“In 2009 the
association’s best product mantle went to Mobotix’s new Q24M hemispherical
camera and we think ASIAL’s technical brains trust got it right. This new
Mobotix camera has a broader view than a philosophy professor”

AFTER enduring 12
months of torment listening to the mass media moaning away about the end of the
world there was something cheering about Security 2009 Exhibition in Sydney
late August. It was like finding a comfy bench in a sunny corner on a windy
day. If there was a standout vibe at the show it was business as usual and that
was very nice to see. People did turn up to Security 2009 – maybe the aisles
where a little wider and the crowds a mite thinner but the attitude was good
and bustle was in the air. Business was being done and the kicking of tyres,
most exhibitors agreed, was at a minimum.

As our readers
know, at Security Electronics & Networks Magazine we focus on products, so
let’s take a look at some of the stuff we liked at the show. For a start let’s
talk about ASIAL’s Product of the Year Award. Product of the year awards are
fraught with peril and it’s a thankless task for any industry association to
start pinning subjective ribbons on the breasts of its manufacturer members.
After the award is announced there’s always the ritual sniping from the losers
but we believe ASIAL should be commended for gritting its teeth and going ahead
with an award like this.

In 2009 the big association’s
best product mantle went to Mobotix’s new Q24M hemispherical camera and we think
ASIAL’s technical brains trust got it right. This new Mobotix camera has a
broader view than a philosophy professor and an application potential that’s
second to none. Mobotix has a simple philosophy when it comes to video
surveillance and while keeping recording out on the edge may not work for
everyone, there’s a surprising number of ways these bulletproof megapixel
cameras get it right.

A single Q24M is
cable to monitor an entire retail store, an entire service station forecourt,
an entire bus or a 180-degree streetscape with astonishing depth of field. When
you look at the cream crash-proof plastic of these compact PoE units you can
see how it might be tempting for traditional competitors to write them off as
plug-and-play devices for the masses but this is a mistake. Once you start
driving MX Control Centre software – peering around corners and getting
impossibly clear face shots despite direct solar backlighting it dawns on you
that Mobotix builds bloody good camera technology.

Ok – with the Mobotix
Q24M out of the way let’s wander round the show and look at the products we
think deserve a special mention.

We’ll start with
the Hills stand – it’s the biggest stand in the show and most the time it was a
hive of activity. On the Pacom stand we like Pelco Sarix. We don’t think the
CCTV market realises what it has on its hands with Sarix. Unlike most
manufacturers we can think of, Pelco’s Sarix delivers not just a camera but a
surveillance platform with an openness that’s weirdly un-Pelco.

In fact, Sarix
re-defines Pelco completely and smart competitors should be paying attention.
Along with its technical inventiveness Sarix underscores a fundamental truth
that in Pelco the video surveillance market now has a powerful new manufacturer
of core camera technologies.

Sarix cameras
come replete with an SDK and a rough and tumble Linux architecture that’s meant
to be customized. It’s not common knowledge but Pelco management put together
an IP video dream team to build Sarix and it shows. An important thing to
consider with Sarix is the fact the 120-strong crew that built Gen-1 is now
working on Gen-2.

It’s wrong to
mistake Sarix for a single product or camera lineup. This core technology will
be at the heart of all Pelco cameras – including Spectra – in the future. You
can buy Sarix in a number of different versions. There’s an economy option, a
value/performance option as well as a stonking megapixel animal with souped up
processors giving full resolution and full frame rate with multiple compression
options.

“Sarix simply has
the best un-supported low light performance of any CCTV camera we have ever
seen at close ranges. Court admissible face recognition at 4 metres in virtual
darkness? We didn’t believe it either”

Along with snazzy
features like auto backfocus, Sarix ticks important boxes like colour rendition
and low light performance. Minimum scene illumination figures with megapixel
cameras are a real eye-roller for CCTV commentators but the magic tricks the Pelco
people have built into the Sarix CMOS sensor are the business. Sarix simply has
the best un-supported low light performance of any CCTV camera we have ever
seen at close range. Court admissible face recognition at 4 metres in virtual
darkness? We didn’t believe it either until we saw it working.

Other notable
products on the Pacific Communications’ stand were DVTel’s Version 6. This
latest version of Pacom’s flagship management system looks a real winner for
DVTel. It’s polished and easy to drive and has a wealth of functionality. Pacom
was also showing Panasonic’s SD5 cameras. We talked about this technology in
depth last issue so it’s enough to say that there’s a real buzz growing up
around these cameras. There was plenty of interest shown in the gear at the
show and the screen images highlighted the reasons why.

Side by side with
Pacom on the Hills stand was Direct Alarm Supplies, which showed a bunch of
product – some of which we’re familiar with and some of which is new. New
things we liked were the UHS wireless monitoring path and the new VoiceNav
keypad which looks fantastic in the flesh. Then there was Bellon intercom gear
which must be some of the most beautiful intercom hardware on the planet.

Hills was also
showing the latest Fluidmesh product – it’s a nice solution and an excellent
addition to the Hills product stable. Then there was Opticomm, a fibre product
that is rapidly turning Hills Industries into a comms infrastructure provider
on a grand scale. Hills – it’s not just the company we think it is.

Cheek by jowl
with Hills was ASSA ABLOY and on this stand we liked Aperio wireless locking
technology. There are applications where wireless locking comms is peerless and
Aperio is the best of the bunch, we think. ASSA ABLOY also showed Hi-O which
has been around a little while and was re-launched in Sydney and Melbourne in
the last couple of months.

The nice thing
about Hi-O is its ability to take system monitoring right out to the edge of an
access control system. You get the feeling with Hi-O that it’s a technology
whose time is coming and there’s no doubt whatever that if you want to maximise
your system’s reporting ability there’s nothing that comes close to Hi-O.

Let’s hop away
from ASSA ABLOY and take a look at a product we think is pointing the way
forward for the alarm monitoring market. It’s the Videofied alarm verification
solution. Yup – we know. Videofied gear has been available in Australia for a
few years now but that doesn’t change the fact the latest version with new plastic
and other enhancements deserves a special mention.

What brings this
technology into sharp relief is the announcement by the NSW Police Force a
couple of months back that the boys in blue will no longer respond to alarms
that are not verified by contacting the premises or with remotely monitored
video verification solutions. Given that most intruders aren’t likely to
co-operate with monitoring teams by answering telephones to acknowledge they’re
on site, it’s pretty obvious that video verification is going to be the next
big thing in the monitoring market.

So what’s so special
about Videofied? The main thing we like is that this gear is designed
specifically to verify alarm events. There’s no attempt to stream high
resolution colour footage around the place in a bid to generate bandwidth-based
revenue from comms providers or for unlikely monitoring or remote recording
efforts. This Videofied system simply shoots through a 200k file representing
about ten seconds of footage at a quality that allows you to clearly see the
intruders setting off the alarm. We saw real footage of break-ins and it’s bloody
good.

Importantly, you
can install this system as your primary alarm system or you can very simply integrate
Videofied into an existing intrusion detection solution to provide a
verification function in the event of alarms. It works by powering up Videofied
via an output on the alarm side – simple and bulletproof stuff. The other good
thing about Videofied is that the hardware is nicely built and the system is
thoughtfully put together. The new keypad/panel is a real honey and the heavy
plastics leave you in no doubt this is serious kit.

“This Videofied system
simply shoots through a 200k file representing about ten seconds of footage at
a quality that allows you to clearly see the intruders who set off the alarm.
We saw real footage of break-ins and it’s bloody good”

With Videofied, the
detection technology that fires up each detection device’s onboard camera is a
dual PIR with a very wide thermal range – the numbers range from well under
zero all the way up to 60C. Ok – it’s not dual technology with mirror optics
and silver slippers but as we all know, properly engineered passive infrared
sensors installed sympathetically may be all you ever need.

Right next door
to Videofied was Suretek – which was promoting its RemoteGuard product. We
reviewed RemoteGuard last issue – it’s a combination of Suretek software and
monitoring technology and Mobotix camera technology and it serves to provide
end users with video verification of alarm events. RemoteGuard is a
sophisticated toolbox that looks capable of significant development in the
future.

Also cool was
DM’s Ecosense and SD Advanced DVR solutions. Ecosense is the entry level player
while SD Advanced is a muscular hybrid DVR that has IP streaming and recording
and Oracle dome configuration capabilities. SD Advanced has help videos that
are accessible locally and remotely by the browser viewer. Another key feature
of SD Advanced is analytics incorporating ANPR, perimeter protection and
doorway counting.

An access control
product we thought deserved a special mention was a new reader interface from
access control specialist, Hirsch. When we think Hirsch we think about those
nifty scrambler keypads that were once among the highest possible security
options in the pre-Schlage prox environment of the early 1980s.

The unit we’re
talking about here is the Hirsch RUU-201 Verification Station – a product of
such integrated capability and complication we’re going to have to review it in
depth in an upcoming issue. The RUU-201 is built to meet the U.S. Government’s
FIPS-201 standard and it combines so many authorisation factors it would get
James Bond’s head spinning.

For a start
there’s a Hirsch scrambler keypad, which mixes numbers up after each use so
there’s no identifiable wear-in on keys over a long period of use. Then there a
contact smart card reader. The neat thing about this is that it allows the
addition of PKI technology to securely check biometric information from a
remote server over a network during authorisations.

There’s also
contactless smartcard read capabilities – FASC-N and CUID. Finally there’s a
biometric fingerprint reader, with all this wrapped up in a handsome
weatherproof housing with backlit everything and a 4-line LCD display.

Another deserving
product at the show was Sagem’s MA500+ biometric reader. We’re bored of telling
the industry that Sagem’s MA500 is the best fingerprint biometric reader
available in the world today and this new version is better still. Read time of
less than a second thanks to dual core ARM9 processors, 100,000 templates
onboard, Ethernet connectivity for monitoring, template upgrades and
troubleshooting – the list goes on. MorphoAccess 500+ is outrageously good value
for money given its performance and security levels. If you want fingerprint,
buy it for God’s sake.

Wandering a bit
further on we come to Sony’s circular stand. This looks like part of the set
from Close Encounters of the Third Kind so as we approach
there’s an expectation of cool things from Sony and we’re not disappointed. Sony
is a company that is making a very firm play at re-establishing its presence as
one of the surveillance industry’s pre-eminent camera manufacturers.

Wandering around
the perimeter of the stand the big new releases from Sony are clear to see.
First and foremost is the new HD PTZ dome, a camera Sony says is the industry’s
first HD PTZ. This good looking camera is supported by fixed HD options. The stand
also boasts a full lineup of Ipela networking cameras with neat features like
quick release dome bubbles. Noteworthy too was the fact that Sony isn’t just
building IP cameras. Ipela is a turnkey solution with a management system,
network recording devices and all the rest.

“The biggest news
on the Sony stand was the release of the company’s new 650-line SMCG923
analogue fixed camera. The fact this camera has been released at the same time
as Panasonic’s SD-5 technology is going to make things interesting for
decision-makers”

This might sound
like back to the future but along with the industry’s first HD PTZ the biggest
news on the Sony stand was the release of the company’s new 650-line SMCG923
analogue fixed camera. The fact this camera has been released at the same time
as Panasonic’s SD-5 technology is going to make things interesting for
decision-makers and Sony says its new analogue baby is a bottler.

A nice thing
about Sony – and Panasonic too – is the fact they both make realistic claims
about minimum scene illumination. When people speak the truth in the face of
the CCTV industry’s biggest snow job you feel you can trust the rest of their
specifications. It occurs to us as we wander off that it’s amazing yester-gen
Sony CCDs stuffed into third party camera bodies suddenly develop the ability
to deliver 0.0001 low light performance when even Sony doesn’t claim its latest
cameras can see in complete darkness.  

Next door,
Avigilon has a new management product as well as LED-supported megapixel domes
in 1, 3, and 4 megapixels. This Avigilon Control Center looks really nice.
Importantly it’s built to handle HD surveillance – that includes transmission,
recording, searching, playback and export. Note: Here’s another switched-on
manufacturer clearly convinced HD is the standard de jour.

An important
development for Avigilon, a company that builds some mind boggling megapixel
cameras, is the fact Control Center with High Definition Stream Management now
integrates other major brand cameras. This is good thinking from Avigilon as it
means users can deploy HD IP cameras alongside Avigilon’s superb megapixel
technology.

Around the
corner, Geutebruck is showing a Cardax integration for its Gsc management
system. This development allows Geutebruck surveillance solutions to operate as
part of Cardax access control solutions in a highly integrated way. The folks
at Geutebruck are also showing the VIPCAM day/night IP camera and a blast proof
external camera that looks like an escapee from the Guggenheim at Bilbao.
Geutebruck Australia is quietly putting together a portfolio of serious work
and it’s another of the German surveillance manufacturers that should be taken
very seriously.

Up the aisle we
run into Axis Communications. A product of note to be found on the Axis
Communications’ stand was the new Axis Q6032 PTZ dome. Rigged out with High
PoE, 128x wide dynamic range, 35x optical and 12x digital zoom, the Q6032 also
features H.264 compression, Motion JPEG for storage and it’s IP67 rated so
swimming isn’t out of the question.

Also new from
Axis is the P33 Network Camera Series offering 720p HDTV performance and
multiple H.264 video streams. These are day/night cameras have an especially
neat remote focus feature that eliminates the need for manual focusing of the
cameras. There’s also a pixel counter that helps the installer work out whether
the camera has been installed with the most effective viewing angle.

The smart word is
that in the face of a fairly quiet CCTV market Axis Communications has grown
its Australian business 40 per cent over the past 12 months. It’s an impressive
achievement after what we all know has been a challenging decade for companies specialising
in IP video gear. Well done, Axis.

Opposite Axis
Communications, Inner Range and CSD had a large stand the key impression is that
here is of a power player in the Australian electronic security distribution market.
This stand showed off a large range of product including Paradax, HID, CSD
Vision, Takex, Blue products, Inner Range’s Concept 4000 and Fratech gear, as
well as FSH.

The Inner Range/CSD
stand was a busy one and watching the folks there at work it was obvious the
CSD venture is a winner. There’s a nice vibe building around CSD and while
Inner Range didn’t need any revitalising, this symbiotic connection with the
market is clearly providing significant stimulation.

Moving on,
another neat release was Alexor on the Intek stand. We reviewed Alexor last
month and as regular readers know, this is a wireless alarm system with the
architecture of a hardwired alarm system. The importance of this system design
is that backup power and comms can be hidden away from the keypad leading to an
inherently more secure alarm system in the event of intruder attack. Alexor is
affordable, too, and with the bonnet up, the panel’s board work looks
excellent.  

On the HID stand
a new converged access control product called HID on the Desktop also deserves
a mention. The beauty of HID on the Desktop comes from the way it leverages
HID’s vast installed base to offer network access control at minimal cost.
Current users of HID prox cards can use a USB reader to integrate their access
credentials into the network environment in a way that allows system managers
to ensure that users must have badged onto the site and into their area before they
can access their workstation. Users who tailgate or otherwise fail to badge in
are locked out of the system until they do so.

Management of HID
on the Desktop is handled by naviGO software and there are multiple
authentication possibilities including PIN and card, as well as the ability to
use a PKI card to ensure only a specific user who is logged on can receive and
open highly secure emails and files. There are millions of HID cards in the
field and it’s impossible not to see this product doing well in Australia. It’s
secure and cost effective – perfect for networked environments both large and
small.

Sharing the HID
stand was Genetec whose latest management solution integrates Synergis IP
access control along with video surveillance. Genetec makes excellent security
management solutions and Synergis is no exception, allowing users to take IP
connectivity all the way to the door reader. Other strong features of the
product include audit trails and a powerful import tool.

Another product
range that deserves special mention here comes is from Dallmeier. This
company’s end-to-end networking capability with big systems is unmatched in the
surveillance industry. The release at Security 2009 of a new vandal-resistant
HD network dome, the DDF4010HDV-DN, is another milestone. This is a 720p camera
but there’s a 1080p firmware upgrade on the way.

Compression
options with the DDF401 include H.264, H.264 SD, MPEG HD and MJPEG SD and
there’s 10x optical zoom which makes this camera a particularly strong
performer. The camera is PoE and has a tri-axial gimbal for easy installation.
When you consider the number of major players who have opted to follow the HDTV
standard it’s harder and harder not to see accept this will be the industry
standard for video surveillance in the years ahead.

Another
noteworthy shift at Security 2009 was support for the ONVIF open standard for
video surveillance from a bunch of companies including Merit LiLin. At the show
LiLin displayed an ONVIF compatible dome range sprawling from 3x indoor cameras
all the way to 35x outdoor. There was also a 50m IR IP camera – this was a
really clever release from LiLin.

The ONVIF
compatible range from LiLin offers H.264 and MJPEG compression options and
there’s a bunch of network protocol options that allow users to tweak their
cameras for optimum performance during commissioning or after installation.
LiLin also showed the 64-channel Nuuo DVR which is certainly all the DVR anyone
could possibly need.

Another
management system we liked the look of was Milestone’s XProtect Enterprise
Version 7.0 – a management system that handles unlimited numbers of cameras,
servers, users and sites. This tricked up system has a distributed server
architecture that optimizes bandwidth usage, keeping video data traffic between
all the elements to a minimum.

Version 7.0 has
an intuitive new Graphical User Interface (GUI) and a series of powerful tools
including system configuration wizards allowing the quick setting of video
quality, online scheduling, frame rates, storage and archiving schedules.

Automated device
discovery uses fast Universal Plug-and-Play (UPnP) and broadcast detection in
addition to IP range scanning. There’s also smart bulk configuration options
apply to both devices and users, as well as adaptable application behavior that
helps with optimizations.

XProtect allows
the export or import of system and user configuration data for backups or
multi-site cloning as well as the import of off-line configuration data
including camera definitions. You can also rollback to previous configurations
thanks to automatic system restoration points.

Milestone’s
management system is designed to support pretty much anything and in some
cases, to support multiple integrated technologies simultaneously. It’s a
structure that gives amazing flexibility. Want to run video analytics from a
manufacturer? Fine – plug that in. Want to run analytics from another
manufacturer – plug that in, too. How about running 10 different analytics
programs from 10 different manufacturers simultaneously? You can with Milestone
XProtect 7.0 and it too, deserved a special mention at Security 2009.

“We’re bored of
telling the industry that Sagem’s MA500 is the best fingerprint biometric
reader available in the world today and this new version is better still…MorphoAccess
500+ is outrageously good value for money given its performance and security
levels”