Intrusion trends stem from smart home, home automation capabilities

Robert Davis, Johnson Controls, shares trends, best practices, and the future of intrusion detection
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Thursday, January 2, 2020

YARMOUTH, Maine—The concept of physical intrusion, detection and keeping unauthorized individuals from accessing a particular space is an issue as old as time. Think moats dug around castles of old; concealed traps strategically placed around a particular area; the construction of tall, impenetrable walls protecting what’s inside … all the way to modern days, where lives are filled with technologically savvy security systems; all types of locks on doors, cabinets, etc.; passwords and more. The act of entering into a specific place or space without invitation, right or welcome is just not an option.

Obviously, moats are no longer a popular thing, and as some other types of detection have also faded from existence, the security industry is currently seeing a bit of a shift when it comes to intrusion detection. Basically, consumers expect more and are hard-focused on smart home and home automation capabilities. 

“Probably most important is the integration of intrusion with smart home and home automation solutions,” Robert Davis, general manager, intrusion, security products, Johnson Controls, told Security Systems News (SSN). “Everything that we [Johnson Controls] are doing, as far as our hardware, is developed with the notion that consumers expect not just security, but security as the backbone for the other capabilities and technologies.” 

With smart home integration and home automation capabilities and technologies, consumers also demand interoperability, usually communicated in demanding a single platform to operate all technologies. “The more you can integrate these offerings into a single platform, the easier it makes it for the customer, which also makes it more efficient and cost effective,” Davis said. 

Because of these consumer demands, security dealers, integrators and consultants need to be on top of their game by understanding that consumers are looking for different types of solutions than in years past. “Ten years ago, even five years ago, consumers wanted a security system that beeped when the door was opened, with the ability to arm and disarm” upon arrival and departure,” explained Davis. Today, “consumers expect so much more, such as convenient solutions,” like a fully connected video doorbell. 

Just as consumers need to work closely with security installers to make informed decisions, “dealers and integrators need to look to the future to anticipate trends and where the market is heading,” Davis said. “There are so many developments in our space and change is being driven so rapidly, it’s incumbent upon those partners at the dealer, integrator or distributor level to understand where the market is heading, whether it’s moving more towards edge-based technology or using devices as points of security.” Taking these considerations to heart and using them will help meet consumer demand as well as “drive a strong value proposition for the end user.” 

Vital information for design, installation and deployment

In a residential, as well as a commercial intrusion system install, it is vital to collect particular information to ensure successful design, installation, deployment and end-user satisfaction. Davis suggests the following: 

For residential intrusion systems:

  1. Security professionals need to listen to their customers and their needs before making recommendations. 
  2. Customers make initial contact with a security dealer with a set of expectations, so it is fundamental for security professionals to understand if a customer is driven most by security, safety, convenience or automation.
  3. Customized solutions are becoming more mainstream. 

“It is important to think about offering video features, as well as interactive features, in order to drive experience and value over time,” said Davis, explaining that each customer presents unique needs that do not fit into a cookie-cutter scenario.

For commercial intrusion systems: 

  1. Collect information on customization needs from the beginning.
  2. Know the nature of the business, nuances of the location and user profile. 
  3. Ask questions, such as:
  • How much system expansion is required?
  • How many zones and partitions would be needed?
  • Should the system be wired or wireless?
  • Does it require integration with other security components, like access control or video?
  • How will the users interact with the system? 

“When we [Johnson Control employees] talk to our customers about the commercial business,” Davis said, “they [customers] are most concerned about having a system that is reliable and easy to use because of the multiple employees who may be interacting with it and that it can be expanded upon as needs arise.” 

Universal components

While it’s true, customers seek customization, there are, however, a few necessary components that are universal in creating a comprehensive intrusion detection system in which security dealers, consultants and installers should use as a basis of all intrusion detection systems. These include a user-friendly interface; the ability to interact remotely with the system through a device and upgraded touch screens. Dealers should also be able to provide their customers with interactive services, video, life safety and security. 

“A user-friendly interface that allows users to see activity statuses at all times is fundamental,” Davis identified, adding that this type of interface allows for more robust monitoring of potential threats and further hardens the system. “Interactive services are the backbone of a comprehensive system, allowing for security, automation and interoperability with other functionalities. Consumers have a lot of capabilities at their fingertips thanks to smart devices, so it is logical for security systems to also be accessible in this way.” 

The future of intrusion detection

Intrusion detection is valuable when it comes to deploying a physical security strategy and implementing it as part of a layered approach enables a hardened physical security. Looking into the intrusion detection crystal ball, Davis predicts three years out: “We will continue to see growth from new entrants, low-cost providers and point solutions, and companies that can satisfy the consumer needs in growth areas will be successful.” 

In addition, cybersecurity measures are and will continue to be extremely important and the ability to protect consumer privacy and data must be integrated into solutions provided, Davis pointed out.

He also predicts there will be “less reliance on the typical security panel and peripheral model and the companies that make the right investment in next-generation technologies, such as SaaS, machine learning and AI, are the ones who will be successful.” And, speaking of machine learning (ML) and AI, these words have already been add to the security industry’s vocabulary and are already becoming common-place among the industry. 

“I am a firm believer that, over time, security will be less about physical hardware and more about software,” Davis predicted. “Using AI/ML for this dematerialization makes perfect sense. By learning the patterns and behaviors of a family and the daily operation of a home, the system becomes more intuitive, and customers will feel more security, while gaining value form the system as a whole.” 

Currently, the security industry is experiencing a high rate of false alarms which hurts all stakeholders, and as such, video-verified intrusion can help minimize false alarms, ensure faster responder times and prevent end users from paying fines in some areas. “We have already seen an increase in video verification; I expect it will continue to grow and become an integral part of a security system going forward,” said Davis.

Security manufacturers should ensure their offerings meet the needs of the future, while preparing to compete with new entrants, particularly big tech companies. Johnson Controls has been doing just that. “We’ve spent a lot of time adjusting our approach; reprioritizing research and development, and building out offerings for the new markets,” Davis said with excitement about the teams the company is building and the capabilities they’re developing to meet the changing needs of the marketplace.