The wider technological landscape has altered significantly in the last few years. Concepts such as intelligent buildings, smart homes, advanced connectivity and the Internet of Things have moved from being theoretical musings to very real solutions. Customers are demanding them and the security industry – along with a host of other technology-based industries – has to deliver more benefits and added value. To highlight the potential available from today’s security systems, the Benchmark Smart Solutions project has been created to carry out field trials and assessments in the real-world, and to provide an essential information resource for those interested in such solutions.

The technological landscape is currently in a state of flux. That is true in just about every industrial and commercial sector, as well as in the homes and lifestyles of the general public. New and emerging technologies have revolutionised communications, created a sea change in the world of entertainment, turned the service sector on its head, progressed medical science faster than ever before and are increasingly becoming a part of our daily lives.

Change is coming and it’s being driven by end user demand. What the customer wants, the customer gets, because they’re the ones spending the money and their buying decisions are the ultimate standard. Industry policies and expert opinion counts for nothing if the customer won’t buy your offering because it doesn’t deliver what they want.

For a few years, Benchmark has been watching technology trends develop and advance, not just in certain aspects of the security industry but across a raft of other industrial and commercial sectors as well as in the consumer market.

Smart systems can offer streaming video and audio, remote control of systems and devices, communications via different media, data collection and processing, information management, push data sharing, status monitoring, automation, advanced scheduling, triggering via analytics and smart processing. If that all sounds familiar, there’s a reason: every one of these functions can be fulfilled by a well-designed security system. Many offer all these features, but additionally deliver them securely, with resilience and redundancy, with real-time polling and status monitoring to ensure that any faults or failures are immediately notified. That’s no small feat!

The team at Benchmark spends much of its time installing and testing equipment from a wide range of manufacturers. We also run a lot of field trials and technology assessments. In recent years we’ve been struck by how beneficial integrated solutions can be, not just in terms of security but also in other applications.

Some systems we’ve handled are capable of using their inherent flexibility and capabilities to deliver a host of benefits and added value for end users. Interestingly, on occasions when these have been discussed with end users, the message has been a simple one: the customers value – and will invest in – solutions that benefit their businesses.

With this in mind, the Benchmark Smart Solutions project includes the creation of a long-term integrated and smart solution as a test-bed to examine the depth of benefits available from today’s technologies. The project highlights the positives and the negatives of implementing smart solutions, identifying ‘pain points’ and working with manufacturers and suppliers to deliver resources to help solve these.

Through field trials and real-world assessments the project will deploy solutions for specific uses which end users have indicated they would be willing to invest in. This ensures that those using the project resources are being assisted in designing and installing systems that have real value.