Mobile phones are not only changing how people interact with each other, they are also altering the way businesses and individuals process the world around them. The security industry has not been immune to the wave of mobile applications that has swept over a number of different sectors of the economy. That’s because a growing number of home and business owners choose to use their smartphones and other devices to stay in touch with their personal and business security systems.
The integration of mobile communications devices into commercial and enterprise-level security systems is part of a trend that has been labeled “the consumerization of IT.” In broad terms, this refers to the tendency of previously complex information systems to become simpler and more user-friendly. By reducing the number of steps required to accomplish a specific task, and by creating interfaces that can be easily accessed over a remote connection, systems can be presented almost as “appliances” that require little specialized knowledge to leverage. This is applauded by designers as a major step forward – after all, no one needs to open the manual to learn how to use his refrigerator.
For the security industry, the consumerization of IT has primarily impacted the expectations of customers with regard to notification. In an era where instant mobile communications has become the new standard, clients are no longer content to wait until the next business day to learn of any intrusions or activity related to the security of their data or facilities. Offering business owners the ability to identify false alarms triggered outside of normal business hours can also help avoid the cost of dispatching security teams or law enforcement.
As with most digital innovations, the consequences of the increased consumerization of IT have been mixed for security companies. On the one hand, the self-service aspect associated with the ability to receive alerts as well as remotely monitor or control a security system through a mobile device reduces the need to rely on call center agents and support staff, particularly during the evening hours.
In addition, remote video monitoring can provide security response teams with the ability to see what is on the other side of a door before entering a room, as well as comprehensive mobile control over a facility’s security features (such as the ability to lock down or unlock specific sections of a building) can also enhance real-time response strategies and capabilities. At the same time, however, vendors are expected to support an increasing number of ever-evolving mobile platforms, which can introduce challenges with regard to system development and compatibility.
It is far easier to introduce new features, such as mobile alerts and interface capabilities, than it is to remove them from the market once customers have grown to appreciate what they have to offer. There is no turning back from a design world where clients expect simple and reliable mobile interaction to come bundled with business or home security systems, which means that security companies must take care to select the right path when deploying their remote video monitoring and communications systems.