OUR cover story for September looks at the changes sweeping the IT industry, recognising that our symbiosis with IT means security electronics and networks people and their products cannot avoid being swept along for the ride.
While I was writing that feature I started thinking about the broader impact of technological change and how it’s likely to flow through over the next 5 years. For a start what’s interesting is that the technologies proliferating are those change the way people interact with information. That information might be data, friends, systems, video, music – it’s the interface that’s the key here.
Salto Systems has launched Salto Clay, an access control system that can be managed in the cloud. John Adams spoke with Salto’s co-founder and Chief Marketing & Sales Officer Marc Handels to find out more.
Q: Salto is developing a bit of a cult following here in Australia – how did it all begin?
A: Salto as a company began 12 years ago in 2001 with 14 people – now we have 300 staff. According to HIS Research we are now the 8th largest access control company in the world with a turnover of nearly $E95 million.
We are a Spanish company based in Oiartzun but more than 95 per cent of our sales are outside of Spain. We have 24 offices around the world, including Australia. Our success factor is due to the data on card technology that we invented and we have done very well.
THE $US110 billion global electronic security and services industry will not consolidate but will fragment, according to a report, “Total Physical Security Equipment and Services – 2013” released by IHS.
According to the report, the Americas generated $US46 billion in revenue last year — 41 per cent of global physical security equipment and services market. Asia Pacific followed with $33 billion, trailed by the collective Europe-Middle East-Africa (EMEA) region with $29 billion. IHS forecasts strong growth in all the markets for the next few years.
“This is an industry that managed to stay strong during the recession,” IHS Senior Analyst David Green says. “Now with the general improvement in the global economy, we expect total industry revenue to reach $170 billion a year by 2017, even though growth rates will probably peak before then.”
In an increasingly competitive market electronic security distributors, wholesalers and manufacturers are having to go the extra mile for their integrator customers. But in which direction should they go?
FROM the point of view of suppliers the current market poses a difficult conundrum. Not only is there downward pressure on prices, the technical challenges of installing many products, particularly integrated solutions, are increasing. What this means is that suppliers are required to assist integrators sometimes to the point of virtual partnership on jobs.
There are a number of ways such support can play out. A distributor might have a technical engineering team that offers this support. Or a distributor might assist to a certain point then rely on support from a manufacturer. In other cases, the distributor might send out solutions fully commissioned so integrators are only required to hang product on the wall.
Salto Clay was my product of the Security 2013 show. It’s a cloud-based solution that carries Salto’s wireless access control system online via browser-based portals and mobile apps. Salto is no newcomer. Nor is it the product of a shoe-string team of Guarana-fuelled code writers. Instead, Salto’s cloud technology is ancillary to its core business - making high quality locksets. Perhaps, given the company created its Salto Virtual Network literally out of thin air, we should not be surprised it’s at the forefront of cloud.
Salto wasn’t the only access control company pushing cloud at the show. Perth-based H5Controls has developed a solution of its own that uses PCSC controllers (among others) with all system management handled via browser. Also in access control there was Risco with axesplus – a multi-site access control solution that’s scalable and customisable, with no local servers required.
Q: Todd, you’ve been involved in the development of the HDcctv Alliance for many years now – could you outline for us what the HDcctv Alliance is about, when it began, what it is seeking to achieve, who is involved?
A: The HDcctv Alliance, with headquarters in NSW Australia, was founded in June 2009 with the goal of providing a comprehensive standard for local-site transport of HD surveillance video. Such a standard is valuable because it provides a basis for customers to be sure about electrical performance and 100 per cent multi-vendor interoperability. The Alliance includes over 70 Member companies located around the world. The membership list is posted at www.highdefcctv.org.
I can’t help maundering over the future conduct of Telstra, which has emerged from the telco wars of the past 10 years more dominant than ever before - and more willing to compete with its own wholesale customers for a slice of their commercial businesses.
Tension is growing among ISPs and small telcos, who broker slices of Telstra’s bandwidth to their own clients after buying it at wholesale prices. Just now there are a number of disturbing signs. For a start there’s talk that NBN Co’s $A1 billion payment to Telstra for use of existing ducts has been earmarked as a war chest to bankroll sub-wholesale pitches to the major clients of smaller telcos.
What’s going on in CCTV? To my mind a key trend in the market is the diffusion of technology from high-end solutions down to low-end form factors. We’re seeing some very small and very affordable cameras offering 720p HD resolution. This trend is not going away. Over the next 12 months we’ll start seeing full HD 1080p filtering into sub-500 cameras. Yes, they’ll have fixed lenses and they’ll not be pretty but they’ll offer strong performance for the money.
Something else that’s noteworthy is the proliferation of hemispheric cameras. There are now 4 or 5 quality options to choose from. Performance is extremely flexible, given the characteristics of the lens type. Elsewhere, ISD’s release of a Win7 HD camera earlier in the year was an interesting move. Putting Chelan into a low cost full HD surveillance camera with embedded development and design tools like Silverlight may significantly broaden the market.
Q: Vlado, I can’t help feeling we’re at a cross roads for CCTV. Some of the things on the horizon look threatening, others look positive – do you think the current model of CCTV distribution and installation has a bright or an uncertain future?
A: I agree John, from the point of view of technology, we are at the crossroads, but I don’t think the uncertainty is because of new technology, but rather because of aggressive marketing from low cost, low quality manufacturers. Some small businesses think they can make a quick buck and huge profit by buying direct and re-selling low quality questionable copies, but in the long term, we are all losing because our industry is only so small. This price-driven low quality marketing by mostly Chinese manufacturers is the actual problem I see. Somebody could make a quick buck on the way, but the industry will lose its reputation in the long run.
But in both cases it’s difficult to imagine how our technology could have saved the day without the sort of integration that’s likely to cause the privacy lobby and the political left – and I think we can all understand their fears – to dissolve into conniptions.
The incidences I’m talking about are the recent terror attacks in Boston and Woolwich but I might just as well be talking about Baghdad or Makhachkala from the point of view of law enforcement need and operational functionality. In both Boston and Woolwich, the perpetrators were known to security services suggesting that radicalisation of terrorists is a process that takes a period of years and there are often multiple warning signs.