ISC West is over for another year. But when I think about this year’s show I can’t help but feel that, during that late March event, our industry reached a new milestone in its evolution.

The venue was the same, the majority of the exhibitors were the same and many of the faces were the same; but the buzz at the show was different. Technology is taking center stage in the industry.

Sophistication Quotient

For one, there was a more sophisticated level of security technology presented by both hardware and software suppliers, and in particular many of the products showcased offered network capability in addition to feature-rich enhancements. IP camera lineups from some of the leading manufacturers were expanded to include dome versions of these popular models, complete with automatic pan/focus control and digital motion detection. The addition of an IP dome model gives enterprise chief security officers more options when upgrading to a network-based or hybrid system and helps to solidify the IP network migration trend.

This trend was also supported through the first time appearance at ISC by two of the Fortune 50 technology companies.

Enter the NVRs

Network video recorders with advanced system features and scalable options were shown in abundance. Noted improvements to the technology included the option of stand-alone systems or client/server configurations with higher speeds and advanced camera control as well as increased network storage capacity.

Technology for the transmission of images from new intelligent cameras to recording devices was also on display from select companies. The major advancement in this area appeared to be that of an integrated and standardized network transmission system.

It appears our industry is starting to get it when it comes to open architecture and inter-operability among the various subsets of a physical security system.

Open Architecture

Integration and open architecture also led the way for an astounding number of manufacturing partnerships to be announced prior to and during the show. Physical access control manufacturers, in addition to unveiling new and easy to use features such as graphical mapping, are reaching out to related technologies in order to provide more robust and comprehensive systems. Additionally, even the identification card arena, which is often overlooked at major shows as a source for “new” technology, displayed new advancements including fingerprint and biometric reader integration and smart card protection.

Image Intelligence

Video analytics was another hot topic at ISC West. Biometrics, in the form of iris recognition systems, offered faster and more accurate identification and authentication than previous solutions. Other video analytics technologies, both stand-alone and designed into cameras, included auto tracking, license plate recognition and behavior recognition.

On a more advanced scale, video analytics software was demonstrated that makes semi-intelligent decisions like notifying appropriate personnel if threats are detected. This is considerable progress from just a few years ago when the most one could expect from a system was for cameras and lights to be activated when a door was opened.

Wireless solutions were everywhere, with some of them allowing security professionals and first responders to remotely access, monitor and control security systems from virtually any manufacturer using any off-the-shelf networked or mobile device such as a computer, cellular phone, PDA or tablet.

Welcome Total Data Management

The real breakthroughs, however, seemed to be in data (voice, video, data) management software systems. Whether they were specific to an application such as law enforcement interviewing software or broader in their scope to encompass the integration of networked security systems with IT systems, these kinds of solutions are where our industry is headed.

It was both encouraging and exciting to see that these concepts are both in the here and now and on the horizon.