A new definition of security

The Internet of things is changing the security landscape, as it makes everything from locks and perimeter controls to IP cameras that are much smarter.

Johannesburg, 03 Apr 2018
Read time 4min 20sec
Reshaad Sha, CEO, SqwidNet.
Reshaad Sha, CEO, SqwidNet.

The Internet of things (IOT) is slowly but surely working its way into the mainstream in virtually every facet, but while recognised as a potential game changer, it has yet to have its 'killer app' moment. This is the point where the benefits it offers are so obvious and so welcome that it becomes the launchpad for a whole host of IOT offerings. However, as an increasing number of both homes and businesses become fully connected, so it begins to appear that the IOT's 'killer app' might just be security.

After all, everybody wants to secure the things that matter most, whether it's your office with all its expensive equipment, or your home, where you keep your TVs, smartphones and jewellery, and the benefits of an IOT-based home or business security system are simply outstanding.

The beauty of the IOT, explains Reshaad Sha, CEO of SqwidNet, is that it can be applied to virtually every aspect of security, from the physical - in the form of access control and high-end door locks - to the more abstract, such as surveillance cameras and perimeter monitoring solutions.

"IOT-enabled access control devices will give business owners more control over who has access to their company, and it will also allow them to monitor the way employees and clients navigate a space or facility. Smart locks, meanwhile, offer users the ability to access their house via a simple and secure PIN, sent from their phone, should they ever forget their keys. A smart lock like this can also provide the user with a live record of when the door has been locked or unlocked," he says.

Other key areas for IOT-based physical security system applications include security system tamper protection, environmental sensors and secure intelligence tagging of company assets.

"Looking at the use of IP cameras for security purposes, when these are combined with the IOT, they can not only securely monitor properties, but in instances where it may be required, can immediately upload and store files in the cloud in real-time," indicates Sha.

"Moreover, since these will be smart cameras, they will be able to use sensors to alert the owner and/or security company the moment anything out of place occurs. Gone are the days when companies needed to hire security guards to constantly be on watch. Instead, automation enables the machines to undertake the observations and alert a human manager only when something suspicious occurs. This cuts down on costs as well as false alarms."

In addition, he continues, it is worth noting that automated drone security patrols will likely interact with IOT sensors and increase the effectiveness of that aspect of modern physical security. Combined, this technology and the monitoring data it produces will have a profound impact on the industry.

The same goes for household security, where sensors will not only enable owners to lock the doors, turn the lights on and off, and even switch the TV on while they are away, they will also be able to warn the owner if anything is moved. For example, if the TV is unplugged or if the front door opens while they are away on vacation.

"The IOT is clearly going to bring a holistic approach to the table when it comes to both home and business security measures, affording 24/7 coverage of virtually any aspect of a particular property, with the ability to inform owners and security guards in real-time, should anything be amiss."

"Of course, while security might be the big breakthrough the IOT needs to truly go mainstream, and while the points outlined above demonstrate the IOT's efficacy in this particular arena, unless the coverage is pervasive, with a constant stream of innovation in devices, mass adoption will take much longer."

A reliable network, suggests Sha, designed specifically for the transmission of the kind of small packets of data required for the IOT to function effectively, is a necessity before these cutting-edge security measures can be undertaken.

"This is what SqwidNet has been working on delivering, and we expect our network to cover around 85% of the population by June this year. This network is designed purely to connect objects to the network and transmit IOT traffic, and will thus make the IOT truly viable.

"Not only will this network significantly reduce the cost of connectivity, but more crucially, it means that IOT-connected, autonomous security systems like those outlined above are not merely concepts for some future time, but are in fact security solutions that can be implemented today," concludes Sha.

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