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Adam Bannister is a contributor to IFSEC Global, having been in the role of Editor from 2014 through to November 2019. Adam also had stints as a journalist at cybersecurity publication, The Daily Swig, and as Managing Editor at Dynamis Online Media Group.
January 5, 2016


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5 Tech Trends in Evidence at CES 2016 and their Implications for the Security Industry

DJI drone

Winner of the CES 2016 Innovation Award, a drone from Lily Robotics

Opened in 1967 with just 14 exhibitors the Consumer Electronics Show – now widely known as CES – is now a behemoth of an exhibition with 3,200 vendors.

The range of products now on display at the show, which at its inception featured mainly televisions and later expanded to include VCRs and then, in the 80s, video games, is now myriad.

This now includes a growing number of security products, a category that until recently didn’t feature at all by dint of domestic security products’ lack of glamour (like the humble burglar alarm) or their not even being electronic.

And the the incipient Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm, whereby everyday consumer products contain computer chips and are connected to the internet via Wi-Fi, has created multiple new vectors through which cyber criminals can access your personal data. In a very short space of tim, then,  security has gone from playing hardly any part in CES to having an integral role. Indeed, the show now has a dedicated Cyber Security Forum.

As the world’s consumer press descends on Las Vegas, IFSEC Global examines five key consumer trends in evidence at the 2016 edition with significant implications for the security industry.

1. CCTV has crossed over to the retail sector

Long restricted mostly to protecting businesses and buildings, surveillance cameras are now more readily available and affordable to the general public. Maplins, for example, regularly displays CCTV cameras in its shop fronts.

Commercial CCTV manufacturers increasingly pitch some cameras as ideal for both homes or businesses. Falling costs and easier installation, including plug-and-play systems, make CCTV more feasible for domestic deployment.

What’s on show at CES 2016? Netatmo’s latest launch is causing a bit of a stir. Called the Netatmo Presence it’s an outdoor security camera that can distinguish between a car in your driveway, a person or a pet. The camera sends push notifications to your phone over a Wi-Fi network and doubles as a driveway light. It alsorecords 1080p videos, storing them on an internal micro SD card.

netatmo surveillance ces

Presence by Netatmo, an outdoor camera-cum-driveway light

2. Security a major driver in smart home market

A surfeit of other home security technologies will be on show too, including window and door opening sensors as well as remote door locking and motion detectors. Likewise, smart fire safety equipment, with remote alerts from smoke, carbon monoxide and water leak detectors, promise lower insurance costs for homeowners.

“Many [home automation] service providers are starting off with security, because there’s an existing home security business model in place,” Michael Philpott, principal analyst at technology research firm Ovum, told the BBC. “In the UK about 30% of homes have some kind of home alarm, and about 10% of those pay monthly for a professional home security service.”

Numerous start-ups have emerged to exploit this embryonic market, while established players in traditional commercial security like ASSA Abloy, Honeywell and Tyco are diversifying into the smart home arena and making key acquisitions to strengthen their offering.

What’s on show at CES 2016? Tyco Security Products, which is making its debut at the show, will showcase wireless smart home solution, the IQ panel, through which homeowners can remotely arm or disarm security systems, view camera feeds and receive event notifications and system status updates. They can also use the solution to control lights, locks or thermostats and other home digital devices.

3. Your coffee machine could be hacked

To what extent the bewildering array of everyday consumer products now equipped with computer chips will catch on is as yet unclear. Interoperability issues and poor usability have until now prevented the smart-home concept reach the critical mass necessary for widespread adoption.

Security fears are also a huge deterrent. Connecting your fridge or coffee machine to a computer network effectively introduces a security risk where before there was none.

Exhibitors at CES 2016 will be keen to convince the public that their latest wave of innovations address such concerns, demonstrating resilience and perhaps introducing fail-safe defaults to manual operation.

What’s on show at CES 2016? Smart scales, smart suit steamers and the world’s first smart shoe, to name three every day domestic products given a digital makeover. The Cyber Security Forum, meanwhile, will feature presentations on how to protect your increasingly connected dwelling from cyber hacks.

Smart mats for groceries, which can detect from a container or bottle's weight how much sauce/salt/pepper is remaining

Smart mats for groceries, which can detect from a container or bottle’s weight how much sauce/salt/pepper is remaining

4. Cyber criminals could be the new joyriders

Along with Liam Gallagher and Acid House the ‘joyrider’ was a staple villain in the tabloids during the 1990s.

The cumbersome, weighty steering-wheel locks that motorists used to ward off teenage adrenaline junkies are now a rare sight in Britain’s car parks as other improvements in car security have seen car thefts fall to a 48-year low.

Alas, just as the fall of the Berlin Wall did not herald the brave new era of global security some naive commentators predicted, though the joyrider threat has abated another could take its place.

Because if technological improvements consigned the joyrider to history then further innovation has created brand-new vulnerabilities. Last year Wired Magazine conducted a test where someone managed to wrest control of a modern, computerised car from its driver as the vehicle traveled the freeway.

Now boasting on-board computers the motor car now represents a scary new frontier in the cyber war between governments and criminals, terrorists and, well, other governments.

On the bright side, the next step in the automation of cars – driverless vehicles – has the potential to slash road deaths, cut emissions and reduce congestion. On balance, driverless cars are surely a positive innovation (although perhaps not for taxi drivers or driving instructors).

What’s on show at CES 2016? GPU chip maker Nvidia has announced an automative ‘supercomputer’ for driverless cars with processing power equivalent to 150 Macbook Pros. Able to discern the difference between cars, humans and street signs the supercomputer is being road-tested in Volvos, BMWs, Daimlers, Fords, Audis and more.

Californian-based startup Faraday Future, meanwhile, has unveiled the FFZero1. Described by head designer Richard Kim as an “extreme testbed” for the “future of mobility” this Batmobile-resembling electric car will boast driverless capabilities and could readily be relaunched, according to its manufacturer, as a SUV, Sedan or any other archetype.

Fulfill your Batman fantasy: the FFZero1 from Faraday Future

Fulfill your Batman fantasy: the FFZero1 from Faraday Future

5. Drones pose a serious security and safety threat

Drones are now a major draw at consumer electronics shows. Already a fundamental (and immensely controversial) part of the military’s armoury, these devices are nevertheless yet to be deployed on British streets by the police or security services. Aviation rules mean this could still be some way off.

Would-be terrorists, who could theoretically use them to deliver explosive devices, would have no compunction about adhering to such rules. It’s possible that CCTV and security staff might watch out in the future not just for suspicious persons and packages on terra firma, but also look upwards, to check for unidentified flying objects of the terrestrial kind.

Then there’s the heartbreaking case of 18-month-old boy who lost an eye when a man lost control of his drone in November 2015. This is an issue of safety as well as security.

What’s on show at CES 2016? When the show officially opens on Wednesday the Unmanned Systems marketplace, with 26 exhibitors of drone technology, is likely to prove popular.

Lily Robotics has already triumphed in the CES 2016 Innovation Award with its 2.8 pound camera drone, a “throw-and-shoot camera” which follows the user via a tracking device.

Chinese company DJI, meanwhile, is showcasing a 4K camera and WiFi transmission upto 1.2km: the Phantom 3 4K .

Parrot is wowing crowds with the Disco Drone, which weighs just 700 grams, can reach speeds of up to 50-miles-per hour and boasts a 1080p camera.

Parrot's Disco Drone

Parrot’s Disco Drone


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