New Challenges for Security Industry in the Era of the Internet of Things

Wednesday, 6 November 2019 , , , 0 Comments



Foreword

The 17th China Public Security Expo held in Shenzhen in 2019 was still as big as the previous years. But I came out of the exhibition halls faster than I did before.

There are more and more homogenized products exhibited at the Expo, and fewer and fewer foreign manufacturers taking part; far less this year. According to a report, only 5%. For China, this is an achievement, because international products have been wiped out and replaced by the locally made products. This trend also means China is capable of producing the same products, as good as its foreign counterparts, and even more economical at that.

But this boasted achievement has quickly become a hidden worry in China.

Outsiders can't get in; eventually, insiders can't go out too.

Because we can almost foresee the outcome, in which foreign products have difficulty to enter China, and Chinese products will be harder to export as well in the future. (I will discuss this in the last chapter)

From the product is king, to the application is king.

The era of “Product is King” has come to an end, “Application is King” is taking the reign.

Now, the products are standalone dotted points, and the applications connect them all, and the connectivity makes the golden age of pure products obsolete. The 4G era of connecting people has completed its mission. The future 5G emerges to connect people and things, things and things. With the rise of IoT or Internet of Things, Internet of Everything, AIoT or Artificial Intelligence of Things, the factories that produce purely standalone objects are getting bitter.

Cheap labour drives the China’s economy. The security industry was initially hardware-driven. Surveillance cameras, access control barriers, clocking readers, and door locks, they all started with hardware. Later, during the era of computerization in the last century, these products were linked to computers. Usually, the front-end of the surveillance camera, access control, etc. is responsible for collecting data. Then the data is transferred into the computer system through some interfaces such as RS232, RS485, TCP/IP for further processing to output the results. From the standalone to the local area network, the manufacturing of products and the programming of software is a division of labour, and the combination of use is also divided. This model is beneficial to China. We witnessed how Hikvision and Dahua have rapidly emerged as international market leaders that dominate the surveillance industry.

Hardware-driven market to software-driven market 

Because the hardware has a big profit lies beneath, Chinese manufacturers have focused on hardware for their market expansion. The software has become a complementary accessory. It is usually bundled with hardware as a free of charge item, or charged at a minimum fee; hence, the overall software lacks comprehensive R&D planning and real allocation.

When the arrival of the Internet trend in the late 1990s, China's security industry was unmoved, security products were hardly in deep association with the Internet or could have many benefits obtained from the Internet technology. Simultaneously, Internet companies were born like rapid fire. The big guys in the security industry are still wandering in their comfort zone, thinking that as long as they are big and strong enough in their fields, they would be perpetually invincible.

Suddenly, big data appears, cloud computing happens, artificial intelligence rises, mobile internet strengthens, and the Internet of Things becomes a reality.

When these big concepts started to surface, security companies seem never to fail to boast about how their products complement the big technology trends. During the CPSE Exhibition, when we enquired further, we understand that most of them are still in the concept hype stage. The adoption is indeed quite shallow, let alone would cause a paradigm shift in the industry. The hype might fool the capital market, but not the real market and customers. However, this is quite a universal norm for China's security industry.

When we say Factory 4.0 or Manufacturing 4.0, strictly speaking, the factory in Factory 4.0 stage is no longer about a factory, but a tech company. The Factory 4.0 is not merely the adoption of cutting-edge IT equipment, or to enhance the automation process so that it can upgrade itself from Factory 3.0 to 4.0, and it is a thorough DNA reengineering process for an organization. For Factory 4.0, it is not only about the products networkability, but the products also have to integrate with various cloud applications to form a comprehensive IoT ecosystem.

If the progress of 1G to 4G in telecommunications impacted individuals and the B2C consumer market the most, the introduction of 5G is expected to affect B2B significantly, bringing vital change to all industries, the mega smart city projects included. We foresee through interconnectivity between IoTs, and the revolutionary cloud applications, this trend will redefine and rebuild the ecosystems between industries, which is also a massive opportunity for the security industry. It's just that, are you ready?


The four elements of the Internet of Things era

1. Cloud computing and cloud applications are the life support of IoT; therefore, the cloud is a must for all industries in the 5G era.

2. IoT is cloud-driven, and therefore, hardware-driven companies have to transform themselves into software-driven companies. For hardware vendors, this is a tough genetic modification project to undertake.

3. Since cloud computing can do 90% of IoT processing, hardware gets simpler and cheaper. This element is a big blow to manufacturers who merely rely on hardware to generate revenue.

4. The interconnectivity between objects in multiple scenarios and cross-platforms, spawn new consolidated ecosystems and multiple cloud applications.


The secured and unsecured security industry

As the 5G era approaches, the IoT era arrives concurrently. The security industry is at the crossroad of innovation. The imminent game-changer is approaching. And big tech companies are more sensitive and ready as compared to the security companies with their infostructure groundwork. And, the siege has begun. Huawei is coming, Baidu is coming, Alibaba is coming, Tencent is coming, there are many more out there making their ways.

No matter how they enter the arena, either as friends or foes, they will directly or indirectly compete and take up some good slice from the security industry. As foes, they compete directly in your territory, with cooler stuff; as friends, they seem to drive traffic to you from their internet platform, but in the end, they will get the upper hand, bag bigger benefits.

It is apparent that the platforms built by the Internet giants, such as the enterprise platform of Alibaba’s DingTalk, Tencent’s WeChat and Small Program, have become the pain points of many industries, including security.

Due to a lack of cloud computing full deployment, the hardware-driven security companies continue to provide free software as a strategy. And, this strategy has made them stalling in developing cloud applications that could generate them with direct profit from subscription-based Software as a Service (SaaS) model. At the same time, they are also unable to use the cloud to drive the hardware sales, and they end up losing at both ends.

China's tech companies have successfully replaced foreign security products to becoming threats to the security companies. For this new threat, I reckon security companies affected have to succumb and play along.

The game-changer in the domestic market is not affecting the overseas market just yet. Due to the diversity of the international market, the application of IoT does not influence product-oriented sales entirely. Apart from the impact of the Trade War between the United States and China, some market space for overseas products is still available. However, as China's labour costs rise, the advantage of low-cost products diminishing; and as the IoT and the cloud become mainstream, the export market will be affected tremendously, very soon.

The predicament of China’s export market in the future 

Some people may say, why should we separate the traditional Chinese security companies from the incoming Internet companies? If we regard China as a sole force, and these companies merge as one, can they not dominate the world?

Otherwise.

Because of China's Great Firewall Policy that segregates China's Internet world from the outside world, it separates the seemingly integrated Internet into two different forms. Extra and tremendous adaptation efforts have to be put in for overseas cloud applications to suit China’s environment, and vice versa for China’s cloud solutions. Integrating an application system is much trickier than adopting individual products; this is the common challenge for the industry players. 

The road to moving forward

Whether it suits your agenda or otherwise, technology trends and market ecosystems are moving the IoT way. Hence, how should the security industry player react? My brief view is as follows:

First, the need to deepen awareness about cross-industries and how it works; second, the need to define new products and standards; third, the need for deep integration of 5G and artificial intelligence, cloud computing and other technologies; fourth, the need for an organization to transform from hardware-driven to software-driven. 

Only by maintaining an open-minded attitude towards new ideas, willingness to cooperate with new partners, walking the talk, only then security industry players can create new values in the new cross-industry and cross-sector security industry.

Teh Hon Seng, Group CEO of TimeTec Group of Companies. Prior to forming TimeTec, Teh led PUC Founder (MSC) Bhd to be listed on MESDAQ (ACE) market of Bursa Malaysia in 2002. Teh initiated the R&D in fingerprint technology in 2000, which later developed into a renowned global brand for commercial fingerprint product known as FingerTec. In 2008, he foresaw the trend of cloud computing and mobile technology, and over the years, he had strategically diversified and transformed its biometric-focused products into a suite of cloud solutions that aimed at workforce management and security industries including smart communities that centered around the cloud ecosystem. Teh has more than 10 patents to his name, and he is also a columnist in a local newspaper and a writer of several books.

Foreword The 17th China Public Security Expo held in Shenzhen in 2019 was still as big as the previous years. But I came out of the ex...

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IT'S TIME TO CHANGE YOUR ATTENDANCE SYSTEM. LET'S BUY IT RIGHT.





CAUTION: DON'T CALL ANY SUPPLIERS BEFORE YOU READ OUR FREE TIPS BASED ON A 20-YEAR EXPERIENCE IN THE INDUSTRY 
 


Your organization is looking forward to changing the attendance system that has been adopted by your business a gazillion years ago. Everybody knows that it is an ancient system, but somehow the company is taking its good sweet time to replace it. While the management thought that the company could escape the cost (of changing the system), the business couldn't withstand the hassle and the workload that comes with that conventional system. Okay, now there is no excuse for not changing the system anymore.


But, the question is, which system to replace the old ones and how can you get the most value out of the investment. Bear in mind that not all systems are created equal and all you have is that X amount of budget.


Therefore, it is wise to spend a couple more minutes reading these FIVE TIPS of choosing the modern best solutions for attendance, to get more values for your money and stretch your investment further.


(Personally, I have 20 years experience in this industry, and I've been marketing time attendance solutions for all those years worldwide. These are my 5 take-home points for buyers to use in their procurement process.)


BRAND MATTERS and those who say that it's not is not forward-thinking. I'm not afraid to say so because a well-known, famous brand is almost always associated with good values and vice versa. Because a brand ONLY becomes strong and established after it is put into the market for a duration, and after it withstood the market pressure. Product quality, service quality and customer experience sum up the brand's worth eventually. Buying a quick paste-on sticker 'brand' risks the company down the road because once the deal is sealed, whatever comes next could or could not be the seller matter anymore. Hence, the buyer must hold the brand accountable for the marketing, the 'promises' it makes to the market.


SUPPORT IS CRUCIAL because we know that &^$# happens when it comes to electronic products. While one product is okay, another one could be having a problem right from the start. Apart from warranty offered, support is REALLY REALLY REALLY important because let's face it, most of your employees do not know (or pretend not to know) how to operate ANY machines. Even though the products come with a warranty, it doesn't necessarily mean that support is offered. Support means that someone is there to attend to your problems. And while you are there, check the warranty duration too. The duration tells quality actually. 


MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE has to bundle with the hardware. You do not settle for less and do not accept substandard software. You must list down the purposes of your company buying the new attendance machines, and compare them against the features offered by the management software. If the software features match more than 90% of your requirements, and it's complimentary, perhaps you have found the perfect system. However, while reviewing the software offered, please bear in mind, tip no. 2 again. Remember this slogan “No support, More headache” going forward. 

VERSATILITY IS THE KEY. Look for a system that can travel through time with you, well at least for a decent period of say, 5 years. And would that system be able to cope with the demand of the working environment 5 years ahead? You must also explore the possibility of integration with other solutions. How about the possibility of cloud integration? Questions like these need to be asked to get the best value for your money. If you are buying product A for one purpose at X dollars, you need to make sure that no other brands are providing product B for 2 purposes at X dollars with free software.

ADDED VALUE FOR YOUR MONEY. That's a pretty cliche promise of many brands out there, but YOU as a consumer must be able to list down the values that are actually offered. If you struggle to write down the additional benefits provided, that phrase is a scam.  Factor all your concerns in and compare them against the values you get for your dollars. 


All in all, a little research won't hurt and definitely useful to your organization in the long run. You have more questions? Engage with me at tamy@fingertec.com and I’ll be there with you. Should you want to try out biometrics as a business, I can consult.




CAUTION: DON'T CALL ANY SUPPLIERS BEFORE YOU READ OUR FREE TIPS BASED ON A 20-YEAR EXPERIENCE IN THE INDUSTRY     Your organizat...

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FingerTec Software Makes Way for the Superior Cloud Software. 10 Reasons Why You Should Elevate to Cloud, Now!




FingerTec biometrics are bundled with Windows-based software, be it TCMS V3/TCMS V2 for time attendance, or Ingress for door access. For the most part, the Windows-based software is able to fulfill the majority of our worldwide customers requirements. However, there are circumstances whereby the business requires more from a solution and this is where the cloud software like TimeTec steps up. 

Growing Business Needs Scalable Solutions
When the business thrives, the staff count multiplies and the management of employees become more complex for a Windows-based system to handle. Quantity-wise, Windows-based software has its own limitation, for example in Ingress when one customer connects 150 units in a system, real time monitoring is no longer an option and eventually the customer is forced to invest more on servers. The problem worsens particularly when the company has branches in multiple locations, mobile workforce and flexible working hours. With TimeTec TA, not only that it can handle unlimited FingerTec terminal connection regardless of the locations, it also can connect to the mobile App that can capture attendance through other ways apart from biometrics, such as GPS, NFC, Beacon and Wifi. TimeTec TA promotes efficiency with cloud technology.

Data is King
Data is an asset to any organization and people are talking about its importance now, more than ever. While Windows-based software such as TCMS V3 and Ingress contains important data, TimeTec cloud solution offers that and a whole lot more. TimeTec provides huge data storage without having to spend a large amount of money, and there is no limitations set on the number of connected biometrics terminals to connect to TimeTec. Data in TimeTec is accessible and available at all times on web and app for convenience.

Constant Update
How many times do you have to wait for your software to finish updating? Updating on Windows-based software stops you from using the system and worse, you need to repeat the process in every computer. Software update for Windows-based usually take months to be developed, so if there’s any bug or problem, you’d have to wait for the fix in the next few months release. Cloud solution like TimeTec updates automatically, regularly and quick so the next time you log into the system, you can see the changes and updates; time saving and efficient. 

Maintenance Free
The common rule when using any software is to perform housekeeping and maintenance by removing or archiving old data. The process is tedious and requires a dedicated personnel to perform this regularly. Software that hasn’t been maintained well will lag and prone to crash. That’s not the case with TimeTec cloud solutions. At TimeTec, the maintenance of servers and database are taken care of at all times. Users will be informed on scheduled maintenance date and time, and the down time will be very minimal to avoid any disruption to its users.

Better Server Performance
The capacity of a server in a Windows-based software depends on the PC, and for a PC to act as a server, a user needs to have a high spec PC; which will be very costly. Even then, there’s still limitation on the memory (RAM) which will reduce the speed of the software, server maintenance and so on. TimeTec solutions runs on the highly reliable and well known Amazon server, which is robust, stable and secure. Its huge storage and server facilities provides smooth and better user experience as a whole. Data in the server is also backed up regularly, keeping all data safe and sound.

Access from Anywhere
Windows-based software is not designed to work with Internet or with different devices such as mobile phone. Connection for Windows-based software is limited and cannot be used for companies with multiple branches from different countries. As TimeTec solutions are cloud based systems, users can access the solutions from anywhere, anytime from a place with  Internet connection. TimeTec mobile apps are also available for user to clock and view their attendance, leave information and more.

Shorter Implementation Time
As accessibility for Windows-based software is limited, implementation time for a new system would take much longer time than on cloud. On premise system requires the same implementation to be done at multiple locations, so you have to repeat the setup process every time. With cloud services like TimeTec TA, you can setup for multiple branches a lot more quicker as the setup is shared and will reflect at all branches. Admin also can make changes and it will reflect to all branches within seconds.

Data Centralization
Often times organizations face challenges when they have multiple branches in different locations. One of the challenges is data centralization. Admin from different branches need to compile and send information regularly just to update their HQ. TimeTec cloud solution eliminates this process as all data from the company will be in the same account and viewable at any time. Analysis and workforce overview are also available in TimeTec to provide a clear overview of the company’s workforce status. 

Better User Experience
FingerTec Windows-based softwares are designed for Admin view only; where the main objective is for Admin to process attendance data or control access devices. Normal employees have no access whatsoever to the system and can only wait for the Admin to confirm on their data. On the contrary, TimeTec cloud solution provides a platform where both Admin and employees can view, edit and approve data, allowing a two-way communication for a more transparent system. In addition, TimeTec solution is complemented with mobile app where the process of view, edit, apply and approve can be done straight from a smartphone. 

Mobile Friendly
Let’s admit it, mobile phone has become a necessity in our everyday life. That’s why TimeTec solutions offers mobile apps that compliment and complete the solutions. Users can clock their attendance, view schedule, request for OT approval and more directly from TimeTec mobile apps. This is not possible if you are using Windows-based software. Receive notifications, monitor attendance and overview of attendance in real time, straight from your mobile phone when you use TimeTec cloud solutions. 

Cloud is the future. Many organizations have moved to cloud and benefit from the system. If you are still have doubts about cloud, we offer 30-day FREE trial at www.timetecta.com so you can give it a try!

Free Consultation, contact info@timeteccloud.com and we’ll be right there with you. 


FingerTec biometrics are bundled with Windows-based software, be it TCMS V3/TCMS V2 for time attendance, or Ingress for door access. Fo...

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