Tech Trends: What You May Have Missed at ASIS

Nov. 1, 2013
A recap of some of the technologies, innovations and trends that caught my eye in Chicago

There’s no question about it — ASIS, like ISC West, can be overwhelming. Because it’s a meeting place as much as a trade exhibition, I find myself seeing people more than being able to really see products. Hopefully, I remember to ask “what’s new here?” to someone at a booth. Sure, you hear the buzz about the blockbuster announcements, such as Axis and Milestone’s access control introductions, but interesting new innovations buried in a booth or in the Row 1 or Row 5000 hinterlands usually get missed.

Luckily, at ASIS this September I made a concerted effort to unearth these rare technology jewels. An interesting place to look for new technologies is in the increasingly popular partner kiosks — home of the often off-the-radar company unable to scrape up $5K for a booth of its own. Booths like Milestone usually have a good array of these partners, for example. Here are a few of the most interesting things I noticed at the show.


“Partner” Discoveries

Microsoft included partner companies RTi and Jemez Technology. RTi ( briefed me on its “immersive” 180/360 degree hardened camera systems that overcome distortion and complement a good optical system with image processing capable of facial and license plate recognition and usable resolutions up to 6933 x 1450 resolution at 25 fps. Jemez ( uses military-grade image processing technology, rooted in Los Alamos National Labs, to process video feeds from existing camera networks for advanced threat detection and tracking.

OXiD (, discovered in the Ingersoll Rand booth, provides facial recognition technology for use as an entrance sensor for access control systems. High levels of accuracy, based on measuring 10,000 points on a face, are claimed, and the units are specified for both indoor and outdoor uncontrolled environments.


Finds at the Bigger Booths

Several companies exhibiting autonomously have been on my radar for a while, and continue to impress. BriefCam ( has added video analytics to its Video Synopsis product, which reduces an hour’s worth of video to a couple of minutes. Its Syndex product adds layering of analytic filter parameters — such as size, direction and color — to yield a reduced set of results for review.

FaceFirst’s ( facial recognition technology has a number of interesting elements, such as pre-processing at or near the network edge, transmitting the “best” image to a central processor, and a system that targets 1,000,000 comparisons per second. The technology has been extended into the retail space, targeting inside offenders.

Vigilant Robots (, winner of several new product awards including “Security’s Best” at ASIS 2012, provides robots outfitted with video cameras, collision sensors, environmental sensors and WiFi networking as an alternative or adjunct to guard services. I’ve been told one of their robots serves wine and cheese at the company’s afternoon TGIF parties!

Boon Edam’s ( BoonConnect is a fully integrated technical diagnostics and configuration software system for security revolving doors, providing the maintenance technician a far easier way to troubleshoot and maintain a high-use product most of us take for granted.

Linear Corp. ( continues to add to its line of access control products with the eMerge Essential browser-based access controller, suitable for 1-4 doors.

Viscount Systems ( has been developing its own door controller, in a highly secure and IT-integrated fashion, for some time, and others have followed, including Axis Communications. This concept — which does not require the use of intermediate panels — is being pushed in the low-door-count market, which says to me that web-accessible distributed controllers are the likely future of access control.

Cisco ( continues to promote its MediaNet technology, a potential revolutionary development in the way media devices are recognized and treated by the network. While I plan to write more about this in a future column, an intelligent and tight integration of IP surveillance camera and the network has profound implications for the speed, reliability and bandwidth provisioning for IP video. Its success in the security market may well be tied into decisions by the camera vendors to incorporate the necessary agent into the camera.


A Growing Trend

Discussions with a number of people at the show indicated a continuing interest in and movement to offering Building Information Management (BIM), known to some as Revit (AutoDesk’s software package). Design technology can often be as impactful as product technology, and security designers are increasingly being pulled by the A&E community in the BIM direction. Manufacturers, integrators, and consultants would do well to understand the impact on their products and services. Axis, Assa Abloy, Sony, Samsung and many others have already recognized and acted on this trend.


Ray Coulombe is Founder and Managing Director of and; and Principal Consultant for Gilwell Technology Services. Ray can be reached at, through LinkedIn at or followed on Twitter @RayCoulombe.