How digital and cloud will unlock a bright future in physical security (if IT don’t get there first!)
Sep 11, 2019
Digital transformation has become a buzz word across many industries, especially IT.
It’s the term that defines how digital technologies, cloud solutions and other agile innovations are shifting the parameters of legacy business and disrupting the traditional modus operandi. According to a Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) white paper entitled ‘Cloud - The Next Generation’, 89% of UK businesses now use cloud services, often seen as an enabler for broader digital strategies, and the breadth of adoption is increasing rapidly. Digital transformation has seen market leaders collapse and the balance of power steadily move from the old vanguard of business to a new, more agile one. And no one is immune.
For many, the term digital transformation is confusing. Digital transformation is the move out of silos and rigid environments into a digital realm that allows for deeper integration, collaboration and customer service. Its definition is as much managed by the technologies that drive it as by market demand and the companies that harness its potential. While many businesses are already using the technologies in one form or another - even if they don’t quite always realise it – there remains high levels of hesitation in the physical security industry around how it can be used effectively or what the new digitally enabled solutions actually bring to the table.
Cloud Industry Forum white paper: ‘Cloud - The Next Generation’
The survey undertaken by CIF found that business leaders across various sectors were expecting to be either significantly or moderately disrupted by digital transformation over the next few years. And this is not necessarily a bad thing; digital transformation and disruption, if planned for properly and strategically, should be viewed as an enabler for business growth. The CIF survey found that around 29% of those surveyed had a fully formed digital transformation strategy in place while 63% have either implemented one or plan to do so in the near future. Tellingly, both statistics reveal a large proportion of the market left behind as digital and cloud adoption sweep across industry.
To what extent is cloud important to your organisation’s digital transformation strategy?
73% said ‘critical’ or ‘very important’ (CIF)
If anyone were to ask what technologies are driving digital transformation, the answers they got would vary from company to sector to industry to organisation. In the IT industry, this transformation is being powered by both present and emergent technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, edge computing and blockchain, among others. In the physical security industry, the conversation is very different. A Morphean survey [link to survey blog] found that this is one area of business that has incredible potential to benefit from cloud but is still behind in terms of adoption.
84% of respondents expect their organisation’s adoption of cloud services to increase in the next 12 months (CIF)
The applications of cloud and digital in the physical security realm are incredibly exciting. Connected cameras, facial recognition technology, video analysis and object tracking are some of the technologies that can benefit from the connectivity of cloud and IoT. Many of the traditional tools and solutions used in the industry are still on-premise and restrictive in their capabilities due to legacy implementations and applications. Moving into the cloud and making use of the Internet of Things (IoT) means that the industry can unlock a far greater level of intelligence and business insights, while also turning these functions into services, selling them on to customers and markets as part of a cohesive digital solution.
IT getting closer to the business
It may not all be plane sailing for the physical security sector though. One of the most important results revealed in the CIF white paper was whether or not existing digital transformation strategies are relevant or effective. Business decision makers across different industries were more negative than those in IT. Many felt that their strategies were not built with the right skills or insights and there wasn’t enough understanding around how digital transformation worked. This shortfall in digital transformation skills will play to the IT industry’s strengths who are well accustomed to the digital platforms and increasingly able to access the skills needed for digital transformation success.
“By shifting the burden of server management to trusted third parties, IT teams are freed up to focus on value-added activities and business transformation.” CIF
The question of on premise versus outsource then comes into focus. Prior to the cloud, new applications required capital investment in suitable server infrastructure held on site, that came with a hefty price tag and uncertainty about its scale of use. Cloud plays a critical role in the rollout of next generation technologies not only because of its flexibility to provision and ease of scalable infrastructure, but also because of no up-front capital expenditure, it reduces business and financial risk. This, no doubt, will present challenges for the physical security industry whose revenue models are built on legacy infrastructure.
This is very likely a reason why the physical security industry remains poised on the edge of cloud adoption but is slow to embrace the change. The reality though is that every industry is being pulled into the wake of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a revolution powered by innovate new digital technologies. It may be new, and it may be uncharted, but those industries left behind may well be terminally disrupted and changed forever.
The goal is to not be the one left behind.
For more information on the Cloud Industry Forum visit https://www.cloudindustryforum.org/
Or contact Morphean for a copy of the CIF white paper.