For forward-thinking system integrators and end users, the Internet of Things (IoT) is not a technology of the future, nor is it something to be avoided. The reality is that today, a huge number of businesses and organisations have embraced IoT technologies and systems, and are using them to good effect. IoT is something end users are demanding, and Security and Safety Things seeks to link it with security-centric technologies.
Many is the security sector seem to think that IoT is a peripheral set of technologies, systems and devices that the industry can decide whether or not to embrace. This blinkered thinking is actually very far from the reality of the situation. As an increasing number of business es and organisations become reliant on IoT technology, so system integrators and security installers are being presented with a simple choice: if they want to win the contract, they have to be able to integrate and interoperate with IoT.
The inertia that IoT has gathered means that, like it or not, it is increasingly becoming a part of the smart security sector. If the industry attempts to side-step its influence, it will quickly see valuable business being lost to those who not only embrace IoT, but deliver the benefits and added value it offers.
Security and Safety Things, a spin-off from Robert Bosch, has announced its vision for a new IoT platform focused on the security video camera segment. Security and Safety Things has declared its interest in creating a global ecosystem for the development of innovative security camera-based applications.
What is it?
Security and Safety Things describes its project as a ‘global platform for the next generation of security cameras’. The start-up business, which is a subsidiary of Bosch but operates as an independent business, has been created to harness the potential available from the emerging innovative IP-connected security cameras.
Changes in the way surveillance technologies are deployed include an increase in internet connectivity and processing at the edge. Both of these are results of the increased use of next generation processing and advanced video compression and stream management. The impact is that edge-based video analytics are becoming increasingly viable and beneficial for many business applications as well as for security purposes.
Within the rapidly evolving surveillance market, Security and Safety Things claims that specialised software applications will emerge and represent a significant growth segment, with accelerated implementations during the next five years.
One of the drivers for growth will be enhanced processing power. This has already played a significant part in enabling the introduction of intelligence at the edge for video surveillance applications, and given the drive to implement even faster processing in the future, including increased use of GPUs and next-generation microprocessors such as neuron chip sets, the smart functionalities will become ever more prevalent.
Whilst the initial focus on the IoT platform will initially be the security video surveillance sector, and specifically smart cameras, the platform is being built to embrace open connectivity, and as such it will be ready to support a wide range of additional IoT systems in the future.
Security and Safety Things’ platform should comply with standards for the development of innovative business applications in the security and safety industries. The company has disclosed it will be closely cooperating with the recently launched Open Security and Safety Alliance (OSSA) to ensure compatibility across a range of vendors. Given the Robert Bosch is a founding member of OSSA, this move shouldn’t be of any surprise.
How will it work?
Security and Safety Things has outlined four stages which it defines as core to the creation of its IoT ecosystem. These are a new camera OS, tools for developers, ready-to-use AI-enabled applications and an integrator portal.
Security and Safety Things intends to create a universal camera operating system (OS) based on the Android Open Source Project. With a single OS this will simplify tasks for those looking develop third party applications, as a single API and set of codecs can be used.
Developers and designers will be aided by a set of tools such as analytics and performance tests available via the on-line portfolio. These will make use of common KPIs to ensure quality and resilience standards are met.
The Security and Safety Things app store will present a front-end for the platform, enabling system integrators and security installers to download specific applications. The apps will be AI-based and will be tested for conformity on supported hardware and software products.
Finally, by way of a support function, Security and Safety Things will create an integrator portal. This will include a knowledge-base, information about associated hardware and software products, technical bulletins and experience-based documentation that ensures those buying into theIoT platform are able to fully exploit the benefits on offer.
Security and Safety Things is looking for ‘buy-in’ from a range of parties including camera manufacturers, application developers, system integrators.
What does it do?
Security and Safety Things has identified a number of potential benefits which its IoT platform will deliver. These include the delivery of a multiple high-value analytics applications in both the security and business intelligence sectors, the ability to implement advanced and smart functionalities – across security surveillance cameras and other compatible devices – by making use of artificial intelligence, and the ability to upgrade and enhance legacy devices by adding smart applications rather than having to replace edge-based hardware products.
Security and Safety Things has identified a few business use-cases to illustrate the company’s goals with regard to the proposed IoT platform. It cites the need for artificial intelligence at travel hubs such as airports. In the often complex and fast-moving aviation environments, credible security remains a very high priority.
Systems based on the platform will be designed to offer improved insights into site activity, enabling faster reaction times to any reported exceptions.
The platform will also allow end users to leverage additional functional from legacy installations where the sole focus of the solution is on security. By adding business intelligence and integrations with management systems, end users can see added value and an increased return on investment via the deployment of AI-driven business intelligence. By using specific IoT apps to analyse customer traffic and behaviours, devices based upon the open IoT platform can go beyond traditional security operations.
Which apps are coming?
While the platform will not be launched until 2019, the company is already working with partners to create its B2B-software ecosystem.
The app store will allow third-party developers to build smart applications based on its open software standard, and to market these to system integrators and security installers.
The company has highlighted a number of the coming applications, with software split into two sectors: building security and non-security implementations.
Proposed applications currently include vertical specific applications for airports, facial recognition, perimeter protection, queue management and traffic flow analysis based on artificial intelligence algorithms.
Outside of security, applications addressing business intelligence and lifecycle monitoring covering aspects of site management such as predictive maintenance and status monitoring.
Security and Safety Things will implement strict quality guidelines and security checks for new apps, as well as a stringent approval process to ensure that those on offer to system integrators and security installers and fully functional, stable, resilient and able to meet growing cybersecurity requirements of end users. Security and Safety Things plans to hire additional software developers and IT specialists in 2019 to assist with its future growth.
As a wholly owned subsidiary of Robert Bosch, Security and Safety Things forms part of the group’s strategic move into new, digital growth areas.
What does it add?
Much of what Security and Safety Things offers is already in place from a growing number of professional security manufacturers, including the security division of Bosch itself. This does raise the question of how much impact it will have in an industry that is already delivering app-based smart devices via established and proven security suppliers.
Security and Safety Things wants camera manufacturers to use its API to allow the implementation of video analytics, but most credible manufacturers already offer IVA, and are developing new options via hardware and software product offerings.
The platform could offer a smoother integration to non-security IoT systems, allowing a faster time-to-market for additional integrations. If this becomes it’s goal, it could provide an alternative to compatibility platforms such as Z-Wave and Zigbee.
As more manufacturers embrace the potential of IoT connectivity, Security and Safety Things offers yet another option for system integrators.