One year ago, ChatGPT went mainstream and started the AI hype train. Security technology manufacturers jumped aboard, promoting AI-driven improvements in video analytics and security software user interfaces.

So is your job about to get meaningfully easier because of AI?

Not really.

As with any major new technology, people generally overestimate the short-term impact.

Based on what we saw at ISC West 2024 and in speaking with vendors and our clients, here is our take on the short-term:

You will soon be able to use more natural language in searches like “Show me the White Tesla S3 in parking lot B last week”. This is somewhat better than using dropdown lists, and we don’t begrudge UI improvements. Other queries like “What time did Amy Cooper leave on Monday?” just don’t move the needle enough. We will get interested when we can ask “Show me the most recent car collisions” without seeing false positives and missing events. But noone is advertising that yet.

As reported by IPVM (paywalled post) and seen by our own ISC West attendees, the new “AI” product enhancements are mostly smoke. The Best New Product winner couldn’t find a “garbage can” in a video search, and a search for “smoke” returned BBQ grills. Another product mistook hands and phones for guns. So far this seems more like rebranded analytics in beta.

Where we see some short/medium-term AI promise is in smarter tagging and analysis of security datasets. By dataset that we mean the people & objects in the video, access control entries/exits, and other sensor data like temperature. With clean tagging and good analysis (two different things!), then you could ask, “Show me the anomalies.” Better yet, the system will proactively tell you about the potentially worrisome stuff.

Alas that’s a few years off from being reliable, and these engines are going to need your own site-specific training effort to handle “permitted exceptions” like shift changes.

While we are skeptical about the short-term impact of AI on your security solutions, it’s going to eventually help. After all… with any major new technology, people generally underestimate the long-term impact.