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From Tiny Bubbles To Big Data Analytics

Hawaiian crooner Don Ho had a hit song called "Tiny Bubbles" in 1966, but today, the tiny bubbles you see if you look up in a restaurant or other venues are probably the latest miniaturized surveillance dome cameras, like those now offered by Arecont Vision and Avigilon. That type of attention to aesthetics, which was on display at the ASIS Annual Seminar and Exhibits, can help get security into areas where end users prefer the unobtrusive approach.

Even more interesting are changes occurring inside cameras. For example, Aventura has just brought out cameras with next-generation compression, which allows you to stream the same video at half the bandwidth. And Avigilon has introduced what it calls light catcher technology for better color rendition of images even in the type of low ambient lighting favored by restaurants and other entertainment venues. Similarly, improvements to FLIR’s thermal analytics algorithm have led to better detection at greater distances. That, plus lower false alarm rates and price cuts, has made thermal-imaging cameras increasingly feasible for more commercial applications, like car lots. Other camera trends include more momentum in the transition from legacy systems to digital, and more storage and intelligence inside the cameras, allowing them to become network recorders and video management systems.

There were also interesting developments in access control, particularly with regard to integration. At least two companies—Genetec and Axis Communications—are working to improve how access systems can work with video and other systems. In Genetec’s case, it is doing that through its platform software and partnerships with access control device makers like Assa Abloy. Axis Communications, by contrast, is on the device-maker side, and it is coming out with its own IP door controller with nonproprietary software that the company says allows for easier installation and tighter integration with open IP-video systems. And Andrew Elvish of Genetec says there will be a lot more players picking up on this trend in 2014. What it will mean for users is more choices and more flexibility in finding solutions to problems like tailgating and passback, he says.

Also in the access control space, technology continues to make it easier and cheaper to put controls on more doors, as well as wirelessly on anything that needs to be secured, like a cabinet with medicine. Honeywell has introduced a low-cost entry-level access control system, where streamlined installation saves $250 on a $700 system per door, says Honeywell’s John Smith. Assa Abloy has found ways to lower the power a mechanical lock system needs—taking it down from an average 23 watts per door to 2.5 watts. This difference can become meaningful for universities and other venues with thousands of doors, says Lester LaPierre of Assa Abloy.

Other trends include more cloud offerings, more “big data” analytics for better situational awareness, live response, and post-incident forensics; and as Honeywell’s Smith notes, “everything we do today has to have mobile access.”