Commercial Surveillance Finds its Place at CES

Feb. 12, 2020
While not their primary focus, Bosch and FLIR still touted some commercial-use video surveillance technology

This article originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, don’t forget to mention @SecBusinessMag!

When it comes to the security industry, a primary focus of the CES show is around the smart home; and thus, much of the video surveillance and access control innovation you see on the show floor involves the residential market. That said, if you search long enough, you will inevitably find some commercial market-focused products – especially in the video surveillance space, thanks to advances in AI and other related analytics.

AT CES 2020, two familiar names in the commercial surveillance industry – Bosch and FLIR – caught my eye. While both companies are so diverse that they have a multitude of technologies and markets to target, commercial video surveillance tech found its niche in each booth.

Bosch: Video Analytics for Retail  

While many attendees at CES are looking for cool gadgets for their homes and lives, Chris Larcinese, who heads up Bosch’s retail analytics market development efforts, saw plenty of end-users looking for gadgets for their business.

“This is a consumer-focused show, but there are also a lot of people here that are on the commercial side of the business,” he says. “(They are) trying to understand how they can make their businesses operate more efficiently.”

For the retail market, one of those ways, as many in our industry know, is via video analytics. That said, many of the retail executives roaming the CES show floor may not be familiar with the many nuanced capabilities of a video surveillance camera in a retail environment.

Bosch featured a retail analytics demo at CES that would look much more at home on the show floor at a security show like ISC West – with tripwires, people counting and customer dwell data all done with security cameras at the edge; however, it still generated a lot of interest among consumer tech-focused attendees. “We have been quite impressed with the number of people who have expressed interest in learning more about this,” Larcinese says.

It points to an overall trend that integrators have already noticed in our industry – that end-users a several verticals want their video surveillance cameras producing information relevant to the entire business, not just security.

“We spent a great deal of time explaining it (to end-users at CES), and I'm positioning it more as a video sensor than as a camera with analytics on board,” Larcinese admits. “When I explain it as a device that is generating data, I think people tune into that fairly easily. Then we can start going into security use cases and everyday use cases and things like that.”

FLIR: Smart Cities with a Video Tie-in

A company like FLIR has a lot of stuff to tout at CES – from self-driving vehicles to drones to smart cities. That means a typical thermal security camera won’t be front-and-center in the FLIR booth (the company’s booth was actually on the automotive show floor at CES); however, a few still found their way into showcase positions with a focus on their integration into smart cities.

I met with Ron Grinfeld, who is part of FLIR’s Smart City initiative, who explained that the company’s three new PTZ cameras are integral to the smart city concept because they include both a thermal and a 4K imager. All three cameras are specifically targeted at critical infrastructure, remote facilities and urban city environments.

“They are bringing the color standard to the highest degree, with a thermal system,” he said. “If you use all thermal, you can still use the color camera to capture evidentiary data. In the smart city environment, you would use the dual cameras, with thermal sensors to monitor dark areas, and 4K for the well-illuminated areas.”

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Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of Security Business magazine ( Email him your comments or topic suggestions at