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n 2024, business and security professionals can expect to face any number of challenges. The industry knows how to tackle some long-standing ones, and others are new and unexpected. Of course, we’ll never know the future with perfect precision, but we can leverage our knowledge of the industry and market to make informed predictions about what lies ahead. 

In that spirit, Real Time Networks has compiled a comprehensive list of smart technology trends anticipated for 2024, drawing insights from a diverse pool of internal and external experts. Our predictions cover various sectors, both public and private. 

Which ones are spot on? Which misses the mark? Let us know! 

 

Law Enforcement 

Two Police Officers Standing Side by Side

Over the past decade, the evolving use of data has become the most important trend in law enforcement. The disruption of the COVID pandemic impacted law enforcement in deep and meaningful ways, like every other public and private sector, but, by and large, it did not significantly disrupt the longer-term growth in data-driven policing. 

This year, we published an article on law enforcement smart technology trends. The trends we highlight cover a mix of policy, operations, and technology-related concerns. But underlying all these sub-trends is the increased use of data and the deployment of smart technology to collect it.

Learn More: Smart Technology for Law Enforcement Agencies

Education 

A teacher doing a virtual class

We've also recently released an article on 2024 smart technology trends in education. It's a comprehensive piece covering several topics, but if we were to summarize all the trends in one word, it would be 'mobility.' 

In 2024, we anticipate the consolidation of new educational standards revolving around hybrid and remote learning, integrating e-learning tools, technological advancements, and data utilization. We are moving beyond makeshift solutions adopted during the pandemic. The education landscape now embraces hybrid learning and mobile technologies across all levels, from K-12 to higher education. 

But those new solutions come at a cost. As we said in that article, “Educational institutions must adapt and be flexible in fulfilling their missions in 2024 and beyond. Flexibility has long been part of educators' and administrators' skill sets. Yet, the specific aspects demanding adaptability—such as evolving learning methods, emerging technologies, limited facilities, and financial constraints—may present novel challenges requiring fresh perspectives.”

Learn More: Smart Technology for Educational Institutions

Warehouses, Manufacturing, Shipping & Logistics

An employee monitors warehouse equipment with a tablet

The last of our dedicated 2024 industry forecast articles was for warehouse and shipping management. Yet again, it’s hard to sum up all the challenges we expect this sector will face in one word, but we think ‘agility’ captures it nicely. 

Ongoing supply chain disruption, labor shortages, and market instability were all forces shipping and logistics teams faced in 2023, which are expected to persist into 2024. Fortunately, we can expect new solutions to emerge right alongside these challenges. Namely, new smart technology systems help you wrangle the unpredictability inherent in getting products out the door and on the road as fast as possible.

Learn More: Smart Technology for Warehouses and Distribution Centers

 

Fleets & Transportation 

Tracking and controlling a pooled fleet of vehicles using smart technology

Each significant crisis affects fleet operations in some way. From volatile fuel markets to supply chain disruptions and global conflicts, each makes fleet management more complex and challenging. 

In 2024, many fleet managers will look to enhance their operational sustainability. For various reasons—environmental concerns or economic incentives—many will aim to transition their fleets to electric vehicles (EVs) or explore alternative fuel options. Additionally, there's a growing interest in adopting efficient automation technologies such as fleet key management systems. 

As fleet budgets tighten, managers look to take a more strategic view of fleet expenditures in 2024 and beyond. For managers with decentralized fleets, that might mean investigating ways to pool their vehicles for more optimized use. An electronic fleet key management system is a powerful tool to enable vehicle pooling. Drivers get secure, self-service access to vehicle keys.  

Fleet managers don’t need to be present at every vehicle sign-out and return. Users simply present their access credentials to the built-in card reader, and the key cabinet releases only the keys that the individual is authorized for. Every transaction is captured and time-stamped automatically. 

Learn More: Smart Technology for Fleet & Transportation

Correctional Facilities 

Using smart technology to manage weapons, equipment, and keys in a correctional facility

Of course, security will continue to be a primary application of smart technology in law enforcement and corrections. However, in 2024, correctional facility leaders will explore new ways to utilize the latest smart tech for broader benefits, particularly in enhancing their workforce’s capabilities. 

Workforce enablement refers to empowering employees by giving them the tools and resources necessary to perform their roles more effectively and independently. In correctional facilities, this typically means furnishing administrators, technicians, and officers with the tools to carry out their duties securely and efficiently without superiors micromanaging. 

Smart technology systems, such as asset lockers, serve precisely this purpose. Real Time Networks customers have successfully implemented these solutions in law enforcement and corrections institutions. Smart lockers facilitate reliable and secure access to essential assets around the clock, alleviating the need for supervisors and other personnel to manage administrative tasks.

Learn More: Smart Technology for Correctional Facilities

Casinos 

Smart technology is used by casinos to manage keys and equipment

Many casinos still rely on outdated twentieth-century key control technology two decades later. In 2024, we anticipate a shift within casinos towards adopting technology with new data-gathering capabilities that other industries have embraced for years. Specifically, in key control, this translates to an increased adoption of wireless data collection systems such as radio frequency identification (RFID) key systems. 

RFID is a short-range wireless communication standard commonly used in retail for contactless credit and debit card transactions. However, advanced casino systems can leverage RFID at extended ranges, particularly for asset and key tracking systems, which are crucial in the gaming industry. 

Various casino key control systems can integrate RFID technology. For instance, key lockers may incorporate embedded scanners within access panels and lock slots to verify key rings during staff sign-outs or returns. Additionally, key alarm sensors near exit points can detect when a tagged keyring is about to leave the premises.

Learn More: Smart Technology for Casinos 

Hotels & Hospitality 

Key and asset management systems are used by hotels to manage tablets, mobile devices, radios, and keys to facilities

Hotels, resorts, and other hospitality venues are frantically trying to understand what the travel market will look like throughout 2024. Those prepared to be agile and adapt are those most likely to excel. They just need insights to show them how to stay ahead of the competition and effectively align their offerings with customer expectations. 

One primary area of focus is process control, which is an organization's capability to monitor and adjust workflows in real time—for instance, swiftly altering housekeeping schedules to accommodate VIP guest arrivals and departures. 

Numerous hotels are exploring using smart management technology to facilitate such operations. Smart locker systems, for instance, automate the distribution of tablets and smartphones among housekeeping and service staff, allowing hotel managers to prioritize customer-centric activities. 

Learn More: Smart Technology for Hotels and Resorts

Property Management 

An asset and key management system is a popular solution for property management companies

The property management sector has recognized the value of data for quite some time. However, in some companies, the focus on gathering more data has overshadowed the need for comprehensive analysis. In 2024, there will be a shift towards prioritizing analytics, particularly to find actionable insights. 

Property management firms will seek smart technology systems that balance data collection and analysis. This involves leveraging Internet of Things (IoT) smart technology such as key and asset management systems. 

IoT technology offers robust capabilities for monitoring assets, generating reports, and managing incidents. Moreover, ongoing developments aim to enable advanced remote control, real-time tracking, feedback on physical security, and environmental monitoring.

Municipalities

Smart management systems are being used by municipalities to secure their fleets of vehicles, keys, and equipment

IoT technology is set to shape smart cities' growth and development significantly. In 2024, forward-thinking towns and cities will seek technology-driven remedies for their most challenging administrative issues. 

These municipalities will harness embedded IoT devices for tasks like traffic control, utility monitoring, fleet management, and asset management. These systems will integrate embedded analytics tools to identify significant activities and facilitate on-site analyses. Smart management systems offer practical applications for everyday operations as well as emergency responses. Automating various activities with smart technology reduces the likelihood of human errors. 

Case Study: New Fleet Management Program Saves Municipality Six Figures Annually


Security Integrators 

For security integrators, 2024 will be all about flexibility. They’ll look for smart technology that can act as a platform to connect more and more systems into holistic security environments. The emphasis will be on building complete security programs for customers, not just installing one-off security tools that talk to one or two other tools. 

They’ll look to enable accurate, centralized monitoring, which can generate meaningful operational efficiency gains. Smart key and asset management tools will be some of the most powerful tools in their toolbox to accomplish that goal. 


Smart Technology is Really About People 

Remember: technology is only as valuable as the work it does for people. Fortunately, smart technology is really, really good at that job. Good smart tech doesn’t become an added burden and another administrative overhead for staff. Instead, good smart tech enhances how your workers do their jobs, not becoming another burden on their day-to-day lives. 

Make 2024 the year you only work with good smart technology.