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Tech Trends: What's New and Trending?
By Ray Coulombe, Founder and Managing Director, Security Specifiers
The recent annual ASIS security conference is usually a good place to find technology nuggets and surprises scattered among the more than 1,500 vendor displays. This year was no different. Here are some things that caught my attention.
I was not surprised to see the early stages of 4K Ultra HD video being displayed by several manufacturers. Axis Communications showed off its P1428-E series, an 8.3 MP camera supporting High, Main and Baseline H.264 profiles. Reflecting a trend towards more powerful edge analytics in the industry, the camera boasts an impressive analytic feature termed Digital Autotracking, capable of locking on several moving objects in a scene.
Another vendor that displayed 4K Ultra was DVTel, whose H.264- based 4K solution uses approximately 2 Mbps bandwidth at high resolution. DVTel claims the use of an advanced video processing chip that makes expanded use of motion vectors to increase efficiency and reduce bandwidth. They have proposed a measure of performance comparison, not unlike automobile miles per gallon (mpg), termed pixels per bit (ppb). Pixels per bit is calculated by dividing pixels per second by bits per second to derive a comparative measure of efficiency.
Samsung Techwin, a leader in 4K Ultra display technology, is still evaluating its options and plans for 4K cameras, according to Samsung Techwin President, Soon Hong An.
It was interesting that none of the vendors I saw employed next-gen H.265 compression. It is the basis for future 4K and 8K products and reduces bandwidth consumption by 50 percent compared to H.264. Samsung continues to take advantage of its in-house advanced processor technology to implement features such as electronic image stabilization, advanced analytics on the edge, and overall imaging processing. My guess is that we are a couple years away from seeing H.265 security cameras displayed and working.
“The exacqVision client scans the network to find new IP cameras, and selected cameras can be assigned IP addresses and connected to a server”
A few other innovations from the show are of note. Hikvision displayed a low-light capable color network camera with an impressive 120 dB of Wide Dynamic Range (WDR). Several Hikvision products have 3D digital noise reduction, smart face, and smart audio detection.
Digital Watchdog, whose technology has been amped up with the acquisition of Ian Johnston’s Innovative Security Designs, displayed a 32 MP panoramic camera. Using four independent and configurable 4K sensors, four independent data streams are generated from the camera platform.
In a related area, Pivot3 explained its virtual security server allowing simultaneous display of up to 40 high-definition video streams for 4-10 viewing stations. These devices can include PCs, thin clients, mobile devices, and video walls, which have no download access to the video feed. The virtual server handles VMS and storage as well.
Exacq has made identification and network configuration of IP cameras connected to its exacqVision network video recorders a great deal simpler with the introduction of EasyConnect in the latest exacqVision 6.4 release. For supported cameras (the current list is limited, including Axis and American Dynamics), the feature performs auto-discovery of devices, eliminating the need to use the camera manufacturer’s separate utility. The exacqVision client scans the network to find new IP cameras, and selected cameras can be assigned IP addresses and connected to a server. This makes the camera-recorder integration virtually seamless and is a notable feature.
The trend towards performance monitoring of power supplies continues with the Altronix LINQ2 communications module. Working with selected Altronix products, the unit monitors AC fault input, voltage and current outputs, and relay and device properties. It also allows remote control of DC power outputs and two network controlled relays. Altronix and LifeSafety Power are the most visible companies driving power supply monitoring capabilities.
The major security shows always seem to have something new in biometrics. I was impressed with MorphoTrak’s “Finger on the Fly”, a contactless system that registers up to four fingerprints in less than a second. Simply pass your hand in a swiping motion over the detector and the system enrolls the fingerprints and, later, the same action is used for verification and correlation with its database.
Teradon Inc.’s Raptor V Audio Communications Management System is primarily targeted at the Education market. The software-based system has the functionality of a Voice over IP (VoIP) system, managing nearly 1000 IP phones with traditional features such as voice messaging and conferencing.