2021 State of the Security Industry

2021 State of the Security Industry

Remember when we all looked back at the year 2020? Most of us were hoping that life would return to normal and that we would be liberated from ‘the virus’. In our professional lifes many of us we were hoping to return to international travel and meet fellow industry representatives at one of the many events and exhibitions that are organized annually in our industry in every continent. However: It did not take much of progression into the year 2021 to realize that many of the aforementioned hopes would not turn into reality quickly.

2021 State of the Security Industry

Now that we are move towards the end of the year 2021, it is time to look back. Although the COVID pandemic is still having a huge influence on our daily lifes, both private and professional, it does not mean that 2021 should be considered a lost year. We did see the return of physical security industry events and we also could witness a lot of technological progress. We also witnessed a lot of events internationally in which security services and technology played a crucial role. Let’s look back at some of the security related developments this year.

Government control

The pandemic is used by many governments to impose more control mechanisms. COVID passports, video monitoring and in some cases patrol robots were implemented to as measures to help fight the pandemic. Using video monitoring and AI, the Singapore government for example is enforcing mask mandates and social distancing. They also releases patrol robots in public areas to enforce COVID measures. The use of smartphones to host digital COVID vaccination certificates is widespread in many countries. Germany for examples was one of the countries to impose the ‘2G Rule‘. In essence this could be described as an access control system to enter public events or venues. Access rights are based on the individual health status. Something rarely witnessed before in our history.

On our platform we refrain from engaging in political debates. Many platforms exist for that. The trend that is relevant to our history is that in our societies with large and growing populated areas there will be an ever growing need to control the movement of people. The COVID pandemic and related governmental measures have increased the speed of penetration of security technology into our everyday lifes. What we have become used to in our corporate environments seems to be transferring into our daily reality. Some may see this as a great business opportunity. But one thing it will do for sure is that it will make the public much more aware about technologies like AI based video surveillance, facial recognition, smartphone access control, patrolling robots and other security related technologies. Our industry will have a role to play in explaining the public about the background, purpose, benefits and limitations of these technologies. Many people will fear a society as described in Gerorge Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Breakthrough technologies

COVID did have a significant impact on product releases in our industry. It may have helped some technologies to be more widely accepted at a much higher pace. Many access control systems have been expanded with the ability to manage the capacity in zones and trace contacts. Face recognition terminals were quickly expanded with features like mask detection and temperature measurement and many of these devices were installed globally. It seems the debate about privacy and facial recognition systems was much less important this year. Contactless identification certainly has gained much popularity.

This would also explain the breakthrough of mobile access: storing virtual access control cards on smartphones and use these cards for access control. Vendors like STid and HID Global are among those that are leading the way in this category. The ability to use BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) to read these virtual access cards securely at a wider distance has certainly helped with the acceptance of this technology.

Another technological trend that we often talked about is the concept of cloud-based security systems. Vendors active in categories like cloud-based access control, cloud-based video management and cloud-based intercom systems have shown great financial figures as a result of large numbers of installations. It is inevitable that this trend will continue in 2022.

Component Shortage

One thing that currently is having a great impact on the supply chain of security vendors is the global situation with component shortage. Many vendors are suffering from shortages of critical components. IC’s, FPGA’s and other components have become difficult to source timely and in sufficient quantities.

Let’s hope this situation will turn around quickly, since it will have a very negative impact on the financial results of vendors, integrators and all parties that are collaborating in the supply chain. Besides the economic impact, the shortage also will delay the final commissioning of security projects and and the building and infrastructures that are in need of the security.

Ransomware and cybersecurity

The convergence of physical security and information security or cyber security is one of the trends that will continue to progress globally into 2022 and the years beyond that.

The importance of information security has clearly been underlined in 2021 by the many reports of ransomware attacks. Both information security and physical security are in essence supporting the need for business continuity. And ransomware attacks have proven how vulnerable organisations can be when they do not protect themselves adequately.

Many other observations can be made about security in the year 2021. You are happily invited to share your ideas underneath.

On behalf of our team I hope that those of you that celebrate X-mas and New Year’s Eve will have great holidays. Spend a great time with friends and family and re-energize for the upcoming year. It is already clear that 2022 will also be a year with challenges. But let’s hope it will also be a good year. Thank you for visiting the group on LinkedIn and on this site. I wish you and your families and friends all the best and I am looking forward to seeing you online or in person next year!

Maarten Mijwaart

Founder of the Security Industry Group

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