Head around the show floor of ISC West 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada, for about four hours and I promise that your head will spin. There seem to be more booths than ever (Reed Exhibitions' Dean Russo said in his opening address on Wednesday that he expects 2007 to surpass the 2006 show in terms of attendees and certainly booths), and although the amount of new technology can be overwhelming at times, it's clear that our industry hasn't forgotten how to innovate, innovate some more, and then innovate again. While I'm not sure that there are any products I've yet seen that truly came out of left field, what we are seeing is the flourishing of specialized products that solve long-standing challenges in physical security.
And while it's hard to sift through the hundreds of manufacturers with good solutions here at ISC, there have been a few that really caught my eye. Take a tour with me of seven of the hottest products on the floor:
Over at the booth of Axis Communications, I was rather impressed by one of the company's smallest cameras. The Axis 209 camera is small and robust and was created to allow IP-based video surveillance in buses and trains. Designed to withstand vandals and even moisture and dust, and placed in a form factor that makes the camera unobtrusive, this little workhorse has surprised a number of people as integrators have found uses for network video in the mass transit market.
For the "cool" factor, it's hard to walk past Brijot, where they're showcasing the BIS-WDS second generation millimeter-wave imaging solution. Think of it like X-ray to the Nth degree, this "camera" allows users to see hidden objects, including gels and liquids, weapon threats and almost anything that could be hidden on a person. For people screening applications, it's hard to find anything better right now.
Honeywell's VISTA panels already have been a popular model for dealers to install, but the new Internet Connection Module (ICM) that Honeywell unveiled at ISC West takes VISTA to a new level, by allowing users to control security systems from their PCs, PDAs or cell phones. It's all about giving the consumer more options, explains Honeywell's Ralph Maniscalco. If the "Net-attached" nature of modern life is any indication, Honeywell should have a winner with this add-on offering. Wondering how to get back in touch with your previous security system customers to find a little more revenue? This could be it.
OK, maybe it's not a single product, but the system that Ingersoll Rand/Schlage is touting at the show is the ability to take a customer from managed locks all the way to full-fledged, scheduled, and card-based electronic access control solutions. Schlage's Felix Mira showcased the solutions design that allows standalone, computer managed locks to be tied in with a coordinated electronic door access solutions. The system is a notable move as Schlage progress far beyond selling hardware only, to selling a solutions approach to electronic access. These guys are probably the only ones who have been able to successfully make a standalone computer-managed lock exist as part of an overall electronic access control solution strategy that can expand from keys to cards, schedules and which can even now link with associated video surveillance feeds.
Need to tell what color a fly's wings are from 300 feet? Or maybe you just want to capture a wide area with a surveillance camera so that you get scene detail as well as situation awareness? Chances are you could do either with Avigilon's new 16 megapixel surveillance camera. No, that's not a typo - they were able to pack 16 megapixels into their camera, and the results are spectacular when you look at the detail. Sure, your IT guy would kill you it tried to push full resolution and full frame rate video from this camera over his network, but Avigilon's model is that you can get a lower-resolution video output for remote monitoring and store the full resolution video at the edge of the network.
Stop by DSC's booth is you want to see the DSC Home by Life/ware product suite. Designed as a home security and automation package rolled into one, this cool little system mixes HVAC automation, security controls, surveillance, audio and visual media and more in a package that is smartly controlled at the television or by a TV remote. With the entertainment center fast becoming the control-point of consumers' electronic lives, DSC and Life/ware are riding this wave and offering an affordable security and automation solution that could be applicable for almost any home.
Napco's Freedom 64 is beautifully simple because it allows your residential alarm customers to interact with their home security system with the most traditional of all tools - the key. The system recognizes that if someone is opening the home with a key, they're not likely to be a robber, and performs a systems disarm. Smartly, Napco integrated this system with garage door openers, and I have to say, the folks over at Napco really seem to get it that residential customers don't want a hassle when it comes to security - they want it seamless with their lives. Call it freedom from punching in codes on the keypad, and I like it. Napco is pretty sure your alarm customers will like it to.
For more coverage of new products at ISC West 2007, go here.