Security Electronics: Product Trends Of 2013
Posted by Security Electronics and Networks | @Analysis Articles | July 7, 2013, 7:00am AEST
What’s going on in CCTV? To my mind a key trend in the market is the diffusion of technology from high-end solutions down to low-end form factors. We’re seeing some very small and very affordable cameras offering 720p HD resolution. This trend is not going away. Over the next 12 months we’ll start seeing full HD 1080p filtering into sub-500 cameras. Yes, they’ll have fixed lenses and they’ll not be pretty but they’ll offer strong performance for the money.
Something else that’s noteworthy is the proliferation of hemispheric cameras. There are now 4 or 5 quality options to choose from. Performance is extremely flexible, given the characteristics of the lens type. Elsewhere, ISD’s release of a Win7 HD camera earlier in the year was an interesting move. Putting Chelan into a low cost full HD surveillance camera with embedded development and design tools like Silverlight may significantly broaden the market.
Another key development of the last couple of months was the release of Ubiquiti Networks’ airVision 2 CCTV solution. Wireless surveillance cameras are going to be a bigger thing, in my opinion. The ominous words Ubiquiti’s boss used to describe this fully wireless video surveillance system was “price disruptive”. He didn’t mention lateral applications but they’ll come with the territory.
The airVision 2 solution comes with an airVision NVR with a modest 500GB HDD, as well as airVision video management software. You get things like auto discovery of up to 50 wireless airCams, as well as motion detection, H.264 compression and support for mobile devices. What other trend made me think in the bottom end of the market lately – oh, Swan’s 4-camera surveillance solution with a 1TB NVR being sold through Aldi supermarkets. What was the price, again? I think they were $A250…
At the top end of the market there are particularly strong trends – not just in areas like low light and WDR, but in cameras that combine these 2 capabilities better than ever before. Prices at the top end are sharper, too, and solutions come with more and broader capabilities.
The release of Panasonic’s new 1080p HD PTZ is a strong one and I think its combination of new features and core performance is going to spark a competition in this key area of the market. Cameras with 60ips performance are here to stay – Sony and Bosch have them now. And simple simon DVR/NVRs – they’re not going away, in my opinion. They are stable, reliable and hybrid. With browser-based interfaces and open ports they might be all a smaller end user ever needs.
Another key trend of 2013 is growth in the thermal camera market. Thermals give end users on larger sites really strong support for open perimeters and the performance vectors of thermal technology make it tough to beat in a range of conditions. With Axis, FLIR and DRS active in the thermal market, it’s likely the sole impediment to broader use of this technology will soon disappear. I saw FLIR’s latest thermal camera the other day and the image it gave into full sunlight was almost as contrasty as an old monochrome Kodak print. That sort of performance is something new.
There’s a lot of talk about cloud systems just now and I think that talk will continue for a while before really serious traction can be gained. The trend, however, is a real one, with major pieces of cloud infrastructure being opened around Australia, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne. I’ll be looking at Genetec’s StratoCast as Security 2013.
When it comes to access control, probably the key thing just now is the relatively concurrent release of Inner Range’s Integriti panel and the Tecom Challenger v10 from Interlogix. Both these panels have large installed bases and dedicated followers. In the light of pressures on end user budgets it’s likely customers will choose to upgrade to these more powerful solutions and retain backwards compatibility with existing hardware.
Something else that’s trending in access control is solutions that sidestep the cost and challenge of cabling multiple low traffic doors. The winners here are companies like Salto with its SVN and Assa Abloy with its increasingly popular Aperio solution.
In alarm systems things are beginning to stir after a long quiet period in which only monitoring technologies developed. To me, the key trends are video verification of alarm events and remote management by end users. The serious players in VV include Videofied and newcomer, Risco. There’s also something new coming from BENs and HikVision that you’ll see at Security 2013 – a highly secure push-only video verification monitoring service that stands alone or integrates with any existing alarm system. I’ve seen the system operating and it’s very nice indeed.
Video verification demands an infrastructure investment from monitoring stations and to my mind insurance companies should come to the party with lower premiums for VV-enabled end users. Importantly, video verification is not particularly expensive given it guarantees confirmation of alarm events. It’s a technology I’d like to see integrated into every alarm panel in the future.
We’re also seeing a couple of alarm panels appearing that incorporate a little automation, as well as remote customer interfaces. These are great solutions but I think until the business models of alarm installers and monitoring stations evolve, more serious alarm systems will be a hard sell. I think that effort needs to be made if installers are to survive NBN-fuelled bundling of alarm monitoring that I think will come from telcos and cable TV companies.
Something else that’s trending is mobile apps for all electronic security solutions, access control, surveillance systems and alarm systems. Mobile apps come with security risks but they increase flexibility enormously. What’s the biggest trend of 2013? That’s easy – it’s the continuation of the 2 decade-long process of digitising the electronic security industry. Are we there yet? No, we’re not there yet. Nor will we be there for a little while longer. But we’re well on the way to being enfolded in the arms of IP.