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Johan Paulsson

From AI to ESG: Key security-technology trends of 2023

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Johan Paulsson, Chief Technology Officer, Axis Communications, explores the six key technology trends that are set to impact the security sector in the coming year…

Technology is pervasive in every aspect of our personal and work lives. Every new technological development and every upgrade brings new benefits, makes the tools we rely on more effective, and creates stronger, more efficient services. But as technology’s integration into society deepens, awareness of its implications is becoming more heightened.

Ours is an industry making use of increasingly intelligent systems with technology inherently involved in collecting sensitive data. It is also an industry that is as impacted by geopolitical issues affecting international trade as any other sector. Security innovations will absolutely create a smarter, safer world, but in 2023 we will need to evolve to keep pace with these trends – all while moving fast to exploit new technological opportunities.

A move towards actionable insights

“From analytics to action” will become a mantra for 2023. AI and machine learning may have aided the development of advanced analytics in recent years, but the focus moving forward will be on exploiting the actionable insights they deliver.

The huge increase in data being generated by surveillance cameras and sensors is a key driver for this transition. It is impossible for human operators to interpret the nuances of large data sets and act quickly enough, but analytics and AI functionality can now recommend, prompt, and even start to automatically take real-time actions which support safety, security, and operational efficiency in every key vertical.

Analytics can support new methods of post-incident forensic analysis using, for example, assisted search to automatically find desired video among massive silos of camera data. New techniques will also be used to predict outcomes, using sensors to propose preventative maintenance actions to minimise potential industrial outages before failure occurs.

The rise of case-defined hybrid architectures

Advanced analytics can run directly within surveillance cameras on the edge of the network. After-the-fact analysis, though, is a job for on-site servers or the cloud. Building the ultimate data analysis solution demands a hybrid computing architecture – and one which meets a customer’s requirements precisely.

There is no perfect off-the-shelf configuration. Each business must assess its specific use case and define the hybrid solution that will meet its needs. This process is complicated by localised requirements around data privacy and retention, which can force the use of on-premises storage over the convenience of the cloud, but architecture refinements are an essential part of any 2023 technology strategy. Businesses must maintain the flexibility to create the hybrid architecture best suited to their specific needs – architecture which can change as demand and future trends dictate.

Exploiting functions beyond security

Security hardware can present an opportunity to do more. Cameras themselves are powerful sensors capturing both quality video information and, thanks to advanced analytics, metadata which makes them useful in new and novel ways.

Camera metadata can be combined with input from other sensors – monitoring temperature, noise, air and water quality, vibration, weather, and more – to create an advanced sensory network and enable data-driven decisions. While we’re beginning to see this kind of multi-sensor monitoring appearing in industrial and data centre environments, the eventual use cases are limited only by our imaginations – and platform-agnostic data streams enable bespoke applications for any use.

The emergence of cybersecurity sub-trends

In the video surveillance sector, ensuring the authenticity and privacy of every data stream as it moves from camera to cloud to server is essential to maintain trust in its value. Cybersecurity is as vital today as it has always been, but 2023 will see a more proactive approach by technology vendors in identifying vulnerabilities, with bug bounty programs becoming even more commonplace to incentivise external parties to take a white hat approach.

Customers will also increasingly expect transparency regarding the cybersecurity of security solutions, with a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) becoming standard in assessing software security and risk management.

Sustainability always, climate change at the forefront

Aside from cybersecurity, the requirement for organisations to measure and improve their environmental, societal, and business governance practices remains essential – and all of these aspects will come under increasing scrutiny from customers of security and safety solutions.

Given the extreme conditions of the past year, expect a more acute focus specifically on addressing climate change in 2023. While organisations might make great efforts to reduce emissions from their own operations, these can be undermined if their upstream and downstream value chains are not aligned with the same targets.

Tech companies will also be expected to demonstrate more clearly the ways their products and services support the sustainability goals of their own customers, creating novel and intelligent efficiencies that also help those organisations reduce emissions.

An increased regulatory focus

The compliance goalposts move regularly, and often with great speed. Each new regulation ratified brings a different aspect of software or hardware into focus. The European Commission’s proposed AI Act[1], for example, aims to assign specific risk categories to uses of AI, and will no doubt be the subject of much debate before it becomes law.

But whether in relation to AI, demands surrounding cybersecurity, data privacy, the influence of ‘big tech’, or tech sovereignty, it’s clear that technology companies in the security sector will increasingly need to adhere to more stringent regulations.

Key targets for 2023

2023 is not a year of great upheaval – it’s one of realignment. Our sector’s greatest opportunity continues to come from focusing on commercial success in tandem with our responsibility to address the critical issues facing the planet and its population. By working together towards a common goal, the combination of human inventiveness, advances in technology, and ethical business practices can be combined to make the world a better place.

Learn more about Axis’ trends for 2023.

About The Author
Johan Paulsson is an old hand in the Swedish tech scene, having been COO and head of R&D at Ericsson Mobile, and COO at Anoto. He joined Axis in 2008 and as CTO has overall responsibility for not just its current crop of products, but thinking about what the future might hold, too. Johan got his start with a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Lund in Sweden – and loves the city so much that he never left. He is also a member of the board at poLight, a Norwegian company working to replicate the human eye lens.


Six top trends for the physical security sector in 2022

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By Johan Paulsson, CTO at Axis Communications

As we look to 2022 it’s clear that matching the ongoing pace of technological innovation to an equal evolution in building trust in the use of technology is imperative. Trust is becoming increasingly important for individuals, organisations, and legislators, so it’s interesting to see how many of our technology trends for 2022 can be linked to the need to build a trusted technology ecosystem, and ultimately a smarter, safer world.

  1. Connection across hybrid environments – To the end user, the architecture being used to deliver services has become invisible. Whether processing takes place on a device, local server or in a remote data centre, everything is connected. As a security solution vendor, it’s up to us to provide the tools and flexibility to help people decide on the best solution for their unique situation. Given that ‘connected’ has become the default, we do believe that most surveillance solutions will ultimately be hybrid; combining cloud, on-premise server and edge technologies.
  2. A new default for cybersecurity While we foresaw the rapid acceleration towards Zero Trust network architectures a year ago, we now believe it to be a default approach. The Covid-19 pandemic has played a role here too, as flexible working has seen more devices connected remotely over the public internet. Taking a Zero Trust approach involves evaluating the security profile for each device each time it connects which has significant implications for the video surveillance industry, with various checks and validations moving from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’.
  3. Authenticate everything – The ability to establish the authenticity of video footage is fundamental. Tampering with video after it is captured, along with increased sophistication in creating manipulated images, means that we may see the authenticity of video surveillance footage being more regularly questioned. As this is an issue for the security industry as a whole it’s imperative that the sector aligns to standardise its approach, ideally based on open-source software and initiatives.
  4. AI becomes established and acceptedMany would also argue that AI is no longer a trend. Indeed, we’re all using and being exposed to valuable AI and deep learning-based services on a daily basis. Our view remains that technology in itself shouldn’t be regulated, but that legislation and regulation relating to the development and use of AI-based technologies and applications should be adhered to by every organisation employing AI. We expect to see a greater focus on initiatives to ensure that AI is being implemented ethically and without bias.
  5. COVID-19 as a catalyst – The long-term impact of the pandemic, from a business and technology perspective, is manifesting itself in a number of ways such as the use of low/no touch technologies at access points, and intelligent video solutions to ensure that social distancing and public health guidelines are being adhered to. The pandemic has also caused supply chain issues that have resulted in some businesses designing and manufacturing their own components. This is something that we anticipate more organisations doing in the security sector.
  6. 5G finding its place – For us, a new technology only becomes a trend when we start to see valuable use cases appear in the security and surveillance sector. This is starting to happen with 5G. While much of the hype around 5G has been focused on improvements in network performance for consumer applications, 5G networks show genuine potential for video surveillance solutions and could bring particular benefits from a cybersecurity perspective.

Finally, all trends should be viewed through the lens of sustainability. Sustainability can no longer be considered a trend. It needs to be embedded in everything we do: how we design and manufacture products, how we run our business, the performance of our suppliers – all aligned to reducing our environmental impact, and operating in an ethical and trustworthy way. Wherever a technology trend looks like presenting an opportunity, it needs to also be examined through the lens of whether it can be developed and brought to market in a sustainable way.