Video surveillance technology companies seem to get all the buzz in the security industry, and rightfully so. These companies are making forward jumps of leaps and bounds, and after a day combing the aisles of the 2012 ASIS International Tradeshow in Philadelphia, Penn., these are four companies that get the “thumbs up” for showing really cool technology. I’m not saying all of these video surveillance technologies aren’t bleeding edge (some clearly are), but bleeding edge or not, they get the gold stars for pushing the envelope in video surveillance R&D.
(#1) -- Honeywell is demonstrating an amazing 3D visualization solution at ASIS that stunned even this jaded technology reporter. The company was showing its ability to provide geo-referencing of video surveillance data. The process works much like this: The integrator enters the geo-positioning data for the camera, and then the system creates pixel-by-pixel information location, which is to say that the pixels out there watching your fence line actually get referenced to latitude/longitude coordinates and an elevation. Honeywell also ties that into a dispatch technology, so you can literally send your responders right to the pixel where the incident was seen. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, they’re showing multi-PTZ tracking. The advantage is that once you actually have that kind of aforementioned geo-referencing data, you can assign multiple PTZ cameras to track an object or a person and do hand-offs from camera to camera. It’s being shown in a congested tradeshow booth where lots of walls block the cameras and discourage tracking, but you’ll get the idea.
(#2) -- Next Level Security Systems (NLSS) wants to take you to the next level in terms of appliance technology, but they also will amaze you with their mobile apps, one of which starts sending video and audio captured from the smart phone to the NLSS Gateway when you press a panic button. It also sends GPS data if you enable that. Next Level joins DVTel (pictured, with the TruWitness solution), Milestone Systems and Genetec among the video management system (VMS) firms that allow recording of live video pushed from cell phones, but Next Level appears to be unique in that they are the only ones that currently claim support for not only the video stream from the smart phone, but also the audio stream.
(#3) -- Swing by the 3VR booth and you will find that they are finally separating their video management software from the box (Intransa is their first certified partner for this sales model), but you’re probably going to want to ask about their “demographic analytics.” 3VR can show you this new video analytic algorithm that estimates the age and gender of a subject captured on camera. Product marketing manager Brian Lane admits that it wasn’t designed for security as much as it was designed to be used by retail marketing managers and others with similar interests in studying customer habits. Combined with their people counting technology and the 3VR ability to index faces seen on security cameras, the system seeks to tell whether you’re a 30-year-old man or a 45-year-old woman. After doing the demo, I must say that it isn’t perfect, but it’s probably close enough for marketing studies – and of course I would expect this algorithm to improve as they refine their programming. As it was, it tended to be within a few years of the subject’s actual age, and guessed ages better than I could myself.
(#4) -- Affordable NVRs rarely get mention in articles about cool video surveillance products to look out for, but DVTel’s Meridian NVR is notable nonetheless because it’s an entry-level NVR from a company that traditionally hasn’t even marketed its solution for those systems with 16 or fewer cameras. It’s notable also because the Meridian NVR has a built-in POE switch, as well as auto recognition and configuration of DVTel’s Quasar cameras – which altogether adds up to very easy IP video installations. Meridian may not have the pizzazz of the aforementioned geo-located video, face indexing or app-video streams, but sometimes you have to ground the cutting edge technology with something affordable and ready to use today.