Intelligent Systems Can Do Much More
Are we ready to evolve and move toward intelligent systems?
I often hear people in the industry say that there has been little in the way of technological advances for decades in the fire and security sector. It is said that we are doing pretty much the same thing we have been for years, and that innovation is coming only in small, incremental steps.
I would beg to differ. There is still much in the way of innovation, and though things may be slow to market, we have seen massive improvements in the equipment and methods available to us. In many cases, the one aspect that has slowed progress has been where innovative technologies have not been fully exploited for the possible benefits they can add.
We also seem to cling desperately to the way we have always done things. That way is portrayed not just as the right way, but often as the only way to do things. I would argue that we are rapidly approaching a point where we can look afresh at this approach and realise some truly innovative changes in system design and security systems.
Making better use of our technology
Video analytics has been steadily improving for many years and is reaching the point where facial recognition is becoming increasingly cost-effective and accurate.
As the analysis of camera footage of scenes continues to improve, I also note that motion sensors are continuing to improve their ability to detect human forms and give a reliable picture of a protected area. I see both of these technologies converging to reach essentially the same goal: an accurate understanding of who is where and when within the area being covered.
It is also unfortunate that we are frequently utilising the output of these devices only when the system is armed. This is despite the fact that we could use this data to allow an intelligent system to perform more much more effectively when the system is disarmed. This data could be used to improve marketing in commercial properties and ergonomics in residential environments, as well as to identify potential indicators of criminal behaviour.
Some examples of intelligent security systems
A massive increase in domiciliary care is not only expected but certain. By using motion sensor data intelligently, we are able to provide alerts when a lack of movement occurs or when someone has not gone to bed at an expected time.
By coupling two-way audio communication with CCTV cameras and access control systems to allow remote entry for caregivers or paramedics, we can support the elderly in a much more caring manner and more effectively. We would be using our current technologies in a better way to safeguard the elderly at all times, not just while the alarm system is armed. Gesture and voice controls could help vulnerable people get assistance without having to stand or reach for buttons.
We could also do away with the notion of arming and disarming systems with a code or key fob. Instead, we could use video/detector information to recognise when all the authorised persons have left a property and intelligently arm the system to secure the doors. Similarly, we could control lights and entertainment systems economically. For example, someone could watch footage of the football game while moving from room to room, with screens turning off and on as the person leaves one room and enters another. We can use the same principle to arm the lower floors of a building when all authorised users are upstairs. Importantly, this could be achieved without user interaction.
Regulations introduced in recent years have negated the ability of end users to interact with systems via keypads for much more than resetting or arming/disarming. Is there a real benefit to end users in having a keypad fitted in this case? Perhaps we could achieve the same with smartphone-based engineer applications and remote maintenance through dedicated applications used by installers or alarm receiving centres and notifications.
Let me know your thoughts below.
- How would you use our technologies to deliver more effective solutions?
- Could we add markets by allowing our equipment to interact seamlessly?
- What is stopping the industry from moving forward with these systems?
- If anything were possible, what security technology would you most like to see made available?
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