ISC Quest

With more than 800 companies exhibiting at the 2009 ISC West tradeshow, it’s not surprising that there’s almost too much news to report coming out of the Sands Expo Center this week. And the fascinating, innovative products on display are almost too much to wrap your mind around.

Some of the most interesting new products I’ve encountered this week include Video Flashlight from Praetorian, an intelligent surveillance solution provider. The product combines multiple video surveillance feeds to create a single-screen, real-time display of the entire environment using amazing 3-D imaging technology. The resulting visualization looks like something out of an Xbox 360 game -- perfect for military applications, such as the U.S. Marine Corps’ live-fire shoot house. In this application, Video Flashlight is used to create 3-D renderings of live-fire building clearing drills. Afterward, trainees can immediately review their performance before running the exercise again. Video Flashlight is unlike any other video surveillance technology I’ve seen before -- and it might very well be the future of that industry niche.

Just around the corner, JVC was hosting its very own shoot-out. Granted, we are way out West, but it wasn’t that kind of shoot-out. JVC was pitting one of its new megapixel cameras, the VN-X35U, against three of the company’s biggest competitors’ cameras in a unique competition to compare resolution, low-light capabilities and motion capture.

The four cameras were all recording the same colorful scene that included children’s toys and a small moving carousel. The JVC camera was clearly the winner, with a bright, clear image that truly represented the color and illumination of the scene. When the lights were turned off, JVC came out ahead again. The other cameras got fuzzy, jerky or overly dark, while the VN-X35U stayed true to form. I’m not sure if other companies are doing this kind of head-to-head comparison, but I thought it was one of the most effective tools I’ve seen at a tradeshow, and I hope to see more of it in the future.

Early Thursday morning, I met with Dean Seavers, president and CEO of GE Security, to find out the latest. The economy seems to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind at the show, and Seavers acknowledged that the security industry hasn’t escaped the impacts of the recession.

“There’s a little different mood walking around,” he said. “The economy is just bad, and it’s in an unprecedented way. … That’s why it’s so important to deliver value and functionality.”

One way in which the company is adapting to that new “value and functionality” mantra is through a renewed focus on smaller, more affordable product platforms. The newly-released TruVision cameras, DVRs and monitors are designed to offer cost-effective security solutions for stand-alone or basic integrated installations. So far, these new product lines have primarily proven attractive to small retail customers, with some users in the education vertical showing interest as well.

GE was also eager to highlight its Vigilant fire and life safety product, which, if you haven’t already heard, won the SIA New Product Showcase Judges’ Innovation Award. Vigilant is a single-source solution meant to simplify, simplify, simplify. The product integrates a range of stand-alone or networkable control panels with optional voice evacuation and intelligent detectors, modules and accessories.

Clearly, GE is one of the many companies here that are listening to the dealers’ and end users’ requests -- and positioning themselves to be a vital part of the industry, even in hard times.

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