It’s unquestionable at one level that security electronics people have a tendency to cling to what works – in this case dedicated security networks. Whether this is entirely an issue of choice or simply the result of stingy spending on security infrastructure is debatable. Starting with Security 2007 in July, there was a distinct software development flavour in some sections of the exhibition. There was also something of an us-and-them feel reported. Some software companies hinted that the traditional wholesalers and manufacturers fail to see the truth of the electronic security industry’s soon-to-be networked future. It’s a judgement that’s not entirely fair given the fact that high turnover, low-margin wholesalers and distributors must give end users lots of what they need right now. They also have to provide support for legacy hybrid solutions that in many cases demand performance parameters that currently are only possible with analog edge devices. Having said this it’s also true that light-footed software developers will write highly customized programs fornetworked solutions of the near future. Security 2007 in my opinion, strongly reflected what was evident at IFSEC about one month earlier. There’s a process of change going on yet many of the systems that might be considered proto-networking devices continue to be enhanced and widely installed as falling prices broaden the market and provide profitable niches. Are DVRs dying out? On the contrary there seem to be more of them than ever before. While the presence of exhibitors like NICTA and Yuranga at Security 2007 gave punters cause to highlight their presence and the absence of a number of traditional players it’s an observation that belies the absentees’ actual product ranges which include, along with analog kit, fully networked solutions with massive global penetration. Products that stood out for me at Security 2007 included ASSA ABLOY’s Hi-O CANbus electric locks, Qess’ super fast and super clever Blue Caps coaxial cable termination system, the flexible Beonic people counter from Hills and Arecont’s excellent 5 megapixel IP camera (also from Hills). Also appealing to me was the Sanyo DSR-HB8000, which looked a well balanced hybridDVR solution with a strong 400ips global frame rate and 3.75Tb storage. DVRsmight not be the flavour of the month anymore but the best of them offers hugeperformance at bargain prices.Also of note was Zone’s Sago Systems passive millimeter wave imaging solutions which detect weapons without the privacy issues associated with pat-downs, and Sagem’s MA-500 biometric reader. Another nice product line-up came from alarm manufacturer, Texecom. In an industry awash with CCTV gear it’s impossible not to get mushy over solid state SMD stuff that’s been really well done. Something of a quiet achiever, Perth-based Security Distributors Australia is bringing in the entire Texecom range and the designs are sweet and the pricing hot. A couple of other products worth mentioning include BQT’s SmaX access control solution, a nice new touch screen from Inner Range and clever software solutions from the likes of NICTA and Yuranga. I also liked GE’s Forcefield solution (though it was an existing product rather than a newrelease), as well as Dedicated Micro’s high performance HighVu Excel and theCieffe Nettuno Mega PX. Meanwhile, the most telling element at IFSEC a month or so ago was the enormous presence of Korean, Taiwanese and Chinese manufacturerswhose CCTV ranges and pricing defied description. What’s important about these companies is the likely impact on profit margins their products will have moving forward and how the inevitable fall in margins will impact on established manufacturers and wholesalers. By impact, I don’t just mean the steady mutation of security electronics kit into the commodities we all fear so much. The smart companies will stay ahead of price falls using serious R&D and that means we can look forward to not just better pricing but far superior features. It’s a combination that can only grow the market over the next few years. John AdamsEditor, Security Electronics & Networks Magazine