The SDM editors attended ISC West April 5-8 in Las Vegas. Because ISC West is so big that no two people will have the same experience, the editors each shared in a blog impressions and trends they observed at the show.  

Laura Stepanek 

Karyn Hodgson 

Tim Scally

Laura Stepanek, SDM Editor:

An editor’s assignment at any trade show or conference is daunting, but at ISC West it’s unnerving because of its sheer size! For SDM’s audience this is it — by far the largest of any annual gathering specifically meant for the introduction of new products and services to the channel (not to mention the comprehensive educational sessions). Attendance at last week’s ISC West broke new records according to Reed Expo. The event attracted the largest attendance and featured the largest number (and square feet) of exhibits in its long history, with nearly 30,000 people and 1,072 exhibiting companies/brands. It felt great as we wound our way through crowded aisles and busy booths; I like to think it correlates with the health of the industry overall.

During the course of the three-day tradeshow, SDM’s editors, including myself, met with many exhibitors. During those meetings, certain concepts stand out as industry trends, whether they are brand new or confirmation of already established trends.

I happened to have several appointments with companies exhibiting smart home or connected-home products. What stood out to me was how consumer-like they are becoming. For example, the new White Rabbit Smart Hub, a security and home automation appliance, works completely without a traditional keypad, allowing control from an app as well as through Amazon Echo, a consumer product that uses voice recognition to control smart devices. It also can be controlled through the action of a user’s smartphone as it comes and goes from the Wi-Fi “bubble” of his or her home.

This product as well as others I saw such as ZeroWire, from Interlogix, are coming at the connected-home business from a security-first perspective. For example, I was surprised to learn that ZeroWire accommodates up to 64 security sensors and four home partitions ― that’s a lot of security power. And, it is (or will be) UL listed for residential fire installations, as is White Rabbit’s Smart Hub. Not all connected home systems are listed for fire protection, something that is super important to security dealers. I first saw ZeroWire at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, but at ISC West, Interlogix demonstrated an updated app for it, called UltraSync, which was designed by an app company to give it a greater appeal to consumers. For both Android and iOS devices, UltraSync allows for programming and interactive control including functions such as viewing live video streams and event-triggered clips. Having one app that can control all smart devices was a theme I heard several times during the show.

I also learned that today’s connected home products can have cool connections to traditional security products and practices. As another example, White Rabbit is a sister company to Bold Technologies, a provider of central station automation software. With the White Rabbit Smart Hub there are some integrations between the hub and the software. When the dealer or user provisions the hub for the first time, the information that is collected to set up the account gets automatically pushed to the central station and the account is created. Currently, White Rabbit Smart Hub is only compatible with a central station running Bold Manitou, and White Rabbit said there are 566 central stations running Manitou.

qolsys_ISCAt the Qolsys suite at ISC West, where they were showing the new IQ Panel 2 security and smart home platform, I was very impressed to see the heavy emphasis on what Qolsys was calling the “security of the security.” For example, the IQ platform has data encryption on every radio interface, a built-in firewall, and cloud token authentication, among many other features that essentially provide protection from cyberattacks. Qolsys representatives at the show proudly discussed that the platform contains a Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core 400 processor, which is a highly integrated system-on-a-chip that supports LTE cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and HD display.

Lastly, do-it-yourself is a term heard many times at ISC West. It will be interesting to see what Honeywell does with DragonFly “business-in-a-box” through its acquisition of RSI Videofied.

DMP held its annual Owners Forum meeting on Tuesday during ISC West week where it announced to its dealers The Company Store ― an integrated Web applications and product delivery engine designed to help them “leverage the new Millennial marketplace.” Dealers may link to the DMP online store from their website, which their customers can directly access. From there, the customer is prompted with “Let’s build your system.” The online store even includes a checkbox for optional installation of the products a customer purchases. Dealers enter their own pricing and decide what their price points are going to be. End users may navigate the website directly without the help of a dealer, and end users can choose their contract, based on what the dealer chooses to offer.

At the same meeting, DMP brought out OnDemand Monitoring, a service in which end users log into and schedule the exact monitoring times they want and pay a per-day rate, set by the dealer. End users may set up their system to monitor on days they will be away from home and will have the option to turn off monitoring when they choose.

Dealers seemed excited, but cautious at the same time, citing concerns about being licensed to sell security to customers in states other than those where they currently operate, as well as concerns about collecting sales tax. But in the open forum meeting, DMP management addressed some of those concerns and offered suggestions.

Karyn Hodgson, SDM Senior Editor:

As the ISC show prepared to wrap up on Friday and I was visiting my last few booths it was clear everybody had had a great show, but was ready to go home. The conversation quickly turned reflective, with many asking, “what trends did you see at the show?” As we discussed what we had seen in the past few days, a few big trends became evident.

The first was the continuing rise of the app. Even though I served as a judge on NPS, I wasn’t on the panels that awarded Best New Product or Judge’s Choice. However, as I spoke to one video company about show trends it suddenly occurred to me that, perhaps for the first time, both of these awards were given to products that either were or relied heavily on apps. For example, the Best New Product, Tiger, by Lynx TFG, allows virtually any mobile device to stream video to an existing CCTV system. According to the company, “The Tiger app transforms your cellphone into a powerful, body-worn IP camera.” The Judge’s Choice was the TextSpeak earBridge, which converts SMS cellular text messages directly to voice to support campus notification systems, alert feeds and security paging announcements, and supports 25 languages. There was also a Mobile App category, which was won by STANLEY Guard, a personal safety and mass notification product.  How long before more and more winners are apps or other mobile phone-related products?

Another big trend at the show was cloud-based everything. From video in the cloud at Ivideon (my last appointment) to managed access control (another NPS winner was BluSky, for the cloud solution category), the cloud was everywhere throughout the show floor. Yet as more and more products have continued to go mobile, cloud, IP and browser-based over the past several years, an emerging trend popped up more recently at every trade show, industry event and seminar in the past year or so: cybersecurity. ISC West was no exception, with its Connected Expo highlighting several cybersecurity companies and others with expertise in the area, all in an effort to continue to educate the physical security market on the precautions and implications of its increasingly connected solutions. According to the ISC website, “With cloud, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and now Internet of Things (IoT) strategies continuing to take shape, logical and physical security leaders from almost every industry are being challenged to keep pace and secure their critical data, people, physical assets and supply chains across a more connected world.”

One thing is for sure: None of these trends will be going away anytime soon.

Tim Scally, SDM Associate Editor: 

With more than 1,000 exhibitors, ISC West can seem like more show than one can possibly take in in the three days the show floor is open, but for those interested in one if the world’s oldest and most necessary industries, ISC is the place to be.

Admittedly I spent much of my time in a red-meat coma from the delicious 3-inch-thick steaks I enjoyed at dinners and events each evening, but I was cognizant enough to recognize that the men and women with whom I met each day seemed to share a common drive and dedication; over and over at this show and at other security industry shows I see a common passion driving those in this industry.

Sit down at any booth and ask for a company overview or a demonstration of its products and you will see what I mean. Often it was the CEO or president of the company who met with me, explaining the company’s history and trajectory, and always someone would give me a tour of the booth, demonstrating and describing products and technology clearly and completely, and doing so with a knowledge and excitement that comes less from a job than from a calling.

My meetings began on Wednesday with Pelco’s CEO Sharad Shekhar and Vice President of Systems Engineering Shane Compton who showed me the incredibly smooth stitching of the images from all four sensors of Pelco’s Optera 360-deg. into one image. Later, IDIS President Andrew Myung and Senior Director Peter Kim demonstrated the slingshot- and rubber band-style controls IDIS offers.

Other camera trends I noticed were the incredibly low-light abilities now available among some of the more familiar names. At least three booths including Canon and Sony had demonstrations of scenes with so little light the naked eye could detect little if anything, but high-resolution cameras delivered clear color images with accuracy.

Companies such as STOPware provided visitor management solutions that give schools and businesses complete control over visitor access and management.

One area to watch is the increasing effectiveness and proliferation of biometric solutions. Mark Clifton, president of products & solutions, SRI International, demonstrated SRI’s solutions in the areas of identity management, access control, and time and attendance. SRI’s line of biometric products includes iris recognition (and the ability to network iris readers throughout a campus or facility), a walk-through identity reader that scans hands and faces as a visitor walks through and handheld identity readers that capture iris and facial images up to 18 inches away.

My last meeting was with Jörg Steuerwald, head of project management at Mobotix. Jorg showed me almost every product in the booth, showing me how he manages and monitors his home back in Germany from his phone — including seeing his daughter going out to the backyard to feed their rabbit.

With more than 22 booth meetings in just two days, it would be impossible to do justice to the companies I visited with, but I left with a backpack full of thumb drives and product packets, and more importantly with new acquaintances and a greater knowledge of the people who drive this industry.