Hot products: Day 2 of ISC West 2008

It must be the classic question for those of us operating as trade journalists get at these tradeshows: "So, what's the best thing you've seen?" Well, that depends on who our audience would be, but let's take a tour of some solutions spotted around the ISC West show floor that make a lot of sense:

Honeywell Total Connect remote access offering seems like a big draw, especially with the option of creating a new RMR stream for dealers. The system can connect system users via the web or mobile devices to get alerts and control information on alarm systems and their video systems. Allowing security offerings to touch the lives of customers is what this Honeywell offering is all about. I should mention that Honeywell is also doing a "three months free" type of program to see if Total Connect will take off. Honeywell's Ralph Maniscalco says that move "let's the dealer establish RMR" for this service offering; apparently the market is still taking shape for this Total Connect solution.

I mentioned Honeywell's Total Connect as notable because it's taking dealer businesses in new directions, but we equally love when companies rethink previous or existing products to nail a long-overlooked need. The Honeywell 6160EX is a slimline keypad control panel for alarm systems; rather than the wider units found in most homes and businesses, this unit is specifically narrow so that it can fit between door casing and window casing when the space is limited. The style came out of Europe where such narrow spaces are common in building designs, but also finding obvious applicability in the U.S. as well.

We covered Privaris when they first entered the space, but a lot has changed for this company, which can be found in the HID Connect booth as well as their own independent location on the tradeshow. The crew at Privaris gave SIW an update, and the news is that company has released two new biometric fobs. If you haven't heard of them, this is the company that offers a key fob with fingerprint scanner that can emulate a smart card. A year ago, there was just the Plus ID 60. Since then, they've introduced the Plus ID 75, which adds Bluetooth connectivity (rather than the USB-connection model of the "60", plus an integrated RSA one-time password. It makes a strong offering for desktop and network access control. Also out from Privaris is the Plus ID 90 which offers a technology similar to the Plus ID 60, but with long-range applicability (up to 100 meters), making a solution highly applicable for vehicle parking.

I have to say that I was pretty impressed with the new "EZ-Access" standalone access control system from Dortronics Systems. This booth visit showed me a product that was simply designed to filled a nice need inside in the industry. For a suggested MSRP of $399, the user obtains the hardware for electronic access control at two doors. That package includes two readers, the two door controllers and a basic software for management/auditing. It's a stand-alone solution for using card access or PIN pad access for one or two doors or gates. What's nice is that it includes an audit trail, can be programmed quickly with a minimum of fuss, and supports most 26-bit Wiegand door access devices. For dealers looking for a simple 2-door standalone electronic access control system that's "no fuss", this is a tidy offering.

Using Google Earth isn't a product exactly, but that geospatial mapping model has shown up in software from firms like VideoNext, OnSSI and Orsus, all of which I had a chance to quickly review today. Overall, this isn't about offering Google Earth map visualization – instead, all three companies seem to be grasping that today's users need intuitive GUIs to aid in enterprise security management. As some of these companies each reiterated, it's much easier to find a camera on a video management system if you can see the area or building where that camera is. OnSSI's Jeff Knapp (VP of marketing) says it's all part of an overall industry push to make things easier on the end user, even as video systems get larger and larger.

If you've got a spare $99,000 sitting around you can have a Brijot imaging solution at your firm. Don't suffer from price shock, what we've been interested to hear is that these imagers (which can see threats hidden on a person  -- think: camera that can see through clothes!) have found adoption outside the world of homeland security. According to Leon Chlimper of Brijot, they've landed clients in the retail sector who have used the imagers as a loss prevention tool. Apparently, those retail employees have to be scanned by this passive millimeter wave device before clocking out and heading home. It allows store management to make sure merchandise isn't walking out with them, and Chlimper and company say that it has significantly helped speed along the daily employee exit process for the company.

JVC's V686U IP PTZ camera is one workhorse. Not only can it pan at up to 400 degrees per second and zoom 36 times optically, stabilize its image with a gyro type of system, but JVC also aims for the company to be very easy to install. The installer of this IP camera can install the base, running the wires and setting everything up, and then when it comes to camera installation it's as easy as snapping the lens and direct-drive motor unit onto the base. It looks simple quick to set up, and if you've got a dead camera head, it makes it all that much faster to get the new camera in place with limited downtime, because you're simply unsnapping the camera unit from the base. JVC's staff said the goal was to cut IP PTZ installation time down by 50 percent.

We may write a lot about IP video technologies, and you can't blame us – that's the overall forward direction of the industry on the video surveillance side. But whether or not you believe IP video will outsell analog on 2010 or 2015, the fact is that analog video is still the dominant seller today. On that note, we've seen lots of continued additions to the analog camera and DVR market. Panasonic, for one, introduced three new analog cameras at the show, including one really nice almost bullet style outdoor camera. Mitsubishi tackled traditional DVR storage with new products that attach to select models in the company's DVR line, boosting storage to those units. There are a lot of overseas manufacturers here at ISC West 2008 in the lower pavilion off the main tradeshow floor and we've seen dealers down there trying to find camera solutions. We've always been slightly suspect of many of those vendors because they often don't have the customer service and codified warranty programs in place like many of their "upstairs" competitors, but at least as far as image quality for their analog cameras, they're actually getting quite good. As Bosch's Dr. Bob Banerjee said in a Wednesday education session here at ISC West, it's obvious for most installing firms that analog systems and the push-button nature of DVRs is going to remain highly applicable for many small businesses where system owners want to be able to push a button to export a clip, push a button in an emergency situation to record at high quality, and don't want to worry about maintaining any sort of network when all they want is a couple cameras around the cash register.

There are a lot more than these technologies here in Vegas, so keep an eye out for additional reports from the staff on what's making news here.