SOMETHING interesting came out of SecTech Roadshow. In every city, integrators and end users loudly expressed their desire to see more in the way of access control and intrusion detection solutions – more controllers, readers, panels, sensors, and reporting and management solutions. 

More evidence of the hunger came from suppliers – companies like BGWT with S2, Inner Range with Inception and Bosch with the G Panel and the 2000/3000 alarm system said they did extremely well at the show – as did Tyco with NEO, CSD with SecureNet-enabled SkyGuard, QSS with BPT intercoms and LSC with ICT controllers. 

When you’re blinded by the glitz and glam of video surveillance it’s easy to forget that intrusion and access control – layers of controllers, readers, door locks and sensors – forms the central nervous system of every electronic security application, with CCTV more often an overlay than a deep integration. With inputs and outputs linking controllers to monitoring stations, it’s access and intrusion systems that detect events and cry for help. In many cases, CCTV is an investigative tool brought in after the event. 

Taking into account the importance of access control to the market and the level of interest it generated at SecTech, it’s also instructive to consider the sorts of access control solutions that were getting attention as we trekked across Australia. Inception and S2 are browser-based and offer users plenty of power, ease of installation and in different ways incorporate layers of easily accessible integration and automation. Many techs took the time to wrap their heads around these 2 products, which suggests there are plenty of installation business eager to jump into the access control market offering compact, even boutique solutions.  

We’ve talked about this before in SEN – the idea that the empowerment of relatively simple controllers by clever software might turn the access control and intrusion detection industries on their ears – and it was hard not to get that same feeling walking around SecTech. Products like SkyGuard and NEO leverage cloud to offer installers and users things they could never have before. Meanwhile, browser-based access control systems offer installers and end users a doorway to system functionality that in the past has been obscured by the ‘jargon’ of keypad programming. When there’s a smart browser shaping your application, it changes the entire experience of installing access control and the same entry point is so much more welcoming for small end users than server-based software solutions.

Is it possible that this functionality won’t permeate every aspect of the electronic security market? If comms can be secured, and they certainly can be, then it’s hard to imagine a future in which intuitive interface is not a routine expectation rather than breathless exclamation. We had a couple of security technicians stick their heads into the <I>SEN<I> office late last month to say hello and when the conversation turned to the Inception panel sitting on my desk, all eyes lit up. Having spent time playing with the system, I could understand why. Inception, S2, Paxton Net2 and the rest of this upstart generation of simple, powerful controllers are solutions that are <I>conceivable<I>.  

These simple controllers offer installers a sort of neural template they can place over the top of applications that will always lead them to the right place. Knowing this increases installer confidence. For techs who might have been kept out of the play by the complexity of comprehension, the patrolled borders of official training programmes and certifications, and the confusion of licensing, these new solutions are something special – they are a portal to a larger world. ♦