Going Smaller, Simpler and Safer at ISC West 2007

So the first day of ISC West has come and gone, and when I reflect upon what I've learned, this phrase popped into my head: "Smaller. Simpler. Safer."

Not all security equipment is becoming smaller (indeed, some is getting bigger), but computer chips are becoming smaller as are electronics in general, allowing for more computational power to be placed on a board that takes up the same amount of space as previously, which in turn allows that product to do more (this could be for a camera, control panel, etc.) Of course, in the case of wireless transmission, you could argue that some equipment is "disappearing."

With wireless, one obvious cost-saver is the absence of trenching costs and the increased flexibility in where you can install devices such as cameras if you're not constrained by cable runs. I spoke with AvaLAN Wireless' Ray Shilling and he's excited about the direction his company is going in the wireless IP camera market. AvaLAN Wireless has partnered with the likes of Panasonic, Sony and Axis, as well as Mobotix (a German camera maker looking to get into the U.S. market) and Sunwize. With Mobotix and Sunwize, AvaLAN plans to offer ultra-long-range solar-powered wireless IP camera solutions starting at $4,000, which Shilling says will be "big news" in terms of cost efficiency.

I found another example of security equipment becoming smaller over at Avigilon, where I spoke with J.P. Forest about their new 16 Megapixel network camera. When considering it purely from an image resolution perspective, one 16 Megapixel camera can cover the same amount of area as 50 standard (480x640) cameras and has the obvious benefit of superior zooming capabilities.

As far as "simpler," these examples were everywhere as well. Over at Fire-Lite, all of their new addressable alarm panels have easy-to-use LCD screens that can directly indicate specifically where in a zone a fire or maintenance issue exists. Furthermore, Fire-Lite has standardized the cases their panels are in, and they have taken steps to simplify the process of maintaining and upgrading the panels. It may seem a bit trite, but for those of you who have been on the jobsite with a tool bag, you'll be interested to know that one of their "simpler" design functions makes it impossible for you to lose one of the screws in the process of installing their circuit boards. The screws don't come all the way out-instead you lift the circuit board up and out after the two screws have been loosened. Simple? Yes...but the kind of product design that makes installers lives easier every day. Fire-Lite's new IP communicator (called IPDACT) simply plugs into an existing Fire-Lite alarm panel (which could be 10 or 15 years old), and voila, it can now communicate over an IP network.

Over at Quantum Secure I got to speak with Ajay Jain about the company's "SAFE" product suite, a convergence solution for physical security and IT applications. And yep, you guessed correctly, it's all about making the end user's life simpler by enabling physical security and IT management to deploy their best practices and policies across most software or hardware-driven platforms in physical security. When the data is easier to keep track of, things just work better.

With more security features being crammed into tighter spaces, and with security equipment becoming easier for end users to operate, I think this translates into better security, and safer customers. See you at the show Thursday and Friday as we comb ISC West for more of the best.