Security 2018 Exhibition wrapped up in Melbourne last month. The show was well run, attracted good numbers and gave security professionals the opportunity to see the latest products and technologies, and to get something of a feel for market direction. Just as usual, it was tough to see everything, even over a full 3 days.

I CAME away from Security 2018 Exhibition with a number of distinct impressions – my primary feeling was that much of the development currently going on in the electronic security market is directed squarely at layers of the user interface. Every solution seemed slicker this year somehow, with more technical clunkiness tucked away under a highly polished hood. We’ve been moving in this direction for a while and we’ve taken a distinct jump towards intuitiveness over the last 12 months. It remains true that inside many control panels there’s plenty in the way of circuit boards, but you expect that with distributed architecture systems – not every piece of functionality can or should be appointed to firmware.

While manufacturers are prying additional functions out of controllers and presenting them in thoughtful and useful ways, there was more to the sense of change than spit and polish. Much of the technology on display at Security 2018 was utterly solutions-based and the talk around the stands had the same pointed focus. Manufacturers and distributors in the electronic security industry have a pretty good understanding of client needs and they really put that out there in 2018.

Whether you’re talking about icon-based vector mapping, smart automated PA solutions, face recognition glasses, business management solutions for retail, multifarious apps, clever video management systems, complex integration capabilities, cameras designed not by form factor but for clear operational tasks – all this clustered around the end user.

Something else that was very noticeable at the show was the networked nature of pretty much everything. There was plenty of support gear for infrastructure on the stands, but it went deeper still. The big show attracts exhibitors across what electronic security people think of as physical security – locks, turnstiles, gates, rising barriers. In almost every case these stands had some sort of Wi-Fi hub and cloud backend. Powered fencing solutions were addressed via software – not basic management solutions, either, but excellent ones with vibrant mapping.

There were powerful and networkable IP intercoms, as well as app-based management applied to stand alone solutions that have been managed manually since keyways were first invented. On the Lock-It stand in one corner of the hall was an app-based key management solution – locally built and very well done, offering easy tracking of keys associated with keyholders verified by authentication. Shooting from the hip, I felt quite early that Security 2018’s CCTV trend was multi-head cameras – the reason they’re popular apparently, is that you get 4 camera views for the installation cost of one camera.

Like Noah’s Ark, there were some big stands at the show with all the gear aboard. Going through my product images at 3am one morning I started getting tendonitis in my forearm clicking on products from the likes of Inner Range CSD Group, Uniview, Axis, Hikvision and especially Dahua. The depth of the product spread with some manufacturers is mind-blowing. Their technology is so diverse it makes me wonder how the sales teams can keep up with so much change from year to year. Yet on all these stands, the tech was decidedly solutions-focused and perhaps in some ways, that’s an answer to these huge product ranges. When you’re big enough to be globally market-facing, you can make special solutions for just about everyone.

The biggest manufacturers now have everything from thermal to explosion-proof cameras, long range cameras, 180-degree cameras, 360-degree cameras, mobile cameras and NVRs, big NVRs, drones, people counters, parking management systems, face recognition solutions, servers, wireless comms, access control panels and readers, intercoms – it just goes on and on and on and the engineering effort behind all this is astonishing. And they don’t only have LPR and FR software, they’ve got dedicated cameras for these challenging applications. It’s impossible not to acknowledge that some of these companies have only just gotten started on segments of the market which are likely to look different when they are through.

There was a sub-group of companies – technology specialists like FLIR – and they, too, had plenty to offer. Products ranged from the most serious defence surveillance systems to a compact dome called Saros in the case of FLIR, which is a combination thermal/optical camera with a ton of functionality. When I first saw pictures of Saros and read the thermal spec, I could not help thinking it was a low-cost build. I should have known better. It was FLIR through and through, with a cast alloy housing and the company’s ingrained ruggedness.

Something else that was evident at the show – from big makers and small – was what seems like lock-step competition. A couple of manufacturers even admitted as I toured their stands that this product here competed directly with that product from the opposition just over there (pointing) and this product here competed with that one over there. There’s really nothing unexpected about this, of course. You just can’t image such competition to unfold in the months between annual trade shows.

There were more new things at Security 2018 than in previous years, in my opinion, and it’s hard to not to see this diversity of form as having a Darwinian undertone. Manufacturers in a mature and competitive market can’t just make what they like and tell the customer to lump it. They must make something that delivers the customer an unparalleled solution with a range of features so hyperbolic it can’t be ignored. That observation sounds a little trite, but it’s not meant to be. For a product to survive in today’s electronic security market it must be so affordable for a given performance that purchasing it is a no-brainer, or it must be simply brilliant. To my mind there was more of the latter than the former at Security 2018.

Security 2018 Exhibition & Conference judges nominated the AXIS P3717-PLE as best new product of the show, which finished today at the MCEC in Melbourne. The P3717-PLE is an 8-megapixel camera with 4 varifocal lenses, enabling a 360-degree angle of view to give details in multiple directions. The camera has 360 degrees of IR illumination, Forensic WDR, as well as Lightfinder and Zipstream. Meanwhile, Avigilon took out second prize in the Best Product Category for 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.

Perimeter Security took out third place with its 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.

Products we liked at Security 2018

Before we start, these observations only apply to what I felt I saw long enough to make sensible judgements but there are other biases at work here, judging from the number of circuit board images I took at the show. Some of the stuff I’m going to mention here is beta and some was on stands but is still a bit hush-hush so if something seems opaque, it’s deliberate.

Gallagher showed the H-Bus controller, as well as lockers managed by smart phone authentication – this is a growing market segment. The kiwi access control manufacturer also unveiled a beta version of the vector mapping it’s working on for Gallagher Command Centre management software. It’s unfinished but the fundamentals look good – simple yet incorporating all the core elements of the system – and in my quick demo it ran well with no latency and easy icon-based drill down into large sites. Something I had not seen from Gallagher was the Z20 disturbance sensor.

Across the lane was NoahFace, which someone whose opinion I respected told me to get a look at – I listened in to some one else’s demo but the tech – which is app-based – sounds good and it’s local, too. Like all good things, NoahFace began with coffee – in this case the creation of a system that would allow a café owner to address regulars by name while highlighting their orders. The beta version worked so well that the developers launched Noah Facial Recognition. The team was showing the app on an iPad – it can handle time and attendance, but the big thing was the ability to open doors without access cards and from what I could see the system was working well at managing one of the toughest gigs in access control and doing it using self-carried smart devices.

On the ISCS stand I saw Bluevision, an active Bluetooth-based IoT solution bought by HID in 2016. It was a good buy. Bluevision is a clever ecosystem that offers little bits of functional monitoring and analysis you suddenly realise you really need, 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. Picking over the spec you suddenly realise that IoT really is a thing after all – a bloody good thing. I also took a squizz at the ICT ProtegeGX with integrated video and mapping. It’s a nice front end, simple and refined. ISCS was also showing Nedap, I took a look at the MACE MM QR, MACE SMART and uPASS readers – the first is QR and NFC, the second NFC and the third is 900MHz.

Axis Communications was showing off a swag of gear I’ve not seen before. Being a networking company, Axis has always had a tendency to veer towards networked solutions – think access control, intercoms, readers, keypads. I saw audio speakers, horn speakers, IR arrays, the 2N by Axis range of intercoms, which on its own is serious stuff. I liked the 2N Touch and 2N Talk, as well as Verso. It’s impossible not to warm to 2N’s robust metal external intercoms. Along with all this gear, Axis was also showing loads of great cameras in many form factors. Some are familiar, others not so much.

Axis won product of the year for the P3717 360-degree unit – I did not get a demo of this camera system at the show but given the company pioneered multi-head 360-degree camera systems, it’s likely to be solid. Something I did like the look of was the bi-spectral Q8742 optical and thermal camera. I especially liked the stainless corner camera, the Q8414-LVS. While I was admiring the lovely build quality I noticed the nicely-balanced 105-degree view delivered by its 720p camera. Good depth of field from the camera, and solid specs – IP66 and IK+, NEMA 4X and an invisible integrated 940nm IR array.

FLIR was showing Quasar 4X2K Panoramic with a 5th imager for good measure, Saros, which has a pair of thermal imagers and a 1080p or 4K camera, along with analytics, Ranger R3 for longer range applications, the FC Series of bullets and the PT Series HD. FLIR was also showing new management capabilities. I enjoyed a demo of the Turing Video Nimbo, being shown by ACES. It’s a Segway platform that can carry a security officer at nearly 20kmph, or roll around on its own, charging itself between patrols and issuing warnings to miscreants and recording video.

The Segway underpinnings also help it traverse areas that other robots might not handle. It can cross rough pavement and speed bumps, and its relatively narrow body (25 inches across) can help it squeak into narrow passageways. Also, Nimbo can operate around the clock: it can dock at automatic charging stations and produce non-stop video. Nimbo is no ED-209 but perhaps that’s the point. It’s unlikely an enforcement droid the size of the 209 could be anything but nuclear powered.

Something I enjoyed was a demo of the propylene glycol-based Bandit security fog generator. These solutions have been around in one form or another for some time, but this was my first demo and it was instructive. Within about 10 seconds of deployment, Bandit had filled a 6m x 4m space with a vapour so thick no one could see their hand in front of their face. My Nikon was set to continuous low and the shutter slapped away about 5 times before the uniformity of the scene saw it lose the ability to autofocus. There are applications in which a solution like Bandit would be just the thing, though you’d need careful procedures around using it – that’s because it really works.

The Davantis Daview Mini impressed at Security 2018. It’s 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. I liked the build of the appliance, too. Meanwhile, Spectur combines video, LED light and a speaker, allowing security operators to push out of control rooms to monitor events or high security installations.

Smiths Detection was showing the HazMatID Elite, which 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.

Something I’ve not mentioned yet is the fact that there were a number of really neat little solutions that offer play and play secure networks. One of these was on the SensaTek stand – it was the Clavister e10, which 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.

More products we liked included the Rhino alarm system and peripherals, including the Falcon wireless communicator. South Africa makes nice security gear and Rhino is no exception. The board work looked solid and the app was simple and effective. On the CSM stand the Aarc Evac Wireless Emergency Alert system caught my eye.

Thanks to wireless comms it can be deployed quickly and easily, and it can be moved, too. Aarc is one of those operational rubber-meets-road solutions and is locally designed and manufactured. On the Genetec stand, I saw IX access control hardware, as well as Security Center 5.7, Streamvault, Traffic Sense and Airport Sense. I also had a chance to speak with Genetec about the company’s roadmap and there’s plenty going on.

Hills showed DSC iotega, as well as the new Reliance panel, ZeroWire, Kidde smoke sensors, a tiny intercom door station and TruVision cameras, along with a whole lot more.

Nearby, I took a look at the Suprema CS-40 CoreStation, which offers biometric access control for 132 doors and 500 users. Vanderbilt was packing plenty, with all the company’s tried and tested controllers wrangled by some very slick-looking apps and browser-based management solutions. Vanderbilt was showing off some very tidy hardware, as well as clever software the company’s range extends deep and wide, and the latest apps and management solutions make the functionality easy to access.

Across the way was Dorma Kaba – again, very tidy hardware. But under the surface of door furniture like the Pro-Lever and Air-Lever locking systems was Wi-Fi-based TouchGo – a technology that automatically recognizes carried transponders, so doors can be entered normally using the door handle, while unauthorised attempts to open the door are ignored.

Hikvision was showing off its thermal cameras in every conceivable form factor, as well as 360-degree cameras, 360-degree cameras with PTZ, wide angle multi-head, 2MP day/night pendant PTZ, weather and vandal-proof mobile cameras, body worn cameras and robust mobile NVRs.

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. CSD & Inner Range showed plenty – I especially liked the Nemtek powered fence integration, as well as Infiniti Gatekeeper.

The UNV/CRK stand showed LPR, a beaut looking drone with FLIR thermal imaging technology aboard, 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, UNV’s powerful Unicorn NVR.

Onclave’s SecureIOT was another product that stood out. According to Sean Borg, Secure IoT offers an extremely high level of protection but requires no hardware, installation or training. Fundamentally, Secure IoT Managed Services will make Internet-facing security solutions invisible to hackers while remaining operational and accessible to authorized users. Most interestingly, SecureIOT isolates, contains, and protects all OT regardless of manufacturer, age, operating system, or protocol. This is a solution we will be looking at in more detail down the track.

Mobotix was showing MxMove – it’s first ONVIF compliant camera. 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 such a winner.

Dahua brought everything and the kitchen sink to the show – again this year there was an operational focus. There was so much it’s impossible to cover it here. I saw thermal PTZ cameras, I was fascinated by the 8MP WDR multi-sensor behaviour analysis camera and delighted when it put my age at 36 – I knew there was a positive side to analytics. Dahua has also shoe-horned some solid camera engines into more compact PTZ form factors with very competitive prices.

Dahua also showed ANPR and smart retail analytics, which high lighted things like hot purchase items, commodity relationships, target preferences and people counts. This stuff is gold for retailers who have need to rely on intuition in the past. Dahua also showed biometric access control readers, as well as a 4-reader access control solution.

On the SensaTek stand I saw the Vivotek MS8391-EV multi-sensor panoramic IP camera, with 12MP of resolution and a 180-degree angle of view. SensaTek also showed what looked like a thermal bullet camera, as well as a Radwin mesh CCTV solution. Nearby Geutebruck showed of its latest G-SIM, as well as a fan-less mobile NVR called the G-Scope 500+, which is lightweight, compact, powerful, and has an enormous memory of up to 4 Tbytes. It has a mobile video management solution is suitable for monitoring cash transports, police vehicles, trains and buses and it can support up to a maximum of 32 video sources.

Ipsotek’s VISense Augmented Reality Security Glasses were neat. No doubt, they would become intuitive for security and law enforcement officers who wore them for a while. The VISense glasses are designed to enhance situational awareness by capturing video through the on-board camera, detecting and storing faces, and comparing them to faces enrolled in the on-device database, according to Ipsotek, with detection results overlayed on suspect’s faces in the field of view.

Conclusions and Market Directions

In terms of getting a sense of where the market is heading, there’s a clear trend towards putting all the functionality of a solution into the hands of management and operators in the most efficient way possible – this umbrella trend encapsulated another key development at the show, which was the increasing prevalence of analytics.

This shift exposes another distinct trend towards analytics, IVA and deep learning as a means of automating aspects of security technology. There’s something decidedly disruptive about these automation technologies. Once you sign up to them in terms of product development, further development inject additional disruption at multiple layers of the business – not just into the supply chain but into operations as well.

I think I also saw more distinct layering in terms of surveillance cameras – this has always been visible but the bottom end of the market was more visible at the show. The bottom end really is the bottom end but the best cameras are so competitively priced and their form factors to polished it’s hard to imagine a consultant specifying a single camera for a complex job – no matter how small.

Trying to select a best in show from the product lineup I saw at Security 2018 was tough. Overall best in show – I tend to lean in the direction of FLIR Saros, as well as SCSI’s Almond solution, which is reviewed in this issue of SEN. The latter wasn’t in the hall, but you could see it nearby. Other nice work included Dahua Retail Analytics, Aarc EVAC and Dorma Kaba TouchGo Wi-Fi enabled C Lever locks.

Inner Range’s Vector Mapping was a nice development. Other good moves included Genetec’s pre-release of its IX access control hardware. and typically pointy software solutions, such as AirportSense, which are always impressive.

I liked DJI’s ZenMuse XT drone with FLIR thermal imaging. Using one of these units to scout alarm events on very long perimeters would be a powerful addition for a compact live security team. Clavister e10 and Secure IOT caught my eye as well. Using an appliance to provide clever and powerful security to networked security solutions is appealing and we’re looking forward to finding out more.

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