Alarm installers and monitoring stations need a plan
Alarm installers need to sit down and map out a game plan to ensure their clients’ alarm solutions and their own businesses are prepared to handle the changes the market faces over the next 24 months.
It’s going to be a weird couple of years for the Australian alarm monitoring market. It’s not as if we had no idea this was coming but having everything going on at once is going to be a challenge. It’s goodbye to 2G, goodbye to PSTN, goodbye to rebates, and hello to new technologies and powerful new competitors.
Electronic security has always been an industry that combines multifarious technologies in thrilling ways.
Our solutions touch on sensing technologies, local and remote communications, optics, displays, storage solutions, thermal sensing, networking pathways, identification technologies, software analytics, power supplies, software management solutions, firmware development and a hundred splintered specialities in between.
In some ways nothing has changed - security technology continues groping for some modular approximation of machine intelligence – for the tireless watcher on the walls. In the past though, technologies moved towards their ultimate capabilities independently. But things are starting to change and we’re seeing far more integration than in the past.
LATE last month, the Little Rock Police Department in Arkansas publically acknowledged that its $US620,000 53-camera surveillance system is choked to a viewing and recording rate of just 10 frames per second because of insufficient bandwidth.
Next-door neighbour, the North Little Rock Police Department, is also having the same trouble, with its networked solution getting images back to the monitoring centre at only 15 frames per second. These numbers compare to the U.S. NTSC TV standard of 30 frames per second.
The LRPD told its local TV station KATV that the problem stemmed from the fact local network providers could not deliver the bandwidth necessary to support its WAN-based cameras. At the same time they’ve gone public with the problems they’re having, both the LRPD and NLRPD point out that their CCTV systems have significantly reduced crime in both cities, as well as helping detectives solve multiple cases.
Securing fixed assets is pretty much a text book affair; establish concentric security barriers around the asset, which increase in ‘hardness’ the closer they are installed to the item of value.
WHEN you are protecting attractive and portable assets, the rule of thumb is if you are not using it, keep it locked down; classic Defence-in-Depth. However, it’s a different story when the object requiring protection needs to remain portable and even more difficult when it is mobile. Such protective security challenges require solutions that are often technology dependent (tech-heavy), focusing on improving detection and assisting the security response with plenty of up-to-date information, on top of any deterrence and delay characteristics designed to discourage would-be perpetrators.
2013 financial year was about acquisition, distribution juggling
The last financial year has been noteworthy from a local security business perspective with multiple acquisitions and plenty of heat around distribution agreements. But was it a growth year?
THERE’s not much doubt the last financial year was awash with acquisitions. Never has the local industry seen so much activity – with Hills taking on networking solutions OPS, Intek and others, Suretek buying NT Software, Allegion (formerly Ingersoll Rand) acquiring FSH, Ingram Micro breaking into physical security and Telstra buying into SNP Security. There’s been plenty going on in the global market, too.
Broadly, you can read a number of things into an acquisitive market. For a start it suggests many companies are holding large cash reserves. A wave of acquisitions could also suggest the market is peaking and businesses struggling to find real growth are buying market share.
John Adams, editor, Security Electronics and Networks Magazine
IN the wake of Security 2014 Exhibition, it’s tempting to project the mind ahead 5 years and try to imagine the sorts of issues and technologies we are likely to be living with.
Some technologies are obvious – there’s going to be lots of cloud. We're seeing it in video surveillance, alarms and automation, and access control. I think in 5 years cloud will be deeply embedded as a layer of the professional monitoring industry. I think TelstraSNP is a good sign – that alliance shows Telstra knows what a security system is and understands duty of care. It’s a recognition likely to mirrored by new players.
IndigoVision is one of IP video’s heroic explorers. According to CEO Marcus Kneen, the company’s survival through the fierce landscape of the digital transition has depended on the brilliance of its solutions and the team’s commitment to each other and to customers.
MARCUS Kneen, IndigoVision’s CEO, is a zealous touring cyclist and sea-kayaker and his love of elemental challenges that pivot on dependable gear, careful logistics, and a combination of teamwork and self-reliance, says much about the nature of the man. At the end of our chat when Kneen tells me one of his heroes is legendary Australian Antarctic explorer, scientist and academic, Douglas Mawson; I’m not surprised. The consummate team leader, Mawson refused to quit, even when he believed he could not survive.
Vivotek virtual 4K display at Security 2013 in Sydney
It looks like the next benchmark for video surveillance cameras is going to be the Ultra HD standard, with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 – around 8MP. Given the challenges networks may face carrying Ultra HD video streams it’s hard to say just when we will see the technology reach a tipping point.
THERE are a couple of signs worth paying attention to with Ultra HD (commonly called 4K in consumer and CCTV industries). The first is that UHD consumer monitors are now dropping in price at a time many homeowners’ first 1080p HD monitors may be starting to look a little tired. Something else to bear in mind is the consensus forming in digital photography that 8MP is the sweet spot that allows the best balance of low light performance and high resolution.
2014 was the year touted by business analysts as The Great Tipping Point – the year IP cameras would finally start to dominate the video surveillance market.
The analysts were right but not in the way I expected them to be. IP is suddenly in the ascendency but not in an incremental way. By all accounts, IP is obliterating analogue in much of the Australian market and once IP proliferates it will lead to sweeping changes.
To check if the analysts were right about The Great Tipping Point, we spoke with 3 major local distributors of video surveillance equipment and 1 manufacturer of both IP and analogue cameras. The results speak for themselves. The numbers most people would expect come from Bosch Security Systems. Currently, Bosch is sitting at 50/50 analogue and IP and the company says IP is growing at 8 per cent annually, with analogue shrinking at 2 per cent.
WHETHER it’s the earlier date of Security 2014 Exhibition or simply the passage of years, this year’s security event seems out the gate early, creating a sense of hustle most people in the electronic security industry must be feeling a lot these days. Product upgrades are almost constant and the latest market leaders are usually overtaken within 12 months. (Pre-register right here!)
In 2013, the key building trends we identified were things like price deflation, thermal cameras, video verification, cloud-based security solutions, wireless and mobile management of security solutions. Also noticeable was the digitisation of wider electronic security solutions - IP access, alarms, intercoms, home automation and the rest. A surfeit of features was another trend, with buyers getting more for less.