The Security Industry Association's New Product Showcase is a highlight of the annual ISC WEST security industry trade show which brings manufacturers, installers and trade associations together in Las Vegas. The NPS gives leading security manufacturers and designers the opportunity to showcase their newest products in order to gain feedback and perhaps a little notoriety among industry peers, installers and end-users.
A locksmith friend of mine recently asked me why the electronic security industry is always so eager for new products. The answer is simple. We're in a competitive industry. Besides having to compete with other security professionals, we have to ward off interlopers converging into our industry. We have to compete with multinationals who are entering the service business. We have to deal with politicians whose concept of protecting our homeland has left a huge segment of skilled experienced dealers out in the cold. And most importantly, the security professional's mission is to be sure the products and services he or she offers represents the very best solution possible to protect his clients and enable his company to profit.
A walk through the ISC West reveals a couple of things. One is that the security industry is growing at an amazing rate with the demand for all types of security increasing world-wide.A whole lot of companies are claiming to be the best, the highest tech, the largest, the leader in their field, but many of them cannot write their own press release in English.
Well it certainly isn't news to any of us that much of our technology is manufactured outside of the United States . And we all know this is no reflection on the quality of these products. But many of us have learned that for a vendor to be able to properly support their products, and therefore support us and our clients, the vendor needs to be more domesticated than to have only set up a desk and a chair a few miles from the port of entry where their shipping containers enter the States. And we need to be able to get some articulate tech support in English on the phone when we're clinging to the top of a ladder and things ain't happening.
Fortunately all the entrants in the NPS are thoroughly domesticated, and many are trusted manufacturers who have brought us some new technique to provide for the security, safety and convenience of our customers.
Products entered into the NPS are placed into an appropriate category, then each is carefully evaluated by panel of judges who themselves are security professionals. A key element of the security industry is learning, and SIA, the NPS and The Locksmith Ledger are all here to help.
If you are interested in viewing all the products, go online. I've picked out a few of my own personal favorites, listed in no particular order, which might be of special relevance to physical security professionals.
SIMONS VOSS SV1 CYLINDRICAL RF LOCK
Among the many new hot technologies at the show, one of the more anticipated ones is the emergence of standalone access controls utilizing wireless technology. The standalone doesn't need to be alone anymore! This unit's features include all the electronics are enclosed in the lever; a typical cylindrical door prep, no wires, and it operates with transponder, biometric transponder or keypad. It supports timed operation, audit trail, multi-level access and monitoring via wireless network.
AXIS 212 PTZ NETWORK CAMERA
Axis Communications was one of the pioneers in network video which, along with digital signal processing and server-based storage technologies, have taken over the video surveillance industries.
The next big thing in camera technology is megapixel sensors which enable large fields of view with high resolution. A 3 Megapixel sensor and wide-angle lens make it possible for the 212 to provide PTZ functionality with no moving parts.
The AXIS 212 PTZ Network Camera is ideal for surveillance and remote monitoring, offering overview images and instant one-click pan/tilt/zoom control and two-way audio. PoE (Power over Ethernet) further simplifies installation and lowers installation costs.
PALADIN TOOLS POWERPLAY PT-540 MULTI-TOOL
Paladin has been around for many decades. I used their wire stripping tools on our production lines in the early 80s and still have two of them in my toolbox, and they work perfectly. So this entrant caught my attention because it is a specially designed all-in-one device intended for those of us who do electronic work. It is 30 tools in one. The tool is geared for use with the lighter gauge wires used in low voltage, and punch down blocks typically used for networks and telecom. Anything I can carry in my pocket which might save me a trip back to the van or down and up the ladder is a good idea to me. It's all stainless steel and features one hand flip open operation, great when you're using the other hand to hold on for your life.
VIKING E-50 COMPACT VIDEO ENTRY PHONES
Viking is another vendor with whom I've had a successful relationship for many years. Viking offers broad line of high quality special purpose telecom products and modules. It's amazing how many of my projects require special purpose modules; but then again, I aim to please.
The E-50 differentiates itself from most other video entry phones in that it is based on an open-ended platform. The intercom portion connects to the premises telephone network so any phone on the premises can communicate with it, and the camera may be connected in variety of ways to a variety of devices to view the door area. This is unlike the majority of the available hybrid video/voice products which will only support a specific number of compatible substations. I can't wait to try it out.
BLUE WAVE SECURITY NETGEN
One of several breakthrough access control products introduced at the show which bring enterprise level real time access control via WI-FI into what was formerly a rather limited product category. This product promises to deliver all the features of a panel-based access control without the usually required hardwired network connection. Up until rather recently, networked access control required that a separate network be installed. This means wiring needed to be installed to connect every access control door panel with one another and ultimately to main workstation, PC or multiple workstations. The network protocol used for these networks was typically RS-485, hardly a new technology, but nevertheless highly reliable and easy enough to deploy topology.
The next generation of access controllers utilized Ethernet, the ubiquitous network technology used by the IT industry which presented the possibility of retrofitting access controls to a pre-existing network infrastructure, and bridging the access system's communications onto the Internet allowing almost unlimited system expansion and management capabilities.
Products such as NetGen fill that missing link by having both Ethernet as well as Wi-Fi connectivity available for any door.
Unfortunately, the creators of Ethernet and Wi-Fi were big on connectivity but not transcendental in the areas of security. These communications standards were developed for a different purpose with different priorities in a different era.
The creators did not foresee how networks and the Internet would eventually become the de facto infrastructure, or how paralleling evolutions in digital processing and software development would create functional breaches and back doors, that PCs would become plentiful appliances all of which would foster a flourishing community of technophiles would find profitable and entertaining to exploit.
So any equipment which relies on IT technologies is subject to what has become our planet's most popular pastime, which causes a big problem, protecting your network, data and hardware against cyber-criminals.
VISUALGATE SYSTEMS PL-VUE
This product brings what has been a long awaited but yet to be fully realized technology: Powerline Embedded IP Technology to video surveillance.
The PL-VUE system provides a secure, professional grade video surveillance solution. It is easy to install, plug and play system which uses existing AC wiring. Benefits include increased portability, scalability and signal protection. This system supports up to 16 cameras at 30 frames per second per camera. The network video monitoring, recording and management software will allow advanced search and retrieval, smart motion detection, multi-level access and remote viewing. PL-VUE has both Ethernet and Powerline connectivity creating the possibilities for hybrid system solutions.