ISC East security technology notes

Oct. 29, 2008
Mail cleansers to CO detectors to even more impressive DVRs

As was discussed in our forums earlier today, ISC East was booming with traffic this year. And on top of that traffic boom, there’s actually been quite a bit of really hot technology moving around the show floor. I wanted to give a quick splash about some of the technology I’ve seen today.

At ISC East last year, we reported on the company iControl, which does remote home control for automation and security. The firm is best known for its partnership with GE Security’s residential products like the Simon series of alarm panels. iControl has managed to create nice interfaces using hardware and software and hosted services to really broaden how we think of interfacing with home security systems. Their iHub device talks to the security system, IP cameras, and even lights and the thermostat. It gives a pretty amazing level of remote control over all of these services. On a side note, since the Apple iPhone is so hot, iControl is showing what seems to be the early stages of an iPhone application to give you direct-to-your-iPhone control over alarms, lights, temperatures and even video surveillance. They’re over at booth 1677 if you’re here in New York.

On an entirely different note, I caught up with the folks from Mikoh. They make a variety of tamper-evident tags and RFID-enabled asset protection tags. In short, these are the tags you can use for general asset logging (since they include serial numbers which allow you to associate a specific tag with a device). But their product line extends even to methods for tracking boxes and devices with RFID technology. Notable was a partnership with Pelican Cases (lockable, hardened, waterproof, dustproof, impact-resistant cases popular for shipping high-end electronics). They’ve done a system using some intellectual property that came out of the NSA for a tamper-evident RFID tag for such uses. You can only imagine what government secrets these tags are helping to protect. Head to booth 1355 if you have any interest in these tags.

Telular doesn’t have a booth, but they did do a lunchtime session about adding cellular back-up for alarm panels. I caught up with Telular’s Shawn Welsh and Pamela Benke after their lunchtime education session (which drew around 40 dealers). They were showcasing their new TG-11 alarm panel communicator. This device allows dealers to add cell radio communications to a Honeywell Vista alarm panel quite seamlessly. It seems well-designed for the installer. It fits into an existing knockout in the alarm panel box, and the antenna extends to an existing opening in the panel box, which means no drilling or custom box work or wall-mounting needed. It draws power off the existing Vista infrastructure and battery, and wires directly to the Vista panels via the ECP Bus. RMR for dealers means you can charge extra money per month for cellular back-up, and as a technical benefit, the TG-11/Telular service supports panel uploads. On a side note, Telular recently acquired SupplyNet Communications, which does sensor devices for big liquid storage tanks (500-plus gallons) such as found in the petrochem sector. Again, they have no booth at ISC East, so you’ll just have to Google them.

Ah, DVRs and NVRs. We can’t get enough. I swung by the booth of AVerMedia where staffer Kris Rangarajan gave me an overview of two DVR/NVR units they have. One was a simple 4-channel unit, but the hot point was that it allows the cameras to connect via WiFi to the DVR. That means no coax or network cable runs to get your video stored. It’s quite a nifty unit for those of you needing to add video surveillance storage when you can’t run the wire (due to architectural or historical reasons, for example). They also had their whopper hybrid recorder. The SA9000 records at D1 resolution, supports analog and network inputs, and has some nice touches like a built-in suite of “lite” analytics. One of the nice things about this AVerMedia user interface is that when you’re searching for archived video, you can look at clips by the day, by the hour, by the minute and even down to the second. You get to “see” all of these with a screen capture associated to each clip, and although it’s rather difficult to explain in an article format like this, the real benefit is instantly being able to recognize the clip you need. This 16-channel recorder supports megapixel cams and can do video encryption. Check them out at booth 945.

System Sensor was show casing two new products at the show for you fire buffs. The CO1224T is a carbon monoxide detector with what they call “RealTest”. The thing about this detector, says System Sensor’s David George, is that it actually allows you to test the sensor to make sure it’s detecting CO. Most detectors, when running a test, are only checking the circuitry of the detector and not the actual “nose.” Now, with a bottle of CO (“Yes, the ‘silent killer’ is now available in a can,” jokes System Sensor’s Jackie Lorenty) and knowledge of the alert sequence on this detector, you can actually test to see whether the sensor is indeed sensing. Seems pretty simple, but apparently this is not the norm in the CO detection industry yet. System Sensor was also showcasing their newest iteration of the Innovair duct smoke detector. Highlights for this product include a new configuration which makes it easier to mount and connect than ever.

If you’re at all confused with the branding from Samsung GVI Security or even the now defunct Samsung 360, just head by these company’s booths. Samsung GVI is right where you come into the show in close proximity to the Napco booth, and Samsung Techwin is a little further back at booth 1165. The message I heard from both companies is that they want to explain to you, their customers and dealers, how they each differ. I wasn’t able to spend a lot of time at Samsung Techwin seeing the product line they launched last month, but the company rolled out a huge line of video products during the ASIS show, and they have those devices here. An interesting side note that I learned while talking to Samsung Techwin’s Bob McKee: Samsung is heavily involved in defense research and even has a strong robotics division. The “Techwin” group, of course, is interested in leveraging those research pursuits as well as the more commonly known video surveillance product lineups developed from within Samsung Electronics.

We reported during the ASIS show about JVC’s heavy focus on network video surveillance, and the company is back again with more to show at ISC East. The hot product(s) are their direct drive PTZ cameras. With a 36x optical zoom, 360 degrees of continuous camera rotation and the ability to stop on a dime, PoE (in select models) and a hot swappable design that was well-planned for installers, these cameras are getting a lot of attention. The V686 has the 36x zoom; its sibling, the V685, adds PoE, but reduces zoom to 27x (still quite strong!). If you recall from our ASIS notes, this is part of what the company calls its V.Networks IP video solutions line.

And finally, we close with something entirely different. On a whim, I popped into the booth of BioDefense Corporation where CEO Michael Lu and communications director Shaun Lennert showed me a unit designed to make mail safe. In about 45 minutes via all measures of irradiation and other techniques, the MailDefender takes three pounds of mail and makes it completely safe from any bio toxins. Sized about like a washing machine, the unit is heavy duty and shuts down contaminants like smallpox, anthrax, E. Coli, ricin, Ebola virus, Avian flu and more. Undoubtedly, the recent spree of hoax letters sent to U.S. banks and to Reuters news agency with some inert white powder is generating some interest for this specialty equipment.