Beyond physical security - making the most of the IoT

3 Jul 2018

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)? Its definition is a relatively simple one; it is an internet connected device that has the ability to communicate and interact with another device connected to the same network.

By now most of us will be familiar with this concept as the IoT has already been making waves in the consumer world. We are becoming increasingly well-versed in asking Alexa to turn on the lights, or Siri to switch off the heating.

As these devices become ever more popular it has been estimated that IoT spending will top $1 trillion in 2020[1]. And this growth isn’t limited to the consumer market. The IoT is beginning to take hold within the business landscape too, with the increased amount of data generated from connected devices giving firms greater insights, or opening their eyes, as to how their customers use their services. In retail specifically, this can lead to a more personalised experience for the shopper, whether that be online or in-store, to optimise sales performance.

The new IoT physical security world

IoT usage has been growing for some time in the physical security industry too, perhaps without many even realising it. This kind of technology has been present in the sector for over 20 years, far exceeding the introduction of well-known consumer technologies. It was, in fact, back in 1996 that one of our partners, Axis Communications, developed the first IP video camera, the Neteye 200, a device that revolutionised the physical security industry.

The modern-day IP video camera is commonly referred to as CCTV, an abbreviation which stands for Closed-Circuit Television. The key difference between CCTV and IP is openness and connectivity. A modern-day IP camera can be network connected, meaning it can communicate with other business systems to provide an organisation with enhanced security and useful insights.

For example, in a retail environment, an IP camera may identify large queues building at the check-outs. Rather than having personnel monitoring live video-feeds, or reviewing such incidents retrospectively, smart connectivity allows automated alerts to be sent to relevant staff members, so staff can be re-distributed to the check out to minimise queue waiting times and therefore enhance the customer experience. Benefits such as this is partly the reason Morphean is witnessing increased investment in the Security-as-a-Service sector.

Limitless possibilities - integrating with other systems

The potential of the IoT to revolutionise business intelligence is massive. While the above example highlights the intelligence benefits of connecting physical security technology to a network, what if you begin connecting it to other non-security devices within the same network?

A great example of this in action is connecting an IP access control solution to a HR system. Access control may pick up that an employee has entered a building at 8.53am. On first viewing, this seems like normal activity that doesn’t require any intervention. However, the HR system may indicate that the employee in question is on annual leave, begging the question: who has entered the building? This situation has escalated from a normal day-to-day action to a potential intruder alert through devices communicating via the IoT and highlights the endless possibilities for organisations looking to make the most of the IoT.