At all levels of
the industry, multiple technologies are in a battle to death. On one hand DVRs,
NVRs and Flash memory are slugging it out, while over in the corner,
proprietary and open architecture security management systems grapple with wild
eyes. It’s freakishly complex at the camera level, where analogue, IP, HD and
megapixel cameras are engaged in a monumental cage fight, the end results of
which are not easy to see through the flailing limbs.

For now, it
appears all these technologies have a future. But how long this will last
depends as much on uncontrollable things like corporate and public network investment
as it does on stuff we nominally control – like price, image quality and low
light sensitivity.

In our recent feature,
Security Odyssey, 2010, suppliers and manufacturers lay out those things they
think are going to govern the year ahead. While this seems subjective from an
end user’s point of view, the supply industry’s symbiosis with buyers means
there’s greater knowledge to be gained here than might first appear. These are
the guys your cheque books shape.

One thing the
manufacturers and suppliers are keen on in 2010 is finding consensus on
standards for open architecture IP video. This is a complex area and for my
money I think the softly, softly approach will continue until a point of
critical mass is reached. None of the manufacturer groups involved is in a
position to dictate terms and in the end the market itself may decide based on
who delivers the mostest compatibility the firstest.

2010 is also the
year suppliers and manufacturers want to see the installation industry embrace
IP in seriousness. Clearly the investment in IP technologies has been
significant and while this part of the market is growing, manufacturers want to
see more growth still. As a number of commentators in our feature point out,
the key to IP is training. But there are many analogue people clinging to what
they see as tried and true technologies.

Another
interesting point is that the market is becoming even more celebrity-driven. In
other words, there are standout ‘celebrity products’ that have a strong influence
on a company’s overall success. A celebrity image can transcend the
technological capability of a device but from an observer’s point of view it’s
hard to criticise this trend. Installers talk and the things they talk about
are strong performance characteristics (good compression, high resolution and
good low light capability), as well as reliability, ease of installation and potential
for margin.

In the case of surveillance
gear like Mobotix megapixel cameras, which combine pretty much all of these
qualities, there’s the added bonus of an innovative sales pitch to increasingly
IT-savvy buyers. 

Something that’s
nice about the feel of the market in 2010 is the visible salivation of the
quality makers and suppliers, the hunger to serve the market a feast of new and
enhanced products over the next 12 months. From my perspective, this reflects
the relative breather taken by big makers over the past 18 months, though there
have been some impressive exceptions.

So – how will the
next 12 months pan out? Look for increasing traction with IP in CCTV and in
access control, with products like HID’s VertX. Look for significant investment
in training of customers and staff by quality players looking for advantage.
Expect prices to be stickier than they were last year and expect to enjoy more
vigorous service.

I think the
significant impact of the downturn has been absorbed in Australia and it’s
likely the stable dollar, the increase in building and the uptake of new
technology – our industry’s big traditional drivers – will give us increasing
momentum over the next 12-24 months.