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Opinion: Harnessing physical security technology to help reach net zero

2 min read
net zero

The connection between physical security and sustainability goals may not seem immediately obvious but it’s one that can be harnessed to deliver significant additional value. With the Australian Government pursuing its Net Zero policy agenda, every organisation in the country from the private to the public sector must look for ways to create more sustainable operations and reduce carbon emissions.  

While the primary purpose of physical security measures such as access control, video surveillance, license plate recognition, and risk management are to safeguard against physical threats, these measures can have an often-overlooked significant impact on broader sustainability goals.    

Leveraging access control  

Understanding where people are, how often specific areas are used, and usage patterns are critical data points that enable organisations to ensure they are utilising their spaces as efficiently as possible.  Access control systems can be used to zone building areas based on their environmental requirements such as the correct amount of heating or cooling.   

This information can support building managers when they make recommendations and decisions about space utilisation. This data-led approach can lead to consolidating office areas or facilitating flexible work environments by allowing employees to use shared workspaces based on their access permissions.   

Making cities smarter  

While we often think our cities cover a significant proportion of the Earth’s surface, they account for just 2% of the planet’s surface. Despite that, more than 70% of the world’s carbon emissions come from cities.   

Security tools are already being used to keep citizens safe and secure, manage the flow of traffic and optimise parking. By integrating that data with other sensors to monitor pollution levels, noise, vibrations and other important metrics, cities can proactively manage these factors as they move towards achieving their sustainability goals.   

Video surveillance data can be used to assist citizen mobility. Drivers can be directed to available parking spots or electric vehicle charging stations faster and traffic monitoring systems can be used to optimise traffic flow. As well as helping to reduce congestion, vehicles can spend less time on the road, resulting in reduced fuel use, which leads to lower carbon emissions.   

The same data can help city leaders and planners make informed decisions about widening roads, creating bus and cycle lanes, and improving pedestrian access which make city living more sustainable.   

Adapting to rapidly changing conditions  

IoT sensors can aid a city’s push towards sustainability through adaptive lighting. LED streetlights with sensors attached enable operators to adjust the lighting according to weather conditions such as fog and rain, as well as natural lighting conditions, so streetlights only use power when needed, reducing both energy emissions and the costs of running public lighting. Adaptive lighting also means surveillance cameras have optimised lighting to ensure they capture the best possible images.   

As public and private sector organisations in Australia continue to press forward towards the national goal of Net Zero by 2050, there is an imperative to use data more effectively to ensure resources are being managed responsibly. Physical security technology, often viewed as a guardian of assets and safety, is an unexpected but strong ally in the pursuit of sustainability objectives.   

Integrating physical security into sustainability strategies represents a forward-thinking approach that protects assets and lives and paves the way towards a more eco-conscious and resilient future. Organisations that recognise the potential of physical security technology in supporting a sustainability agenda are poised to reap the benefits of a greener, safer, and more sustainable world.  

Related: Business coalition to work with policy in making Aust a net-zero and climate-resilient economy

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George Moawad is the Oceania Country Manager for Genetec. With more than 27 years of experience in the physical security industry, George is a well-respected and trusted leader and advisor to Genetec’s private, public, corporate, and commercial clients in the region. Genetec offers a broad solutions portfolio that encompasses security, operations, and intelligence tools, to protect, manage, and understand the everyday. Genetec aims to minimise the unknown. The company builds resilient, connected solutions that help businesses protect, understand, and enhance the world around them. Our solutions go beyond security: they provide operational insights that allow businesses to improve and master their environment.


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