20 Years Later: How 9/11 Changed the Future of Video Surveillance and Security Technology

A shift in physical security focus

It’s been two decades since America was devastated by the events of 9/11, yet the aftermath can still be felt and seen all around the nation - and the world. Although day-to-day life has essentially returned to normal since then, the security ecosystem has been changed irrevocably.

In retrospect, there were several key ways that the tragic events of 9/11 shaped the future of security technology and disrupted the way individuals, businesses and governments prioritize and practice safety and security. And each of these factors had a very distinct impact on the federal government’s roadmap for technological advancement and new security tech adoption.

Here’s a closer look at how 9/11 has forever changed our nation’s security and safety standards.

Video Surveillance and Analytics

9/11 not only devastated a nation, it sent shockwaves across the world. Over the next few years, every nation was on high alert as the world entered an unprecedented era of political uncertainty. Adequate video surveillance became top priority for businesses, individuals and governments across the globe. Although there were already surveillance cameras in place around Manhattan during the 9/11 attacks, they were not able to capture any useful footage of the twin towers during the events to aid investigations. But thanks to increased government funding and substantial technological advancements, today’s surveillance cameras now boast higher resolutions and better image quality than ever before, providing critical insight and visual perspective during crucial times.

While video surveillance companies were rising to the challenge and producing higher-resolution cameras, the need for surveillance video analytics remained. Several government- and university-funded startups emerged that attempted to provide a suitable video analytics solution. However, video analytics software has had to overcome many hurdles on the road to advancement. Still, progress is being made in these fields and the integration of video analytics with video surveillance products is imminent according to Novaira Insights, who estimate that 47% of all network video surveillance cameras sold globally will come with video analytics - some even advanced learning-based analytics - embedded in the system.

Industry and Government Policy Changes

After the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration was quick to establish the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and issue updated Homeland Security Presidential directives such as HSPD-12, which outlines policies for a common identification standard for federal employees and contractors. One such policy is the Federal Information Processing Standard Publication 201 (FIPS 201), which provides secure and reliable standardized forms for federal employees and contractors. With these new directives came the demand for more sophisticated security technologies and streamlined procedures for both industry and government.

The need for upscaled security solutions and services that allow for online/remote access and real-time analytics had never been greater. As a result, the security industry grew exponentially and companies began to re-evaluate and optimize their technology and processes to address the growing safety concerns of the nation.

A clear need for stronger defense

Both technology and government regulations were drastically altered to “tighten and secure public and government facilities through hardened physical security and new specifications for identity management,” explains Lynn de Seve, founder and president of GSA Schedules. Along with bolstering infrastructure and security standards, security systems expanded their focus to include stronger defenses and security measures/solutions for terroristic threats.

Clearly, the nation has been forever changed by the attacks of 9/11. The sacrifices made and lives lost that day will never be forgotten. But looking back 20 years later, America has emerged from this experience with a much stronger security infrastructure, more optimized security protocols, state-of-the-art security & surveillance solutions and, of course, unparalleled patriotism!