Security Essen 2018, held in Messe Essen, Germany, promised attendees a newly modernised trade show with a simplified layout and more interactive experience. Compared to previous years, halls were reorganised by technology area, with aisles laid out to make more direct pathways for attendees. The fair welcomed 950 exhibitors and more than 36,000 trade visitors from the global security market.

Several manufacturers mentioned that footfall had been lighter than expected, but that the show had delivered on its promise to welcome more international visitors, in particular from the Middle East region. Exhibitors also grumbled about higher costs for booth space.

Key security industry exhibitors

Exhibitors expressed concern that the absence of key players reduced overall foot traffic Exhibitors praised the bigger aisles, which made it easier for visitors to navigate the show. However, some were unsure whether this was due to a better layout or simply because the show was missing key exhibitors. Notably absent were access control provider Dormakaba, security solutions company Honeywell, and surveillance providers Geutebruck and Dallmeier. Exhibitors expressed concern that the absence of key players reduced overall foot traffic.

Security Essen hosted a particularly strong access control presence. Halls 2 and 3 were home to companies from across the access control and mechatronics spectrum. Sponsorship by EVVA covered the west entrance. The locking systems manufacturer, which celebrates its 100th anniversary next year, boasted significant floorspace.

Exhibitors were pleased with the large access and locking presence, commenting that London-based IFSEC International tends to be dominated by video surveillance providers.

Sponsorship by EVVA dominated the west entrance. The locking systems manufacturer, which celebrates its 100th anniversary next year, boasted significant floorspace
EVVA, which celebrates its 100th anniversary next year, boasted significant floorspace

Deep learning and artificial intelligence

The push toward artificial intelligence (AI) in physical security continues, although the tone at Security Essen seemed to be shifting beyond hype and more toward how the technology can actually add value. For example, Hikvision’s cameras boasted more intelligence and processing power, and the company emphasised faster-paced product cycles.

Customers ultimately do not buy AI – they buy benefits and solutions VIVOTEK embraced artificial intelligence as the biggest trend in the industry. The company demonstrated its latest deep learning technology for crowd detection applications. For Dahua, artificial intelligence allows users to easily search metadata in a video, including age and behaviour. Dahua demonstrated its solution for the transportation market, which is able to learn if a bus or train driver is falling asleep at the controls.

However, some manufacturers chose not to focus on artificial intelligence. Representatives from Brivo and Eagle Eye Networks highlighted that customers ultimately do not buy AI – they buy benefits and solutions. Historically, video analytics were oversold and underdelivered, and the same could happen to AI if the term is overused in marketing security solutions.

VIVOTEK demonstrated its latest deep learning technology for crowd detection applications
VIVOTEK embraced artificial intelligence as the biggest trend in the industry

The German market & GDPR

While the fair welcomed an increase in international visitors, many stands offered a distinctly German flavour. Exhibitors catered to German customers’ preference for data protection and high levels of privacy. Visitors were welcomed to the show by banners from Genetec, emblazoned with the slogan “Privacy matters… So, remember to forget me.” The video security provider’s stand demonstrated this concept more tangibly, via its Privacy Protector Module. 

The surveillance software, which is certified with the European Privacy Seal (EuroPriSe), monitors events while automatically pixelating people and vehicles in real time. If an incident occurs, an authorised operator can securely access the unaltered video.

Genetec showcased GDPR provacy protection software at Security Essen 2018
Visitors were welcomed to the show by banners from Genetec

Other companies also acknowledged issues of privacy and cybersecurity. Hikvision noted that Europe is more regulated, which limits the implementation of the company’s products compared to those used in China. Dahua emphasised that its data for the German market is stored in Frankfurt to meet demands for data protection.

IDIS made a point of saying there are no backdoors to their products. The deep learning products are easy to use and 96% accurate, says the company. FLIR has developed a cybersecurity hardening document, and strives to be transparent about cyber issues, including a web landing page where customers can raise any concerns.

Vanderbilt is also pushing the cloud as a way forward with its ACT365 cloud-based access and video solution. Users are not intimidated by the cloud anymore since we all use it in our personal lives, says the company.

Also on the access control side, EVVA were clear on the security of their AirKey mobile access system, which uses technology based on internet banking, double encryption and high-quality hardware.

FLIR has developed a cybersecurity hardening document
As well as demonstrating its SAROS thermal camera, FLIR strived for cybersecurity concerns to be addressed by customers

Taking a broader view

Nedap views security as being about allowing people to focus on their daily lives and work, safe in the knowledge that security is being taken care of. At the show, Nedap launched its new slogan ‘Security for Life’, stating that “true security is when you don’t have to think about it”. Nedap’s global client program represents a long-term commitment to projects. They are having more discussions with clients about risk management through standardisation and centralised policy.Solutions – as opposed to products – were also a focus at Security Essen, as at IFSEC before it

Clients remain with Nedap because they keep investing in the platform, constantly updating the code and simplifying it to improve scalability for organisations, says the company. Nedap had one of the few double-decker booths at Security Essen.

Solutions – as opposed to products – were also a focus at Security Essen, as at IFSEC before it. HID Global touted their extensive use of partnerships to provide solutions. SeeTec highlighted their move away from products to a more solution-based approach. FLIR, perhaps best known as a thermal camera company, were pushing their solutions approach to markets including intelligent traffic, smart city, video management and PSIMs. 

Clients remain with Nedap because they keep investing in the platform, constantly updating the code and simplifying it to improve scalability for organisations
Nedap had one of the few double-decker booths at Security Essen

Vertical markets in focus

As vertical markets go, retail was big, and several players were offering some type of retail solution. Retail – along with banking, finance and transportation – was among Hikvision’s vertical markets of choice. Dahua's new panoramic cameras stitch together the image inside the camera instead of on the server SeeTec’s retail solution combines EAS with business intelligence and heat mapping. Dahua’s retail offerings include people counting and emotion detection, which can correlate with weather data, for example. Genetec also showcased a range of retail solutions.

Technology improvements announced at Security Essen include FLIR's more robust FB6 series thermal line, Promise Technology's SMARTBOOST technology improved playback performance, and Videotec's cameras with better night performance. The extended 50m range of Optex's intrusion detection laser sensor reduces the need for cameras. Dahua's new panoramic cameras stitch together the image inside the camera instead of on the server.

There were signs at Security Essen of an impact of the recent U.S. ban on use of Hikvision and Dahua equipment in government installations
The Hanwha Techwin booth featured Korean flags and a “Korean at heart” motto to set the company apart

Signs of the U.S. congressional ban

There were signs at Security Essen of an impact of the recent U.S. ban on use of Hikvision and Dahua equipment in government installations, although both big Chinese manufacturers maintained a high profile at the German show. For example, the Hanwha Techwin booth featured Korean flags and a “Korean at heart” motto to set the company apart.

Chinese camera manufacturer Uniview were keen to stress that they are not owned by Chinese government (neither is Dahua). Uniview’s all-IP camera line offers high resolution, low-light, multisensor and fisheye options, and AI software provides facial recognition, object detection, and fire and smoke detection at the edge. The company aims to increase its global presence with more international branch offerings and international factories.

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Larry Anderson Editor, SecurityInformed.com & SourceSecurity.com

An experienced journalist and long-time presence in the US security industry, Larry is SourceSecurity.com's eyes and ears in the fast-changing security marketplace, attending industry and corporate events, interviewing security leaders and contributing original editorial content to the site. He leads SourceSecurity.com's team of dedicated editorial and content professionals, guiding the "editorial roadmap" to ensure the site provides the most relevant content for security professionals.

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The Security Event 2019: a new security event to reconnect UK commercial security industry
The Security Event 2019: a new security event to reconnect UK commercial security industry

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If a global manufacturer has a footprint in both the US and Europe, any tradeshow will be managed locally Norman: Our founding partners are Assa Abloy, Avigilon, Anixter, Comelit, Dahua, Honeywell, TDSi, Texecom, Tyco and Videcon. The full list of exhibitors and supporting partners can be found on our website. The reasons why they have signed up are very simple. They all see the exact same gap in the industry event landscape as we do. We believe there is a need for a 3-day channel focused commercial security exhibition based at The NEC in Birmingham. Our exhibitors want to re-engage with the thousands of industry colleagues who no longer attend the other events on offer. Q: Your 2019 show will be the same week as ISC West in Las Vegas. Do you think the competitive calendar will be a factor? Norman: In terms of our both our audience and our exhibiting base there is very little overlap with ISC West. 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How Internet of Things (IoT) aids facility management and physical security
How Internet of Things (IoT) aids facility management and physical security

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Is the physical security industry doing enough to prevent school shootings?
Is the physical security industry doing enough to prevent school shootings?

School shootings continue, as does a search for answers. What solutions are there to prevent school shootings and/or to improve the response (and thus minimise the death toll)?  In the physical security industry, we like to think we have solutions that can help, if not “solve”, the problem, but realistically speaking, how effective are they at the end of the day? We like to think we have solutions that can help, if not “solve”, the problem: but how effective are they at the end of the day? The sad answer – even after dozens of school shootings and even in the wrenching aftermath of the latest one – is that we don’t know. There is a gaping lack of knowledge and research when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of preventative measures as they relate to school shootings. Scarce resources on preventative measures The dearth of knowledge on the subject leaves schools at risk of spending scarce resources on measures that don’t have any real impact, or worse, that have a negative effect on education environments. The natural impulse following a school shooting is to do something – anything – to prevent the tragedy from happening again at any school, but especially at my school. But how is money best spent?Successful businesses are a good thing, but not at the expense of misspending education resources on solutions that don’t solve anything Congress has passed the Stop School Violence Act of 2018 to provide $50 million per year to develop programs to train students, teachers and law enforcement to prevent violence, and to create anonymous reporting systems, such as hot lines, for school violence threats. The bill authorises another $25 million for improvements to school’s physical security infrastructures. Congress also provides $1.1 billion in Title IV block grants, which districts can use to pay for diverse needs such as security systems. Several states are providing additional funding for physical safety measures and campus police, and local districts are also stretching their budgets to address security concerns. But is that money being targeted to measures that will help the situation? What is the role of technology in preventing school violence, and are we as an industry at risk of over-selling our preventative capabilities and diverting money from other measures that might have more impact? Successful businesses are a good thing, but not at the expense of misspending education resources on solutions that don’t solve anything. More metal detectors, armed guards and police officers could cause anxiety in some students and even interfere with the learning process Studies on school safety and protection Researchers, advocates and educators gathered this fall at American University to consider the need for better research to inform decision-making on safety, reported Education Week.The field is in desperate need of more evidence on what works, and schools want this information presented to them" A 2016 study by the Rand Corp. points to the problem: Lack of data and research on what works and what doesn’t. “Despite growth in the school safety-technology sector, rigorous research about the effectiveness of these technologies is virtually non-existent,” according to Rand. “The field is in desperate need of more evidence on what works, and schools want this information presented to them in vetted, digestible ways to help them with procurement.” Jeremy Finn, a professor of education at the University of Buffalo, has pointed out the difficulty of assessing the effectiveness of measures designed to deter events that likely won’t occur anyway. “How do you know when you have deterred a school shooting?” he asks. “It didn’t happen.” The effects on our students  Might technologies aimed at making schools more secure have an adverse effect on the learning environment? More metal detectors, armed guards and police officers could cause anxiety in some students and even interfere with the learning process. The physical security industry should freely acknowledge that the technologies we offer are only part of the solution to school violence Do security measures aimed at preventing active shooting incidents absorb resources that might better be used to address a more general and/or likely security threat such as vandalism or student discipline? Theoretically, security measures in general should help to prevent the probability of an active shooter at the same time they are addressing a wider range of concerns and threats. But do they? At the very least, we in the physical security market should be aware, and should freely acknowledge, that the technologies we offer are only part of the solution to school violence. Schools should take the broadest possible approach to the range of security challenges, and technology should be one tool among many. Furthermore, better data to measure what works is sorely needed to illuminate the best path forward.