SEN’s Best Electronic Security Products of 2018
One of the best new products of 2018 - Hikvision's Darkfighter X PTZ.
What were the best products of 2018? Getting a handle on the year’s leading solutions was harder than usual as a maturing industry’s high points of development flatten out. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t plenty of solid evolutions and promising developments.
WHAT were the best products of 2018? That depends in large part on perspective, but taking a broad view, this year saw the release and establishment of strong solutions we’re sure to see more of in the coming years. 2GiG Qolsys with its Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset and Google Android OS, SCSI Almond 3S, AMC for its app and software – it’s a crossover panel. Qolsys has a really strong dedicated user interface, while Almond and AMC have lovely apps.
Another solid release in the intrusion market was Perimeter Security’s Intrepid Model 336-POE, a volumetric IP-based perimeter detection sensor for fence lines, open areas, gates, entryways, walls and rooftop applications. Combining Southwest Microwave’s field-proven detection performance with advanced embedded digital signal processing to discriminate between intrusion attempts and environmental disturbances, Model 336-POE mitigates risk of site compromise while preventing nuisance alarms.
Panasonic WV-X8570N 4 x 4k multi-sensor camera is a great camera and we like what it means, as well as its performance. Future iterations of 4K multisensor are going to give many security managers coverage they have dreamed about. Bosch MIC IP Fusion 9000i was a solid release from Bosch – powerful optical and thermal to boot. If you don’t need thermal, the new 7000i is perfect – it’s compact and very powerful.
Hikvision Darkfighter X was the best new PTZ released this year in the traditional form factor. Taking price and performance into account, it’s impossible to ignore this camera’s credentials – it’s a cracker. We expected to be impressed when we reviewed Darkfighter X but were surprised by how good it was at things like colour rendition, not just performing creditably unassisted in low light. Do Hikvision and Dahua have the best high end lens systems on the market right now? Yes – I think it’s fair to say that they do.
Inner Range has launch Integriti Pro Version 18, the latest version of Inner Range’s Integriti security management software. The trouble with Inner Range when it comes to new product is that its historical coverage of the market means you’re talking evolution of existing stuff in most cases. Inner Range Integriti Version 18 added an event review log subsystem and redesigned the schematic mapping engine using vector maps and icons.
Inner Range Infiniti keeps getting smarter.
The system also now allows license plates to be used as access credentials, among other things. There’s also Nemtek powered fence integration, as well as Infiniti Gatekeeper. Inner Range also delivered a new keypad that we liked. We also warmed to the SkyCommand app for Apple and Android devices, which gives end users the flexibility to control their security systems remotely. SkyCommand allows users to conveniently log in and turn security on, lock or unlock doors or control automated systems, all from a mobile device. This was a redesign, too, and a good one.
CSM released AARC Evac this year – it’s an autonomous, wireless-linked, emergency alert system for better response times and better outcomes. Communication is vital to the success and best outcomes of emergency management situations. Australian-designed and manufactured Aarc’s unique features and benefits include improved medical and first aid response times, lockdown messages to secure buildings against external threats and additional security for front-of-house and reception staff.
Dahua’s 64-Channel Ultra 4K H.265 network video recorder was a strong release with embedded Linux operating system, quad-core Intel processor, support for 64 IP cameras, a global input bandwidth of 384Mbps, up to 12MP resolution for preview and playback, support for RAID 0/1/5/6/10, iSCSI and Mini SAS for expanded storage, smart tracking and intelligent video. Hikvision’s new 7-line Series harnesses the power of Hikvision’s Deep Learning AI solution, and in conjunction with Hikvision’s Deep in Mind network video recorder, offers facial capture, human body detection, ANPR, heat mapping and queue management in real-time. This series incorporates Darkfighter technology with WDR capabilities of 140dB.
Sony’s SNC-VB642D 1080p bullet camera is designed to give faces in low light by firing up an LED upon movement. It’s a pragmatic solution that worked better than we thought it would during our test. Thanks to the Sony Exmor R chip, the camera does better than you’d expect unassisted, but the white motion-driven LED takes it to another level. The Sony SNC-VB642D bullet camera is a day/night 1080p, IP66 and IK8 bullet camera with a motorised 3-9mm F1.2 lens giving 3x optical zoom and auto focus, a 1/2.8-inch type Exmor R CMOS image sensor and XDNR processing, which Sony says improves low-light performance, delivering a minimum scene illumination of 0.006 lux (30 IRE) in colour mode at up to 60ips in H.264 or JPEG.
Also solid this year was Sony’s new SNC-HMX70 camera is a compact camera delivering a 360-degree hemispheric view, ensuring full situational awareness. The camera’s fixed lens, high-resolution 12-megapixel image quality and wide 92dB dynamic range assures that crucial image details are captured, even in extremely challenging light conditions. The hemispheric image can be de-warped using VMS software or the camera’s own edge dewarping function that provides three simultaneous views. Sony is a quiet achiever in the hemispheric market – the pixel count on the sensor of this unit shows the company knows what it takes to push out past 7 metres all the way around the compass.
DSC iotega was another pleasing release. It’s a tabletop device that enables installers to offer customers a robust security solution as well as the opportunity for future upgrades to an automation platform with additional devices. DSC iotega features PowerG technology with 128-bit AES encryption, adaptive best path technology to ensure the best wireless signal transmission as well as frequency hopping spectrum technology. Meanwhile, remote management allows iotega users to view cameras, lock doors, adjust temperature, and control lights, as well as enabling a wide range of other home automation features.
VIVOTEK SD9366-EH professional speed dome camera with wiper distributed in Australia by SensaTek is specifically designed to enhance low light surveillance in large coverage areas. Equipped with 250m IR illuminators and a 30x optical zoom lens, the SD9366-EH provides low light performance in the most challenging situations. The camera also adopts VIVOTEK’s latest Smart IR II technology, Vari-Angle IR. Vari-Angle IR provides smooth vari-angle adjustment of the IR illuminators, allowing broad coverage FOV and highly uniform IR intensity while avoiding hot-spots traditionally associated with IR illumination. This camera worked well at SecTech Camera Shootout’s PTZ test and it looks great, too.
DJI Zenmuse XT2.
The DJI Zenmuse XT2 with FLIR thermal from CRK. The drone is DJI’s first dual-sensor and its most advanced gimbal-stabilized camera for commercial drone applications. DJI’s Zenmuse XT2 expands upon the benefits in the first thermal-equipped camera jointly developed by FLIR and DJI. The sensing system includes both a high-definition 4K color video camera and a high-resolution radiometric thermal camera, allowing operators to switch between thermal and visible cameras in flight. The Zenmuse XT2 also uses FLIR’s patented MSX technology, or multispectral dynamic imaging, that embosses high-fidelity, visible-light details onto the thermal imagery to enhance image quality and perspective. For big sites, this is worth a look.
It had to happen sooner or later. ASSA ABLOY APERIO H100 came out this year and puts the power and flexibility of wireless access control into a door handle. With easy retrofitting to almost any interior door and comprehensive RFID compatibility, the new Aperio H100 handle makes extending access control to more doors cost-effective by integrating with a vast range of third-party systems. It’s a neat job.
MOBOTIX M16 is a modular dual sensor surveillance camera system that offers installers and end users more than meets the eye. It’s a PoE, 6MP day/night camera with an integrated housing, rated IP66 and IK10, supported by MxManagementCenter and MxAnalytics software and H.264 compression (ONVIF compliance is coming). The M16 is rugged and performance is flexible. But it gets a nod this year because of the way it does the things it does. Management of Mobotix cameras and peripherals is what makes them special. Mobotix MxMove – the first ONVIF compliant camera from Mobotix. It’s an important move from Mobotix. Along with partnering with companies like Genetec, Mobotix is breaking out of its proprietary mold, while retaining the operational strength that has made it a winner.
Uniview released UNV Smart LPR, Starlight in a dome form factor with a motorised lens, Wi-Fi camera for residential and SMB applications, 4 and 12MP fisheye panoramic cameras and UNV’s powerful Unicorn NVR. This last is a real powerhouse of a thing.
Dahua 8MP WDR multi-sensor behaviour analysis camera was an interesting release. Dahua has also shoe-horned some solid camera engines into compact PTZ form factors with very competitive prices. I mention this because the capabilities are so good. The company also continued development of ANPR and smart retail analytics, the latter of which highlights things like hot purchase items, commodity relationships, target preferences and people counts. Dahua also released biometric access control readers, as well as a 4-reader access control solution. The Chinese makers are just nibbling at alarms and access control – it will be interesting to see if they can make an impact in this area.
FLIR Systems had a big year. Things we liked this year from FLIR were Saros and TruWITNESS, the latter being an industry-first wearable sensor platform designed for city-level security and public safety operations. Body worn or vehicle mount, TruWITNESS includes optical video, audio, global navigation satellite system (GNSS), gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer sensors. These sensors combine to send alerts and stream data to a central command centre in real-time to ensure full situational awareness and global event handling.
TruWITNESS features FLIR Neighbor Aware inter-device connectivity and it also acts as an IoT device, triggering nearby TruWITNESS devices, fixed and motorized Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) security cameras, and other connected sensors to act upon an alarm event. We’re looking forward to a full demo of TrueWITNESS. FLIR Saros meanwhile, includes a thermal sensor, analytics and an optical sensor – these 2 products show where FLIR thinks the market is going – synthesis is the name of the game. We rated SAROS with the best in show at Security 2018.
The Davantis Daview Mini is a video analytics system for small applications that allows them to push day/night camera alarm events to a CMS for remote monitoring. Given for most residential or SMEs remote video verification is a bit proprietary, the Daview Mini is a nice job.
Clavister e10 from SensaTek has a 1Gbps firewall throughput, a 100Mbps VPN thoughput, 10 VPN tunnels, 16 simultaneous connections, 4 RJ45 ports, an RJ45 console port and an external power supply – it’s a robust and compact solution for secure networks.
Smiths Detection HazMatID Elite is a handheld FT-IR chemical identifier that’s mobile, with embedded RF comms and MIL-STD-810G and IP67 specifications. It features an integrated pressure device for analysis of solid materials, as well as direct touch-to-sample capability. There’s automated analysis of mixtures with priority alerting for explosives, CWA, TIC and narcotics. Smiths has some lovely products and this is easy to use and powerful with it.
Gallagher worked on vector mapping for Gallagher Command Centre management software this year and it will manage core system elements and be icon-based. Gallagher had its Z20 disturbance sensor at Security 2018, which I liked. Noah Facial Recognition also hit the industry in 2018. It’s face recognition that can handle time and attendance, as well as giving the ability to open doors without access cards as users approach – great features.
Bluevision is a clever ecosystem that offers little bits of functional monitoring and analysis like prox-based location and condition monitoring, all supported by cloud. The way to think with Bluevision is that it’s about making your business more efficient, safer, more secure, less vulnerable, more resilient and doing it in a lateral way on any supporting hardware with profoundly detailed analytics. For those that can wrap their heads around the possibilities, Bluevision is special thing.
I liked the 2N Touch and 2N Talk, as well as Verso this year. Axis won product of the year for the P3717 360-degree unit. I also liked the look of the bi-spectral Q8742 optical and thermal camera and especially liked the stainless corner camera, the Q8414-LVS. Good depth of field from the camera, and solid specs – IP66 and IK+, NEMA 4X and an invisible integrated 940nm IR array.
Avigilon won an award in the Best Product Category at Security 2018 for the latest version of its Appearance Search, a deep learning artificial intelligence (AI) search engine for video. It sorts through hours of video with ease, to quickly locate a specific person or vehicle of interest across an entire site. Meanwhile, Genetec Security Center 5.7 takes the company’s management system to another level. Genetec also serves the vertical with developments like Streamvault, Traffic Sense and Airport Sense.
Dorma Kaba Wi-Fi TouchGo.
In biometrics, I liked Suprema CS-40 CoreStation, which offers biometric access control for 132 doors and 500 users. Dorma Kaba showed off door furniture like the Pro-Lever and Air-Lever locking systems with Wi-Fi-based TouchGo – a technology that automatically recognizes carried transponders so that doors can be entered normally using the door handle, while unauthorised attempts to open the door are ignored.
The Idemia-branded MorphoWave Compact uses MorphoWave contactless 3D fingerprint technology in a stylish and compact wall-mounted device. The unit has state-of-the-art optics performance giving high read speed and accuracy, as well as IP65 water and dustproof rating.
What was best this year? I still like FLIR Saros (and the just released FLIR TrueWITNESS), as well as SCSI’s Almond 3S solution. Also pleasing were Dorma Kaba TouchGo Wi-Fi, Inner Range’s Vector Mapping was a nice development, DJI’s ZenMuse XT drone with FLIR thermal imaging, Clavister e10 for securing security networks, Hikvision Darkfighter X PTZ and the just released thermal and optical bi-spectrum bullet camera, Bosch MIC Fusion, Sony SNC-VB642D 1080p bullet camera was good, too. Qolsys from BGWT – arguably the most comprehensive proprietary security and automation ecosystem available on the market today.