The enthusiasm of ISC West 2017 continued through to the final hours of Friday, reflective of a show jam-packed with new technologies to address industry trends. Exhibitors seemed happy enough with booth traffic, which held up even on the final day.

Security industry trends

Industry trends drove much of the technology. For example, cameras are getting less expensive, which means it’s more cost-effective to specify systems with higher camera counts. Also, cameras are providing more data than ever, including megapixel and 4K resolutions and retention times are getting longer, driven both by regulatory issues and the increasing use of video in operational functions beyond security. These trends point to a growing importance of video data storage systems. Themes at ISC West included the need for integrators to consider carefully system storage requirements, and that storage systems should be designed specifically for use with video.

Seagate Technology Skyhawk

Seagate Technology emphasised the importance of simplicity related to video storage, which should be easy to buy, to deploy and to upgrade. For systems up to 64 cameras and needing up to 10 terabytes of storage, Seagate offers the Skyhawk NVR/DVR-ready system, compatible with all the large video management system (VMS) partners. Image Perfect software optimises the equipment for use with video, resulting in fewer dropped frames.

Higher security smart cards such as MIFARE DESFire EV2 can provide additional security instead of prox cards

Beyond 64 cameras, Seagate offers more sophisticated, customised systems; up to a petabyte of storage; and the ability to stack additional units for expansion. A common mistake when specifying storage is to underestimate capacity need. Because camera prices are coming down, it’s easy to add more cameras as a system plan evolves, but the additional cameras must also be considered in the storage equation.

Promise Technology SmartBoost

Promise Technology was another storage company with a high profile at ISC West, also highlighting products that are optimised and built specifically for the video market. The company’s SmartBoost technology refines how the system reads and writes data. It uses tools and algorithms such as Predictive Playback and a sequential pattern recording (Full Stripe) feature to reduce the CPU load and optimise performance. The result is more efficient and dependable operation – and no lost video frames.

Quantum simplifies the complexity of storage for end users – unifying various tiers of storage and presenting it as a single “drive letter.” Invisible to the end user, Quantum’s system manages multiple tiers of storage, including high-performance primary, high-capacity secondary, less expensive file-based tape and even cloud storage.

Cybersecurity in access control

Attendees will have heard a lot about cybersecurity at ISC West, mostly as it relates to IP video systems, but it is also an issue for access control. Scott Lindley, president of Farpointe Data, says too many companies – including big corporations – are leaving their access control systems unnecessarily vulnerable to being hacked. Two points of vulnerability in particular are 125 kHz prox cards and the Wiegand interface. Both are older technologies that continue to be used although there are more secure choices easily available.

Higher security smart cards such as MIFARE DESFire EV2 can provide additional security instead of prox cards, as can addition of two-factor authentication such as a keypad requiring a personal identification number (PIN). Alternatives to the Wiegand output include ABA Track 2, TCP/IP and the OSDP (Open Supervised Device Protocol) interfaces. Use of long-range readers can make systems more secure by enabling a reader to be located inside a secure area, up to 200 feet away and less susceptible to tampering. 

Security robotics at ISC West

There were several security robot companies at ISC West, including a section called the “Unmanned Security Expo.” One robotic company on display was Robotic Assistance Devices (RAD).

The first products should be available in July, after which RAD looks to produce 25 to 50 robots per month

They are using a robot "base" from SMP Robotics and adding additional intelligence (from NVIDIA). The idea is a robot that can detect humans and vehicles (to take the place of guards). There is a sophisticated system for navigation and avoidance. The robot collects information along its route; takes snapshots of what it "sees,” and uses scene matching to interpret what it encounters. The "layered" visual navigation system has been in development for seven years.

The first products should be available in July, after which Robotic Assistance Devices looks to produce 25 to 50 robots per month. They are taking "pre-orders” – $1,000 will reserve you a robot. Reportedly, “demand has been in the hundreds." They won't be selling the robots, but rather "renting” them at a rate that equates to around $7 per hour (24 hours a day/seven days a week). Critical infrastructure is one major market.

All in all, it was a great show and it could have gone on for two more days at least. (For some of us, delayed by cancelled Delta flights, it might as well have. I finally returned home on Monday morning after a “bonus” weekend in Vegas.)