Tech Trends: The best of ASIS

I don’t know what the attendance was at this year’s ASIS show in Orlando, but with hundreds of companies exhibiting, you are bound to see a few new and interesting products. Here’s what caught my eye:

29 MP Camera: Megapixel cameras have made a strong impact on the market due to expanded coverage areas and digital pan-tilt capability. Avigilon, which announced an IPO at the show, continues to push pixel count higher with its latest offering, a 29 MP camera.

In order to control the bandwidth required to transmit all of this information on a network, encoding is implemented via wavelet-based JPEG 2000 standard compression. The camera will stream about 35 Mbps at 2 frames per second. If the camera meets the supplier’s claim about replacing up to 95 conventional cameras, the economic argument may be compelling.

Media-Aware Networks: Cisco’s unveiling of Medianet introduces a potential game-changing technology. Traditional networks rely on setting up Quality of Service parameters to determine priority of video streams vs. other traffic in the network. Some video is real-time and other video travels to or from storage media. If real-time video drops packets, effects can range from distracting to catastrophic.

Medianet is essentially a media-smart network, where the network can detect devices and self-optimize for performance. It can also auto-configure devices suitably equipped, a capability announced at the show for VideoIQ product. This capability allows end-points to function as an integral and interactive part of the network. Other benefits are simpler troubleshooting, and better visibility on bandwidth utilization.

Controlling Access in the Cloud: It is well known that the access control part of our industry has grown based on proprietary protocols, making it difficult for customers with large deployments to change vendors. With the introduction of IP network technology, there has been movement, in various ways, towards the convergence of physical and logical security, and there also have been introductions of cloud-based access control products.

Viscount exhibited the Freedom Encryption Bridge, essentially an encoder for access control devices which employs AES encryption for both credential validation from any standard reader and subsequently for door control. It is the validation part that’s interesting because it employs Active Directory loaded on local or remote server(s) that (a) eliminates the need for classic door control panels, and (b) allows easy integration with other company functions based on Active Directory, such as network access. The significance of this is a far simpler access control infrastructure, and one in which IT industry suppliers are easily capable of embracing.

Risk Analytics Software: Quantum Secure demonstrated SAFE Risk Analytics, a tool for automating physical and integrated security risk assessment through correlation of data from a variety of external systems. Access control and Active Directory interfaces are standard. The product includes a library of pre-defined risks and associated dashboard views. An interesting feature is the ability to quantify and display risks across the organization, providing better input to management’s decision-making on security expenditures. It displays a histogram of risk exposures and trends for greatest areas of risk, expressed in easy to understand financial terms.

Design Tools: Because of my work with consultants and engineers through SecuritySpecifiers.com, I am interested in design technologies as well as product technologies. Two products caught my attention at the show.

The first, also from Viscount, is called ABC. It allows the production of drawings for door security systems, easily placing standard devices where needed. It will automatically generate wire and conduit requirements. Drawings, while not based on AutoCAD, can be used as as-builts, or as a client discussion vehicle. Photos of the opening, notes and related files, e.g. drawing or instruction sheets can be appended for additional clarity.

The other product is Iomnis’ Design Center, which allows consultants and integrators to custom design a rack configuration for video surveillance, complete with servers, video storage, switches, patch panels and power supply. With a library of hundreds of devices, the tool calculates server and storage requirements based on parameters identified and desired safety margin. It will also compute power draw and BTU load and produce a rendering of the rack system. Tools such as these which automate configuration, pricing, and performance analysis will no doubt be welcomed by designers throughout the industry.

Ray Coulombe is Founder and Managing Director of SecuritySpecifiers.com, enabling interaction with specifiers in the physical security and ITS markets; and Principal Consultant for Gilwell Technology Services. He can be reached through LinkedIn or at ray@SecuritySpecifiers.com.

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