In 1955, as the newly minted ASIS was finding its footing, many security companies were already on solid ground. Pinkerton Protection Patrol, Ademco, Brinks, American District Telegraph (ADT), and Honeywell were established brands in the United States, while Securitas was well-known in Sweden. The electric door strike had been invented, and Bell Laboratories had developed the transistor, which would change not only security, but the world. The number of companies and their array of products have grown exponentially since the 1950s, so the evolution of security companies and the equipment they manufacture is the topic of this month’s “60 Years, 60 Milestones.”
In the early 1960s, an increase in crime and limitations on public policing led to an increase in security spending. According to a 1963 issue of Industrial Security, U.S. businesses collectively spent up to $300 million annually. By the 1970s, that figure was $8 billion, and by 2012 it was $350 billion. Beginning in the 1980s, mergers and acquisitions rocked the industry. Since then, growth and consolidation have ebbed and flowed through the decades, leading to partnerships, collaboration, and technological advancement.
It was in the 1970s that alarms, CCTV, and access control systems were computerized. In the 1980s, microprocessor technology made waves, enabling the invention of more sophisticated equipment and streamlining the manufacturing process. Since then, the explosion of electronic security equipment has not abated.
Open architecture created in the 1990s led to the development of IP access control cameras, and the advancement of CCTV accelerated. Technological advances have led to camera technology with greater resolution, greater range, and ability to operate under a variety of environmental and lighting conditions. In the early 2000s, companies began releasing cameras with analytics capabilities. Innovation continues as software becomes more sophisticated.
From its start in fingerprints, the early ’90s also saw the growth of biometrics and other innovative technologies. Facial recognition, iris identification, and vein analysis have all been integrated into access control systems. New technology continues to amaze. Advancements in wireless technologies, for example, have allowed security functions to be housed on smartphones.
When security product manufacturers were able to leverage the power of the Internet in the early 21st century, the integration of security and IT systems was inevitable. But, in this case, security innovation created a new set of problems. Now all systems that are connected by computers are vulnerable to hacking and other types of cybercrime. This thorny challenge will likely continue well into the next 60 years.