Innovations in Physical Security

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All security measures are seeing technological improvements to increase their effectiveness.Jobsite physical security runs the gamut from active shooter scenarios to simple accidents. In DeKalb County, AL, the local school district is stepping up physical security at all locations under its purview, according to’s “Alabama School District Undergoes Major Security Upgrade.”

The district’s improvements will include keycards with unique permissions (depending on the cardholder’s position at the school), gates and fences to better control traffic (to cut down on the potential for motor vehicle incidents), video monitoring connected to the sheriff’s department, and the construction of vestibules with blast-proof glass.

The DeKalb County school system is just one example of the countless organizations across the U.S. that are upgrading facilities to meet increasing security concerns. Soon, those who hold a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety may be hot commodities at both private and public industries striving to keep employees, customers, clients, and visitors safe with improved physical security technology.

Physical Security Enters the Modern Age

Some physical security measures are in common practice already, like parking area illumination, for example. Others, such as fall-monitoring smartphone apps for roofers, are new arrivals that take advantage of technological innovations. Even the familiar mainstays of physical security, however, are seeing technological improvements to increase their effectiveness.

Physical security innovations include:


The proliferation of brighter, more energy-efficient LED lighting is making an impact in the arena of physical safety. Aside from the obvious benefits of better visibility on jobsites and better video surveillance capture capabilities, better lighting also helps to instill a better sense of safety in people who frequent LED-lit areas. 

Kate Doughty, in her article, “Brighter, Safer, More Efficient: How LEDs are Changing Public Spaces,” explains that LED lighting increases facial recognition abilities and helps police obtain more accurate details when crime occurs.

ID cards

Issuing ID cards to employees, vendors, and even visitors can help secure a workplace against unwanted guests. ID card systems are easy to implement and allow security personnel to differentiate between those who are supposed to be on campus and those who are not. Some ID cards (smart cards) can even be used to unlock doors and clock in. 

“Going beyond the traditional lock and key and investing in access control cards provides a number of advantages,” writes digital marketing authority Adam Bennett in his article, “Why Physical Security for Your Business is Just as Critical as Online Security.”

“For starters, they’re much harder to duplicate than physical keys. Additionally, should you need to remove access from a specific person, there’s no need to change the locks or give out a new entry code – just change the database, and everyone else can carry on using their cards as normal.”

Smart technology

The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) makes possible tasks that previously could only be dreamed up by science fiction writers. Sensors inside a smartphone that detect a sudden drop can alert emergency personnel that a fall incident may have just taken place on a jobsite. Connected devices allow 24/7 monitoring and instantaneous alerts in places prone to dangerous accidents. 

“Smart sensors will play a central role in addressing the problem globally,” explains in “Working Smarter in 2019: Five Top Trends for the Physical Sector” on its website. “For example, in a smart city, an environmental sensor could trigger a video or thermal camera to quickly identify fires or spillages, prompting alerts to create a more rapid and effective response.”


Closed-circuit TV cameras (CCTV) have come a long way since their inception. In fact, the current rendition of CCTV technology incorporates other innovations in physical security. High-definition cameras now utilize smart technology and capture better imagery where advanced lighting systems are used. 

In’s “7 Security Camera Innovations that are Revolutionizing the Industry,” JAKK Solutions founder Kenny Kline points out that surveillance innovations are responsible for 360-degree fields of view, facial recognition AI software, night vision, smartphone integration, solar power integration, two-way talk capabilities, and voice control.

Safety and security culture

Although not strictly a technological innovation, developing a safety and security culture in a workplace is a management psychology innovation that is successfully reducing workplace safety incidents. Where such a culture is cultivated, workers tend to exhibit more security-minded behavior. 

“Combat complacency by making vigilance a workplace value. Train employees that if they see something to say something,” Securitas Hawaii’s director of security says in a article, “5 Steps to Protect Your Company’s Physical Security.”

“This is perhaps the greatest physical security protection for your business. Recognize and alert each other to anything that doesn’t ‘feel right.’ It can be a stranger wandering the halls or an unsecured door to your server.”

The Future of Physical Security

As technological innovations continue, artificial intelligence improvements and advances in data analytics will be incorporated into physical security technologies.

In his article “Future of Physical Security,” Michael Foynes, senior director of global security operations at Microsoft, points out that tech innovation will soon result in innovative risk management solutions as the physical security industry undergoes a digital transformation. Improvements are expected to greatly impact:

  • Identity management – Dynamic systems will take identity management beyond mere credentials and access cards. The next generation of IoT sensors will be able to recognize and collect data on employees visually, in real time.
  • Threat detection and investigation – Robust digital networks will soon automate processes that traditionally rely on human beings monitoring cameras and sensor data manually.
  • Upgraded physical security – Physical security and cyber security will become unified in many ways. An intrusive hacking device on premises, for instance, will be able to be tracked to its point of origin via security footage.

Tomorrow’s occupational safety and security professionals should be familiar with innovations in the physical security industry because many of their work responsibilities will involve advanced, network-connected technologies and improved safety measures.

Eastern Kentucky University’s Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety Program

Eastern Kentucky University’s online bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety program is designed to teach students how to identify and analyze potential workplace hazards, infractions, and physical security risks.

Industry-experienced safety professionals guide students through online health and safety courses, covering modern trends in physical security technology. For more information, contact EKU today.

Recommended Reading:

The Basics of Security Management

Facing the Threat of Workplace Violence

Psychosocial Hazards: What You Need to Know


Alabama School District Undergoes Major Security Upgrade –

Brighter, Safer, More Efficient: How LEDs are Changing Public Spaces –

Why Physical Security for Your Business is Just as Critical as Online Security –

Working Smarter in 2019: Five Top Trends for the Physical Sector –

7 Security Camera Innovations that are Revolutionizing the Industry –

5 Steps to Protect Your Company’s Physical Security –

Future of Physical Security –