In the 25 years that Magenta Security has been in business, technology has fundamentally changed how we protect the people and places in our care. Internet connected CCTV, NFC chips and the now taken-for-granted ability for a security guard to carry a smart device has made our services more secure and convenient than ever before.
We have no reason to think the next 25 years will not be just as transformed by technology as the last. Here are the three technological advancements that we expect will make the biggest waves in the security industry’s immediate future.
Anyone with a modern smartphone will have encountered facial recognition, but its uses extend far beyond simply unlocking your phone a little faster. This technology can replicate one of the core duties of security guards, identifying suspicious individuals, at a speed and scale that has profound implications for the future of security.
Facial recognition technology is currently most commonly deployed for access control and can be found in high security sites such as banks, laboratories and government buildings. When combined with CCTV, facial recognition can be used to identify suspicious behaviour or known criminals, as has been trialed in various airports and by the Metropolitan Police since 2016.
However, facial recognition technology, the algorithms that power them and the data collected all raise a number of ethical concerns that security companies and their customers should be aware of before buying in to this powerful new frontier for surveillance. We will be covering the ethics of facial recognition in a future blog.
Drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles – UAVs) have exploded into the public consciousness spurred largely by amateur photographers and the Heathrow shutdown incident at the start of the year. Whether you find them exciting new gadgets or buzzing irritations, drones have the potential to revolutionise the security industry.
The benefits are clear: equipped with live cameras, drones can rapidly and discreetly surveil large areas that might be inaccessible to security guards or vehicles. These “eyes in the sky” can be a fanatic tool for a ground team to identify and intervene against risks to property or people. Drones can also be set up to patrol autonomously, with feeds monitored from a control room or activated upon sensing motion.
Currently, the deployment of drones in private security is in its infancy, in large part because the laws governing their use are still evolving. Any commercial use of a drone must be licensed by the Commercial Aviation Authority and users must apply for Permission for Commercial Operations, which includes passing a course in UAV use.
Drones are also subject to all the usual data protection and surveillance laws that apply to CCTV and must be kept within sight. Please thoroughly research current law regarding drones before deploying them for security or any other purpose.
COVID-19 will not be the last pandemic that we will face in our lifetimes. But we will be better prepared for the next one, and rapid temperature readings able to monitor crowds in real time will be part of our defences.
While there are not currently devices on the market that we would recommend over a thermometer – as we covered in our blog on thermal imaging cameras – it is only a matter of time until a rapid, large scale means of temperature reading is available.
Since we wrote the above blog, publicly available thermal imaging cameras have already seen tremendous advancements in speed and accuracy in response to the pandemic, though the same limitations of imaging versus direct readings apply.
In addition to rapid temperature readings, AI surveillance software has been developed that can identify when social distancing is not being maintained and it’s easy to imagine how – with significant privacy concerns – facial recognition could be used in conjunction with testing to identify infectious individuals.
The future is looking bright for security companies, but we must maintain our ethical standards when it comes to privacy and profiling. As always, Magenta Security will make sure that our voice is heard if we feel that the industry is falling short of its promise to keep people safe.
Magenta Security provide award winning security services throughout the UK. We are in the top 5% of ACS approved contractors and were the first security company in Europe to be awarded ISO 14001 for our environmental management systems.
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