ANZ Electronic Security Pioneers Remembered.
ANZ Electronic Security Pioneers – Vlado Damjanovski and SEN‘s John Adams, as well as folks from the electronic security industry with long memories, have come up with a list of Australian and New Zealand manufacturers of security products and services.
“This is by no means a complete list, many companies have been forgotten,” Damjanovski said. “Remembering the technical innovators of the past encourages younger generations to start new ventures – as well as encouraging older ones to support them.”
Many of these early ANZ electronic security manufacturers deserve to be remembered for far more than a single product. They emerged very early in the development of consumer electronics, manufacturing products that straddled control, sensing, software, user interface, networking, storage and comms.
They delivered innovation on a shoestring budget that belies the efforts of many modern corporations, which are too often bogged down by interventionalist boards of directors educated in the wrong disciplines.
Something else these pioneers did was navigate electronics manufacturing at a time it was a cottage industry, with most manufacturing processes needing to be worked out in-house. And they undertook all these challenges – as well as the pressures of getting product to market – with professionalism and relentless drive.
You could pick any company from this list – Inner Range, Gallagher, Micron Alarms, Arrowhead, ADPRO, Ness, NIDAC, Pacific Communications, MIL, DKS, Maxpro, Pacom Data, Tecom, Minicom and many more – all were at the cutting edge of multiple technologies very early on.
Also pleasing to note is just how many of these companies and their technologies are still supporting customers to this day.
Readers should note that this is by no means an exhaustive list – you’re very welcome to send a submission, a tweak, or some better images of older gear (looking at you Gallagher, Inner Range, Tecom, et al), to email@example.com and we’ll add them to the list.
ANZ Electronic Security Pioneers
ADPRO – Advanced Development Products & Research Organisation – later Vision Systems – Developer of technology spun out of DRCS at Salisbury in Adelaide – one of the best outdoor VMDs and fast scan telephone transmission technologies with solutions dating back to the release of the 640-zone PRO 1600, in 1984 – also the inventor of VESDA smoke detection technology.
Alton – An Auckland based PIR, microwave amd PE beam manufacturer through into the 90s – any further information welcome.
AMS Australia – Designer and developer of high security lock and door hardware.
Arrowhead Alarm Products – Founded in 1980s as a manufacturer of alarm panels and alarm sensors in Auckland, New Zealand and still manufacturing.
ASCO – Sydney-based designer and manufacturer of access controllers and software solutions from mid-1980s. Brave pioneers of Windows NT security management solutions, we salute you.
ASIAL – Established in 1969, the Australian Security Industry Association Ltd is the national peak body for security organisations and professionals in Australia. The organisation and its early voluntary members pushed professionalism in the electronic security industry through licensing, standards, legislation and more. They deserved more credit than we gave them.
Chubb manufactured Type 1 panels in Australia, collaborating with Wormald on a Type 1 panel originally used by SNP panel. The predecessor of the Type 1 panel was the Marc2 – a pair of these Marc2 panels were in still to be seen at Chubb’s Campbell Park office in Canberra a few years ago.
BriTer Door Solutions – physical security gates and turnstiles.
CCTV focus – One of the first international magazines dedicated to the CCTV industry (1999-2006).
CCTV Labs test charts – One of the first developers of test charts specifically for the CCTV industry.
CIC Technology – Designer and manufacturer of KeySecure Extreme.
CS Technologies – Access control pioneer founded in Sydney in 1987 and still manufacturing its robust solutions in Australia.
Digifort – Australian/Brazilian premier VMS developer.
Dindima – Developer of Super Sleuth – one the very early smart video analysis and transmission systems, 1990s. We have a memory of a trip to suburban Melbourne to meet the developer of this technology – the name Simon Veitch springs to mind (pls help with more details via firstname.lastname@example.org).
During the meeting we heard Dindima’s video analysis technology had emerged from Melbourne’s expressive dance scene – as dancers moved across the stage they breached VMD ‘boxes’ in space, triggering notes of music.
Data Key Systems – Pioneers of computer managed access control whose achievements in security, computing, automation and networking were at the bleeding edge. Founded in the 1970s, DKS had a factory at Marrickville in Sydney – some of the early solutions were sold out of the back of Roger Pearce’s little Subaru wagon.
Some of DKS’s noteworthy solutions included the K2000 50-code unit. This monster reader/controller, sold between 1976 and 1979, and allowed 50 individual key codes to be validated/invalidated. According to Roger, the unit came with all 50 keys valid and you blocked the one/s you did not want (or any lost keys) with a diode plug, which was stuck into the corresponding hole for that key number – you can see it in the image below.
The revolutionary DKS CCU20 was released around 1980. It was a 20-reader, 4-time zone, 4000-key capacity system. But the company’s breakthrough products were the ENSENN 2000 and ENSENN ECS (Elevator Control System), which swept all before them.
It’s hard to appreciate the growth and dominance of Data Key Systems in those early years of access control. When DKS was sold to James Hardie Building Automation in 1991, it had an annual turnover of $A18 million – up from just $40,000 a decade earlier.
e-PIC – One of the first video detection and verification solutions in the world – developed in the late 90s by Rick Stokes and friends. Today we can see it was a business model 25 years ahead of its time.
EDM – Meinrad Formosa’s Sydney-based alarm manufacturing company EDM (Electronic Design & Manufacturing), which developed the Solution series of alarm panels, later acquired by Bosch, and still much loved by installers in ANZ and elsewhere in the world.
FFT – Fibre Optic perimeter fence detection using algorithms.
From Light to (Intelligent) Pixels – international book publications on CCTV technologies by V. Damjanovski (1995, 1999, 2005, 2013 and 2022).
FSH – Sydney-based manufacturer of electric strikes and locking solutions – launched early 2000s as a competitor to the incumbent Padde range of electric strikes from Trimec.
Guardall – Guardall designed and manufactured systems in-house in ANZ. The oldest Guardall panel installed in ANZ, according to Optic’s Lee Ashton, featured AC balanced line inputs. The tamper on the keyswitch crowbarred the power fuse, so the panel couldn’t be deactivated if being attacked.
Gallagher – NZ-based manufacturer of access control, perimeter protection and security management solutions – hardware and software – unquestionably one of ANZ’s most successful and prolific electronic security manufacturers.
Honeywell – Control systems and automation manufacturer Honeywell also manufactured a Type 1 control system in Australia in the early years – any additional information on this system should be directed to email@example.com
Harding Signals, later Harding Electronic Systems, now HTS, manufactured access control and alarm panels. These early access control panels were redeveloped traffic light controllers – a technology in which HTS still specialises.
Harding access control and alarm panels were used in many high rise builds around New Zealand, including Auckland sites like the Central Police Station and Auckland Airport.
Harding Alarm panels were also some of the first to be defence-cleared and were subsequently installed all through Hobsonville and Whenuapai Air Force Bases, as well as at Land Force Command.
ICT – NZ-based access control hardware and software manufacturer founded in 2003 whose roots sink deeply into NZ’s 1990s electronic security scene.
IEI – A Melbourne-based manufacturer of fire detection solutions dating back to early 1980s. An innovator of global quality, IEI Australia was responsible for VESDA and the E-36, E-86 alarm panels in the late 80’s early 90’s. The company also made UHF alarm sensors. IEI was later acquired by Vision Systems. Of note, IEI was the original distributor of Inner Range’s Concept access/alarm panels.
Inner Range – Integrated electronic security software and systems and communicators. Products like the Concept 2000, Concept 3000 and Concept 4000 were way ahead of the overseas competition of the time. Inner Range still designs its solutions in Melbourne.
Integracomm – Awaiting your information, SEN readers!
iOmniscient – Founded in 2001, iOmniscient is a pioneer in video analytics and the oldest independent analytics developer in the world. The company has recently extended its analytics capability to provide an artificial intelligence-based multi-sensory analytics platform that includes sound and smell, as well as video, to better replicate human reasoning.
Jacques Technologies – Founded back in 1980, Jacques Technologies is a pioneer of IP intercoms, with its communications solutions still designed and manufactured in Australia. Jaques is the go-to intercom and communications brand in ANZ – its customer list is astounding.
Jaguar on Sabre Vision – Australian-developed biometric authentication technology from the early 1990s with the coolest name ever given to a company from Castle Hill.
Lockwood – Early commercially successful domestic smart locks, pioneering developer of electric strikes.
Malloch Digitial – Manufacturer of the Type II high security alarm panels.
Maxpro – One of the best programmable matrix switchers and VCR management systems in the world, 1990s, sold to Ultrak.
MCM Electronics – Very early alarm panel manufacturer and market leader in the field of personal emergency and security systems founded in 1986 by James Neville, who was technical manager NSW at Wormald from 1968 and Wormald’s national technical manager from 1983. Neville, who recently scoffed at retirement, continues to drive innovative solutions in the alarms space.
MCS – Mobile camera trailers manufacturer.
Micron – Highly respected NZ-based manufacturer of alarm panels and sensors and a pioneer of early SMD.
MIL – Access control systems, direct competitor to DKS – later bought by James Hardie. Developer and manufacturer of controllers, keys and management solutions.
MITEC – Early microwave video link spun out of an Australian university and distributed by Rexel Australia. A select few of us remember the demo at Mt Buller – and the great night we had after.
Ness – Seven Hills-based Ness built arguably the world’s first modern alarm panel with its Ness 5000 released in the 1980s – but its story of energetic innovation in the electronic security industry is profoundly richer than even this fine achievement.
NIDAC – A Melbourne-based electronic security manufacturer of alarms, access control and communications devices, including the Dialsafe, which was released in the early 1980s.
For a suburban tech house, NIDAC, which was founded in the early 1970s by the late David Nicholls and remains under family ownership, is an extraordinarily productive technological innovator and its contribution to the local electronic security industry is too often under appreciated.
NT Software – NT Software was founded Neil Turner, who developed Australia’s first Windows-based alarm automation system back in the early 90’s known as ADSW (Access Detection System for Windows). ADSW had a strong following with over 100 monitoring centre installations across 13 countries before being acquired by Suretek in 2014.
OPSM Security Systems Minicom UHF security system able to protect up to 100 artworks over ranges of up to 3000 metres with sensors detecting shock, balance and light. We didn’t understand how this worked when we got a demo from Aziz Radwan 30 years ago and we don’t understand it now.
Optical Systems Design – Australian premier fibre optic transmission products since 1990s.
Patriot Systems – Patriot System’s central station monitoring and automation software began its initial development in 1993 and the company was founded by Mark McBreen in 1996. We think Patriot Systems hails from Gisborne, NZ. Someone correct us if we’re wrong.
Pacific Communications / Pacom – the other best matrix switcher in the world was developed through the 1990s before being sold to Pelco. Even the half-cabled matrix switcher below is a beautiful thing apart, but standing before a full-blown Pacom 2030 matrix switcher in a casino was a bit like hearing Te lucis ante terminum sung at Ely Cathedral.
Pacom Data – Founded in 1983 – early developer of IP-based security communications for high security applications, such as banking. Pacom remains a serious and widely respected developer of integrated security solutions.
Permaconn – Developer of mission-critical signalling solutions for the alarms industry.
Practel – Analogue switchers and 3D VMD pioneer.
SCSI – Pioneering developer of wireless alarm communication solutions stretching way back to the 1980s. Its early partnership with Optus on wireless mobile alarm comms was a major industry first. We miss you, Steve Acott.
Security Australia magazine, ANZ’s first monthly security publication, was launched in January, 1981. The magazine was instrumental in communicating the latest security technologies to a growing readership through the 80s and 90s. Security Australia was acquired by Bridge Publishing and merged with Security Electronics (SEN) back in 2001.
SecurityNewsWeekly – Arguably the world’s first weekly electronic security industry e-newsletter was launched in Australia by the SEN team in October 2004 (yes, we see you, too, SSI). SNW got a name change and a re-launch in 2010 – you’re reading it now.
SimTec – Mobile camera trailers and concrete supported camera poles manufacturer.
Suretek – Founded in 2000 by Glenn Smith, Suretek is a developer of alarm monitoring software and hardware solutions. Suretek has more than 400 CAMS and ADSW monitoring stations in 24 countries.
Tecom – Intrusion and access control solutions – hardware and software, developed by Dean Reilly and a team of dedicated electronics and software engineers in Melbourne. Early Challenger controllers still support customers many decades after installation. Aritech and Reilly are currently working on the Tecom Discovery control panel in Melbourne.
Trimec – Manufacturer of door strikes at its Brookvale factory in Sydney. Called ‘Padde’ strikes by Wormald, they were the mainstay strike in ANZ for many years.
Wormald Bros – Profound credit goes to Wormald’s apprenticeship scheme, which trained an entire generation of security technicians who have subsequently led the electronic security industry through a revolution in solid state electronics, IP and wireless communications, as well as navigating the intricacies of the digital revolution.
Just as importantly, many of Wormald’s apprentices have driven 50 years of innovation in electronic security distribution. We will not see their like again.
Wormald Vigilant – Manufacturer of the Type 1 High Security Alarm Panel from the 1980s. Wormald made other cool signalling stuff for control rooms that dates way back – some one send us a brochure!
Zone Technologies – One of the first video transmission technologies over telephone lines from early 1980s was deployed by SNP at its Strathfield control room in the early 1990s. I can still visualise it but wish I’d taken a photo of it.
Zone Raptor, one of the first DVRs in the world, and the winner of best product in the show at ISC west in 1990. A large number of these solutions were sold.
Zone also developed the Quickzone digital holdup camera in partnership with Apple. This was sold to major financial houses in Australia.
“Australian Electronic Security Pioneers Remembered.”