Best New Security Products of 2014
2014 was a strong year for new product releases in all electronic security market segments. We saw good things in CCTV, alarms and access control. Perhaps the changes were more evolutionary than revolutionary, except in the area of remote management.
IT’S always tough as army boots to unpick the strands of product releases and judge the best releases of any given year and 2014 was no different. Happily, it was a good year for new product and unlike past years, this strength was across the board. I could not pick a single product that really broke out of the mould and offered the market something it has never seen before but there were plenty of products that delivered on the promises of past years.
Honeywell V-Plex wiring.
As I’ve said a few times, in 2014 I liked Honeywell Vista and Honeywell’s V-Plex comms bus. It uses existing infrastructure to make installations easier and cheaper and is supported by a company that’s super strong on product, from sensors to user interfaces. In this regard, the Tuxedo app is another winner from Honeywell.
I have not seen this product but I think it’s worth noting Honeywell’s LYNX 7000, which was awarded Best Intrusion and Detection solution at ISC West in 2014. It’s claimed to be the first proper alarm panel to offer support for 4 CCTV cameras and 2-way audio using Wi-Fi as a comms path. Hooray! Honeywell also showed off its colossal 256-input HUS-NVR-7200A-E 265-input NVR last year.
DSC IMPASSA wireless keypad
DSC NEO was another favourite intrusion detection solution of mine in 2014. It combines the simplicity of IMPASSA with PowerG comms (2000m LoS), as well as offering PIR cameras. I still think video verification and remote live monitoring is the key trend in the intrusion market. Monitoring stations and/or manufacturers need to own it before end users do.
Risco VUpoint camera
On this topic, Risco’s VUpoint which allows users to remotely view their premises through live video clips up to 30 seconds via the iRISCO smart phone app, is one of the more polished solutions of its type in the market. I really rate Risco when it comes to video verification and remote control. This is a proper electronic security manufacturer that has brought quality intrusion detection hardware into the cloud. It’s not a cloud startup sourcing a solution from a third party in order to flesh-out a recurring revenue model.
CSD’s Paradox HD77 – the first high-end intrusion sensor I’ve seen that incorporates a 720p fixed lens camera was released in 2014. I like this because I want to see more than 480p in video verification devices. I’m sorry folks but low-res video is fine up close but it’s just not good enough at distances over 3-4m.
2014 saw home automation from Bosch with its new 2000 and 3000 panels and that’s one to watch. The company was talking home automation at Security 2014 and it’s certain those functionalities will be added in the first part of 2015.
Bosch 2000 controller
Paradox also released Insight (CSD,) Linear subsidiary 2GIG released the Go!Control alarm panel, which includes GSM and a Z-wave chip (Ness, locally). On the subject of Ness, in 2014 the company was working on some interesting solutions in this space that installers should keep an eye open for in 2015.
More new sensors included Xtralis’ ADPRO long range PIR, Redwall from Hills and Denso from Bosch Security Systems. Hills’ Xandem TMD mesh sensor was another interesting new sensing technology of 2014. It offers brilliant catch performance and big coverage for complicated applications like retail stores. I’ve not seen a Xandem application but I’d like to. For areas it suits, this is a fantastic solution and compared to the other high-end stuff it’s very sharply priced.
Mod2 BlueHub from BENS.
On the monitoring side, Bold Technologies’ Manitou range of central station, PSIM and automation solutions was something else we saw in 2014. Meanwhile BENS released its Bluehub IP alarm monitoring solution, which is designed to be extremely easy to install and commission.
When it comes CCTV it really was an avalanche of product and trying to decide what was best becomes too hard to do. You inevitably rate the products you’ve seen and understood higher than those you heard about but never held in your hand.
Sony's awesome SNC-WR632 PTZ.
Panasonic 6 Series was a key release. The performance of these cameras under test conditions showed they are right at the top of the tree at the moment. Another important release was Sony’s Generation 6 camera technology which is applied to all the company’s big range of cameras. Of the Sony releases I liked the SNC-WR632 PTZ, which features a pan speed of 700 degrees per second, 1080p resolution, 60ips, IP66 and IK10 rating an awesome dynamic range of 130dB. In demos it’s an outstanding street camera in poor light – the best of its kind right now.
Hikvision 4-Line dome
I thought Hikvision’s 4-Line Series, distributed locally by CSD, was another great release in 2014. This lineup goes from 1.3MP WDR cameras capable of 50ips though to 3MP models with 120db WDR and motorised lenses. With Hikvision it’s the combination of solid performance and sharp price that makes it so compelling.
Darkfighter full body – now there's a PTZ.
Other strong releases in 2014 from Hikvision were the excellent Darkfighter, and the DS-2CD6362F-I, a 6MP, 360-degree camera with 4 IRs and 5 video streams. I reviewed both in the latter part of the year and each impressed in its own way. AD’s Illustra 625 another great PTZ I saw last year. It’s quick, image quality is strong, zoom range is brilliant and its WDR performance is something to see.
In 2014 FLIR released its BT-Series thermal mini-bullets with 50-degree and 25-degree fields of view priced at $US499. Mobotix M15-D was another brilliant release. Running thermal and optical alongside each other unquestionably improves situational awareness. This combination empowers Mobotix MXActivity Sensor video analytics, which was my favourite CCTV product at Security 2014 in Sydney.
Mobotix MXActivity Sensor
DVTEL released its new ioimage HD CF-5222 (2.1-mepgapixel HD 1080p) and CF-5212 (1.3-megapixel HD 720p) cameras, bringing military-grade video analytics and Quasar HD broadcast-quality IP video together.QSS released Alumia range in 2014, a range that covers entry level to premium and is available in 1.3, 2 and 3MP variations. It was another release that combined great performance and price.
Starlight from Bosch
2014 also saw the release of CBIT technology in Bosch’s IP cameras. As well as handling image processing, CBIT powers Bosch’s IVA and Motion+ from a single processing module. Bosch has some very good IP cameras today. It’s Starlight gear is exemplary – one of the best releases of the year, in my opinion.
Canon HD camera range
Canon came out of nowhere in 2014 with a full range of quality IP cameras and it will be interesting to see what new developments we see from Canon in 2015. More recently, I’ve seen Canon cameras in the field being managed by a quality VMS and they performance was strong.
Samsung SRM-872 NVR.
Towards the end of the year, we saw a new VMS and a couple of sweet cameras from Samsung including a 720p 43x zoom PTZ. In demos this camera is just awesome. Samsung also released the SRM-872, a full-featured, eight-channel NVR for mobile use, and Samsung’s WiseNet III was another strong release with excellent WDR and bandwidth management performance. Samsung’s new 1000-line BEYOND Series of analogue cameras also deserves a mention.
Samsung’s new 1000-line BEYOND Series of analogue cameras
Evolution from Pelco by Schneider Electric is a range of new 360-degree, 5MP cameras, ComNet introduced a 6-port, self-managed Ethernet switch, the CNGE2FE4SMS. Meanwhile, IQinVision released IQeye Alliance-mx cameras which include the increased processing power needed to run analytics or VMS applications at the edge. Vivotek’s WDR PRO cameras were shown at Security 2014 and performance really was excellent. Not only was the unit strong in backlight, it was strong with no light whatever.
Evolution 360 from Pelco.
From Axis we saw the Q1615 and Q1615-E (external) combines pretty much all of Axis’ functionality in one awesome unit. Axis Q1615 cameras not only offer full HD resolution but new stuff like enhanced wide dynamic range (Axis’ WDR-Forensic Capture), Lightfinder technology, electronic image stabilization and shock detection. The cameras automatically switch settings between high dynamic scenes and Lightfinder mode. Something else that was nice was the Q6000-E, which turns the Q60-E and Q45-E PTZs into 360-degree solutions.
Axis Q1615 full body.
In 2014 I saw the latest AVL-2 from Infodraw, distributed locally by Conceptual Technology Solutions. It’s a palm-sized, portable streaming and video monitoring system that comprises embedded hardware and software combined with built-in cellular network interfaces. At a surprisingly low cost you get a wearable, professional grade video, audio and alarm input monitoring solution with GPS. It’s highly mobile yet leaves nothing out. I liked AVL-2 a lot. If you want serious, robust mobile video, or even very small single camera surveillance solution, this is the one.
AVL-2 mobile video surveillance.
Raytec’s new IR VARIO Hybrid, which combines infrared and white light in a single solution was another good release last year. Good white light is the key to entirely usable CCTV and I’d like to see more people deploying it, instead of relying solely on IR.
Milestone Husky range.
In NVRs, Milestone’s released Husky, Geutebruck’s 16-input net-porter NVR with its onboard PoE switch, Genetec’s hardy SV32, Sylo’s tough fanless mobile NVR and for small applications Synology’s EDS14 NAS hub all impressed during the year. There were also releases in the plug and play market from the likes of Hikvision and Dahua and these, combined with affordable IP66-rated cameras supported by IR, were a key trend of 2014.
S2 NetVR 700
Also in NVRs, S2 released NetVR 700, a high-performance solution that supports up to 128 IP cameras and is available in 12 and 24-bay storage configurations that provide up to 96 terabytes of video data storage (RAID 5 or RAID 6). That’s solid stuff.
When it came to management solutions, United Technologies PRISM, Lenel, Genetec, Geutebruck G-SIM, March Networks Command, Honeywell and SAAB’s latest PSIM solution were all noteworthy.
IVA was a big trending technology in 2014. Sony, Geutebruck with GTect, Bosch, Mobotix with MxActivity Sensor, Avigilon, Bosch, C.R.Kennedy (Axxon) EOS (Samsung), Hills, CSD with Hikvision and Avigilon, Briefcam Syndex and plenty of others showed off new developments in IVA.
Inner Range SIFER
In access control, 2014 saw the release of Inner Range’s multi-drop RS-485 SIFER reader that supports MIFARE cards, including Inner Range’s own DESfire EV1. SIFER readers and cards deliver AES encryption right through to the access module. CEM Emerald was another impressive showing, as was Tecom Challenger v10’s video integration with access control. I did not review Hattrix last year but looking through the specification I felt this cloud-based access control solution deserves a mention.
What about some thoughts on 2015? I think cloud will go on building. It still needs to find a price point that works for everyone and we need proper internet speeds here in Australia but there’s going to be growth. Home automation is another one to watch. Wearable video and audio surveillance for law enforcement? Check. 2015 will also be year Telstra weighs into the Australian alarms market in a big way – and perhaps makes a cloud video surveillance play, too.
We saw aquisitions last year and there have been some biggies this year. I convinced there will also be some more surprises in the distribution market. Something else I’m interested in is Ultra HD 4K, with quality cameras like the new Axis P-1428 and Bosch’s new Dinion 8000 and a full release from Dahua.
In my opinion, 2014 was not the year of 4K but 2015/16 is likely to change that, courtesy of H.265. The only question is going to be which manufacturer can bring an H.265 solution to market that best controls bandwidth and price. ♦
By John Adams