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Emerging security industry trends in 2021: looking ahead with Hikvision’s UK R&D Director Ching Jin

11th Mar 2021 Hikvision's Ching Jin talks to Norbain SD

Hikvision are very hot on research & development of security technology. With this in mind, they set up a dedicated R&D centre in the UK just over a year ago to best assist with local market product development needs and to respond to bespoke system requirements for UK customers. The Director of the UK R&D Centre is Ching Jin, and I caught up with him recently about what he sees as the short- and long-term trends likely to have an impact on the security industry.

“In spite of a highly unusual 2020, the security industry’s constant transformation has not stopped,” Ching Jin says. “Several significant shifts in the use of technology are even accelerating, and these changes are expanding and reshaping the scope of the security industry, from keeping people and assets safe to creating more secure, efficient and intelligent environments.”

Below, he takes us through these trends one by one:

  1. Continued acceleration of Artificial Intelligence

One such shift in the use of technology has been how we have seen intelligent video used to help during the pandemic.

“Businesses are prioritizing finding ways to resume operations safely,” he says. “Intelligent video technology has shown great potential to help companies keep their employees and customers safe while getting back to work.

“Security cameras, powered by AI, monitor densely populated locations to ensure employees follow vital safety precautions, including social distancing, mask wearing and flow control, and provide initial temperature screenings.”

Employees are avoiding unnecessary physical contact with shared hardware, which is accelerating the touchless access control system trend in the market. Various modes of touchless verification, including face recognition, palmprint recognition, NFC and QR codes are already being heavily promoted.

  1. Multi-dimensional Perception

Ching Jin describes another trend as the rise of ‘multi-dimensional perception’.

“For a long time, capturing visual images was the core and only perception capability for video security systems,” he explains. “But with the development and application of sensing technologies, more powerful edge computing and intelligent algorithms, integrated security devices and systems that employ multiple sensors are now possible”.

“Today, perception capabilities, such as radar detection, multispectral imagery, humidity and temperature measurement, and gas pressure detection, are being integrated with video cameras and systems. This integration extends the perception capabilities of these video cameras and systems and widens their applications by enabling the collection and use of multi-dimensional information.”

An example would be the current integration of cameras with cm- and mm-wave radar technology, which extends perception beyond the visual range, allowing object and movement detection over 100m in the distance.

“Multispectral imagery is another way in which cameras can perceive information from the non-visible light spectrum,” Ching Jin says. “So, for instance, UV detection can even capture invisible electric arc phenomena, which is particularly useful in safety-checks at aging power grids.”

“Multi-dimensional perception capabilities will play a fundamental role in taking the video security industry to the next level, and we are seeing increasing numbers of integrated security devices and systems with multiple sensors.”

  1. Low Light Imaging Technology

“Cameras that capture clear images in all weather and lighting conditions are becoming the expectation from users”, Ching Jin says.

“Low light imaging technology that provides colourful images in dark environments and at night are proving popular, and customers have shown a preference toward cameras with colour imaging 24/7,” he says. “More front-end cameras are now equipped with low light imaging technology to make sure they can ‘see’ and reproduce colour images both day and night”.

“In extreme conditions such as heavy rain, snow, fog or smog, thermal imaging continues to be more and more popular. Measuring heat, or thermal radiation, to generate images means these cameras are far less affected by even the dullest of these conditions.”

  1. 5G is coming

The dawning of the 5G era is almost upon us, and Ching Jin believes this may bring with it significant changes for the security industry.

“5G’s greater bandwidth and lower latency makes the regular transmission of high-quality images possible and coupled with the widespread adoption of ultra-high-definition cameras, could bring new opportunities for video security,” he says.

The reliability of wireless transmission via 5G is likely to revolutionise the currently-wired video security market, bringing a proliferation of wireless cameras and more edge devices connected in remote locations. This will also facilitate the widescale, rapid deployment of AI applications in edge devices.

  1. Convergence of multiple systems

Convergence has long been a buzzword in the security industry, and it’s now becoming a reality.

“We operate in an industry where users expect comprehensive solutions, and the concept of systems working seamlessly together – including video, access control, alarm, fire prevention and emergency management – has obvious benefits,” he says. “Efficiency and cost-effectiveness are prime amongst them. For example, when an alarm goes off, customers want a response from an integrated system which automatically links that alert to the output of the nearest camera, so the whole situation can be easily viewed from the monitoring centre”.

“This translates to a considerable reduction in time and effort, and most importantly, costs. Savings in workforce, installer time, separate maintenance costs, separate software licenses, and so on, all add up to create an attractive package for customers. What’s more, convergence makes security solutions scalable”.

  1. Digital change beyond security

As we’ve discussed in previous articles, the value provided by video security systems has expanded to assist businesses in their digital transformation process, and to help them gain insights into development opportunities. This is what Ching Jin has witnessed also.

“Empowered by AI analytics, today’s smart video security solutions are designed to improve automation and operational efficiency in various vertical markets, including traffic, retail, manufacturing, building, education, and more,” he says. “Retailers, for instance, better understand foot traffic in their stores and optimise their merchandising strategies with help from smart video solutions.

“These solutions have been designed with digital dashboards to display data and information that come from the integrated in-house enterprise information systems. Operators and management can use these systems to get real-time status updates to help them make the best decisions for their business”.

“The digital transformation trend in many enterprises presents huge opportunities for security companies to expand their scope and play an important part in the future of an intelligent world.”

  1. Accelerated cloud-based security solutions

The ‘moving-to-the-cloud’ trend for businesses of all sizes accelerated across the security industry in 2020, Ching Jin says. From small business markets to enterprise level, more and more businesses are leveraging cost-effective cloud services to extend the flexibility of their operations, deployment, and management.

“Cloud-based security systems, which bring together security, networking, storage, analytics and management, are making deployment much easier since there is no need for local servers and software,” he says. “This saves a significant amount of time and costs, while extending or reducing their security systems.

“Through a cloud-hosting infrastructure, these solutions also benefit customers with remote operations and maintenance, quickly alerting them to key security events and allowing them to keep up with the latest firmware versions, upgrades, and service.”

  1. Increased edge computing to put AI everywhere

With the rise of increasingly powerful edge computing for security cameras, intelligent algorithms are finding wider applications.

“This makes us believe edge computing stands a good chance of ‘putting AI everywhere’,” he explains. “ANPR, automated event alerts, people counting, heat mapping, illegal parking detection, and hard hat detection, as well as a number of other AI applications, are becoming popular in the security market. With increased edge computing and optimised AI algorithms, it will become normal to see security cameras shoulder more intelligent tasks in the near future, to help improve security in local communities and enhance the efficiency of data systems.”

Because AI applications are finding use in many new fields, market requirements for AI algorithms are becoming more diversified and the demand for customization is also increasing.

“As a result, we have seen more collaboration across the industry and new ecosystems to satisfy various needs of the market,” he says. “Several security manufactures have launched programs to keep their edge devices open to third-party AI applications. This brings a greater variety of intelligent functionality, while development partners also benefit from the openness”.

“Providing open AI training platforms for customers to directly create and train their own algorithms is a fairly common practice in other industries and is now emerging in the physical security field. Customers have a deeper understanding about their own businesses, and it will be more efficient and effective for them with easy-to-use open-AI training platforms to develop their own algorithms based on their data and specific security and business needs.”

  1. Emphasis on cybersecurity and data privacy

Cybersecurity and data privacy protection remains a challenge for the security industry, and with the advent of popular cloud-based solutions, the IoT, big data, 5G and AI, millions more security devices are connected every year.

As a result, protecting security devices and systems from cyberattacks and establishing data privacy are more important issues than ever.

Ching Jin says, “Cybersecurity will continue to be a concern for the industry throughout every step of data processing, from generation, transmission, and storage to data applications and finally deletion. ‘Zero Trust’ has been a popular concept in the cybersecurity field, and this can be an inspiring idea for security companies to build higher-level cybersecurity standards with the stance of ‘never trust, always verify,” he says.

Our thanks to Ching Jin for taking us through these exciting trends for the security industry. Many of these trends are hugely exciting for our sector and offer real opportunities to place security at the centre of an organisation’s success.

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