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5 Security Trends to Watch For in 2019

Feb. 6, 2019

From mobile robots to using your smartphone to enter a room, we take a look at the new technology that’s making a splash in the world of security.

Keeping tenants safe is the top priority for facilities managers and building owners. And as tenants expect more from their facilities in the realm of amenities and comfort, they also expect more from the technologies and protocols that protect them.

“The expectation, in our research, is that people are expecting a more high-tech environment, a smart office and building like they are expecting at home these days,” says James Segil, co-founder and president of Openpath, a smartphone access control system. “The bar has been raised.”

Security System Technology for 2019

In 2019, you can expect to see much more technology integrated into security systems.

Examples include:

  • Access control panels that use biometrics (like facial recognition)
  • Smartphones to grant entry
  • Autonomous robots roaming lobbies and corridors after hours

Cyber security and data-centric protections are also on tenants’ minds. How can you help keep their networks and data safe? Some security experts agree it’s becoming a priority to merge cyber security with physical security measures.

Below, we delve deeper into these security trends and why, if it’s the right fit for your building, you should consider investing in them.

1. Mobile access controls

Access control systems have greatly evolved over the years – and some of the companies that produce them are taking advantage of the universality of the smartphone. Openpath’s access control reader is such a device. It allows tenants to use their smartphone to gain entry. The process is completely keyless and hands-free.

(Photo: Mobile access control system from Openpath, on exhibit at the GSX Expo in Vegas, 2018)

“It allows you to mobile up these buildings without having to rip out the system that’s in place,” says Segil, “which a lot of people like, because if you’re a landlord or property manager, you don’t want to interrupt the experience that a lot of your tenants have – even if you add certain features and capabilities to your common door or amenity.”


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Segil explains that mobile access controls have grown in popularity because of the personalized experience it offers the tenant. “Everybody’s going to use and access this space at different times and different ways,” he says. “You really have to make sure that you have the technology to support that.”

If this is something that sounds like the right fit for your building, Segil says to make sure your facility has strong internet and cellphone signals. Consider boosting the cellphone signal in your area to ensure seamless connectivity across the cloud, wifi and cellular.

2. Autonomous robots

They might sound like the stuff of sci-fi movies, but mobile autonomous robots are becoming increasingly inexpensive and accessible. At Cobalt Robotics, CEO and co-founder Travis Deyle acknowledges that people can be wary of the technology.

(Cobalt security robot, exhibited at GSX Expo in Vegas, 2018)

“The biggest impediment to the robot as a [security] option is cultural,” he says. “So making sure that people know what the robot is, what it’s doing and how it benefits them is really important for installing these systems.” He adds, “Unlike cameras and access controls, having this mobile robot moving through your space is such a visible thing in your office. It changes people’s behavior in the most exciting ways.”

[From GSX: Security Robot: New Spill & Leak Detection Technology]

Deyle explains that Cobalt’s goal is to “marry the best parts of the machine with the best parts of people.” Its intelligent security robots combine sophisticated sensors – including day-night cameras, thermal sensors and motion sensors – with the ability to remote in a Cobalt specialist who appears via video chat. That allow someone “to gather context and provide that intelligence and insight.”

An autonomous security robot, Deyle says, can outperform static building infrastructure and complement any Internet of Things device already in place. “When I think about smart buildings,” he says, “I see our robot and the services it provides as a part of those buildings.”

3. Video analytics

Video surveillance has been a stalwart in the realm of security technology. And today’s systems come with features that almost sound unbelievable. There are cameras than can recognize an individual’s gait, detect and display thermal patterns.

As the cameras themselves become more sophisticated, so too will the ways in which the data can be analyzed. Expect to see more intelligent and accurate video analytics that can bring together multiple video sources.

4. Cyber security planning

Security experts agree: It’s not if someone will attempt to breach your network, but when. Those who wish to wreak havoc will look for vulnerabilities in any new technology. That means planning for a cyber security attack is vital in today’s security world.

“I think it’s a really big topic, and an important one,” Deyle says.

Mike Daugherty, founder of the Cyber Education Foundation, says planning or tackling a cyber security attach needs to be a team effort. Bring in people from the IT department, human resources, legal, public relations – you’ll be better equipped if there are people in the room with different backgrounds and perspectives.

[On topic: Why You Need to Prepare for a Cyber Security Breach]

“It’s not going to be a tech solution,” Daugherty says. “There’s nothing that’s perfectly secure.”

He explains that preparation should involve education. Set good examples by praising tenants’ good habits, and give them constant reminders on best cyber security practices. Avoid punishment and assigning blame. Be proactive and set up practice breaches that involve representatives from a wide array of departments.

“It has to be a constant, reinforced, hands-on thing,” Daugherty says.

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5. Data protection

Companies like Facebook and Target have made headlines for their data breaches and ransomware attacks. It proves even the mightiest, largest corporations are vulnerable. As our work becomes more mobile, connected and cloud-based, security experts predict there will be a stronger focus on data protection.

“If you look at most security technology today, they have data silos where all of the information and alerts and things generated by these systems, it’s all kept a part from one another,” says Deyle. “They don’t really talk to each other and learn from one another. So one of the big pushes we do is for open APIs. We’re very clear that the customer owns the data. It’s theirs to use and give access to other parties.”

Your Role in Security

Once you’ve considered if a certain new security technology is right for you, Segil recommends evaluating what your role will be versus the role of your occupants.

[Related: Active Shooter Drills: An Eye-Opening Encounter]

“Understand how much or how little you want to take on as a facilities manager or property manager,” he says. “With a lot of this technology, you can push off a lot of the administrative burden of managing something like an access system to tenants themselves or to other folks… Our system is very flexible. It allows the facilities or property manager decide how much they want to take on.”

Overall, protection will always be a main part of the job. It’s important to be aware of the types of technology that are coming down the pike, and how existing technologies are becoming more sophisticated. And understand how both your cyber and physical security measures can work together to add value and keep your tenants safe.

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About the Author

Sarah Kloepple | Associate Editor

Sarah joined the BUILDINGS team as an associate editor in August 2018. She is a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, where her focus was magazine writing. She's written and edited for numerous publications in her hometown of St. Louis.

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