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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