SECURITY 2011 showed quite clearly that software management solutions – whether for access control or video surveillance solutions – really are cock of the walk when it comes to major systems. There’s no longer any sign of the end-to-end analogue solutions of yore. Probably the best like-for-like replacement is Dallmeier’s SyMSy but clearly most users are happy with something a little less than full frame rate and full resolution on all channels.
Notably absent at Security 2011 were the large numbers of DVRs that populated the event 5 years ago. Those DVR solutions that I did see this show were finely tuned, competitively priced and very capable. The best DVRs do have a niche in the market and it’s likely they’ll be around for a long time to come. Not everybody wants network-based solutions and not everybody can afford to buy, install and maintain them.  
When it came to cameras there was more analytics and more thermal and it was clear that HD is the ‘optical’ standard du jour. Not only this, there was a clear push towards 1080p from a large number of gilt-edged manufacturers. I liked the looks of the new Bosch 1080p cameras, as well as Pelco’s second generation Sarix technology, which is called SureVision and combines wide dynamic range with low light performance. I thought the original Sarix technology was underrated by the local market a couple of years ago and Sarix SureVision certainly steps things up a notch. 
From a practical standpoint, when it comes to 1080p I’m prepared to go out on a limb and question whether or not for most applications 720p is not elegant sufficiency. I say this not because end users don’t need the power of 1080p but because of their unwillingness to invest in networks capable of carrying and storing Full HD video streams. 
I see too many real world applications that eschew HD resolutions for the bulk of their installations even when cameras are capable of offering it. It’s a disappointing trend. Regardless, the material point is that the evolution of surveillance cameras continues, that 1080p offers superior resolution and better forensic capability than 720p, that its demands will fuel investment in network infrastructure and storage. At least they should. 
I sometimes wonder if many of our applications are not 5 years behind current technology, though in fairness the hotch potch upgrades we are seeing on major sites around Australia just now suggest it’s long project lead times and the defraying of capital costs over many years that’s denying security managers the high resolution composite IP solutions they desire. 
In an editorial a few months ago, I mentioned the heat that was building in the access control market and Security 2011 really bore than observation out. I saw Inner Range’s beaut new Integriti, enjoyed a demonstration of Gallagher’s V7 software and brushed up against Security Commander software on the DAS stand. Also at the show was the practical and powerful Protege solution, which combines access control and excellent building management capabilities. 
Also of note was Honeywell’s Galaxy intrusion and access control panel, a nice product ideal for small/medium applications. Then there was Siemens SiPass, which has just been handed to Alarmcorp for distribution. SiPass sits at the upper end of food chain when it comes to enterprise access control and when you take the new Integriti solution into account, with its server cluster architecture, I think it’s a great time for end users to be thinking about opening doors globally. 
On the alarms side there were some nice sensors at Security 2011. No doubt it’s the analogue caveman coming out in me but it’s pleasing to see increasing numbers of high end intrusion sensors from the likes of Bosch, Siemens (Alarmcorp), Optex, Visonic and Rokonet (DAS). For many sites, alarm sensors are the only line of defence and they should be of the best quality. One trip across town to resolve false alarm issues annuls any savings made by opting for lessor quality. 
Over the next couple of issues we’re going to delve deeper into what was new at the 2011 show in a series of indepth product reviews – that means there’s plenty of beaut new gear to look forward to!