Platforms are us

September 2019 News

A conversation I had at the recent Residential Estate Security Conference Hi-Tech Security Solutions hosted in August (which will be reviewed in the October issue) got me to thinking about the security industry and why it is in such a poor state economically. So many companies are cutting back, retrenching and all those horrible things because customers are few and far between.

Of course, the economic situation we’re in tends to help in that regard, putting paid to the longstanding myth that the security industry is recession proof. Not all companies are suffering though; some of those able to offer a collection of services are doing well.

This got me thinking about something that was highlighted at a conference early in the year – platforms. Much of the industry is still in the ‘old’ business model of doing what they do and that’s it. If we look at some of the technologies that are set to change the industry even more than it has changed over the past few years (and this time I’m not talking about AI), it seems the move to a platform model is the way to go.

A platform model sees the basic functionality of your solution provided to one and all, putting the ‘easy stuff’ in the hands of anyone and everyone. Furthermore, the platform also makes it easier to enhance the basics and offer value on top of it. This is not a new concept, but it is being developed past its historic levels due to the fast-growing IoT market.

As an example, SAST (Security and Safety Things) is busy working on an IoT platform (there are way over 100 out there to choose from at the moment, probably closer to 200) that will provide basic operating system (platform) functionality to devices. Right now it is working towards releasing a surveillance camera operating system that manufacturers can install on all their cameras, offering a basic level of functionality.

Since the system is standardised, the real value will lie in the add-ons to the operating system, enabling more people than ever to write applications that will run on any camera. The ideal will be to see end users able to install apps from an app store to provide whatever features they need – LPR, facial recognition etc.

Many big names are already involved, and SAST is also working with the OSSA (Open Security & Safety Alliance), which is working to develop a framework for the standards and specifications of common components on this platform, including an operating system, IoT infrastructure, standard data security and privacy processes and more. This is a very simplified description, I will be looking at SAST and the OSSA in more detail in the CCTV Handbook 2019, which will be posted at the same time as the October issue.

Perhaps the big security companies still making money today are doing so because they offer a ‘platform’ – one company that can supply guards and technology and advice etc., all in one package? It simplifies things for the users, including the budget.

Or perhaps I’m getting carried away; what’s your opinion?

Andrew Seldon



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