5G is one of those security-adjacent topics that has some people’s attention, but like many technologies that are “all the rage” at CES, it is something that much of our industry has pushed into the “we will talk about that later” category. But like 4K and H.265 were, it is only a matter of time before 5G becomes the gold standard – in this case, for cellular communications.
Israel-based security manufacturer Essence – long known in our industry for its PERS and related wellness and emergency communications products – is taking a seat at the front of the 5G train by introducing two new 5G forward-compatible security products at CES 2021.
“We see 5G as very important,” Essence Director of Marketing Rafi Zauer says. “In the PERS domain, we provided a very strong differentiator in that we were among the first to come out with an LTE-enabled panel. We wanted to adjust to make sure that our customers are future-proofed and that they will have access to 5G as soon as they need it – like they had when LTE became a necessity.”
PERS for the Next Generation
Essence’s PERS 5G, introduced at CES, is, according to a press release, “a highly advanced gateway that provides activity monitoring, fall detection, and voice capabilities anywhere in the home. The 5G technology enables service providers and users to enjoy the highest levels of dependability and accuracy.”
Zauer says the unit is still in the “working prototype” phase, but it will be backward compatible to LTE, as we wait for the U.S. and the rest of the world to deploy 5G networks. “The final product will be ready later this year,” he says. “Functionality-wise at this stage, it is really similar to our previous PERS.”
For the uninitiated, 5G, in a very simple nutshell, is a more robust cellular communications infrastructure that provides significantly faster data transmission. While it makes sense for a mobile PERS product to embrace the technology for future improvement, Zauer explains that 5G is a way to lift the bandwidth consumption barriers of systems that provide multi-functionality.
Editor's Note: Read more about 5G and its implications for the security industry from Tech expert Ray Coulombe at www.securityinfowatch.com/21086458.
“There is a lot of skepticism with 5G – especially around the ‘how much do we need it’ question,” Zauer says. “But when the PERS gateway becomes more than an emergency alarm, 5G automatically makes it better. (Eventually), our panels will provide more healthcare capabilities and more connectivity to other medical devices (such as heart monitoring, fall detection, etc.). We can layer more and more services onto these onto these gateways because there will be faster and more immediate communication channels. For us, the more services we want to offer, the more we see 5G as a way to be able to provide them.”
As for a non-5G wellness application, Essence also touted its MDSense fall detection system, which leverages another cutting-edge technology – radar – to cover a full room using a wireless device that looks much like a traditional PIR motion detector. “It is based on a radar system that fits within the framework of a small wireless battery-operated product that is connected to a to a certified PERS system,” Zauer explains.
He goes on to explain that the product is ideal for people who might not be wearing an emergency pendant and/or cannot reach a panic button. “This method is more effective than a wearable because if you are scanning a room, you are not necessarily looking for the fall itself – you are looking at the change in position and what happens after that,” Zauer explains. “If I am walking around or standing, and the next second I am lying on the ground, even if we miss that that actual fall itself, we know that I'm lying down and then I haven't gotten up.”5G Comes to Intrusion Detection
Beyond the wellness monitoring area, Essence also introduced an intrusion detection system aimed at homes and small businesses. The company calls its Integrated FogShield product “the world’s first 5G standalone solution for intruder prevention.” Connected via 5G CAT-M networks, it includes motion detection, video recording, two-way voice capabilities, and a smoke diffuser that fills a room with a harmless but disorienting smoke that forces intruders out of the premises. Suitable for both residential and commercial buildings, the company says the system can be integrated with existing security systems or used as a standalone solution.
“For us, the 5G for intrusion detection at the moment is on the low-bandwidth IoT level,” Zauer says. “One of the one of the beauties of these capabilities is that it allows you to totally divest your residential security systems from home networks. That also improves your cybersecurity.”
Aside from the advantages of 5G, the unit is ideal for small business locations looking to thwart potential robberies, using a compact form factor to deliver the smoke/fog effect – a familiar demo to many an ISC West attendee.
“From our experience in Europe, the (smoke/fog) is extremely effective,” Zauer says. “A standard 15- to 20-meter room will fill up in in under 30 seconds, making it completely unnavigable. It is non-toxic and it has a bit of an odor, but it doesn't stick and is gone within a matter of a couple of hours.”
Learn more about these products by requesting more information about Essence at www.securityinfowatch.com/11149816.
Paul Rothman is Editor in Chief of Security Business magazine. Access the issue archives and subscribe at www.securitybusinessmag.com and follow us on linkedin (www.linkedin.com/company/security-business-magazine) and Twitter, @SecBusinessMag.