What were the best products of 2017? There were many to choose from and while they might have been stronger, faster and better than the generation of solutions that came before them, they were also certain to be those products that offered users the most functionality at the least expense.
AFTER Security 2017 Exhibition in Sydney, SEN observed that what stood out at the show was the acceleration of fundamental change – security technology and the underlying networking technology supporting it, including cloud and mobile wireless – have reached a point they have the capacity to powerfully enhance operations in almost any direction a user cares to go.
We saw a case in point at Sunshine Coast University Hospital where an award-winning integration of Inner Range’s Integriti platform by Siemens facilitated integration of alarms, access control, intrusion, lift control, intercom, help points, mother-baby monitoring, automated vehicles and much more. This refrain of solutions provision was heard at SecTech Roadshow, Security 2017 and again last month at Security & Government Expo in Canberra.
Software was a big and growing thing in 2017 – from management solutions and unifications solutions to analytics, software is changing the way electronic security solutions support security operations. These systems help users save money, help them push past the boundaries of traditional technology and help them leverage every scrap of data their electronic security solution, as well as surrounding data feeds, might be able to provide.
SEN went on a rant about cloud in the wake of Security 2017 and nothing has happened in the back end of the year to change those opinions. Cloud is here and with it IoT.
Things we liked in 2017
There was plenty to appreciate in 2017 and it’s important to preface this report by acknowledging there were many things we did not see and might have included here if we had. There are so many things, I’m just going to rattle them off.
I’ve mentioned software and let’s start with that – there are so many good things out there – Retail Sense, Citigraf and Clearance from Genetec, as well as Security Center, which has just been upgraded. We hammered Genetec SC at SecTech Roadshow, especially in Sydney, where we really stretched the processor and GPU with 36 cameras on the jig. Could any other VMS have handled the heat?
Appearance Face Search from Avigilon is another strong solution that allows operators and investigators to search a database for multiple instances of faces and to correlate them for enhanced story telling. Using deep neural networks for face analytics, Avigilon Face Appearance Search technology enables searching for a person by incorporating the unique characteristics of a face to find similar recorded footage of that person across a site. For operators, this technology increases the speed and accuracy of investigations, by detecting and understanding that it is searching for the same person, even if items such as their clothing change over time.
Tecom C4 – a single interface that allows management of all security systems, access control, intrusion and CCTV, whether local or remote, from a single workstation. Operators can commission, drive and manage all their systems from a single interface, no matter the manufacturer, and there are multiple reporting options, too. Behind the scenes is an MS SQL database with Open DataBase connectivity and a huge list of integration drivers that have already been written and the fact new drivers can be written using integrated tools by any developer for any user – accelerated evolution is written into C4’s DNA.
Hikvision Darkfighter X – features include dual optical and IR sensors, 25x varifocal zoom lens, 2MP, 1080p resolution, IP66-rated bullet and PTZ, optical de-fog, smart detection functions and H.264 and H.265 compression. According to Hikvision, Darkfighter-X delivers the best possible colour images in low light by employing techniques used by human eyes, which use different groups of cells to collect signals generated by the reflections of colour and brightness from surfaces in the scene being viewed. These are then merged within the brain to create an enhanced composite image.
In the case of Darkfighter X, the camera takes information from an IR sensor (for brightness) and a visible light sensor (colour) and combines them to provide a bright image in full colour without blur or extremes of noise. According to Hikvision, Darkfighter X technology can provide colourful, sharp images down at 0.001 lux – that’s half starlight. We’ve not tested the camera at those levels, but performance was strong during a demo.
It seems a small thing, but we liked ICT’S new silicone Mifare wristbands, which provide a convenient hands-free access control credential for restrictive or humidity-prone environments. The slim, unobtrusive design ensures the wristband can be worn comfortably, including under protective clothing if required and the wristbands are available in 3 sizes (small, medium, and large) and in 2 colour options (black or white). Completely sealed and with an IP68 rating, they are ideal for high humidity environments such as water theme parks, wash down areas, and medical facilities. No more fumbling for wallets or credential clips.
We liked the Aussie-designed Osprey radar system, which is designed to detect all attempts to get contraband into the prisons by throwing or slinging it over walls or fences. The management solution is a highlight of this clever solution, as is the underlying technology. Unfortunately, we can’t go into the technical side for obvious reasons but it’s a great solution to a real and growing problem.
Dahua NVR-5224 with 24 PoE inputs, H.264 and H.265 compression options, and an 800m cable run is a strong solution but our favourite Dahua product was the Dahua DH-SD10A248V-HNI PTZ with its 48x 5.7~275mm zoom lens and 450m smart IR. In addition to its long-range capabilities the big PTZ uses Starlight technology to produce useable colour images in low light, has H.265 compression to lower bandwidth and storage requirements, smart features such as auto tracking, and 120dB WDR.
This PTZ can operate in temperatures ranging from -40 °C to +70 °C, is IP67 rated, has 8KV lighting protection and can tolerate an input voltage range of with a variation of 25 per cent. Discounting all that, and regardless of its large size, I thought this Dahua performed best at SecTech’s PTZ shootout in Sydney against strong competition.
Uniview’s UNV Unicorn – a 2000-channel VMS server. With 16 HDD bays expandable to 48, and support for 100 online users at a time, the UNV Unicorn is a serious but of kit that might be perfect for many quite large applications. Nice. Mobotix M16, as well as M16 Thermal Radiometry camera with dual core processor, H.264 compression and ONVIF compliance. Mobotix M16 is tough as nails and teamed up with MxActivitySensor, it’s a killer on perimeters.
Sony Exmor R CMOS sensor-powered SNC-VB642D. This camera is a robust and compact external bullet camera with integrated IR that looks like it would be at home in multiple applications. It has remotely switchable white light at the top of the array and IR at the bottom – fantastic. Sony’s new G6.5 range includes 4K in an affordable form factor and the on-screen performance looks great.
FLIR Cameleon Tactical system, which is designed to provide security and surveillance applications in a highly customizable and user-friendly environment. Cameleon is designed to control any number and combination of analogue and IP devices from different manufacturers with point and click simplicity, ensuring retention of those costly investments in security and surveillance equipment. I really liked Cameleon when I saw it at Security 2017. FLIR United VMS 8.0, which is an enterprise-level video management solution for managing video security operations, also deserves a mention. The solution manages large and multi-location video operations, and includes FLIR Latitude software, as well as FLIR Horizon and FLIR Meridian network video recorders. FLIR United VMS 8.0 delivers a more secure system through stronger online security credential requirements.
I liked Inner Range’s SIFER keypad, which is a combined IP67-rated keypad and smart card reader that allows dual credential card & pin high security access control, (pin only or card only is also supported). SIFER keypad is a multi-drop RS-485 device that employs 128-bit AES encryption from the card/keypad through to the door module, providing a far superior level of security than that of traditional Wiegand based keypads and card readers. SIFER keypads utilise the Mifare DESfire EV1 card format. As SIFER keypads utilise a superset of the OSDP protocol, the keypads may also be deployed on any system capable of using OSDP. SIFER keypads are connected to the RS-485 reader port for full reader-in and reader-out operation of various Inner Range products.
I’ve included Honeywell HCL2G Ultra Low Light WDR IP box camera in this list as I thought it did really well at SecTech Camera Shootout. It features 1080p 2MP at full frame rate, progressive-scan technology, and edge enhancement for outstanding picture clarity. ONVIF (Profile S/G) compliance ensures hassle-free, flexible system integration. There’s True WDR, up to 140 dB, True Day/Night capability, Ultra Low Light technology and 3D noise reduction, saving storage and bandwidth together with H.264 High Profile codec, working temperature is -30C to 60C, there’s ONVIF Profile S and G compliance, security features include individual signed certificates and data encryption, and there’s support for up to 128 GB microSDHC (Class 10) card for local video storage when network is interrupted.
Honeywell’s HBL2GR1 WDR IR Rugged IP Bullet Camera also stood out. It has Full HD 1080p at 25/30 fps image with a 1/2.8-inch 2MP sensor, True WDR, up to 140 dB, True Day/Night capability, Ultra Low Light technology and 3D noise reduction, saving storage and bandwidth together with H.264 High Profile codec, working temperature is -40C to 60C, there’s ONVIF Profile S and G compliance, security features include individual signed certificates and data encryption, and there’s support for up to 128 GB microSDHC (Class 10) card for local video storage when network is interrupted. There’s 2.7-12 mm or 5-50 mm, F1.4, motorized focus/zoom lens options, 60m IR, IP67 and IK10 vandal-resistant camera housing. Send us one to test, Honeywell!
We like this last year but pound for pound, we think Bosch’s IP 5000 day/night bullet camera is probably the best around. It’s an IP66-rated 5MP bullet camera with a motorised, varifocal, IR-corrected, board-mounted 2.7-12mm F1.4 lens offering 32-100 degrees of viewing angle and 18-53 degrees of vertical angle. The motorized zoom lens has automatic focus adjustment with 1:1-pixel mapping to ensure the camera is always accurately focused. It works extremely well in the field. The camera has a 30m IR array, the sensor is a 1/2.9-inch CMOS, claimed to offer minimum scene illuminations of 0.07 lux in colour, 0.05 lux in monochrome and 0 lux with IR activated.
Most fun camera to drive in 2017 – easy – Panasonic Aero PTZ with daylight second. This camera delivers 1080p resolution at 60fps with a 30x optical zoom lens. Aero’s image sensor is a progressing scan 1/3-inch MOS type with an area of 5.346mm x 3.336mm. This sensor offers minimum scene illumination in colour of 0.06 lux at F1.6 with gain on high and shutter speed at 1/30th of a second and 0 lux in monochrome thanks to the 150m IR LEDs. WDR is 105dB. The lens has a focal length of 4.3-129mm, giving a horizontal viewing between 64 and 2.3 degrees, while aperture is F1.6 wide open and closes down to F4.7 at the long end. The camera is IP67 rated, which means both water and dust proof and vandal proof to IK10 standards. The temperature range is -50 to +55C, which is strong for a PTZ, which has many more moving parts than a simple bullet or dome. The sphere pan-tilt mechanism allows endless 360-degree panning and there’s a +/- 90-degree tilt range. Solid spec, isn’t it?
We liked STid Mobile ID, an authentication system based on smart devices distributed by Security Distributors Australia. It includes a free mobile app, latest generation multi-technology Architect Blue readers, and online and offline configuration tools. Especially cool was the way you drive the reader without getting out your phone by running your hand down the face of the reader.
Something else we rated was HillsTrak, a cloud-based asset tracking solution with whole-of-business, as well as security, applications. Staff can simply log onto an app on their smartphone or tablet to scan, record and manage company assets. As a manager, you might worry a comprehensive asset tracking and asset management solution of enterprise scale would be fussy but with HillsTrak, that’s not so. This cloud-based system is thoughtfully conceived, powerful, yet has a fundamental simplicity that reduces the steps required to get a complex and demanding job done. Worth a look, HillsTrak.
LSC’s AMC controllers and multiple devices – wireless and hardwired – also caught my eye this year. These AMC controllers look well-made and they’re both large enough and affordable enough to apply to many applications. The new e-ink touchscreen is clever and there’s a big range of control panels, and a galaxy of orbiting sensors.
Suprema BioEntry W2 from NetDigital and distributed by ISCS – it’s is a multi RFID reading, IP67-rated vandal-proof fingerprint access control reader with 1.2GHz quad core CPU which achieves matching speeds of up to 150,000 match/second. With its large 2GB memory, BioEntry W2 can store and manage up to 500,000 users and provides instant matching results with minimal lag time. The device combines enhanced fingerprint algorithm, new fingerprint sensor, and live finger detection technology.
Bosch MIC IP Starlight 7000 HD PTZ – there’s a reason these things are springing up on road systems all over the place – the power to weight ratio is second to none and the cameras were originally designed for wild and woolley maritime and mining applications, so they are tough. The MIC Starlight 7000 HD is flexible, easy to drive, has a quality camera and lens and does well against backlight and in low light. There are particular applications for which it’s likely no other camera will do.
The MIC is fully sealed and rated to immersion. With the illuminator accessory, the dimensions of the camera are 217.75mm x 439.91mm x 178.33 mm. It’s not a small camera but it’s not huge, either at 6.7kg. On large sites, the MIC will be quite discreet but it certainly has a purposeful appearance. There’s a 1/3-inch Exmor CMOS sensor offering 1305 x 1049 pixels and has a 4.3-129mm motorised zoom lens with a variable aperture – F1.6 at the wide end closing down to F5.6 at the long end – this lens offers a field of view from 2.1-59 degrees.
Bosch MIC complies with IP68 against weather and dust, NEMA 6P and IK10 against vandalism and IEC60068 against vibration and shock. It can handle a temperature range from -40 to 60C, MIC’s cast aluminium body is rated to ASTM B117 against corrosion, has intelligent defog, an integrated wiper system, a window de-froster, and the mounting options are flexible to suit any application in industry, marine, mining, tunnels, public and city surveillance – the list goes on. There’s also image stabilisation. Power demand if you go with the lighting module is 95W (60W without illumination). The lighting module is good, too, same as everything else about the MIC.
We loved Dahua’s IPC HDBW823EP-Z-SL when we tested it. Great build quality and tough with an excellent finish. There’s even potting of terminations in the camera chassis, along with rubber weather seals, brush polishing of metal surfaces and the bubble seems to be largely untinted. Resolution is 2MP, there’s Starlight, anti-corrosion dome featuring a 1/1.9-inch 2MP progressive-scan CMOS sensor, 120dB of WDR capability, delivering 60ips at 1080p, a 4.1-16.4mm motorised lens, 50m of IR, IP67 and IK10 rating and H.264 and H.265 compression options. Performance matches the feature set. Doubters should ask Dahua to send them a demo.
EyeLok from CSD is a range of iris-based identity authentication, hardware and software solutions designed to offer convenience and security with unmatched biometric accuracy. EyeLok’s proprietary iris authentication technology looks at more than 240 unique iris characteristics and provides a fast, user-friendly experience, according to the company’s marketing material. But when you get a demo, this read just works and it looks great, too.
Inner Range Inception upgrade. People may not appreciate how big a deal that latest upgrade was with Inception – this new generation of the Inception access control and intruder detection product has a web browser based interface and support for modern technologies such as USB, Wi-Fi, and IP monitoring, has now been expanded to support up to 128 doors, 256 readers and 10,000 users. These new capacities require no hardware changes or licenses and will be available for all existing controllers with a firmware update.
Honeywell’s new Xtralis VESDA aspirating smoke detectors with improved detection performance – 1.5x greater sensitivity than VESDA VLP, up to 6x better dust rejection to minimize nuisance alarms, saving building owners significant potential costs from fire department calls. VESDA-E VEP also enhances the user experience with out-of–the-box operation utilizing auto configuration to aid commissioning, an intuitive 3.5-inch LCD touch screen display for simplified status investigation and wireless remote review with the iVESDA app for proactive maintenance. New standard features including built-in Ethernet and WiFi provide ease of connectivity with commonly used handheld devices and the PC-based Xtralis VSM monitoring package.
I liked the new RightCrowd solutions, which provide streamlined and modern visitor management processes, reducing time and costs. The solution provides significantly improved security, safety and compliance for an organisation’s visitors and workforce and it’s available in 3 editions, Visitor Essentials, Workforce Essentials and Elements. RightCrowd has partnered with CSD and Inner Range to bring customers a continuous workforce assurance and visitor management solution fully integrated with Inner Range’s Integriti Platform. The solution is also compatible with Gallagher), Lenel and Tyco.
S2 Magic Monitor 4 has selectable design layouts, can source video from S2’s NetVR series, Milestone (3 variants), or ExacqVision, has new internet widgets, which include Twitter, advanced weather, traffic, Pandora, NetBox activity by partition, activity log with video replay, and NetBox photo ID. There’s also cloud-based remote software and license update, sound associated with video and video clips, and magic video push that shows live content of receiving Magic Monitors.
There was so much great stuff released in 2017 – we can hardly wait for 2018 to see what’s coming next.
By John Adams