What do I look forward to at ISC West? Well, besides the annual treat of wearing my most comfortable almost-slippers to walk the show floor, the innovations, of course! But the motivation behind a lot of those innovations can be a much more interesting topic, and many of the booths I visited today shared some common factors, albeit realized in very different products.
Take a gander at some of my favorite trends of the day:
Added Business Intelligence
This was a popular one at many booths, including Axis, Avigilon and Milestone. By using built-in capabilities – typically reserved for security-only uses – for different applications, these companies are engineering additional ways to add to ROI while increasing security’s reputation as a key enterprise player.
Also, Axis has teamed up with the Wentworth Institute of Technology to develop applications that would run on the company’s cameras, much like apps on an iPhone. Two students came with their productions, including a facial-recognition software (called “Project Alibi”) designed to clock people in and out of facilities – managing attendance and alerting officials when an unrecognized figure enters a space. Another student project added 3-D motion tracking into the Axis camera system – setting alarm specifications that alert when a figure moves closer in the depth of field to the camera, but does nothing when the person stays outside a predetermined radius.
Ease of Use
Intuitive or user-focused products also had a strong showing today – I saw gorgeous, Apple-inspired (or so it seems to this iPhone addict) VMS, identity management and mass notification systems from Avigilon, Keyscan and Code Blue (respectively). Bold design with easy-to-understand (and easy-to-install, according to company representatives) features make the systems attractive, quick to learn and easy to teach. I’m looking forward to hearing more down the line about how much time is saved in training, or what resources are reserved by some of the shortcuts provided here.
Another easy, intuitive product comes from Guardian 8. This relatively new company has a niche product that many end users will be looking into – especially after the events of Newtown, Conn., as well as the recent stabbing at a Texas college. The G8 Pro V2 is an “Enhanced Non-Lethal” (ENL) device that features a three-level threat system. The weapon (which almost resembles a bubble gun) opens a direct channel of communication when the safety is unlocked – both with the intruder and the command center – features an alarm and can shoot pepper spray. Meant to serve as an alternative to providing firearms for security officers in lower-risk facilities, the device seems to fit an as-of-yet empty niche. Is it intuitive? Well, if I could fire it and actually hit the target – you bet.
Convergence of Tech and Physical Security
Company leaders have been working at starting this trend for some time now, and the train of thought is starting to pick up some steam. Some of the thought-leaders I talked to today include Olivier Thierry of Pivot3, Jeremy Earles of Ingersoll Rand (now adapting NFC credentialing and access for Android platforms, as well as some incredibly tough encryption) and Kevin Handerson of Middle Atlantic.
While Thierry and I had an in-depth discussion about how the Cloud and security collide, as well as how security and IT can benefit from each other (more on that at a later date), Mr. Handerson had a much different method of combining IT and security – in security-specific racks.
At Middle Atlantic, new server racks are designed to serve as the security version of a data center, with the flexibility and modular system to handle hybrid security programs (analog + IP + etc). The designers worked with end users to find what security professionals want out of their “security centers,” including solid side walls and limited access while still enabling cable to pass through the system as needed – this creates a designated security space that is manageable and within reach, without being merely stashed in the nearest empty storage closet (not too much by way of cooling systems or cable management in broom cupboards).
As a side note, too, keep an eye out for upcoming company announcements – including the emergence of a household name into the camera market (cough, cough, Polaroid! cough), new capabilities from Lumidigm and more Picture Perfect end-of-life solutions from RS2.
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