IP video systems and equipment with GPS technology for protecting construction sites – Randy Teague, ADI

Plug-and-play IP systems and hybrid DVRs – James Rothstein, Tri-Ed Distribution

Video and access control systems that use the Internet protocol (IP) for communications are expected to see strong sales growth in 2008, security industry distributors say. New wireless applications also will be hot. And there’s always a strong opportunity for unique and innovative niche products that address a strong pent-up demand.

“The industry has been talking about IP for years, but it looks like it’s finally here,” comments Randy Teague, vice president of marketing for ADI, Melville, N.Y. In the past, Teague says, the performance of IP cameras generally did not match that of analog cameras, but that has changed. “Now IP cameras are really catching up in both performance and features as compared to analog products.”

ScanSource Security Distribution of Greenville, S.C. has seen IP video jump from 5 percent of its video sales in 2006 to around 20 percent in 2007—and expects to have that number increase again in 2008. Also driving the popularity of IP video is the ability to use it for non-security applications such as counting the number of people visiting a retail outlet, notes ScanSource president John Gaillard. “It’s not just about security, but about managing the business,” Gaillard comments. “More business problems can be solved with IP-based video than with analog.”

As the price of IP equipment comes down and IP video becomes more “plug and play,” IP technology is being embraced by security dealers, notes James Rothstein, senior vice president for Tri-Ed Distribution of Woodbury, N.Y. “As a result, you’ll see dealers who buy through distribution becoming micro-integrators,” notes Rothstein, coining a new term. New hybrid DVRs that can accept IP or analog cameras will be especially useful in easing the transition to IP, Rothstein adds.

RFID combined with video as a credential – John Gaillard, ScanSource

IP isn’t just making waves in the video world; it’s also making gains in access control. Roy Crute, vice president of sales for Akron, Ohio-based Akron Hardware, notes that IP, once reserved primarily for the largest systems, is finding its way into medium-size systems. “There’s a large opportunity in projects with under 20 openings,” he says.

As for intrusion equipment, Rothstein says, “We’re seeing the return of the self-contained panel.” Driving that resurgence is easier-than-ever installation based on a combination of short-range wireless for communication with other system elements and cellular GSM for communication with the central station, Rothstein says.

Other forms of wireless also will be hot. Teague notes, for example, that equipment with global positioning capability is gaining in popularity as a means of protecting construction sites or other areas with portable assets. Global positioning, Teague says, addresses a problem that “for years has not really had a solution.”

New wireless carbon monoxide detectors also solve a long-standing problem, Teague says. In the past, CO detectors had to be hardwired because they required more power than batteries could feasibly supply. But developers have overcome that limitation with advanced technology.

IP-based access control systems for medium-sized applications – Roy Crute, Akron Hardware

Gaillard is particularly bullish about a combination of RFID and video as an alternative to traditional access control cards. Instead of swiping a card, authorized users can carry their credentials in their pockets. When they walk through two pedestals, it triggers the credential holder’s image to appear on a screen so that guards can make sure the person holding the credential is the one to whom it was issued.

For security dealers who also handle audio-video and home automation, Bob Gartland—president of Van Nuys, Calif.-based AVAD, a distributor that specializes in those areas—offers his take on 2008. “We’re expecting strong sales of more sophisticated interfaces, including touch screens and remote controls,” Gartland notes. “Remote controls right out of the box now can get metadata off the music server or an iPod without programming or writing Web server screens.”