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6 top physical security trends to watch in 2021

When we made our plans for 2020, few of us saw the COVID pandemic coming. Social distancing and travel restrictions have affected every kind of business, including those in the physical security industry. 

So as we approach 2021, it’s a time to consider how you can develop your security business’ resilience, not just for the next 6 months to a year, but for the long term. Now more than ever, security businesses need to consider the macro trends that are shaping the growth of the industry as a whole when they plan for the future. 

This was the year we saw just how useful technology can be when face-to-face meetings weren’t an option. From artificial intelligence to 5G, there are several trends that we’re sure to see more of in future. However, we also learned that security is an industry with key workers; many firms will need to strike a balance between physical security and technology services in the coming year. 

Here, we share our top six physical security trends to watch in 2021.

1. Artificial intelligence

In their list of 2021 Megatrends, the Security Industry Association (SIA) put artificial intelligence in the top spot - and we agree. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are fundamentally changing the way that companies are doing business today - both in security and other industries. Whether we realise it or not, artificial intelligence plays a very active role in our daily lives. Every time we like a post on Facebook, ask Google a question, or get a product recommendation from Amazon, AI is somewhere in the background. 

The security industry is catching up. Artificial intelligence in the security market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of about 18.64% from 2019-2024. AI-powered technology has a range of use cases including proactive monitoring, video analytics, false alarm filtering, improving operator efficiency, detecting anomalies and more.

Another of the SIA’s 2021 megatrends was predictive data analytics, which relates closely to artificial intelligence. Advanced AI techniques like machine learning use predictive analytics to make statistical decisions about vast swathes of data - a method that is used in intelligent video analytics and other proactive monitoring solutions. 

2. Remote security solutions

By combining new technologies with traditional manned guarding techniques, security companies have an opportunity to explore the world of virtual guarding and the benefits that come with it. Remote guarding combines tools like motion alarms and security cameras with random site patrols to provide a high level of security. 

Using techniques such as video analytics software for true alarm detection, drones for perimeter protection and mobile monitoring are all ways of providing your security guards with added tools to help them cover more ground, make decisions and take appropriate action.

These remote solutions offer twofold benefits: in the immediate future, they enable businesses to implement increased distancing measures that lower the risk of COVID exposure to security staff. In the long term, using remote, tech-enabled monitoring can give security businesses an edge, with round-the-clock checks and sensitive threat detection that support operators and guards and help them to do their jobs even more effectively. 

3. Cloud technology and the Internet of Things

2020 was the year of mass remote working - enabled by the connectivity we now enjoy thanks to cloud computing and the Internet of Things. As many workers will still be working from home in the New Year, businesses will need to consider how best to secure their workforce from a distance. 

As businesses, employees and devices become more and more connected, relying increasingly on cloud solutions, the case for cyber security will only continue to grow; company data - and customer data - must remain secure, no matter where someone is working from. 

The migration from on-premise storage to cloud technology has picked up pace. Of those that have already migrated, 87 percent of businesses said they experienced some business acceleration from their use of cloud services. The move to the cloud will allow security companies to scale their business much more efficiently and cost effectively. 

It also allows the security industry to benefit more from technologies such as machine learning, while providing greater connectivity to other areas of the business. For those who have concerns over the security and privacy of cloud technology, it’s reassuring to hear that the most reliable cloud providers have all invested heavily in the security of their offering.

4. 5G connectivity

It provoked all kinds of news headlines this year - both real and fake! 5G connectivity was one of our trends for 2020, and we don’t see it going anywhere in 2021. The introduction of 5G networks will have a huge impact on the speed at which the security industry can operate. 

5G aims to speed up data communication by up to ten times, compared to 4G. 5G latency is extremely quick, so as 4G fades out and 5G grows, not only can security companies benefit from quicker data transfer, but the speed of remote work will also be improved. As a result, there’s an opportunity to receive and respond to security risks at an even faster rate, particularly for remote areas such as construction sites.

5. The rise of visual verification

As False Alarm Ordinances sweep across the United States, verified response is providing a solution to false alarm challenges. Verified response shifts alarm signal verification to alarm companies by requiring someone like a guard or a CCTV operator to visually verify that a crime has or is occurring prior to police dispatch. 

Companies that specialise in video monitoring are therefore ideally set-up to win new business in the era of visual verification. But the CCTV market is growing, expected to reach US$ 23.5 billion by 2027 despite this year's economic challenges. Monitoring companies that don't currently support visual verification should act fast and invest in CCTV and video to ensure they aren’t left behind.

Just like all of the tech-driven security solutions we’ve discussed so far, visual verification allows security businesses to provide contactless or reduced-contact services, and also puts less pressure on the police. Looking beyond the pandemic, technology that reduces false alarms is a great way to reduce operational costs and to boost employees’ efficiency and morale. 

6. Advanced video analytics software

Video analytics software is evolving. Used to help make surveillance operations more efficient, they come in a variety of different formats and can be used to detect motion, read licence plates, count people and more. In the case of physical security and video monitoring, video analytics software is primarily used to detect crime. Traditional solutions involve built-in camera analytics, or often require an additional piece of hardware on site. 

Calipsa’s 2020 Video Monitoring Report asked nearly 60 security businesses about their adoption of video analytics: 98% of our respondents said that AI-based video analytics had reduced their false alarm rate. 

Based on the adoption we’ve seen in 2020, we’re confident that in 2021 even more security companies are likely to use cloud-based video analytics software, and capitalise on all the benefits of video analytics completely remotely. Companies that adopt this form of software are opening their doors to a cost-effective solution which will benefit from constant updates and improvements via the cloud. 


So there you have it, our top 6 physical security trends to watch in 2021 and beyond. What’s clear is that technology is going to become increasingly important in physical security. By using the tools available to you, such as machine learning, video analytics, the cloud and 5G, you have the opportunity to transform the level of security service you offer your customers. In a growing industry, make sure you stay ahead of the trends to ensure consistent growth for your business.

Want the inside scoop on how the video monitoring industry performed in 2020? Download Calipsa’s 2020 Video Monitoring Report for free to learn more about industry performance, technology adoption and the impact of the COVID pandemic on security businesses. 

Download FREE report

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in Jan 2020 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

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