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Network / IP - News

Dispatches from Security Essen 2014: Big event bolsters the European market

Published on 29 September, 2014
Just days before the ASIS International conference and exhibits in Atlanta, the global security market's attention last week has been focused on the big Security Essen 2014 trade show in Germany. With more floor space, exhibitors and attendees than ASIS, Security Essen highlights a wealth of technology resources to an eager international audience every two years. Several SourceSecurity.com staff members attended Security Essen last week, and my colleagues reported that the well-attended show reflects dynamic changes happening in the world market for physical security.

Throughout Security Essen was evidence of security’s evolution into a truly high-tech sector. The impact of information technology (IT) improvements, such as more powerful and economical processors, was reflected in a multitude of products offering more intelligence and capabilities. Generally speaking, security products today can collect more data, evaluate it in a rapid and intelligent way, and distribute it wherever it’s needed throughout a network. More intelligent systems, in effect, can shield the end user from unnecessary data and alert him or her only when involvement or response is imperative.

Cameras that use the new 4K high-definition (HD) standard of 3,840x2,160 pixels were in evidence at Security Essen, but one of my colleagues was surprised by how little hype surrounded the new cameras. There were some press releases and product announcements but nowhere near the level of buzz some had expected. We’ll see whether 4K hype is more dominant at ASIS next week in the United States. In any case, higher-resolution cameras that provide greater details, in various lighting conditions and even at great distances, continue to flourish. Video analytics are also better than ever.

Chinese manufacturers, especially Hikvision and Dahua, were a dominant presence at Security Essen this year, with fellow exhibitors commented on their presence and giant status as market leaders

Chinese manufacturers, especially Hikvision and Dahua, were a dominant presence at Security Essen this year, and even fellow exhibitors commented on their presence and giant status as market leaders.

Also highly visible at Security Essen: Apps for smart phones or tablets that are evolving from an add-on feature to indispensable tools and critical system components. It was clear at Essen that most Internet-capable systems now offer apps for common mobile device platforms, whether to provide system status, occurrence reports, alarm alerts or real-time video surveillance. Apps can also now replace physical credentials for door control, time recording and admission checking, used in lieu of keys or access control cards to prove authorisation. Mobile devices using apps can provide live documentation of operations or control of deployments to security personnel on patrol, adding new efficiencies to security services. Smart phone applications are also a central constituent in the transition to cloud-based systems, which was another trend evident at Security Essen.

Another theme resonating at the big German show was how systems are becoming more ergonomic. Beyond the expected user-friendliness, newer systems are also more installation- and maintenance-friendly. Systems are more adaptable to a variety of utilisation scenarios, more modular, and more easily retrofitted. Systems can also be addressed using a variety of modern communication channels, from LAN or WLAN to mobile phone communications, including RFID, Bluetooth and near-field communication (NFC).

The timing of Essen was a
challenge this year, with two
big trade shows happening
only a week yet thousands
of miles apart

Concern about cybersecurity threats to IP-based physical security systems was addressed at Security Essen, including an emphasis on encryption of data transmission. “Live Hacking Sessions” highlighted how easy it is for cyber-criminals to sabotage poorly protected information. There was also focus on particular protective measures for access to cameras or stored video recordings. A broader focus on cybersecurity, spying and Internet crime included a section at the Essen fair, featuring nearly 50 related companies and initiatives.

Exhibitors and attendees at Security Essen seemed prone to compare the show with the IFSEC event held in London last May. Some were more enthusiastic about Essen, saying it might be the most important trade show in Europe. Others preferred IFSEC, complaining that Essen is “too disjointed” and almost too big and offers too much to see. Travel to Germany can be a challenge, too, with fewer direct flights, and there were complaints about transportation to and from Essen. Finally, the timing of Essen was a challenge this year, with two big trade shows happening only a week yet thousands of miles apart. More than one exhibitor complained about two weeks on the road and needing to catch a plane from Germany to the United States for ASIS as soon as the show closed. For all the complaints, however, many exhibitors were enthusiastic because the show went well.

Now, it’s on to ASIS!

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