Lined up, waiting to get into the tradeshow floor at IFSEC 2007 in Birmingham, England, the UK's largest security tradeshow.
The cues ("waiting lines" to us Yanks) were long as the show floor promptly opened at 10 a.m. for day two of IFSEC. Floor traffic in the aisles and at the exhibitor stands (that's "booths" to us Yanks) was significantly more crowded. One such stand was Indigo Vision, a UK-based firm with U.S. offices in New Jersey. I spent some time catching up with the relatively new chief marketing officer, Joanna Brace, who demonstrated a keen understanding of IT and logical security and is excited to represent one of the industries leading IP video providers.
Check out photos from IFSEC Day Two
Technology was the order of the day and who better to educate those in attendance about wireless mesh networks and their security applications than Umberto Malesci, co-founder and president of Fluidmesh Networks, and Cosimo Malesci, director of Fluidmesh. The company is based in Italy with U.S. offices in Boston, Mass. Cosimo pointed me to their latest product, the 1100 Quadri-Band Point-to-Point Wireless Ethernet Bridge
"This new wireless link creates a fully IP-compatible connection that guarantees the highest performance in terms of security, throughput and reliability," said Cosimo Malesci. "With a 1-1/2 mile line-of-site range, the design of this product makes installation clean and easy. In one integrated package, you have the antenna and electronics in the same box. Should you later decide to expand to a full mesh network be confident knowing that the 1100 will integrate and compatible to the 2200."
More new products were being showcased at the RISCO Group stand. Headquartered in Israel with U.S. offices in Florida, RISCO is made up of three divisions: Integration, Intrusion and Access Control. Sitting down with Ms. Shai Sarig, their V.P. of marketing, and Shlomit Hershko, RISCO's marketing communications manager, I learned about their new SynopSYS software solution that enables site management and control via intuitive, drag and drop-based, synoptic maps. Ideal for commercial and public buildings the software is able to control security, access control, video, view of fire and safety systems as well as building control systems such as HVAC and elevators. Other new solutions included those in the higher end access control segment that have recently been acquired from Keyware.
Also from RISCO, and brand new in the wireless security segment, is the "Agility" solution. Agility is a flexible wireless solution with 2-way wireless keypad and remote control. Also in the wireless arena is the new Wireless WatchOUT outdoor detector. In the intrusion segment new launched included that of an advanced GSM /GPRS module. WatchIN, Industrial Grade 3 Detectors, iWISE QUADSEQ Grade 3 detector for sequential confirmation.
With a show floor as large as IFSEC, it can be good to slow down and catch a break in the press office. With a little help from my friends at CMP we tracked down Robert (Bob) Beliles, senior manager of physical security/CMO market management for Cisco. On the heels of their most recent acquisition of Broadware Technologies (see story and interview on SIW), Robert crossed the pond himself to spread the word that Cisco will be in the European market very soon. He says not to expect them in every European country right off the bat, but that Cisco will be in the United Kingdom at some point in the near future.
"Cisco is a global company, the need for video surveillance and physical security is not just another North American need," said Beliles. "London for example has over 4 million video cameras."
With a natural evolution of physical security product technology moving towards IP, it's equally natural that Cisco, whose strength competency has been in network systems and infrastructure, would be expanding with these new technologies. Likewise, Beliles message to dealers and systems integrators both seasoned and new to the industry is "Embrace the technology."
"There are few times in a job cycle where one can remake your company to step up to all the technological changes that are affecting one's industry," said Beliles. "Embrace the change and beat your peer competitors before they get the competitive advantage to the learning curve. Have a basic understanding of networks and technology. We all know how to drive a car but we are all not mechanics. You don't have to be an IT expert to know how to use the technology or express its benefits to your customers and prospects."
Echoing Robert Beliles comments was Joseph Hardt, owner and systems integrator (and IFSEC attendee) of SECUR, a Belgium-based security installing firm. Hardt has been in business for 25 years and is credited for purchasing the very first DSC system in Europe, ironically from Ron Patterson, chairman of DSC. At the time, Patterson was planning a trip to Europe and had contacted Hardt's uncle, who owned Rimex Distribution. Hardt came to the meeting and agreed to buy DSC products on the condition that Patterson makes changes to the products to fit Hardt's customer's needs. Hardt stated that at the time, DSC was the first in the market to have an integrated dialer to communicate with central stations.
"Ron was 5 to 10 years ahead of the market," said Hardt. "He was the Bill Gates of the alarm market. Likewise, and in terms of where the industry is going, the future is here, IP video, automated systems, facial recognition, etc. I constantly take courses on IP systems and computer training, if I didn't I would be left behind. As these changes have taken place, my counterparts who chose not to adapt and accept this and learn the new products and systems have one by one gone out of business."
Today, Hardt spends his time selling, installing and servicing mostly high-end residential homes in Belgium. He comes to IFSEC every year and ISC West about every five years to look for new products and technologies to help him drive and grow his business.
JVC Professional Europe was showcasing their advanced IP network including, the VR-N900U network video recorder, several IP cameras and encoders. The VR-N900 is a 9-channel network video recorder. The front panel controls are easy to use for security operators. It works with both analog and IP cameras and is ready to use right out of the box. This NVR automatically configures itself to operate with supported IP cameras, network encoders and up to 4 analogue cameras. The NVR offers a scalable open platform allowing for the integration of third party devices for access control, POS systems, ATM systems and remote monitoring solutions. It's especially designed to work with systems from companies as Paxton and Milestone.
Last on our day two tours was another friendly face, John Kwak of video surveillance firm Nuvico.
"We are exhibiting here to support our new customers and distributors in 11 countries in Europe and the Middle East.," said Kwak, who added they were in the UK to build relationships and to support and train their new customers and prospects. Kwak noted that they were showcasing their newest product/technology, SIE, a.k.a. Super Image Enhancer. The SIE is an innovative DSP technology for delivering excellent picture quality in any lightening condition.
Day two is a wrap; let's see what day three has to offer....cheers for now.