IT will come as no surprise to regular readers to hear that I love exhibitions. They drill deep into our industry’s ecosystems allowing us to see the products that are thriving in perfect niches as well as the products that are evolving hard to survive. 
My sense of the show this year without knowing the organisers’ registration count was that it was muted in terms of stand and visitor numbers but there were still plenty of people checking out the gear. Sometimes a slightly quieter show can be an excellent opportunity to spend more time with quality customers and most the exhibitors I spoke with agreed with me. I also felt there were more installers and integrators this year though perhaps we were simply missing some of the government people who we’ll see at SIG in a couple of month’s time. 
A number of big players gave the show a break this year and went with alternative marketing options, conducting parallel sessions in adjacent hotels, for instance. Others devoted a part of their spend to extra-curricular activities like harbour cruises. Most exhibitors went with variation of existing stands, some in smaller footprints, while a number of bigger players showed their newest products in smaller displays than usual. 
None of this fiscal restraint is surprising. As the GFC drags into its 4th year with unresolved problems in foreign markets eroding local confidence it seems clear that a recovery period of 10 years is probably optimistic. This quiet time is the new normal and products will need to be clever, sharply priced and well supported to succeed. One thing that was obvious to me at the show was that the relationship sale is well and truly back. 
The Security 2012 best stand award went to Anixter which built a simple open layout with a feature wall, part of which was suspended in space and all of which was painted with urban art. The barred windows, garbage bins and overhanging ivy brought to mind tough city security applications. A deserving winner, I thought. 
Anixter showed a wide range of the product lines it carries and is continuing to leverage its expertise in networking to bring together installers and manufacturers, in line with the recent successful national road show it conducted with its networking partners. Given the complexities of networked solutions this umbrella approach is a vital one.   
At the heart of the exhibition, as it has been for many years, was the Hills Industries stand. Combining the vast product ranges of DAS and Pacific Communications into a space that was at once welcoming and intimate, this stand enjoyed the most traffic in my opinion. 
Other neat larger stands included Axis, HID, Salto, Gunnebo, BFT, Vivotek, Mobotix, Verint, Sony, C.R. Kennedy, Honeywell, Avigilon, Milestone and Genetec. Smaller stands that looked great included Videofied, D-Link, LSC, Bosch, Alarmcorp and Infratherm. A special mention goes to ActivConsole, whose display floated in the middle of the second hall. 
And there were plenty of smaller players who made the most of unbuilt environments, relying on their hardware to draw the eye, including Unified, which builds mobile electronic security solutions onto extendable trailer-mounted poles. The pole seemed more than usually festooned with hardware this year, with multiple cameras, sensors and comms devices.

What was new

It goes without saying that there were a lot of video surveillance cameras at Security 2012 but only a few alarm panels. In fact there were cameras as far as the eye could see but that shouldn’t be interpreted as a bad thing. Having standardised at 720p and 1080p HD resolutions for general applications, typical surveillance cameras are improving fast. There was some smart stuff though the market’s hybridisation is still visible. 
Something that struck me at the show was that it seems cameras are specialising in a way they’ve never done before. This reflects the limitations of current technology more than anything, in my opinion. Cameras like Axis’ 1602 Lightfinder and 1604 WDR are a case in point. Each is excellent in its area of speciality but their separate existence indicates that it’s currently difficult to handle backlight and low light using the same hardworking chipset.  
Test driving the best cameras recently I’ve had the feeling that up to this point manufacturers are designing cameras to perform at their best in one particular area but this is likely to change. One of the cameras that’s said to balance WDR and low light extremely well is the new Panasonic WV-SP509 which I got a brief look at on the Pacific Communications stand. There’s also a new HD release on its way from Sony, if the rumours are true, but that’s at least 6 months away. 
While we’re talking about cameras, the winner of the Security 2012 Product of the Year Award was Innovative Security Designs, whose JBS-AF-1080p and JBS-CS-1080p Jaguar cameras caught the eye of judges. Having never heard of the winning camera manufacturer I went over to local distributor AFN Security’s stand to see what all the fuss was about. First up I did not see the camera in a test environment so all I got were paper specifications and a feel of the hardware. 
It’s a comparatively heavy unit in the hand and feels well made. All the key performance specifications are on the mark, though they are nothing out of the ordinary. You get mini-USB slot, zero-touch installation with selected VMS solutions, a 3-10mm lens, .05 lux minimum scene illumination and an SDXC card slot allowing up to 4TB onboard storage at whichever distant point in the future such titanic flash drives come into existence. 
More realistically, the camera is also Trinity and HDWitness server ready, there’s a microphone, PoE and the excellent signal-to-noise ratio of 72.4 dB suggests very strong WDR performance. Compression looks good with H.264 baseline profile, main profile (the default) and high profile Level 5, as well as MPEG. The unit delivers 4 simultaneous video streams. All this is very nice but by no means groundbreaking.
Instead, the stand-out features of the Jaguar, which comes in CS and AF designations, seem to be related to the company’s proprietary suite of edge technologies which somewhat unsurprisingly, ISD calls EDGE technology. According to ISD, this offers ‘DVR-free’ operation and incorporates analytics that ‘report human traffic in real time’. I did not see how any of this works as the ISD staff were busy the couple of times I visited the stand so I had to make do with a brochure.   
While an unproven camera is an unusual winner (beta tests are underway at a number of local sites), perhaps less widely known is that ISD’s CEO is former IQInvision CTO, Ian Johnston who is committed to supplying the market a camera that does not require a ‘ton of infrastructure’ to support it. 
The result is a camera that ‘does not need a server’ (how long you could store real time 2MP streams on currently available 64GB cards is a worthwhile calculation), that monitors and reports its own operating condition and that of its fellow cameras, can assign itself to an external recording device and can be driven and configured using a universal remote ‘sourced from Walmart’ without an installer needing access to the device once it’s installed. There’s a raft of digital functions to play with from PTZ and privacy masks to noise reduction and motion detection. 
Pretty obviously, what Johnston and his team are doing is trying to make IP as simple as analogue in order to stop installers from putting IP solutions into the too-hard basket and continuing to install reliable but increasingly outdated analogue cameras. In part this need to dumb down digital is an indictment on techs who remain ignorant of IP but in fairness to our men in vans, IP is challenging even for the initiated and things like messy switch configs are still agonising to address when they go wrong. 
My choice for best in show turned out to be something else but ISD’s intended direction can’t be faulted nor can the company’s pedigree and I’m looking forward to getting a test drive of this camera in the near future. All you installers interested in the Jaguar should bear in the mind that price is projected to be in the $800-1200 bracket depending on which unit you select and that number is for the US. That means cost is likely to be higher here in Australia putting the Jaguar at the upper end of the fixed internal camera market – think Panasonic, Sony, high-end Axis, Bosch Dinion HD, Mobotix and the like. 
Also of interest was the increased presence of D-Link at the show. The D-Link range looks to have grown and while I did not get a chance to have a demo of any of the company’s products it looks like D-Link is the first large mainstream IT peripheral maker to have made a serious commitment to physical security solutions. 
D-Link was showing a range of fixed and dome cameras, as well as wireless solutions and network storage. The stand was also pushing the SydLink Cloud solution. As far as I could tell this cloud-based surveillance system as designed for smaller retail outlets and domestic environments and uses low cost wireless cameras to simplify installations. 
A company I was especially impressed with at this show was Vivotek which was showing a bunch of clever new gear including the Supreme fixed camera and a 5MP 360-degree hemispheric with a very cool management solution. Having visited the company’s head office in Taipei many years ago in the early days of IP I can’t help but feel supportive of Vivotek’s long history of digital commitment. 
The company’s IP camera technology is now proven and all the hard work of many years is paying off with many compliments coming from competitors. What was obvious in Sydney was that Vivotek is not chasing the market but leading it with cool features never seen before at this price point. It’s nice to see one of the industry’s pioneers doing so well. 
After poking around the Hills’ stand it seemed to me that the DAS team has managed to get their hands on pretty much everything nice from Optex’s high quality Japanese-built movement sensor range, more than making up for the change. The range includes indoor and outdoor passive and active IR sensors and beams in wireless and hardwired configurations. Optex also has a laser detector in its range. I want to play with that. 
DAS was also showing new Forcefield functionalities that combine video surveillance with its proven access control capability. Combined with detailed site mapping, the video capability includes a popup live view with full PTZ control linked to icons and generated by alarm events. It’s a nice piece of evolution from a proven performer.
Another product I liked a lot was the FSH EcoMag FEW3800, which is designed to save power. The unit achieves the savings in a very interesting way – by reducing the current consumed when not in alarm to a very low 170mA and ramping it up to full power when an unauthorised attempt to open the door is detected. 
If you think reducing current through the windings of a mag lock is going to reduce the holding force when the door is not in a state of alarm, you’re perfectly right but this does not impact on the security of the door. When the FSH boys demonstrated their new lock to me it was clear that as soon as the door is moved by a would-be intruder the current spikes instantly, increasing the sleeping holding force from a considerable 140kg at 170mA to a hearty 250kg at up to 620mA. 
According to FSH’s Trevor Mackle, the design cuts power consumption by 200 per cent and you get all FSH’s usual features like internal early warning alarm and red alarm LED. FSH was also showing LifeLight technology which displays arrows on surfaces indicating which way to go to get to exits in event of emergency. This technology retrofits to existing emergency exit hardware making it a very neat idea, indeed. 
Sony showed its SLOC digital over coaxial cable technology, as well as IPELA camera, large HD PTZs and smaller cameras, IPELA HD IR. The core functionality of SLOC technology is the ability to transmit analogue CVBS video and digital IP video over a single coaxial cable simultaneously. From an end users point of view this means megapixel IP cameras can be deployed on existing coaxial infrastructures and operate at distances between 300 and 500m unamplified, depending on the quality of the cable. It’s some pretty serious capability and we’ve seen it work, too. 
I spent a bit of time of the Geutebruck stand getting a look at the GSCView, a management solution I was familiar with. It’s a nice solution, highly capable. I also saw the LPR capability universal to Geutebruck products that’s clever enough to distinguish between license plates and sign writing on the sterns of vehicles, as well as logging all details in associated text. 
Nearby, Bosch was showing the new rugged NDN-832 IP66 rated HD dome camera and a fixed body version of the same excellent chipset – remember we reviewed this camera in detail last month. The lens on the fixed HD Dinion is a very wide angle lens with optical correction built in so as to remove the de-warping burden from the chipset. Also on show was the Bosch Video Client camera management software which handles 16 cameras free.
But what really caught my eye on the Bosch stand was a new alarm panel- the Solution 144. It goes without saying that new alarm panels are few and far between so I was stoked to find an alarm product I’d never seen before at the show and installers should be pleased, too. This is a nice unit, well thought out and with plenty of power. 
The panel has 144 zones, 256 users, a fingerprint reader, a PIN-based keypad and a prox fob reader (these are proprietary), there are new expansion boards including a 4 output card and a 16-zone input card. There’s a new GSM/GPRS unit as well – it’s the first time Bosch has offered a panel with potential for SMS capabilities for reporting and control. We’re reviewing this unit in this issue so if you’re interested take a look.  
Meanwhile, the Pacific Communications stand featured all the brands we’ve come to expect, including the DVTel TruWitness, an app that turns any PDA into a camera point accessible through Latitude 6.2 VMS. I also saw the DVTel Quasar HD camera, Vario lighting solutions, Pacom Evo DVRs, FLIR thermal solutions as well as Pelco’s Sarix SureVision and Sarix Ti. 
Also on the Pacific Communications stand was Snap Network Video Surveillance, which was spun out of the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Visual Technologies in 2009. Headed up by CTO Dr Henry Detmold, who I spoke with on the stand, Snap is offering a solution designed to integrate the data from thousands of cameras in a way that better allows operators to follow events in real time by associating groups of adjacent cameras.
Having spent time in the Myer control room recently and watched operators following incidents using their long experience to pick the right camera intuitively, it seems to me that Snap offers is a solution that turns any operator into an expert instantaneously. When an event occurs, all cameras that have a view of the scene are called up around the primary view and as the operator follows the event by pulling a new camera onto the main viewing window in the middle of the screen this process continues, always allowing the operator multiple possible views of an event. 
It’s a very cool product and I was instantly taken with it. Applications like stadiums, large railway stations, casinos, public surveillance applications all sprang to my mind as Detmold powered through events, a multiplicity of entirely relevant camera views wheeling around the perimeter of the display screen. 
My immediate reaction was commiseration with the poor programmer having to associate all these cameras but according to Detmold, Snap automatically finds the relationships between every camera in a network by itself. Wow.
Meanwhile, on the Alarmcorp stand, I got a look at the Adpro FastTrace 2 Hybrid recorder and transmitter, which is an H.264 multi-site video solution supporting up to 16 cameras, analogue or megapixel IP. While FastTrace 2 has many of the features of a very powerful NVR and is designed for multisite applications, its great strength is event-based video transmission. On alarm the unit sends video from a remote site to Adpro VideoCentral remote video and alarm management software and Adpro M3000 command and control software. 
Features of this unit are considerable and it will take a detailed review to tease them all out. They include in part up to 8TB onboard storage, dual codec or dual stream for independent recording and viewing of analogue or IP cameras, an audio input per video input, an intuitive web interface and fast searches using post record metadata motion detection presented as a timeline in increments of seconds. Alarmcorp was also showing off a range of product from Salto and SiPass to BPT, as well as the TruVision NVR 20. 
On the Assa Abloy stand was a full range of Aperio-enabled locksets. Aperio is essentially a short haul wireless comms solution that links Aperio-enabled locks to an existing networked access control solution. Given the vast number of mechanical locks in every facility, not just in remote buildings but within secure areas, the technology offers significant enhancements to security as well as audit trails through the existing access system. 
Still with access control, I next got a look at HID Global’s multiCLASS SE readers, which are part of HID’s next gen platform built around Security Identity Object (SIO). Essentially this combines with HID’s Trusted Identity Platform (TIP) to turn mobile phones into smart identity credentials and I got a demonstration of how this all works. 
Employing highly secure 13.56MHz smart card technology, multiCLASS SE readers are surprisingly compact and the process of registering a phone onto a network and using it as a credential was no more complicated than registering a card. Reads with a mobile device are just as quick as card reads. Also on display at HID were VertX Evo networked access control solutions, which are making headway in the local market, as well as Fargo printers and the ActivIDentity assurance solutions. 
Salto also showed its product at the show and I liked what I saw. Salto’s SVN technology brings mechanical locks into an electronic access control environment using wireless communications and integration with access management solutions from the likes of Gallagher and Inner Range. Lock types included range from padlocks to mortise locks and plenty in between. We’ve not reviewed Salto’s solutions in SE&N before but we’ll be doing so in the months ahead. 
Avigilon was showing a number of new cameras including its H3 range which now includes a big IP66 rated speed dome. H3 uses H.264 compression and the company’s High-Definition Stream Management (HDSM) technology to move high resolution video streams across networks. According to the company, H3 uses 4x less bandwidth in low light, which is excellent performance. True to the company’s megapixel expertise, H3 employs 3 and 5MP sensors giving up to 2.5x HD resolution, making H3 cameras ideal for larger scenes like airports, stadiums and large external spaces. They have 3-9mm lenses with P-iris. 
That HDSM gives expanded multi-streaming for efficient playback on the Avigilon Control Center software, as well reducing long-term archival storage requirements. Along with H3, Avigilon was also showing its 29MP fixed camera, which according to Avigilon’s Sean Borg, is the largest CCD sensor ever used in a surveillance camera. For single camera coverage of huge scenes with high resolution zoom capabilities the 29MP is likely to be a strong performer. We’re looking forward to reviewing it in the field in the near future. 
Axis Communications never fails to impress at these events and the company offered its usual swag of recent and new releases, including the 1602 Lightfinder and 1604 WDR cameras mentioned earlier. There was also a new PTZ, the P5544 with 18x optical zoom, day/night switching and IP51-rated casing. But just to complicate its categorisation, the 5544 has a second lens to the base of the camera dome, poking down like a snout. 
Inside this protuberance is an additional hemispheric lens giving a full 360-degree view, letting viewers see footage from all around the camera at once. The idea behind this camera is to give recordings of an entire 360-degree scene, as well as allowing users to pan tilt and zoom in full HD resolution as required. 
There were also some smaller cameras on the Axis stand including the M10, the M1033 wireless and the M11 Series network cameras with integrated IR-LED illumination and mechanical IR-cut filters for day/night surveillance. Compact and good looking, these cameras offer 720p HD and lever-adjustable focus and field of view – neat. There are a pair of integrated long life LEDs with an MTBF greater than that of the camera. Also on the Axis stand was the Q19 Thermal fixed camera and the imposing Q60C PTZ camera designed to meet MIL-STD-810G military specifications for operation in extremely harsh desert environments. 
Q Video shared space with Tyco and was showing a combination of product including the its new DSC PowerSeries Touchscreen, the Spyder surveillance camera, the first to combine IR capability with full PTZ functionality, as well as CEM access control solutions and a cool new range of easy to install alarm solutions from wireless specialist Visonic. 
Milestone’s latest XProtect management solution was running on the Milestone stand and to make a point Milestone was running the system with a multiplicity of cameras from the likes of Arecont, Bosch, Axis, Vivotek and other ONVIF compliant makers. I spoke to a number of integrators and manufacturers at the show who lauded Milestone’s open-ended product and after Angelo Salvatore has run me through a quick demo I was impressed, too. The latest VMS solutions are far advanced compared to their forebears but it’s the invisibility of all the hard work going on under the surface that impresses me most. 
Mobotix was showing a spread of product most of which we got a look at in Melbourne at the Mobotix conference. There was the Q24 Hemispheric, the M12D day night camera, the D24M wall mount, the D24 Vandal. I also spent some time getting a look at the S14 FlexMount, a tiny double hemispheric camera. 
The IP65-rated S14 is characterized by its pair of miniature lens units with integrated microphone connected by a 2m cable. You tuck the housing in a ceiling or wall and secrete the hemispheric lenses nearby, covering 2 rooms, a room and a corridor, in fact any combination that comes to mind. The cameras give nothing away in terms of performance, either. Well worth a look. 
Genetec was on display front and centre and was showing Security Center, its unified security platform combining Genetec’s IP video surveillance, access control and license plate recognition systems. Having got a close look at Genetec’s integration capabilities at a recent Melbourne install, I was impressed. The ability to combine access control, video surveillance, alarms, visitor management, lifts, air conditioning, lighting all in a single screen (yes, you read that right) with all functionality no more than a couple of clicks away is no mean feat. I expect see a lot more of Security Center over the next couple of years. 
C.R. Kennedy was showing a Panomera Unit – the first time it’s been seen in Australia, I hurried over to see the 54MP monster but the unit on display was a smaller but still impressive 16MP solution. In the flesh it looks just like a huge fixed camera, as the image in this report shows. Performance was extremely good and from the camera’s location at the back of the hall we were looking up the main aisle out the door, across the garden beds and getting face recognition of pedestrians on the far pathway across the moat. Perhaps they were 200m away. Backlight was not issue either and it was a bright day. 
Also on the stand was SMAVIA, which is a recording server software that can be used on a range of different hardware platforms – either on special video recording servers made by Dallmeier or as a stand-alone software on standard servers or PCs – Linux as well as Windows. Essentially, SMAVIA enables the recording of video images and streams in a large variety of image compression and transmission codecs (H.264, MPEG-4, MJPEG). In addition to standard definitions, SMAVIA also supports Full HD (1080p) and up to 8 megapixel – pretty serious numbers.
Another nice product on the C.R. Kennedy stand was the sweet DF4910HD-DN/IR IP66-rated IP camera we reviewed last month. With up to 3MP resolution, including 720p and 1080, and 25m of IR range, this is a great camera at its price point.   
Meanwhile on the Takex stand I got a look at the TAKEX PXB-100ATC photoelectric beam sensors which were developed specifically to defeat all attempts at breaching, as well to eliminate stack crosstalk so they can be stacked much higher than in the past, up to 8m. The units have an excellent range of 100m and there’s OR Gate as well as AND Gate response to intrusions, allowing the sensors to offer excellent discrimination between real alarm events and the movement of wildlife. 
Other features of this product include ±20 degree vertical adjustment, anti-mask & anti-cloak, alignment aids, a narrow envelope, dual output and response processing, advanced synchronisation and ingress protection. The units are IP65 rated and have a number of features designed to keep out insects, dust and water so that performance in the field is not compromised. 
Another standout product at the show was Videofied’s XTIP710, a hybrid alarm system with video verification that reports alarm events and status using GPRS and IP. We’ve like Videofied’s products for a while now and think they offer you installers a great up-sell or panel replacement option. Using reliable spread spectrum wireless devices, the company has a real track record of visible success. 
Sending alarm events along with video footage is pretty much Rolls Royce performance and Videofied has 450-odd arrests under its belt thanks to its ability to identify burglars. When you consider most alarm systems are blind and cannot assist operators by doing more than reporting multiple adjacent alarm events, Videofied’s capabilities stick out even more. 
We’ve spent a bit of time looking at Videofied alarm event footage. Image streams are currently black and white for low light performance and optioned for low bandwidth but they’re still excellent for what they are. 
Now the word is new product under development will incorporate the latest advances in video compression giving even better identification ability day and night. 
As far as I’m concerned all alarm systems should work the way Videofied’s does and I can’t work out why more alarm manufacturers have not seized on this combination of technologies for their own solutions. Giving the same great catch performance with the combination of GPRS and onboard IP connectivity with its latest XTIP710 solution is just icing on what was already a very tempting Videofied cake. 
There was plenty more to see at the show and in this and subsequent issues we’ll be reviewing many of the stand-out solutions. As for the editor’s pick for SE&N’s Best Product at Security 2012 – I chose the Snap solution from Network Video Surveillance distributed by Pacific Communications. For its ability to automatically wrangle the power of thousands of existing cameras in challenging real world environments, it has to be my pick for SE&N’s Best in Show.  
Up there with it is the Bosch Solution 144 alarm and access control panel with neat features like pre-built garage door control and a succession of readers and expanders. The Solution 144 is just that – a solution. Thought through from beginning to end, I think it will resonate with Bosch installers looking to give their customers more capability in large domestic and small commercial applications. Twin SIMs and an NBN-proof network comms port built into a medium-sized alarm panel with biometric, prox and keypad access control? Yes, please.  
Special mentions go to the Axis 5544 for conceptual awesomeness, the Axis 1604 WDR for its total obliteration of backlight, the Takex PXB-100ATC which takes affordable perimeter security to a new level, FSH FEW3800 for being greenest, and C.R. Kennedy’s Dallmeier Panomera, which looked the furthest and saw the mostest. Finally, the most improved product range honours go to Vivotek. Nice work, folks.