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When it comes to technology, why wouldn’t you?

May 20, 2024 by Alistair Enser

Last week, Reliance High-Tech held its Technology and Innovation workshop at Mercedes Benz world near Weybridge. It was great to see so many guests turn up to learn about the technology influencing the development of next-generation security and access control solutions and to give feedback on their challenges and needs.

End users, consultants, Information Technology and facilities managers heard from leading security industry experts including BrivoEagle EyeMilestoneCommend and Mobotix about the latest developments in technology, and how they are influencing the future of electronic security.

Subjects addressed included the future of access control as a service; how hybrid solutions are integrating worlds; the evolution of surveillance camera technology; the role of audio and voice recognition; how analytics can be undertaken efficiently in the cloud, and the growth of video surveillance as a service.

Complementing our keynote speakers was an all-day interactive exhibit hall where delegates were encouraged to get hands-on with technology, as well as provide valuable market feedback on use cases; the challenges and trends they face from their perspective so that we can continue to innovate and develop solutions that match real-world needs. Alongside our presenters, additional partner companies such as BCD VideoTiger Bridge Technologies and Thinking Software all showed how their solutions can work alongside each other to present the ideal security solution. In addition, Reliance High-Tech sister company, lone worker protection specialist, Reliance Protect, also showed its latest Pulse+ personal safety device, and discussed with a number of customers the current convergence between protecting assets and people, driven by the growth of body-worn video.

The increasingly obvious choice

Underpinning all of the conversations that day was the cloud. And while my colleague, Reliance High Tech’s Director of Technology and Innovation, Andy Schofield, will be addressing the subject in greater detail in a future blog, for me the thing that came across strongly from all who spoke was not “Why would you use the cloud?”, but “Why wouldn’t you use the cloud?” instead.

The image at the top of this article shows me welcoming guests to our Tech Day, surrounded by some choice examples of technology that I found in the loft, and which was once cutting edge! Yes, it hard to believe now, but the home computer with 32Kb of RAM, running Microsoft Basic V1, the video MP4 player from 20 years ago, or an old BMX bike were once at the vanguard of technological development and fashion.

When I was a kid, I would use books to help me with my homework, and the multi-set encyclopaedia in the school library could provide answers to most of the questions I needed. They still carry valuable information today, but now my kids would normally use the internet for general searches and then focus in on a particular online journal or book to help with their studies. Why wouldn’t they, given that Google holds 10-15 Exabytes of data, the equivalent to the storage of 30 million PCs combined?

Similarly, given the benefits of cloud-based technology, with its benefits of connectivity, scalability, energy efficiency and potentially lower total cost of ownership, should we perhaps be asking ourselves why we wouldn’t turn to the cloud to meet our security system needs? As I have written before – and as our speakers at our Tech Day confirmed – the cloud will only play a greater part in electronic security systems as we move forward.

One size definitely does not fit all

Well, many of our speakers on the day talked about hybrid solutions, which better reflect the realities faced by many organisations that have legacy infrastructure, specialist security needs or connectivity challenges. So when you think about cloud, it doesn’t have to be either / or. You can choose only the elements that add value to you.

To return to my books / internet analogy, for many students studying specialist subjects, the internet may not be the best, most appropriate, or indeed, only source of reference. Even with the massive amounts of data the internet holds, sifting through it to find a specialist source of information often drives students to physical sources of reference and research papers that aren’t to be found online. They find a balanced approach and specialist research is required.

In the same way, after asking themselves why they wouldn’t use the cloud, some organisations may reason that an on-premise system is necessary, and there is nothing wrong with this. What’s more, as was clear from the conversations I had with many guests on the day, ‘hybrid’ solutions that combine on-site systems and the cloud may provide an effective solution for organisations with specific needs, and provide a bridge to a fully cloud-based solution in the future, even if this means simply utilising cloud backup for storage, or harnessing cloud-based analytics engines. Our speakers on the day made it clear, however, that these hybrid systems must be designed carefully to ensure resilience, avoid duplication and eliminate unnecessary cost.

A system designed for the user’s specific needs

Covid has taught us that the ‘internet’ is here to stay, and that connectivity is pretty reliable. Whatever the chosen platform, at Reliance we will always endeavour to listen to customer needs, not just how they relate to security, but how they link to wider business and operational objectives and risks. Give us a call to find out more or request information at info@reliancehightech.co.uk.

Finally, thanks again to all our speakers, exhibitors and of course guests for their involvement. Watch out for the next date planned for June and our updated list of partners and topics.