A brief history of the transformative effect of innovation on the physical security industry
Photo: Closed circuit TV monitoring at the Central Police Control Station, Munich, Germany, in 1973 When considering the role of technology in security, it s easy for those outside the industry to think about the cyber side of things. Of course, more traditional and physical security services have changed profoundly through technological innovation over the decades too. Keeping buildings and personnel secure historically depended on the use of eyes and ears, people looking and listening for intruders and potential threats.
However, technology has now evolved to a point where they don t work alone. CCTV CCTV is perhaps the prime example of this. A staple of physical security, it catches things that may be missed by patrolling eyes. It s come a long way since its inception too. Initially developed during the Second World War, closed-circuit television became commercially available in 1949 and a domestic version was granted patent in 1969. There was one big problem, though: there was no functionality for recording so constant monitoring of the playback screen was required to render the system useable. CCTV 1980s style Things got easier in the 70s with the emergence of the VCR. Video surveillance and security were boosted dramatically. Monitors could be left unattended, safe in the knowledge that nothing would be missed.
Concrete proof of anything happening could be attained and criminals caught on the back of captured video. Further advancements in technology allowed CCTV to further tighten security. The VCR, which wasn t exactly renowned for its image and video quality, was supplanted by superior digital technologies throughout the 90s and noughties. Better resolution, more efficient storage and easier retrieval made for the basis of new innovations. In modern times, high-definition display and cloud-based systems have made for further improvements including an ability to monitor larger areas and provide clearer views of perpetrators if required. Walkie-Talkies Affectionately known as walkie-talkies, handheld transceivers play a pivotal role in many security setups, particularly larger ones. Offering instant communication, they are used by the likes of the police forces and military units around the world. They have helped to secure some of the toughest climates it the world and continue to do so. The initial eyes and ears model of physical security is toughened up with findings being able to be reported immediately.
This is of particular use when findings are time sensitive, for example, a thief running from the scene of a crime. A very able deterrent, walkie-talkies provide the link between seeing and doing that is so often need when it comes to security. Lighting So simple yet powerfully effective, security lighting illuminates an area making it easier for potential wrongdoers to be seen. Whilst it may seem pretty straightforward on the surface, many elements of lighting have had to change over the years to make them it as competent as it is today. Whilst bright lights have always been used, lighting that is overbearing can actually make it harder to see from the outside. On top of this, mismanaged lighting setups can result in glare, which again has an impact on the ability to see what is going on. There are also considerations needed for the processes for monitoring the illuminated area human eye or CCTV. With this in mind, lighting has been crafted to stand in line and not potentially be obstructive to security. Illuminated glows that highlight areas are likely to deter criminals, boosting surveillance.
Alarms Visual and audible deterrents in equal measures, security alarms are incredible at their job. The usual sensors used in these systems are PIR sensors will trigger an alarm when a person walks past. They ve stood the test of time for sure but more advanced technology is making for a new level in alarm security. There are a whole host of alarm triggers and actions that can be used to further strengthen and safeguard premises. Modern triggers may include: Glass or windows breaking Vibrations, such as those in building attacks Increased soundwaves, sometimes ultrasonic Photo-electric beams, laser alarms In most cases, security is strengthened thanks to the high-pitched sound that is made when one of these is triggered. More modern approaches can use a number of alternative actions based on a specific environment. Doors can be slammed shut, CCTV can begin rolling and services halted to protect anything of value. Biometric Recognition Technology Limiting access to certain areas can sometimes be tricky. Recognition software, however, takes all of the difficulty away whilst simultaneously improving security.
There are three main types facial, iris and fingerprint. All three provide stronger protection than a key. Without pre-cleared fingerprints, iris patterns or facial features, entry is impossible. These systems generally work very well. Fingerprint identification is impossible to clone or fool so is mightily secure. Early versions of facial and iris recognition software came in for criticism as they were sometimes able to be manipulated by using photos of somebody with authorisation. Later and more modern versions have been developed with a view to eliminating such problems. Advanced technology means that it is much harder to crack these systems, tightening security significantly. Shut Down Rooms In a similar way to light sensors detecting no movement and turning lights off, some people have implemented whole rooms based on such technology.
The benefits of this from a security viewpoint are huge. Where rooms are keeping sensitive information and valuable possessions, it is often imperative that strong security measures are in place. Timers can be set to manage closing and locking windows, powering down electronics (which may require a password to turn on again) and locking doors. Rooms can also be shut down manually or remotely offering controlled security for any situation. An Evolving World Although physical security still has somewhat of a dependence on eyes and ears, technology has played a huge role in its advancements over the years. There are literally thousands of ways in which security has benefitted from advancements made in tech and will surely find even more further on in the future. Chris Perry of NVC Security works to make more secure environments a reality. From outdoors to indoors and commercial to domestic, he believes tech can help in all areas of security. Visit Europe s leading security event in June 2017 Be the first to see the very latest in security tech for 17/18 at IFSEC International, where around 600 manufacturers will be attending, including this year s new additions to the show; OSI Electronics, Redvision, L3, ABLOY, Cisco and Meraki to name just a few.
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