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Watch for more mass notification, thermal in 2011

Technologies such as mass notification, thermal cameras, video analytics and edge/distributed recording are just a few areas in the security industry that have been slow to come to maturity but are now taking off and will be trends to watch for next year.

October 8, 2010  By Jennifer Brown

During the Anixter Showcase held in Edmonton Sept. 30, presenters from Axis Communications and Anixter talked about the areas that will experience the most growth in 2011.

“Mass notification is rapidly gaining traction,” said Paul Freer, outside sales enterprise cabling and security solutions with Anixter Canada. “It was a $400 million (U.S.) North American market in 2007 and is projected to grow 17 per cent to 2013.”
Freer says, by far, government is the largest vertical, with corporations second and education the smallest segment, but showing the highest expected growth rate.

Mass notification is a big undertaking for an organization as it can incorporate fire alarm, access control, audio and video surveillance.

Freer also talked about the growing demand for edge/distributed recording which involved taking audio and video from a camera and storing it at the edge of the network. The edge is defined as the end point or first point of access to the network.

“Edge storage is similar to PC versus mainframe,” said Freer. “Cameras are now being introduced with 500 GB on board storage.”


PC-based and embedded DVRs can also be used. “These have large storage capacities,” he added.

The idea is that only pre-alarm alarm information would actually be transmitted back to the centralized system, the rest of the information would stay at the edge of the network.

PSIM, or Physical Security Information Management, may also finally come into its own, said Freer. It is the integration of various security systems into a single command and control interface — one interface with access to all security systems. But this is largely an enterprise-level application.

“Current solutions cost $300,000 and up so this is really for Fortune 500 companies. But as companies get more comfortable with the inevitability and value of a fully-integrated physical and IT security environment there is a value proposition there,” he said.

Another technology that has gone through some growing pains is analytics but has finally found some niche areas of success such as in retail where it is being used to monitor and measure dwell times at shelves in stores, cash register check out and traffic patterns in retail environments.

“Analytics was often over-sold,” said Bob Moore, Canadian Country Manager with Axis Communications who co-presented with Freer. “After a run of false results analytics were pulled from many airports.”

The most common use today is still perimeter violation, licence plate recognition and people counting, said Freer.

“The increased use of CCTV cameras and associated content that comes with them makes it impossible for constant monitoring. Video analytics helps as it recognizes events and sets up automatic alerts that the operator can quickly identify,” said Freer.

Other key trends include the development and evolution of standards based, non-proprietary systems with electronic access control (EAC) and the support, maintenance and customization of EAC — considered the holy grail of security systems.

What are the drivers of these trends? Increased interoperability of security products, multi-technology readers, cards, virtual credentials and intelligent locksets are top of the list.

Bob Moore of Axis Communications also spoke to the emergence of technologies such as thermal imaging. Thermal works well with video analytics, can be a complement to an existing network and offers several advantages, said Moore. Thermal imaging is a green choice because it requires less resources as there is no need for energy-consuming floodlights.

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