From the SIA Newsdesk: Inside SIA’s Security Megatrends for 2023

Each year, the Security Industry Association (SIA) releases its Security Megatrends report, an annual report covering significant overarching trends shaping the industry. For 2023, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and workforce development topped the list.

The important trends identified in the new report for 2023 are:

  • Cybersecurity and Physical Security
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Workforce Development
  • Changing Economic Conditions
  • Ethical/Safe Use of Data and Technology
  • Elimination of Industry’s Boundaries
  • Security as a Service
  • Supply Chain Assurance
  • Autonomous Devices
  • Proliferation of Sensors

SIA will be covering these trends throughout the year in articles for ISC News (with technology deep dives on topics like AI, autonomous devices and cybersecurity), but we wanted to specifically call out trends number 4 and 5—both new or significantly evolved trends on the list this year.

Changing Economic Conditions (ranked No. 4 for 2023)

Although data from SIA’s Security Market Index industry confidence report showed a dip in business confidence in the second half of 2022, the December data actually showed an uptick in security industry confidence. Despite that uptick, industry leaders still are cautiously watching the economy after a year that delivered high inflation and the subsequent interest rate hikes. Many business leaders are preparing for the contingency of continued economic softening, brought upon by inflation, higher interest rates and global economic factors being shaped by the war in Ukraine and other factors.

Brian Ruttenbur, managing director at Imperial Capital and one of SIA’s member advisors for the 2023 Security Megatrends report, says the industry is delivering mixed signals. On the positive side, he notes clear commercial demand, strong backlogs and new product offerings and that supply chain challenges are easing. At the same time, however, he points to a national dip in consumer demand, decreased stock prices for public companies and a slowing of new hiring. In addition, Ruttenbur indicates that margins on products and services haven’t fully recovered.

Steve Van Till, founder and CEO of Brivo and another of our 2023 Security Megatrends advisors, thinks any economic cooling will lead to an even stronger focus on security-as-as-a-service type business models that create recurring monthly revenue (RMR). RMR, he noted during the 2022 Securing New Ground conference while speaking on the Megatrends, gives companies better ability to weather economic storms by creating consistent income streams from active installations that can be relied upon even if new project sales slow.

Ethical/Safe Use of Data and Technology (ranked No. 5 for 2023)

Data privacy hit No. 7 in last year’s Megatrends report, but discussions with our member advisors and feedback from members and industry executives surveyed for this project showed that this trend is much broader than privacy. The bigger picture—which is reflected in the 2023 report—is the ethical and safe use of security technologies and the data these systems generate.

As security solutions continue to become more powerful and imbued with artificial intelligence (trend No. 2 for 2023), the industry is recognizing that boundaries, guidelines and principles must be established and implemented to ensure these technologies and the data that they can collect are managed in a safe, intentional manner.

An example is facial recognition: While facial recognition is a technology that has helped solve challenging cases like cold case murders and sex trafficking, it has also been criticized for its potential to be misused. In response, SIA developed guidelines for the ethical use of facial recognition, and we have since seen cities and law enforcement agencies implement clear parameters on how they will use the technology.

The prominence of this megatrend is challenging industry technology developers, service providers and security practitioners to ensure their solutions have the features needed to implement tight control on the data and outputs from these systems, especially for cloud-based systems where data may live in outside platforms with remote access. The trend has already shaped industry solutions (e.g., manufacturers or VMS providers that offer privacy/blurring zones for video systems) but as more focus is placed on the ethical and safe use of technologies and data, companies are likely to place stricter control on access to the data these systems generate and will regularly audit the usage of such systems. This oversight is likely to come from a collaborative approach with IT and cybersecurity partners, further underscoring the convergence happening between cybersecurity and physical security (trend No. 1).

Stay tuned for more: In our next focus on the 2023 Security Megatrends with ISC News, we’ll dive into the megatrend of artificial intelligence and explore how this is shaping emerging technologies.