Once upon a time, security cameras were just that: Simple standalone cameras that captured video of the area in front of them. For years, this technology remained fairly unchanged in spite of the rapid technological advances occurring in other industries.

But that is officially starting to change. The high-tech boom is coming to the security industry, and consumers are leaping aboard the train. This helps explain why home security systems are selling into the billions each year and connected home security systems alone are on track to hit more than $15 billion within the next four years.

Couple these developments with the rise of cyber security solutions , and it's safe to say the security industry as a whole is enjoying a high-tech renaissance. And not even the lowly security camera is immune. As proof, look to these seven innovations that are revolutionizing security cameras and helping to drive the entire security industry into the 21st century.

1. 360-degree fields of view

Where once pixilation was the end-all-be-all of a camera's "high-tech-ness," the buzz these days is all about how far cameras can see in different directions. Many cameras these days now tout 130-degree views, which allow for fairly comprehensive coverage of a room when placed in a corner. But if you really want to take things up a notch, consider the 360-degree field of view promised by the likes of Sentry 360 Security Inc. and German company Mobotix.

2. Facial recognition

It's a bit creepy and dystopian, sure, but Netamo Welcome has ushered in a new era of security camera tech with its facial recognition feature , which allows the camera to identify members of the camera owner's household and send out personalized updates when they arrive home.

The feature is proving popular among parents of latchkey kids, who derive peace of mind from knowing their kids have arrived home safely. But the camera doesn't just recognize familiar faces--it also notifies users if a stranger attempts to enter the home.

3. Night vision

What good is a surveillance camera if it can only survey in daylight? Night vision capabilities have taken care of this concern by providing users with cameras that can see just as well in the dark as they can during the day. Most of these cameras are designed to survive challenging weather conditions thanks to moisture-resistant and durable exteriors--so come hell, high water, or nighttime, users can capture high-quality surveillance footage outdoors.

4. Smartphone integration

We've all seen the criminal justice shows in which police officers huddle in a company's security room, reviewing footage from multiple cameras on several different screens. But that image may soon be replaced with officers seizing the business owner's smartphone instead.

That's because systems such as 360-IQ cut out the hard-wired cameras and send surveillance feeds directly to the user's smartphone. The user can then change the angle of the camera to scan even more of the area in question.

5. Solar power integration

Many businesses put off installing security cameras because wired systems rely on laying cables, which can be enormously costly and time-consuming. By powering cameras with solar energy and connecting them to wireless systems, some companies hope to make security cameras more accessible to a broader range of businesses.

MicroPower Technologies, for example, has created a Helios camera system that is designed specifically for perimeter security and has solar-powered batteries that can run constantly for five days and be recharged upwards of 3,000 times.

6. Two-way talk

Cameras don't just see any more. Now they can talk. Or rather, they can provide a medium through which people talk to each other. Nest Cam is helping to pioneer this kind of feature, which is proving especially popular among parents and pet owners who want to communicate with their children or pets remotely.

Imagine watching Fido chewing up your couch on the camera and being able to reprimand him from afar through a speaker embedded in said camera--the camera will pay for itself in the form of a saved couch. On a more serious note, there's also potential to use the two-way talk feature to scare off an intruder without approaching them in person.

7. Voice control

The phrase "at the touch of a button" used to signify the ultimate in convenience and ease. These days, that phrase should probably be amended to "at the sound of your voice." Voice control technology allows for completely hands-free management of security cameras and their related systems. From turning on the camera to locking up the house, closing the garage door, and so on, users can make it all happen at the sound of their voice.

From the use of solar power to two-way talk functionality and facial recognition capabilities, the security cameras of today are mobilizing a high-tech renaissance throughout the security industry.

Jun 15, 2017