SP&T News: What was the emerging technology last year that gained traction in 2009?
Total Security Management:
Definitely video compression — H.264 has had a lot to do with it — we’re able to push a lot more down the wire and save a lot and have better storage capacity. Megapixel cameras were also very big this year and getting rid of pan tilt zoom cameras using megapixel cameras and being able to review video after the fact when the camera is not looking straight at the event is definitely a big thing for customers today.
Rob Simopoulos: I think the biggest technology gaining traction last year was megapixel video, without a doubt. IP video came out years back and everyone expected it to grow at an astronomical rate and we never really saw that happen. It did in the enterprise level systems where it made sense because the networks were there, but since megapixel everyone has started to develop it. H.264 has come out and that has really changed and we’re seeing all the camera manufacturers get into that model and using H.264 and using megapixel cameras 1, 3, 5, and even 10 and 20 megapixel. What it does is allow the integrator and customer to utilize megapixel cameras rather than pan tilt zoom cameras. As we all know with pan tilt zoom cameras, they are moving left and moving right and missing some things and not recording all the activity. With megapixel cameras you can put three or five megapixel cameras in and they can record all the activity in a high-definition format so you can zoom into licence plates, and see what people are wearing.
I believe the H.264 and megapixel technology has really moved forward. Every manufacture is providing a megapixel camera and most have an H.264 platform residing on their camera and I think that’s become the standard in the industry today. Every customer is asking to have at least a 1.3 megapixel camera. Hard drive storage is the same. We are able to retain more information and that has stayed where it has been for many years and I can’t see it moving much more. It’s all about the capabilities of the technologies that exist now and how they improve going forward.
Carlo Di Panfilo
Dedicated Micros: Definitely we saw a lot of IP cameras and megapixel cameras integrated with DVRs and NVRs this year.
SP&T News: What do you think is the technology customers will be asking for most in 2010?
Burns: Certainly off-site security is a big topic of conversation now as well as mobile information — smart phones and wireless technologies and gathering all of that and putting that into real-time data is what everyone is looking for right now. They want instant results and having information available at your computer the next day isn’t good enough. They want real-time events as they are happening and they want to be involved as the solution is being developed.
SP&T News: What do you think will be the hot technology for 2010?
We see all of the video side getting better and better. We see analytics getting better and better and 90 per cent of the camera companies are at 3 megapixel cameras and we see that increasing substantially. We see the video analytics as being a strong presence. We also see managed access gaining strength where the clients don’t have to purchase a server. It’s managed from a monitoring station and they don’t have that overhead. A lot of the clients we have are large with a command centre with five or six people and a security guard force of 20 or 30 so those people will probably stay with server-based applications because they have staff to manage it, but the other side of the business is managed access.
Reynolds: I think for next year video analytics will be interesting to watch. It can be confusing for the industry. Some people use analytics incorrectly and some believe it’s going to be the be all and end all. I think some of the manufacturers are standing back and saying, “Where is this going to be used and where does it need to reside?” Some are residing on the camera and some believe it should be back on the head end but it comes back to horsepower. With H.264 residing on the camera they don’t have a lot of horsepower left to run the analytics so you have to start looking at the back end. Analytics is definitely going to come forward and I don’t know when, but it comes down to price and horsepower on the camera.
Di Panfilo: Analytics and storage right at the camera will be big next year. NVRs and central storage units and video as a service will be a big market and an economic way to organizations to manage systems.
SP&T News: What will be the innovations for residential home security for the next three to five years?
Having just been at ISC East and talking to people there, I think video verification will be the next big thing for the alarm industry in terms of reducing false alarms and it will add significant value to customers.
Simopoulos: Definitely, video verification will mean additional recurring monthly revenue.
One possible innovation will be the home area network, or HAN. We’re seeing that develop throughout Ontario but also worldwide. There is a major study going on in Houston which is about a year old and it’s based on the new IEEE standard called ZigBee Wireless Standard which is 802.15.4 and that specification is a broadband signal that expects the technology to be close together. So it’s not like browsing the web or getting email but a machine-to-machine technology where your furnace or heat pump and pool pump could all communicate talk together. And perhaps a utility could call up those devices and they could communicate with each other and do load management and conserve power when you’re away during the day.
What other machine devices could be in the home? Surveillance security/home security are obvious choices. All they need is a ZigBee interface and all of a sudden it can be routed through the network back to a data centre where they are monitored controlled and managed in some way.
SP&T News: So who would provide that? The traditional alarm companies or the utility companies?
Martin: There are several new players. We don’t really know how this will play out or who the players will be. It’s still very early days. Another one to consider is Google PowerMeter. Google is looking to aggregate and manage everything for people and many other companies are looking at the HAN and there are various ways of doing it. Some use your home Internet connection, while others expect to run on the new smart meter networks while others may use cellphones, so there are many ways to connect and probably 50 different proponents right now and that will get short-listed as things evolve. We’ll probably see a half-dozen players, but it will take some time to sort out and it still absolutely needs a proof of concept and a prototype but could have huge implications for the security and surveillance industry.
SP&T News: There’s been an on-going debate about whether security should run on a separate network and the whole debate about how IT departments feel about security surveillance running over a corporate network continues. Should organizations still be worried about running CCTV over a corporate network?
Marston: In my time, we’ve never seen a hacker attack or bring a network down. If we’re dealing with the security director or manager, we prefer to bring them together with their IT department for a discussion. We don’t think there’s an issue running over an existing network at all. We see it both ways — we see the separate network situation and the ones that run on the existing network. As an integrator we don’t see issues around running on the existing network. The biggest thing is bandwidth and when you’re running video over the network most companies don’t do it live in real-time anyway, and our partners build NVRs in with compression in mind. My preference would be to do it over the existing network for cost factors but each individual client or company has a different need. A bank, for example, may need it on a separate network because of trading. Therefore, you have to put a separate network in place, but some customers don’t need that. You need to have an open conversation with both departments to get their buy-in and feedback and then help them go from there.