ISJ Exclusive: Putting responsibility at the heart of your security investment

Hanwha Vision new research video surveillance technology

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ISJ May Edition Exclusive

Hanwha Vision utilises new research to highlight current expectations on the responsible use of video surveillance technology.

The video surveillance sector is on the cusp of many exciting innovations, mainly due to advances in AI and the continued development of the Internet of Things (IoT). Yet, as research from Hanwha Vision demonstrates, the promises of video technology can only be realised if responsible use is at the core of all decision making, device development and innovation. 

Research into what security managers are looking for from their video providers is indeed revealing. The survey, commissioned by Hanwha Vision, discovered that nearly three-quarters (73%) of European security managers believe it is important to source their cameras from manufacturers that uphold the responsible use of security technology.

The survey also revealed that nearly one in two (44%) security managers are able to differentiate between security suppliers and manufacturers from their position on the ethical use of surveillance technology. This highlights the increasing importance of ethical practice to a manufacturer’s overall brand reputation – and has massive repercussions for the industry. The survey revealed seven main lessons for video manufacturers, distributors and installers:

Responsible use is driving purchasing decisions

Instead of solely basing their decisions on cost, decision makers are actively seeking out manufacturers that prioritise responsible use, data security and ethical manufacture. The vast majority (86%) of European security managers surveyed believed that surveillance technology, such as video cameras, should be used responsibly; survey respondents in all countries placed responsible use as their top priority when considering video camera options, apart from France, which rated environmental manufacture slightly higher.

These new purchasing priorities align with rising concerns among governments, business leaders and the public around how their data is collected and used. The security industry, therefore, needs organisations and the public to trust in video technology if innovations in AI, deep learning and connected devices are to become commonplace. Without trust built through the responsible use of video, the next decade of transformation will be hindered.

Cost is now the lowest priority

Although cost remains a contributing factor in purchasing decisions, today’s security leaders understand that solely basing their choice on low cost is a short term view that could impact their reputation and security in the long run. Not only do some devices need to be replaced when a breach in their security arises, but if a data leak does occur, the potential financial and trust impact can run into millions.

Only 15% of surveyed decisionmakers said they were willing to compromise on reputation to make cost savings. The healthcare sector ranked highest (24%) for prioritising the cost of a device over responsible use and manufacture. Finance was also relatively high at 21%.

Short term cost savings will be lost in the event of a data breach and loss of public trust in surveillance. Both finance and healthcare handle high levels of sensitive data, so the cost of a breach via a compromised camera will be exceptionally high. Both in financial terms – and reputation.

Reputational risks from unethical use are considerable

National and global media outlets are now quick to jump on any story involving the unethical use of video and this is causing increased public scrutiny of manufacturers and the organisations installing their products. In short, responsible use is no longer an add-on to a cost-effective value proposition but a clear differentiator and futureproofing tactic. Especially as public concerns will increase when video becomes more reliant on AI and able to achieve more for organisations.

Video surveillance technology is becoming more present in all facets of modern day life and promises to deliver great value to business leaders. However, this progress cannot be achieved without widespread stakeholder (including the public) buy-in. It becomes even more critical when you consider that many cameras are now deploying deep learning and other AI technology to gather more data and insights on environments, vehicles and people.

AI is raising the stakes

Indeed, concerns can be intensified when you consider the increased prevalence of AI in the security sector. As AI moves to the edge, an initiative being driven by Hanwha Vision, it reduces costs but also increases the type and number of applications where businesses can leverage visual data. As such, ethical design and use is essential.

That’s why it’s critical that organisations only invest in manufacturers and installers who, like Hanwha Vision, champion the ethical and responsible use of AI in video. AI can bring many benefits to the organisation that uses it well; most business leaders recognise this, with 85% feeling that consumers are more likely to choose companies that are transparent about how they use AI.

For those who make the right choice, the gains offered by AI are myriad. This was proven in the survey, which revealed that 72% of German decision makers want to use AI for fast and easy searching; 65% of those in the Netherlands want to use it to classify vehicles by colour and type. Unsurprisingly, only 1% of European security managers said they were uninterested in the potential benefits of using AI in video cameras.

Consider the supply chain

Truly responsible use goes beyond how data is collected, stored and analysed. It also considers the supply chain of an organisation’s surveillance infrastructure. A camera can be used in the most ethical way, but if the supply chain or device is compromised, then these efforts will be undermined.

Seeking out manufacturers who can prove that responsible use is at the heart of their product development, research and strategy is an effective way to ensure the robustness of the video supply chain. Ideally, users should set ‘responsible use’ as a non-negotiable requirement when dealing with vendors as this will raise the bar for the entire industry.

In practice, such a manufacturer would be open about their commitment to the responsible use and development of their video devices. They would adhere to local and global legislation in the relevant markets their devices and business operate within and not be subject to regulations, including the US’s NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), which restricts the sale and use of certain technologies.

In fact, investing in systems from providers not sanctioned under the NDAA, could prove a savvy and future-proofing move: Research found that nearly one in two European security managers expect legislation similar to the USA’s NDAA. In fact, 42% of these would actually support a version of the NDAA becoming law in their own country.

Responsible use needs robust cybersecurity

Cybersecurity has a major impact on an organisation’s overall responsible use of video and AI. Video devices can be compromised either as a gateway to the wider organisation or to obtain data — and because of the advanced nature of today’s video cameras, that data could potentially be highly sensitive and personal.

Devices need to be cybersecure by design to avoid becoming a weak point that’s exploited by malicious actors. Yet, Hanwha Vision’s research revealed that less than one in two (47%) of security managers in Europe are prioritising the cybersecurity of their devices when making purchasing decisions.

Choosing a manufacturer that has devices that are cybersecure by design throughout the product lifecycle will help to protect data and the security infrastructure. Beyond this, it’s worth looking at a vendor’s security vulnerability response, as no security strategy is 100% effective. Hanwha Vision’s Security Computer Emergency Response Team, S-CERT, ensures a prompt and proactive approach to cybersecurity. The team is dedicated to designing proactive safeguards against unauthorised device access and intrusion as well as addressing security vulnerabilities.

The importance of building trust in AI and video analytics

Raising awareness of the benefits of AI and video analytics can go a long way in building trust and buy-in for intelligent video solutions. This applies to the public but also stakeholders within an organisation or government. In fact, general education about the potential and risks of video devices will help to uphold the responsible use and procurement of a surveillance system.

The UK government found that many buyers within the public sector do not understand the full capabilities of some of the technology they are using. Addressing this knowledge gap will ensure due diligence in purchasing decisions as well as making the most of a video system.

As the use of video extends beyond its traditional realm of security and the insights gained from vision data are unearthed, a host of real world business benefits are coming to the fore. These will remain unrealised if the security sector fails to balance advances and innovation with responsibility.

Everything achieved tomorrow will be based on decisions and behaviour today. As Hanwha Vision’s research makes clear, when firms put responsible use at the heart of their security investments, they build a foundation of trust and ethics that will ensure the video installation is never a concern or risk.


The research was carried out online by Research Without Barriers (RWB) for Hanwha Vision between 28 November 2022 and 14 December 2022. The sample comprised 601 security managers from companies with 150+ employees from the UK, Netherlands, Italy, Germany and France. The research adhered to the UK Market Research Society (MRS) Code of Conduct (2019).

This article was originally published in the May edition of ISJ. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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