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HomeAnalysisWhat We Learned At SecTech Roadshow

What We Learned At SecTech Roadshow

As the electronic security industry continues its supercharged evolution in lockstep with consumer electronics, communications, wireless, and video and data analysis technologies, there’s a sense things are getting away on you.

What We Learned At SecTech Roadshow 2024 About Electronic Security Trends.

What We Learned At SecTech Roadshow – What did we learn at SecTech Roadshow about the latest trends in electronic security?

As the electronic security industry continues its supercharged evolution in lockstep with consumer electronics, communications, wireless, video and data analysis technologies, there’s a sense things are getting away on you – a vertiginous feeling our industry is pouring itself down some digital giant’s network port never to be seen again.

SecTech Roadshow put paid to some of those feelings as I watched large numbers of techs drawn to products and solutions with profound operational cores. There’s a deep gravity in such attractions when you understand they emerge from the minds of people whose decisions put bread on the tables of dozens of families orbiting small business.

The sorts of products and solutions attracting attention included pieces of foundational hardware like locking systems, key management systems, access controllers, wireless communicators, public address speakers, robust and clever intercom solutions, solar utility poles and plenty more. What was most interesting to techs was stuff that works. 

There was significant interest in alarm systems at SecTech – Ajax got plenty of attention on multiple stands, while U-Prox, Qolsys and Risco were other points of interest. U-Prox is going to be appealing to installers wanting a degree of simplicity with full functionality, while Qolsys supports a serious spread of high-end DSC sensors and has the most highly evolved back end of the current generation of wireless alarm systems. Risco is also ramping up development, which is great to see.

Walking around SecTech I mulled over ‘the Ajax effect’. A solution that appears after years of manufacturer under-investment and revitalises an entire industry segment, pushing competitors to re-think end-to-end development, highlighting the power of inventive electronic hardware. A solution that shows installers and end users, too, the difference between cheap consumer junk and professional security solutions crackling with energy.

What’s interesting about Ajax is the dynamism of its development team – the traditional annual cadence of new releases has been thrown entirely out the window. Then there’s the proliferation of partners. There’s a diverse ecosystem growing up around the brand that allows a lot of scope for inventive installers who want to plug and play additions like fog cannons, key safes (Loxal from VAT), or enhance a system with some Ajax CCTV gear.

Given we really like alarm systems at SEN it was also inspiring to see the green shoots of a serious response to Ajax at SecTech – some of that competitor response was delicate enough in the scheme of things to be kept under wraps. More competition that’s driven by functionality not price can only make alarm systems and alarm monitoring services better. 

RF action wasn’t only around alarms – wireless and cloud-based access control systems were in evidence, too, suggesting a broader trend. There were also Wi-Fi cameras and 4G cameras – some of the latter solar-powered. This is a form factor experience has convinced us to really like. Being able to move an industrial quality surveillance point around the place to meet changing needs is a good thing.

The action on the Gallagher, Inner Range, ICT and DAS stands showed that the industry’s dependence on highly evolved field controllers is not going anywhere, while the respect integrators have for Tecom solutions remains evident. There’s an opportunity for the Discovery panel to make a real impact on the market in ANZ, in our opinion.

Looking at the crowds on these stands I got to thinking how lucky the security industry in ANZ has been to have such manufacturers. They’ve not only developed pioneering technology but have stayed the course through waves of technological ruction on a global scale. They’ve achieved this in a way that was unimaginable to those of us who were looking on at the start. On further thought, let’s add CS Technologies (LSC) to this eminent list. They deserve credit, too.

The only drone we saw was on the CRK stand. Given the power observation drones give operators in a range of situations around the world, from fire detection and law enforcement, to search and rescue, we think drones are unappreciated locally. The ability to have a boxed drone launch and put eyes on an event anywhere across a large site in under 30 seconds offers peak situational awareness and supercharges response.

Given Australia’s large size, sprawling industrial sites and complex terrain, drones have a serious role to play and it’s only going to take one incident for the end user market to realise this. Every big site needs at least one response drone integrated into its surveillance system, in our opinion. Large or high security sites should have more.

Video surveillance was an interesting study at SecTech. The thing we heard most as organisers was ‘bring back the camera shootout’ (you can vote for it in our poll here) but many of the cameras on display highlighted video-as-a-sensor use cases. We didn’t see too many low light specialists – instead we saw cameras integrated with 4G comms, PIR detection, video analytics and white light.

We’d never argue this underscores ubiquity. Cameras like these are fine over short range if you don’t need court admissible ID or if your goal is video verification of alarm events. Many other cameras at SecTech were expressing innovative form factors.

Installers looking for high performance had brands like Pelco, Milesight, Hanwha, Dahua, TP-Link, Vivotek and Hikvision to choose from – that’s a solid group in anyone’s language.

We looked twice at the surprising spread of camera forms on the TP-Link stand. Most CCTV companies have leaned into networking. It’s unusual to see a networking company leaning into CCTV, but that’s exactly what TP-Link is doing.

Software was another key element of the SecTech product spread. Software management solutions can trigger a sense of dread as you stand before a huge monitor and a sales engineer tabs opens a directory that goes tumbling to the floor. But this year’s solutions showed off glittering operational facets – maps, video, thermal, sensors, VCA, drone management, access control, automation and alarms spiralling in a dizzying array that made many systems feel intensely outwards facing.

It’s impossible to pare software from hardware – especially when you’re looking at things like the cloud management end of the Edimax multi-sensor that Bluechip was showing off. But that observation also applies to software solutions like Art of Logic, which we’re not sure the market fully understands yet.

An Australian R&D company, Art of Logic spins AI functionalities out of the Nx Witness VMS via its Samurai suite of products. Samurai is AofL’s own technology and it generates data with an operational focus, empowering security managers and security teams – among others.

Something nice from an Art of Logic point of view was that as the roadshow progressed the team starting fielding questions along the lines of ‘can you solve this’ and ‘can you deliver that’. When you consider the number of intrusion sensors, door sensors, CCTV cameras, process control sensors, lift controllers, gate controllers that wheel around hundreds of thousands of door and security controllers across ANZ, you realise the clearest perceptions in the tidal rush of enterprise events belong to AI.

Other mature software development specialists included Avigilon and OpenEye, along with Milestone on the BGW Technologies’ stand. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that i-PRO is a souped-up AI suite attached to a camera – there’s another brand the market hasn’t fully wrapped its head around – yet.

Networking gear – all the distributors and some of the manufacturers carried networking kit but it wasn’t front and centre. Yes, we are in the business of security electronics & networks – we all understand that now.

Something we noticed last year at SecTech was what felt like oversharing by some manufacturers. Every high-end distributor carried some of the same key brands. This year distributors have responded by diversifying away from brands exposed to over-sharing and price erosion.

Heaven forbid the security market, heavily reliant on trusted relationships, should sink to IT-style margin shredding, with high-value brands subjected to calamitous price erosion before being dumped for some over-eager competitor. The onus isn’t only on disties but on manufacturers to manage their routes to market. It’s your future you’re messing with.

As ever, the simplicity of SecTech Roadshow revealed our industry through its elevation of long-term relationships, its brand loyalties, its thrill of bleeding edge security technologies smirking out of vapourware, and through all this shouldering the operational gravitas of solid-state electronics our long history has taught us can never die.

You can follow SecTech Roadshow on Linked-In here or read more SEN news here.

“What We Learned At SecTech Roadshow 2024 About Electronic Security Trends.”

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AUTHOR

John Adams
John Adamshttps://sen.news
A professional writer and editor who has been covering the security industry since 1991, John is passionate about clever applications of technology and the fusion of sensing and networking. A capable photographer John enjoys undertaking practical reviews of the latest electronic security systems.

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