Hot products at IFSEC 2008

Biometrics to megapixel cams: A roving technology report

The IFSEC security tradeshow occurring this week in Birmingham, England (May 12-15), is in full swing, and I'll take you right to the show floor as we carry out our tradition of looking for hot technologies shaping the future of our industry. Just like the two gents I met on the train to the NEC this morning (they were from the largest security/alarm company here in Birmingham), we're always on a scouting mission for the latest and greatest system, so let's jump right in.

It's not a U.S. product, but AMS Australia has a nifty little device that could be used as a detector to alert a city if a manhole cover has been removed (it could also be used for any place where an industrial position switch/sensor is needed). Built as water-resistant (but reportedly quite waterproof), this unit is a simple contact switch, but it's probably the most hardened switch I've ever seen. The company's main product focus is on access control hardware solutions.

Axis Communications has a tidy, discreet fixed dome camera (two models, the M3011/3014). Assuming you use PoE, the actual camera installation is quite simple. If you're working around drop ceilings and doing IP video, put this camera on your product hit list. The camera casing is designed like a can light. To install it, you drill a hole through the drop ceiling (same size as many halogen can lights used today), snap the can in with a very simple clip design, snap the camera into the can, plug in the PoE cable, point the camera, and then snap on (or screw on) the cover plate. That's it -- it could be entirely feasible to do this in less than a few minutes while standing on a ladder.

It's not brand new, but this was my first chance to get a personal look at from Keri Systems' NetXtreme access control solution, which builds off what the installing community may already know with the PXL systems. Because it supports two or four door controllers (the PXL support only two per panel unit), and because the system can use Ethernet cabling back to the server and client software, these newer systems can actually be less expensive to deploy than the similar PXL-500 system. Best of all, it allows a networked door system without having to do entire retraining of your installer crews. For users, you get the advantage of features like reader monitoring and support for up to 50,000 card holders. According to the team at IFSEC, both systems (the NetXtreme and the PXL-5000) support 256 doors.

Hitachi's VeinID system is basically the hardware and the SDK a technology company needs to implement vein-recognition biometrics. Scan your finger using infrared light and what you'd find is that your veins have unique patterns which can be used for both physical and logical access or other recognition solutions, and the VeinID platform allows for developers to take this technology to market. The company has vein-scanning readers that allow system developers to head into both logical and physical access control directions.

I also made it by to see Stanley's iPAC access control solution, which was an IFSEC product award winner. This is a nifty little access control solution for systems between 2 and 16 doors, and the chief focus here is how simple it is to program the solutions in the field. System administrators have embedded web browser access for remote administration.

And while it's not officially released yet, I saw a new megapixel camera (a fixed cam) hanging from the JVC booth. I suspect we'll see more information from JVC soon on a full megapixel camera line being released, just as we're seeing here from Sony -- which has an entire wall of megapixel cameras on display at its IFSEC stand.

More hot technologies to come tomorrow as we roam the aisles and stands. Stay tuned.