Video surveillance roundup from ASIS: Day 2

Training, affordable cameras, bridging the analog/IP gap and market focus were just some of the strategies employed by the top video surveillance vendors I visited at ASIS on Wednesday.

Panasonic has completely redesigned their booth at this show, in an effort to compartmentalize the company's many security and video surveillance technologies into easy-to-relate end-user markets -- namely, education, retail, corrections, and stadiums/arenas. It enabled the company to help the end-users find the exact technology for their particular niche.

Most interesting was the integrated educational security system, which features a pendant microphone with a panic button. When the panic button is depressed, it repositions a camera (one that was being used to project a textbook onto a large screen) to take a shot of the whole room and display it in the corresponding command center. "This gives them visual confirmation of an incident," Panasonic President Bill Taylor said. In fact, the video from the camera and the audio from the pendant microphone can be monitored from the command center.

Additionally, the company is using video tied to point of sale (POS) systems in a retail setting, and the company is also showing video analytics aiding both security and marketing in the retail environment. Also, among its releases at the show, the company has expanded its PSDN developer network program, and introduced its i-PRO SmartHD cameras, which, among other things, are capable of real-time face detection using the company's embedded analytics.

For Dr. Bob Banerjee at NICE Systems, the focus is training. Banerjee is in the process of developing a robust online training series on a variety of the supplier's video surveillance products. "Instead of formal, in-person training, we are creating computer-based training for everything," he said. "For now, it is only on NICE equipment; however, after that I plan to create modules about more generic security questions...we want the integrator to be able to use (the online training modules) as a reference manual."

Additionally, NICE has announced the launch of NiceVision Net 2.0, a next-generation, enterprise-class, open-platform IP video surveillance solution that provides versatility and low total cost of ownership (TCO), through a three-tiered offering designed to meet the needs of a broad range of security operations. It also introduced a streamlined version of its VMS, called NiceVision Express.

More from the training front, megapixel camera provider IQinVision is seeing the popularity of its online design tools skyrocket. "Close to 1,000 people have registered," reported marketing director Wendi Grinnell. "People use these tools and come back to use them again quite often."

At the show, IQinVision also announced the introduction of the Alliance-mx H.264 all-weather day/night domes. These domes are a full-featured, value-priced solution that, along with the Alliance-mini and Alliance-pro models, rounds out the product family.

Value pricing was one of the themes at another vendor, Sony. The company has introduced 1080p compact cameras and a four-channel NVR aimed at the entry-level market. Additionally, Sony released two analog cameras. "The market bears it," Sony's Rob Manfredo said. "We have a strong commitment to IP, but we are still focused on analog solutions as well.

The big hit at the Sony booth, however, was a full enterprise security solution that was created by working with PSIM provider VidSys. The solution includes Sony cameras and video analytics.

Mark Wilson and Infinova are still working on bridging the gap between analog and IP. He has developed a system that uses IP software to manage analog equipment -- all without the use of encoders or decoders, which he called the "side-by-side" approach. Essentially, that approach means that end-users can gradually shift to new IP-based products, while still maintaining their analog infrastructure. "This enables them to go gradually from analog to IP," he said.

Additionally, Infinova introduced a V6221-G Series 2.0 megapixel network zoom camera that features a 1/2.5" progressive scan CMOS sensor and a 10X optical zoom lens. The cameras provide the horizontal view of several standard definition cameras. For instance, the camera can see and track license plates in changing lighting conditions or view an entire parking lot perimeter with one camera.

Finally, VMS provider OnSSI has officially embedded the BriefCam Video Synopsis software into Ocularis 1.1. Additionally, the company has introduced a license plate recognition module for Ocularis from LPR provider InexZamir.