Last year we heard solutions labelled with openness which remained challenging to bring together meaningfully. We met new acronyms like PSIM, but it’s now clear successfully melding access control, intrusion detection, video surveillance and building management remains in the hands of the engineers. 
Yes, it’s possible – if you’re very capable or very rich – to attain the giddy heights of PSIM but it doesn’t come in a box with a backup battery and a pair of pre-terminated fly-leads. Nor is it within the budget constraints of security managers.
Access control had a great year in 2011. We saw new releases and pre-releases from most the key players in the market and we saw access control solutions reaching towards broader automation capability, as well as enhancing their inherent networking capabilities. Given the strong releases and upgrades late in 2011, I see good things for access control in 2012.
There’s also been progress in the area of readers and credentials – this mostly seems to be coming from HID Global which is last person standing in the high-end credential end of the market. HID Global’s development of applications allowing smart phones to be used as proximity credentials is an important development. 
For end users 2011 was a year of some restraint yet there are clear signs of what customers want to spend their money on. That something is IP for medium and larger applications but don’t expect to see many signs of shared infrastructure even with alarms and access control solutions. Most security networks are subnets or standalone. 
It says a lot for the power of IP solutions that they are being embraced without the benefit of that early chestnut we all swallowed – “leveraging existing infrastructure”. Sure, existing authorised workstations can be routed to a secure subnet but electronic security systems are not for general consumption on data networks. They are too demanding on the one hand and too important to risk on the other. 
In 2012 cameras will be IP and HD and I think that we’ll all come to love 1080p HD over the next couple of years. This said, there are ongoing applications for serious megapixel cameras from makers like Arecont, Lumenera and Avigilon. 
That last is an interesting study. Having successfully magicked software capable of shifting MP video streams to support its big resolution units, Avigilon this month announced the release of a mind-bending 29MP camera able to replace about 100 VGA cameras. 
We all know Avigilon makes nice gear so we can depend on this latest beast to perform as it should. A 29MP camera will be a real game changer on large sites needing high resolutions. 
Also making a play in this area is Dallmeier’s Panomera which links multiple megapixel cameras and uses clever software to stitch scenes together that are either very deep or very wide. Panomera is a well engineered solution that complicated dichotomy that pits field of view and depth of field against one another. 
Late last year I attended LAN 1’s Annual Channel Partner Business Luncheon during which NBN Co’s Timothy Smith gave the assembly an update on the NBN’s progress over the past 12 months. Listening, it seemed to me the last year has seen NBN Co learning logistics. 2012 will be the year. Upwards of 400,000 homes will get fibre to the door over the next 12 month and NBN Co will release its first business packages. 
Sure, the National Broadband Network is a long play but it’s gaining momentum rapidly. Sitting around my table at LAN 1’s annual luncheon were key figures from integrators like SNP and Kings Security, with the folks from Yates Security next door. The table talk from these frontline soldiers was all about networked solutions, about whose IP camera is best and which video management system works out of the box. 
Perhaps it’s motivated reasoning to suggest that some of integrators and manufacturers with the fiercest grip on the throat of the future were sitting around me in that room at Pier 1. But there’s truth in the observation that time is running out for companies who don’t come to grips with our new networked landscape. NBN Co’s metronomic progress is counting down the last few years between the past and a vast opportunity.