The traditional physical security industry is currently in a position to transform itself into the global driver of integrated public safety solutions at scale.

This transition will be cloud-based and driven by advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Large video data sets provide the basis for vision intelligence software to be mined for predictive analytics across various applications, including surveillance and access control. Cloud-based Global Public Safety as a Service has arrived: smart city initiatives are a prime example. By integrating solutions from traffic management to drone delivery and predictive policing, the trickle-down effect will improve overall public safety and security services.

Looking forward to cloud-based public safety

Cloud-based public safety solutions (encrypted by cybersecurity) are now being positioned to drive the entire technology industry. Cloud technology has and will continue to weaken the stranglehold IT has had on technology deployments. Massive data centers are being constructed at a truly incredible pace across the globe providing the foundation for real-time predictive security. Improvements in the traditional physical security solutions of video surveillance and access control will be profound, as will the role of manned guarding services.

Strategic mergers and acquisitions are positioning several global players to lead this trend toward public safety advancements. The integration of cloud security services and physical security guarding/law enforcement will be interesting to see unfold — this may happen faster than people realize, based on adjacent technologies and global social trends. The industry growth of AI and ML will have a significant impact on job displacement across all industries moving forward. It will occur more rapidly than political safety nets will be deployed. The downside of the technology advances will be to divide the wealth and opportunity gaps even wider, increasing both public discord and global crime rates. Public safety will be a front-burner issue for the next decade, as technology advancement leaves many jobs disintermediated never to return.

New opportunities for security services

Simultaneously, adjacent technologies will integrate into security services. Consider the advancement and proliferation of drone technologies for product delivery. The roof now becomes another delivery area and additional revenue opportunity for access control and video surveillance. New drone use cases in public safety will emerge quickly and drive rapid change. Drones are also security threats, from unauthorized video access to potential weapon delivery. This risk creates an entirely new market for low-altitude airspace security.

Think about the innovations available to traditional manned guarding and law enforcement. Quadcopter drones as mobile surveillance partners, body cameras with audio that can translate multiple languages in real time, accurate and non-lethal weapon advances over tradition firearms, next generation intrusion detection solutions, accurate and socially acceptable facial recognition and, finally, predictive analytics that make the movie “Minority Report” seem outdated. Advanced guarding services and law enforcement with less staff and more coverage through technical innovation that drastically improves public safety.

The absolute requirement is that senior leadership in the physical security market today manages the digital transition to securing the public. This skillset will require a vision for “What if” innovation — integrating public safety solutions in a cloud-based subscription model is a powerful revenue draw, but it also requires a new mindset.

Strategic partnerships will take on a new focus. Many of these will be outside of the traditional comfort level for physical security providers and manufacturers. Darwinism will be alive and well in the public security sector. Digital innovation will drive more change in the next 10 years than the physical security industry has seen in the last 30.

New technologies, new partners and new thinking will advance a new era of global public safety. Ultimately, all for the best.

This article originally ran in Security, a twice-monthly security-focused eNewsletter for security end users, brought to you by Security Magazine. Subscribe here.