Cloud-based video surveillance products
There are many new technologies at ISC West this year. There are also some tried-and-true solutions on display. More mature products have the benefit of being fully vetted and battle-tested, which may make them a more comfortable choice for security customers. I had a couple of discussions on Day 2 of the show about the advantages, and possible drawbacks, of new products. “To a security director, when you say ‘new,’ he translates that into ‘risk,’” says Bill Spence, VP of Sales, U.S., Canada and Western Europe for HID Global’s Lumidigm biometrics brand. “Anytime you say new, there is a probability of risk. The key is to educate. Education quantifies risk, and an educated customer can make an intelligent decision about risk versus reward.” “We have to take customers from where they are to help them understand new technologies,” says Spence. “We must give them a bridge to that understanding, and education is the bridge.” Lumidigm biometrics integrations An app provides graphics that take installers step-by-step through the installation process HID Global is incorporating Lumidigm biometrics into the new iClass SE RB25F fingerprint reader being highlighted at the show. Two-factor authentication can use either a card or mobile credential along with biometrics; there is no latency; and templates can be stored on a card. Another new offering at the HID Global booth is an augmented reality tool to simplify installation of newer systems that incorporate the more secure OSDP protocol. An app provides graphics that take installers step-by-step through the installation process. Also highlighted at the HID Global booth — and at the booths of turnstile manufacturers throughout the show — are embedded readers that provide tested and certified mobile access control for turnstiles. IClass SE technology is embedded in the iRox-T Turnstile Reader from Essex Electronics. Innovative security technologies There’s a delicate balance at any trade show between creating excitement about new products and educating customers to be comfortable with new technologies. There is some of both at ISC West 2019. In the future, hardware will be a delivery device, not the core of systems “We are on the cusp of change in the industry, and it’s closer than ever,” says Jennifer Doctor, Johnson Controls’ Senior Director, Project Management - Intrusion. “We will see the impact of promised technologies that will come from other industries, such as artificial intelligence. The very definition of security is changing. We are an industry that needs to be risk-averse, and we need to prove out the technology. There is innovation, but we just need to make sure technologies are what the market wants and expects.” “In the future, hardware will be a delivery device, not the core of systems, which will come from intelligence in the software and from services,” she adds. “The products we deliver will enable that.” Have 30 percent of service companies in the U.S. security market jumped into the cloud? PowerSeries Pro intrusion portfolio Johnson Controls is highlighting the commercial PowerSeries Pro intrusion portfolio, which features PowerG encrypted technology that enables wireless systems that are cyber-secure. The cloud is coming on strong, and one company finding success in cloud systems is Eagle Eye Networks, which has seen 93% compounded annual growth over the past three years. Economies of scale have enabled them to lower subscription prices by 35%, with an extra 10% decrease for customers that pay annually. Ken Francis, President of Eagle Eye Networks, says they are signing up 50 new dealers a month for the cloud video offering. Francis estimates that 30 percent of service companies in the U.S. security market have jumped into the cloud “It’s really heating up,” says Francis. “The general cloud is driving increases in the surveillance cloud.” Jumping to cloud Embracing the cloud and recurring monthly revenue (RMR) requires that dealers transform their businesses to ensure success. Francis says dealers should dedicate sales resources to cloud offerings rather than expect everyone to sell the cloud, and there should be a base commission plan on RMR services in lieu of upfront project fees. March Networks is also showing integration of video with the Shopify cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) system “Talk to professionals about your cash flow and understand how to capitalise on financing partners to ensure cash flow while investing in the RMR stream,” he adds. “And look for ways to reduce your costs to serve the customer base as your RMR increases.” For example, use of remote site diagnostics, configuration and support can avoid the need for expensive “truck rolls” that can undermine profitability. Francis estimates that 30 percent of service companies in the U.S. security market have jumped into the cloud. Alarm companies, which are accustomed to the RMR model, are generally ahead of the curve, while traditional security integrators are lagging. “It’s a requirement to change or die,” he notes. Insight hosted managed service Also, in the area of managed services, March Networks is highlighting its Insight hosted managed service that can provide instant information on video systems located at remote sites, including visibility into firmware versions, camera warranty information, and cybersecurity status of systems. The ability to dive deeply into system status empowers a new recurring revenue stream for integrators. Color-coded icons summarise system status and show pending issues and clicking on the icons provides detailed workflow information. The system can also be offered for smaller systems such as those at convenience stores and quick-serve restaurants. March Networks is also showing integration of video with the Shopify cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) system. The integration enables managers to evaluate POS information, especially anomalies, to determine possible employee theft and other shrinkage issues.
Activity slowed on the last day of ISC West in Las Vegas, but there was plenty of momentum remaining and plenty more to see. In the end, Reed Exhibitions declared 2018 the biggest and most successful year to date for the show. There were an additional 4,000 square feet of exhibit space compared to last year and a 6 percent growth in overall attendance, according to Reed. The cloud, biometrics, deep learning and other technologies were among the big topics at the show, and even smaller exhibitors were pleased with the results. In particular, emerging technologies were successfully highlighted. Cloud-based video systems Cloud video company Eagle Eye Networks announced multiple new offerings at ISC West. One was the first cloud-based video system that accommodates HD-over-coax cameras using the HD-TVI protocol to operate over existing coaxial cabling. In effect, cameras connect with an HD-TVI recorder, which plugs into Eagle Eye Networks’ on-site hardware “bridge” connecting to the Internet. Eagle Eye Networks has also integrated Hikvision body-worn cameras into their cloud system; transmitting video using the Eagle Eye Bridge ensures end-to-end encryption and the evidentiary integrity of the video. Analytics in the cloud can be turned on and off at will for each camera, and could be deployed over a weekend and switched off the following week “A few years ago, fewer customers were ready to adopt the cloud,” says Ken Francis, President of Eagle Eye Networks. “Now market adoption is changing, and customers don’t want on-site hardware. End-users are driving the move to cloud systems.” He estimates the evolution is about halfway complete, and Eagle Eye Networks continues to sign up new dealers every month because their customers are asking for the cloud. Eagle Eye Networks’ third new offering at ISC West is “analytics in the cloud,” including familiar analytics such as intrusion, people counting and loitering. Francis says the economics of the cloud make implementation of analytics much more affordable – about $4 per camera. Analytics in the cloud can be turned on and off at will for each camera. For example, analytics could be deployed over a weekend and then switched off the following week. “It’s a far more economically attractive and cost-effective service than on-site,” says Francis. the economics of the cloud make implementation of analytics much more affordable Augmented identity: biometrics in security Biometrics continue to make their way into the mainstream of the security market, and IDEMIA brought its message of “augmented identity” to ISC West. IDEMIA (formerly OT-Morpho) provides systems to the largest biometrics users in the world, including big customers such as the FBI and Interpol, and large-scale government projects around the globe. “If you can handle projects that big, enterprise applications are no problem,” says Gary Jones, Vice President, Global Channel & Marketing, Biometric Access & Time Solutions. He says that the company’s technologies apply to any vertical market, and they are especially common in major airports and big financial institutions, in addition to government. The company’s MorphoWave product allows users to wave their hand, and the system captures a three-dimensional shape of fingerprints. The touchless system is also “frictionless” -- it enables fast decision-making that promotes high throughput rates. Artificial intelligence applications AI and deep learning have been big topics of conversation at ISC West, and I saw a company on the last day of the show with a different take on the subject. BrainChip uses a type of AI called “spiking neural networking” that models the operation of neurons in the human brain - in contrast to “convolutional neural networks,” which use a series of math functions to train from pre-labelled data sets. The BrainChip Studio software can search vast amounts of video footage rapidly to identify either faces, patterns or objects. Applications are in law enforcement, counter-terrorism and intelligence agencies.The BrainChip Studio software can search vast amounts of video footage rapidly to identify either faces, patterns or objects “We search for specific things,” said Bob Beachler, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Business Development. The software can search hundreds of live or recorded camera feeds for a unique graphic pattern on an item of clothing or on a bag carried by a person, for example. The technology only requires modest processing power and consumes little energy, so it can be used with legacy systems without requiring hardware or infrastructure upgrades. Emerging Technology Zone A new Emerging Technology Zone at ISC West included participation by around 40 companies that are startups and/or new to the security industry. The section opened an hour before the main show floor and was located near the registration area, which increased traffic. “Generally speaking some people said it was hard to find, but I think it’s better for us as someone new to the market, rather than being on the main floor where you can get lost in the shuffle,” said Jeffrey Weiner, Vice President, Networks & Business Solutions, at Mersoft. “It was really smart that they opened this an hour earlier.” Mersoft, one of the Emerging Technology Zone exhibitors, has developed a software product to help the security industry do a better job of streaming live video. The software eliminates the startup delay and lag in live video. With dedicated software, video can be consumed by a browser or mobile app more easily Live video streaming “We accomplish that in two ways,” says Weiner. “One, we don’t trans-code the video into another format. Instead, we convert a security camera’s video from RTSP (real time streaming protocol) to WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication), an open-source technology that has been used extensively in video conferencing, but not so much in security. The video can be consumed by a browser or mobile app more easily, and we don’t need a player on the client, which is another way we reduce lag.” Another advantage is that WebRTC is natively encrypted; every packet is encrypted. In contrast, applications that transmit RTSP have to be wrapped in a VPN (virtual private network) tunnel, which takes some effort to maintain and is a battery hog on a mobile device. Also, multi-casting of video is easier, even using streams of various resolutions. Mersoft works through partnerships, offering a cloud-hosted service on Amazon and a version that can be installed on a local server. They have worked with several DIY camera sellers (who use cloud services), and with some major commercial service providers. “A new partnership strategy we are exploring is with systems integrators, who can incorporate Mersoft and provide a differentiator by improving their video performance,” says Weiner. The 22-year-old company is new to security, and ISC West provides opportunities for in-depth conversations preparing for a future in the security sector. Customisable turnstile solutions Delta highlighted their new designer series turnstiles, whose colourful appearance led booth visitors to ask about customisation Even the smaller companies, located toward the back of the hall, were enthusiastic about ISC West this year. “The show has been great,” says Vanessa Howell, project manager of Delta Turnstiles. “We did get a lot of traffic. I am a niche product, so it’s not so much about quantity as quality [of leads]. I had great quality at the show.” Being away from competitors, which are grouped next to each other in the front of the hall, was an upside of the turnstile company’s booth location toward the back. Delta highlighted their new designer series turnstiles, whose colourful appearance led booth visitors to ask about customisation. “They ask: ‘Why are turnstiles only sold in basic models?’” says Howell. “’Why can’t they look like a piece of art since they are the first thing people see when they enter a building?’ People are very open to making them prettier.” Delta Turnstiles has been coming to ISC West since 2006. “I have manufacturer’s reps, and this is one of two times I get to see them in one place, and they bring a lot of customers to me at the booth,” says Howell. “This is my only face-to-face meetings with some customers. I speak mostly over the phone.” Valuable face-to-face engagement was a benefit of ISC West, and many of those meetings will likely set the stage for continuing successes in our vibrant market. Until next year.
Cloud-based video systems are becoming more common in the market, growing faster than on-site recording systems. One of the largest companies in the cloud video sector, Eagle Eye Networks is aggressively expanding its offerings to the fast-growing market, and its geographic reach, with acquisition of Panasonic’s cloud-based video business, including the CameraManager and NuboCam brands. Expanding Eagle Eye Networks' coverage in Europe The acquisition will expand Eagle Eye Networks’ coverage in the European region, where the CameraManager system is popular, and will include two additional data centres, to be added to EagleEye Network’s existing global network of seven data centres. The acquisition will also include existing CameraManager coverage in Latin America and Asia. The division’s 45 employees, including the managing director and technical director, are leaving Panasonic and joining Eagle Eye Networks. Panasonic Cloud Management Services Europe B.V. will be renamed Eagle Eye Networks B.V. The main product will be renamed Eagle Eye CameraManager. “Companies want the convenience of connecting cameras at a lower price point,” says Ken Francis, President of Eagle Eye Networks. “CameraManager is attractive to a segment of companies dealing with fewer cameras per site.” CameraManager existing relationships Eagle Eye Networks has been wanting to expand its footprint in Europe, including more channel partners. Along with the CameraManager acquisition come existing relationships with about 125 dealer/integrators in Europe providing cloud video services to small businesses. CameraManager also has two private-label agreements with Pronet Security Services in Turkey and with Securitas, which will both transition to EagleEye Networks. CameraManager has the largest small business/commercial camera count in Europe, not counting consumer cloud video. In addition to growing geographically, the acquisition will expand Eagle Eye Network’s business “down market;” that is, to smaller businesses with even fewer cameras and less-expensive systems. CameraManager’s approach to cloud-based video involves cameras that are connected directly to the Internet, an approach that works well for small businesses that need only a couple of cameras. In contrast, EagleEye Networks’ cloud-based system involves the use of a video management system (VMS) “bridge” appliance connected to the Internet at each location, to which cameras are connected; an approach that works well with applications requiring six or more cameras per site. “Now we can provide dealers both bridge and bridgeless solutions, everything they want,” says Francis. Panasonic NuboCam The acquisition will also include Panasonic’s relatively new NuboCam business, which offers a self-contained cloud-ready camera enabling telecommunications companies to connect to 4G/LTE networks. In effect, Eagle Eye networks will now offer three cloud video platforms worldwide. Combining the two technologies also provides opportunities for existing CameraManager dealers now to offer larger systems typical of Eagle Eye, and for existing Eagle Eye dealers to offer smaller systems. CameraManager was one of the earliest cloud video systems to launch, and has kept its technology current over the last seven or eight years, says Francis. Eagle Eye Network’s sister access control company, Brivo, will also be integrating with CameraManager using the application programming interface (API), enabling Brivo customers to purchase lower-priced cloud video systems.
With global events putting security at the forefront of everyone’s minds, IFSEC International 2017 was a chance for the industry to come out in force. Over 600 exhibitors and numerous seminars kept visitors informed on the latest innovations in security products, solutions and best practice. Despite the challenging heatwave, exhibitors were raring to go for the three mercifully air-conditioned days of the exhibition. SourceSecurity.com took to the show floor to check out what exhibitors were talking about. [Pictured: Nedap Security Management welcomes new Managing Director Fokko van der Zee] Increasing ROI in vertical markets Sustainable partnerships overtake integrations Power in the hands of the customer Adding value in vertical markets The big question for many exhibitors was how to stand out on a show floor (and in a market) dominated by larger commoditised brands. Manufacturers rose to the challenge by deliberately positioning themselves as solutions providers within specific vertical markets, rather than trying to compete on low cost products. For Vivotek, the Taiwanese IP surveillance specialists, the emphasis was on adding value in particular markets such as transport and retail. Alongside a lineup of 180° and 360° solutions, the manufacturer debuted its 12-megapixel fisheye camera, FE9391-EV, whose 360° lens technology makes it ideal for crowd detection and loitering-time analysis in the retail sector, in addition to traditional security applications. Vivotek’s vertical market focus was further reinforced by demonstrations of its integrations with SeeTec and Wavestore. This collaboration forms part of the company’s Solution Integration Alliance programme, which aims to create better end-user solutions through integration of Vivotek products with partner technologies. Collaborating on technology and customer support This was a theme which resonated across the show floor. The Promise Technology stand firmly emphasised collaboration, with presentations from the storage provider’s IP camera partners including IronYun and Axis Communications. Particular importance was given to education and training for partners and end users to get the most out of integrated solutions. The emphasis for Promise Technology was on education and training for partners and end users Similarly, for Nedap Security Management, the increasing demand for connected systems means that open platform solutions are essential to excel within the security industry. As well as welcoming new Managing Director Fokko van der Zee, Nedap used its presence at the show to inform visitors about new and ongoing partnerships with key players in the industry. These partnerships include ASSA ABLOY, Touchless Biometric Systems and Milestone Systems. According to Jeroen Harmsen, Nedap’s Director of Product Management, the ability to provide collaborative solutions is becoming a key differentiator in the security sector and beyond. While many companies pursue product integrations, what makes sustainable partnerships stand out is ongoing cooperation on issues such as customer support. This, according to Harmsen, is why the deep integration of Milestone’s XProtect VMS and Nedap’s AEOS access control system has been so successful. Making customers’ lives easier This insistence on customer service as a differentiating factor also extended to video surveillance manufacturers. However, not all exhibitors were aiming to achieve this through increased integration. Cisco Meraki, whose cloud-managed video system is relatively new to the security market, deliberately steers clear of the market trend for integration in favour of the ‘Apple’ approach, aiming to provide a comprehensive solution on one easy-to-use platform. The architecture is intended to make customers’ lives easier by removing the NVR from the equation - video is stored on the edge and managed via the cloud, eliminating the ongoing costs and maintenance associated with traditional hardware solutions. Eagle Eye Networks president Ken Francis was also hoping to highlight the benefits of customer-friendly cloud surveillance at the show. The acquisition of Panasonic's Cameramanager has allowed Eagle Eye Networks to cater to smaller businesses with cameras connected directly to the internet. The company’s cloud storage solution also includes Remote Power Cycling via an integrated PoE switch, allowing users to remotely repower cameras themselves with no training or expertise. Crucial to Eagle Eye Networks' customer-friendly outlook is the possession of its own local data centres worldwide, reducing cloud storage costs and allowing customers to choose where their video is stored. Making your security products stand out on a crowded show floor is no easy task, but IFSEC 2017 saw plenty of innovation from video surveillance, access control and intrusion providers alike. As competition increases, added value solutions, collaboration and ease-of-use are sure to help manufacturers make a splash at future shows!