How the Internet of Things is reshaping security

You can’t open a magazine, got a web site or attend an event these days without hearing the term Internet of Things or IoT. Seems like today everything can or should be connected. Nice idea, but what does it mean if you’re thinking about security?

Open standards

To start, you should know that any kind of IP-based video surveillance and physical access control devices such as security cameras and door controllers are in fact IoT devices (in fact, we invented what many call the first IoT device 20 years ago when we launched our first network camera, but that’s another story). These connected devices offer non-proprietary and open standards allowing users to integrate them with other devices and software as they wish and without restrictions.

The further adoption of IoT will drive this integration beyond currently separate device categories. There is a huge opportunity to manage multiple systems with just one management console. From smoke and gas sensors to video surveillance, physical access control, loudspeakers, air conditioning and heating, escalators and elevators to window shades, light switches and automatic doors – all these devices can be managed together with the IoT.

Internet of Security Things

From a security standpoint, IoT is more than just cameras. For example, Axis introduced what is best described as an IoT loudspeaker in March of 2015. It can be integrated with just about anything. You can even assign it a phone number and make announcements through making respective calls to that number.

A quick primer on how something like that works: it is a self-contained loudspeaker that offers signal transmission, decoding, amplification, microphone and speaker all in one unit. Unlike analog loudspeakers, there is no need for a separate amplifier. An external power supply is also not required, thanks to Power over Ethernet (PoE) support. It can therefore be very flexibly installed as an extension to existing security systems allowing operators to deter unwanted activity without having to send a security guard to the scene, for example.

This is just one example of a new breed of security products. We are seeing the beginning of what is probably best named the “Internet of Security Things.” Open standards will allow previously separate device categories to be used together and accessed via a single management console. This will make security systems easier to use while providing better situational awareness and overviews of incidents.