single sensor a very data-rich device that can then process and provide more useful information.

Anticipating Future Incidents

With predictive analytics, the more data points the algorithm has access to, the more sophisticated the system becomes, and the better it is at predicting future outcomes. By learning what’s “normal” within an installed environment via the data provided by the wireless sensors that connect to the system, cloud-based predictive analytics engines can understand when critical environmental factors and patterns are out of their traditional threshold.

The system can then alert a building manager, property owner or other professional to the change in status that might indicate a future fire, flood, or CO leak. For example, in UL research testing with smouldering fires, one such system accurately anticipated and warned users of a fire 18 minutes before any smoke alarms sounded.

Predictive analytics algorithms can understand patterns in order to make more educated decisions
and predictions

Understanding predictive analytics and familiarity with the in-market solutions that leverage that emerging technology can help security dealers and integrators prevent damage to their client’s businesses or homes via preventative alert notifications, while at the same time augmenting their own business and bottom line.

Because these types of solutions rely on the same data and information collected by traditional devices and sensors within the security industry, integrators can choose to install a system with a predictive analytics engine as the base system, or choose to augment their existing installations with a predictive system to add early-warning capabilities.

Educated Decisions For Preventative Security

To a degree, many dealers are already familiar with the concept of predictive analytics and understand the benefit it can provide to an installation. We’ve already seen one-off devices — take the Nest thermostat for example — that learn what they can about their environment and then make simple decisions on their own to impact their surroundings. Similarly, a flood, smoke, or CO sensor that utilizes predictive analytics learns its normal environment and sends detailed alerts when there are any abnormal changes in temperature, moisture, or air quality.

What makes emerging technologies such as predictive analytics, deep learning, machine learning and artificial intelligence the future of many industries, including security, is the algorithms’ ability to constantly aggregate multiple data points and data types, understand patterns among them, and make more educated decisions and predictions. As the sensors and devices security dealers regularly install continue to get smaller, less expensive, and more integrated, we enter an era where we have more data available to us than ever before on our connected environments.

With all the data points available today, why not take advantage of systems that provide powerful algorithms to process, learn and act on that information? Security dealers who recognize we’re on the cusp of a turning point within the industry and shift from offering reactive to preventative security solutions are the ones who will continue to thrive as the industry evolves.

Download PDF version

Author Profile

Dan Parent COO & Vice President of Engineering, OneEvent Technologies

In case you missed it

Has The Gap Closed Between Security Fiction And Security Reality?
Has The Gap Closed Between Security Fiction And Security Reality?

Among its many uses and benefits, technology is a handy tool in the fantasy world of movie and television thrillers. We all know the scene: a vital plot point depends on having just the right super-duper gadget to locate a suspect or to get past a locked door. In movies and TV, face recognition is more a super power than a technical function. Video footage can be magically enhanced to provide a perfect image of a license plate number. We have all shaken our heads in disbelief, and yet, our industry’s technical capabilities are improving every day. Are we approaching a day when the “enhanced” view of technology in movies and TV is closer to the truth? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How much has the gap closed between the reality of security system capabilities and what you see on TV (or at the movies)?

The Five Questions Bank Security And IT Leaders Need To Answer About Cybersecurity
The Five Questions Bank Security And IT Leaders Need To Answer About Cybersecurity

Organizations across the world face a new risk paradigm: one that encompasses cyber and physical threats. We’ve heard the stories associated with ATM skimming, identity theft, data breaches, scams, and phishing. Large financial services organizations are often the victim of hackers looking to steal corporate information and transactional data or funds, and criminals continue to become more sophisticated in their approach. Growth In Cyber-Attacks Additionally, cyber-threats have taken a front seat in the line-up of primary risks facing financial institutions today. And it is no surprise why: according to Cybersecurity Ventures, the amount of money taken in cyber heists, both in banking and elsewhere, was estimated at $3 trillion overall for 2015, and this substantial amount is expected to double by 2021. Cyber-attacks are becoming more prevalent, more complex and harder to address The fact that cyber-attacks are becoming more prevalent isn't the only issue; they're also becoming more complex and therefore harder to address. And although the convenient interconnectivity of the Internet of Things (IoT) creates many advantages for financial institutions, with that also comes an increased risk to dangerous threats. In today’s environment, banks, credit unions, and financial organizations of all types are primary targets for hackers. But it’s not just the monetary loss that these businesses need to be concerned about — there is also a threat to the brand, customer trust, and employee safety. All of these challenges and complexities open the door to new conversations and risks. Here are the top five critical questions today’s bank leaders need to be ready to answer. Should We Collaborate To Mitigate These Threats Effectively? Over the last decade, the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) and a demand for more mobile capabilities has changed the way people and businesses connect. But as the need for connectivity increases, so too does the need for increased security for physical assets, networks, and valuable corporate data. As a result, a dialog between IT and physical security is necessary to help leaders gain a greater knowledge of how to best collaborate to ensure complete protection. Leaders must communicate closely to drive strategies that help identify vulnerabilities in a more proactive manner. The result of these conversations: a truly comprehensive approach to security intelligence. It’s not just the monetary loss that banks need to be concerned about – there is also a threat to customer trust and employee safety How Can I Pinpoint The Important Data For Addressing Cyber Threats? To maintain a high level of security and ensure business continuity around the globe, companies seek solutions that help predict and identify threats in real time. But often, there are too many alerts generated by too many systems, and none of this raw data is actionable. Linking cyber and physical security together transforms alerts into actionable intelligence, which helps users connect the pieces of any situation and present a unified risk scenario to the appropriate analysts and operators. By capturing and analyzing data in real time, enterprise organizations gain a visual representation of risks across the business while accessing information related to the most critical events happening at any given time. Not only does this unified process enable a higher and more proactive level of protection, but it also helps facilitate a plan of action based within a common, unified security operations center. How Can I Inform Of The Importance Of Cybersecurity? Security leaders in banks need to feel prepared by staying updated, looking at common vulnerabilities, understanding the malware and challenges, and testing the environment. And collaboration is key to mitigation: Traditional security and fraud teams must work in conjunction with cyber teams to effectively handle all aspects of a cyber-attack. Additionally, CISOs need to “sell” cybersecurity to CEOs and the board by outlining the importance of protection through emphasising the impact of a potential cyber-attack on the business. Ensure you can verbally address the most critical risks to your senior leadership, including recent botnets, scams, and cyber gangs, to receive the support, and budget you need to address these threats head on. Is My System Secure? It is critical that you are knowledgeable about the steps you can take to protect your security and network infrastructure from cyber-attacks. A firewall is useful to prevent hackers from accessing critical data on internal networks and computers Changing default passwords should be a first step, as some scams target devices with hard-coded factory defaults. Ensure software and firmware is up to date because updates often include fixes for potential vulnerabilities. These updates keep your devices and network more secure and increase overall system uptime. A firewall is useful to prevent hackers and unauthorized programs from accessing the critical business information and resources on internal networks and computers. Also, minimize potential risk by closing network ports and disabling services you don’t need. With all of these instances, it is best to work closely with your integrator partner and chosen vendor to ensure that your system is as secure as it can possibly be. What Solutions Are Best To Help Mitigate Risks? Technology is a great force multiplier. Security — both cyber and physical solutions — helps secure an entire branch footprint, alleviates risk, ensures operational compliance, and improves fraud investigations. Video surveillance systems, analytics, threat management platforms and more can provide organizations with intelligence and unprecedented protection from fraud, all while enhancing the customer experience. Overall, there are significant benefits to collaborating to gain comprehensive risk intelligence. By bringing various leaders, departments, technologies and strategies together, we can more effectively identify threats, develop trends and quickly access important data to ensure security and safety goals are realized.

BCDVideo Signs OEM Deal With Dell EMC: Positive Impact For Surveillance Storage
BCDVideo Signs OEM Deal With Dell EMC: Positive Impact For Surveillance Storage

In a significant move for the video security market, BCDVideo has announced that it is set to become Dell EMC’s OEM partner in the video surveillance space. For nearly a decade, the Chicago-based company has been known as a key OEM partner of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), providing storage and networking technology to security integrators on a global scale. This latest partnership will allow BCDVideo to take their offerings to the next level. BCDVideo Vice President Tom Larson spoke to SecurityInformed.com to discuss the reasoning behind the deal, and how the program will benefit partners, integrators, and end-users alike. Expanding BCDVideo's Product Offering For BCDVideo, the HPE OEM program has been widely acknowledged as a success, allowing the company to leverage a globally recognized brand and provide high-quality, reliable solutions across video networking and access control. Nevertheless, explains Larson, HPE server solutions are primarily suited to large-scale enterprise projects, and are therefore unable to accommodate for the growth in small- and medium-sized surveillance applications. The global collaboration with Dell EMC will allow BCDVideo to open up a broader product offering, building on success in the larger enterprise market to offer tailored solutions to SMEs. Our aim is to look at all best of breed technology to serve the video surveillance marketplace, and that means multiple partnerships” Support For Integrators By leveraging Dell EMC’s sophisticated digital storage platforms, BCDVideo will now be able to offer a more cost-effective solution to integrators, without sacrificing the resilience and IT-level service that BCDVideo is known for. With access to Dell EMC’s expansive global sales and technical teams, the company hopes to expand its reach, all-the-while providing partners with around-the-clock technical support and a five-year on-site warranty. Customers should be reassured that BCDVideo will continue to offer HPE platforms, service, and support. “Our aim is to look at all best-of-breed technology to serve the video surveillance marketplace, and that means multiple partnerships,” says Larson.  “The addition of Dell EMC to our portfolio is a major win for BCDVideo, for Dell EMC, and for our integrators.” The global collaboration with Dell EMC will allow BCDVideo to open up a broader product offering Meeting Surveillance Market Demands At the technology level, assures Larson, Dell EMC’s server offering is well suited to handle the increasing video resolution and growing camera count demanded by the surveillance industry. At the larger end of the spectrum, the company’s Isilon Scale-Out NAS solution can handle tens of petabytes of data, making it ideal for large-scale security applications such as city-wide surveillance and airport security. Dell EMC storage solutions are already proving successful at major international airports including Dubai and Abu Dhabi, each with a camera count in the 1000s.Dell EMC and BCDVideo together are ensuring our customers get the right solutions designed for the surveillance market” For Dell EMC, the new partnership means the ability to expand on this success in the enterprise market, leveraging BCDVideo’s surveillance expertise and high-level customer service to offer tailored solutions for lower-volume applications. Since its inception, BCDVideo has differentiated itself in the security space by providing a high level of IT service to integrators making the transition to IP systems. By combining resources, the partners will be able to service VMS and analytics companies, software vendors, and access control providers, as well as traditional business integrators. Ken Mills, General Manager Dell EMC Surveillance, explains: “Surveillance storage is not just about capacity, it is also about performance and reliability. Dell EMC and BCDVideo together are ensuring our customers get the right solutions designed for the surveillance market.” Accomodating For Growth BCDVideo is well placed to accommodate this anticipated growth. Last year, the company opened a new 51,000-square-foot global headquarters in Illinois, home to 90 separate stations within their Innovation Center where each system is customised according to integrator needs. The new facility allows for expanding business with new and existing partners in the security market.