Spotting security tech trends at CES 2017

It’s that time of year again for the tech community- no sooner have the flood of end-of-year “best of” and “biggest mistake” blogs been published, then it’s time to snap out of reflection mode, and start searching for the next big thing again. And every year, the place to start that search is the Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, in Las Vegas. It is the place for the big electronics brands to launch their latest lines, as well as for smaller firms to debut new products that they hope to make an impact. Because of this, the tech trends at CES 2017 will set the tech agenda for the rest of year, with themes from previous years including the now ubiquitous Internet Of Things, and consumer drones.

Whilst the security world tends to be slightly slower to adapt cutting edge tech- nobody wants to protect their home with an untested technology, after all- it’s still a great place to see what might be filtering down to consumers in a few years. Regretfully, SpyCameraCCTV could not quite stretch for the budget to send yours truly to the show in person, so I will try and bring you news of some of the biggest trends being discussed, and how they might (or might not) eventually be applied to your home or business CCTV system…

Sensor Fusion

This is by no means a new concept, having been thrown around by engineers for years. Thanks to excitement about self-driving cars and Amazon’s concept shop however, it has recently been adopted as a bit of a buzzword. Simply put, it means that a device pulls together data from more than one source, and uses it to compute something with more accuracy than would be possible by using either one in isolation. In the case of self-driving vehicles, this means pulling data from GPS, cameras and other devices all at the same time to make sure the car is completely aware of its environment.

Google self driving car
Google are one of many tech companies racing to develop self-driving cars

How relevant is it to security? Very. Manufacturers already boast of advanced tech designed to allow motion detection recording without triggering by accident. It is likely that they will find new ways of using information from external devices in order to trigger recording- how about cameras controlled by your smart thermostat?

A.I.

Again, artificial intelligence is not a new concept, but new products are bringing it into people’s homes in a big way. Many homes are now using devices such as the Nest that learn people’s routines- for example turning the heating on before you get home. It’s also at the core of every self-driving car now being developed. This trend has continued at CES 2017, with NVidia making a big move into AI territory in their keynote speech, announcing the inclusion of Google’s AI assistant in their new devices, as well as- inevitably- their own self driving car system.

Nest thermostat
image via

How relevant is it to security? It already is! IP cameras already feature video analytics such as facial recognition that rely on advanced computing. What we will likely see is creeping automation for control of recording. It could be easy to imagine an NVR that learns a recording schedule, instead of needing one to be manually programmed.

Internet of Things Consolidation

The internet of things- the idea that every device in the home can be connected to the internet- took a few hits in 2016, as the rather disparate security standards used by manufacturers led to some high profile problems. Most notably, a malware tool named Mirai was made available, that allowed users to take control of insecure devices to create botnets. At one point this led to some of the most high profile websites being briefly taken offline by a network of thousands of Chinese CCTV cameras. Despite this, the push by manufacturers to connect everything to your smartphone has not relented. What is happening though, is that many companies are now starting to coalesce around a smaller number of control systems. Most notable of these are Google Home, and Amazon’s Alexa, both of which have manufacturers lining up behind them.

How relevant is it to security? Not much- yet. For the time being, the CCTV and security industry is still dominated by the big names like Hikvision, who are unlikely to add Google Home compatibility any time soon. Instead some companies like Nest are offering their own smart cameras. However, these tend to be smaller devices, and for the moment are not the best options to go for if you need a robust system to stand up against things like potential vandals.

Bigger TVs

It is said that only three things are certain in this world- death, taxes, and that manufacturers will show off new TVs at CES. Last year saw HD displays become the biggest trend, and this year it looks like OLEDs are gaining the spotlight. Used by Samsung for a while, now Sony have got in on the act, displaying incredibly thin screens with improved brightness and contrast. Not only that, but the HDMI forum debuted a new standard for connecting 8K monitors. That’s right, chuck that 4K TV in the bin, it’s out of date now!

Sony's new Bravia 4K OLED TV
Sony’s new Bravia 4K OLED TV

How relevant is it to security? Very. Whilst bells and whistles like HDR are less use for CCTV cameras, high end 8k CCTV cameras are likely already in development for commercial users. The good news is that these things take a long time to filter down to consumers, and in the meantime our range of 4K cameras provide exceptional levels of detail.

VR

Manufacturers like the Facebook-owned Occulus and HTC made a huge splash at least year’s event, finally bringing much anticipated products to market. Whilst there has already been some suggestions that this year’s crop has underwhelmed, it’s still going to be one of the most important trends of the year. Companies such as Facebook and Sony have sunk huge amounts of development into the devices, so we will definitely see new software, accessories and applications for the devices.

How relevant is it to security? Not really. Whilst there is some SciFi glee to be had at the idea of looking around a 360 degree camera with a headset, it’s just not a practical way to monitor or review security footage. I would expect security companies not to bother.

Danny Griffin

As well as being responsible for SpyCameraCCTV's blog content, I look after all of the sites product listings and descriptions. An avid photographer, when not at my desk I can often be found in our studio taking product photos! We're always looking to hear from people who have used our gear, so if you have any experiences to share, send them over to marketing@spycameracctv.com

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