Las Vegas is a city that bombards you with choices: dozens of glitzy hotels and casinos, a plethora of restaurants and eateries to satisfy any craving and an endless variety of entertainment guaranteed to delight and amuse. With so many options, it’s hard to decide where to spend your time.

The same goes for ISC West. Like the city in which it’s being hosted, ISC West 2019 is going to bombard you with more options than ever before. Dozens of new technologies and vendors as well as old familiar faces will be vying for your attention.

With only three days, it’s nearly impossible to explore every booth and every vendor. Ultimately, you’ll want to focus your limited time on companies whose partnership can lead to your organization’s long-term success. In that context, I’d like to suggest a few things to think about as you wend your way through this year’s tradeshow.

The Next Wave In IP Technology

 The fact that the whole world is going IP is nothing new. The network-based connectivity trend has been ongoing for more than 25 years. What’s changed is the nomenclature. Today it’s all about the Internet of Things (IoT).  What was once exclusively an analog-based video surveillance market has shifted predominantly over to IP

For the security industry, the concept of IoT really began with connecting DVRs through a network. Then in 1996, IP cameras – the first true IoT devices – hit the market. Since then, what was once exclusively an analog-based video surveillance market has shifted predominantly over to IP, providing exceptional growth opportunity for any company wanting to be on the leading edge.

Today, however, that market is relatively saturated and growing at a much slower rate. In response, consolidation of the market has started to accelerate. Many vendors are disappearing while a select few are becoming stronger.

Though the IP video revolution is now a fait accompli, there are still a few ancillary security technologies that are just beginning to jump on the IP convergence bandwagon. I’m referring to two in particular: IP audio systems and IP intercom solutions. 

Like their IP video cousins, these relatively new IP systems are built on open platform standards and provide the same benefits for convergence as happened in the camera space: better scalability and ROI, more functionality, and easy integration with third party systems. The technology is a great complement to a customer’s existing IP surveillance system or an ideal replacement for an antiquated analog audio system.

So I’d recommend spending time at booths showcasing this technology. Listen to the crystal clear sound quality. Learn from the various vendors how easy IP audio systems are to custom configure, remotely manage and scale. And discover the different ways the IP technology can be used, from paging, public address and broadcasting background music to augmenting security systems and perimeter protection solutions. The potential markets that can benefit from this latest IP technology are wide and varied, everything from hotels, hospitals and transportation hubs to educational institutions and retail chains. So it’s well worth your time to take a look at this growing opportunity.

artificial intelligence the new trend at ISC West
AI has proven to dramatically improving the accuracy of Traffic Incident Detection analytics. But it’s too early in the game to assume that AI can be applied across the board

Artificial Intelligence: Hype Vs. Reality

Video intelligence or video analytics was the big trend a decade ago. But it quickly fizzled out when hype crashed into reality. In the ensuing years algorithms have greatly improved, leading to more reliable analytic performance. Now it’s commonplace for video surveillance solutions to include a wide range of analytics from motion detection and people counting to dwell time analysis, object left behind and license plate recognition.    The latest hype to capture the imagination is self-learning systems, often referred to as Deep Learning and Artificial intelligence (AI)

With analytics gradually becoming mainstream, the latest hype to capture the imagination is self-learning systems, often referred to as Deep Learning and Artificial intelligence (AI). These self-learning applications parse event data and use what they’ve learned from the experience to make determinations or predictions that can increase the accuracy of future alerts.

Before you get swept up in all the big promises that have yet to prove deliverable, take time at ISC West to educate yourself about the current state of the technology. AI works well in some areas.  For instance, AI has proven to dramatically improving the accuracy of Traffic Incident Detection analytics.

But it’s too early in the game to assume that AI can be applied across the board. Talk to some of the AI vendors at ISC West to learn when and if AI might be right for your organization’s analytic applications. See who has actual, field-proven solutions and who is just offering ideas that might take many years to prove useful in real applications.

Connecting With The Right Partner

Think of ISC West as the ultimate meet-and-greet. Look around the tradeshow floor and see who might by likely partners Choosing the right partner is as important in business as it is life. Think of ISC West as the ultimate meet-and-greet. Look around the tradeshow floor and see who might by likely partners. You’re sure to find a number of new companies entering the field this year.

Also be sure to notice which companies are absent. Have they left the surveillance industry? Are they struggling financially and can no longer afford to show up? If you partnered with them in the past, where does that leave your business today? 

As you explore potential vendor relationships, make sure you not only look at the arc of their technology development, but also their long-term financial stability and the kind of support services they offer. Cybersecurity should be front and center on your radar, along with timely updates, product integration with your existing technology and ongoing training to gain the most benefit from your investment.

ethical factors to consider with vendor selection
Look into how eco-friendly the vendor’s products are, what they’re doing to recycle, minimize waste and lower their carbon footprint

Think of ISC West as the ultimate meet-and-greet - look around the tradeshow floor and see who might by likely partners Another important thing to find out is whether their business ethics align with yours. Is sustainability important to your company? How about corporate social responsibility, diversity and inclusion? Ultimately you want to do business with healthy, innovative companies that share your core values.  

If being green is a fundamental principal of your company, look into how eco-friendly the vendor’s products are, what they’re doing to recycle, minimize waste and lower their carbon footprint. If striving for better global citizenship is your corporate mantra, you need to know how the vendor is assuring their operation complies with environmental laws and regulations.

In terms of maintaining social and ethical standards, it’s important to know where the vendor stands on issues such as human rights violations, compulsory child labor, fair wages and sourcing minerals from countries in armed conflict. 

Go In With A Plan

There’s so much to discover at ISC West this year that four days isn’t nearly enough time to see it all. So you’ll have to strategically pick and choose which booths and vendors to visit. I’d advise that you plan out your days in advance so that you can get the most value from the choices you make.

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Author profile

Fredrik Nilsson Vice President of the Americas, Axis Communications

Fredrik Nilsson is the general manager for Axis Communications with responsibility for the company’s operations in North America since 2003. During this time, he has helped the company increase its revenue more than tenfold and has been instrumental in leading the industry shift from analog closed circuit television to network video.

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ISC West Modifying Venetian Ballroom Layout in Absence of Chinese Companies
ISC West Modifying Venetian Ballroom Layout in Absence of Chinese Companies

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How ISC West Has Changed The Game In Security Over The Years
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New VMS Features Worth Your Time and Attention at ISC West 2020
New VMS Features Worth Your Time and Attention at ISC West 2020

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The neural tracker can be used to detect people in dangerous areas at production facilities, cyclists riding on pedestrian lanes, or poachers trying to sneak into a nature preserve. Neural networks are really good at recognizing and classifying objectsObject identification function can be used for other site-specific tasks, such as detecting people without a helmet or a high-visibility vest at facilities where those are required by safety regulations. It can also be used to detect fire and smoke in open spaces, or at big premises with high ceilings or active air circulation, where common fire alarm systems can't be used or may go off too late. Behavior analytics  Behavior analytics is another field of analytics based on artificial neural networks. Even if recognizing suspicious or inappropriate behavior is nearly impossible, it can detect risky situations based on human postures, such as an active shooter pose, raised arms, crouching, or man down. In addition to that, AI has been successfully used to perform facial and license plate recognition for quite some time now. Although these systems aren't new, their recognition quality improves each year. Looking for solutions? You'll definitely find some interesting and new options from developers specializing in VMS and modular AI analytics at ISC West 2020. Even if recognizing suspicious or inappropriate behavior is nearly impossible, AI can detect risky situations based on human postures Smart search The ability to perform a quick, flexible search in a video archive is one of the most important features of a video surveillance system. In many ways, it's even more AI has been successfully used to perform facial and licence plate recognition for quite some time nowimportant than real-time monitoring itself. Constantly keeping an eye out for what's happening onsite is the security service's job. Medium- to large-sized companies usually have that kind of department. Meanwhile, lots of small businesses and households use video footage to investigate accidents, resolve conflicts, or analyze employee's work. They generally don't need real-time monitoring, but video search is a crucial element. The most basic search tools offer an interface that enables easy access to recorded video and event-based search (from video analytics, detectors, etc.). Smart systems with forensic search features that allow the user to set criteria enhance the system's search capabilities even more. How it works  VMS analyzes the video as it is recorded and saves the resulting metadata to a database. In the most basic case, the metadata contains information about motion in the scene as well as the moving object's coordinates. When searching, you can select an area of interest within the frame and take a quick look at all video segments containing motion in this area. More advanced systems save the parameters of moving objects, such as their size, color, motion speed and direction. TThe ability to perform a quick, flexible search in a video archive is one of the most important features of a video surveillance systemYou'll quickly find what you're looking for by setting more precise criteria. The first VMS with forensic search features appeared in the early 2010s. Since then, a growing number of users and VMS developers have recognized the importance of these tools. More and more manufacturers enrich their products with forensic search features, starting from basic search by motion detection. Integrating search functions with AI Recently, search technologies have gone even further by integrating search functions with AI analytics. Some systems are capable to recognize all faces and number plates captured by cameras and save them to the database. You can quickly find all videos containing an image of a person or a car just by searching a photo or a number plate across multiple camera archives at a time. One usage scenario for these systems can be seen in law enforcement deploying them to find suspects using CCTV cameras around the city. Another option for integrating smart search and AI is searching by criteria based on a neural network tracker. When you use it, you can set object's size, color, motion speed and direction in the scene, as well as object's type (such as a human or a vehicle). So, if you need to find out when a red car appeared in the surveillance area, the system will show you only red cars while ignoring other objects like people in red clothes. This technology lets you find what you're looking for even faster. If you or your clients use VMS primarily to record video, be sure to ask the manufacturers you'll talk to at the show what search capabilities they offer. More advanced systems save the parameters of moving objects, such as their size, color, motion speed and direction Hardware AI acceleration High CPU resource consumption is one of the hardest challenges that stem from implementing a neural network–based video analytics system. This significantly decreases the number of cameras that can be connected to a server that hosts AI analytics. It also makes the system much more expensive. AI technology lets you find what you're looking for even fasterThe solution is to use AI accelerators. GPUs and dedicated accelerator cards are used on servers to provide hardware acceleration for the neural networks' workload. These devices are mostly manufactured by Intel and NVIDIA. Intel also offers the OpenVINO™ toolkit, a software package for developers that helps distribute workload between CPU, GPU, and accelerators as effectively as possible using all available resources. New solutions Due to AI's growing popularity, lots of minor microchip manufacturers became interested in developing neural accelerator chips. The healthy competition will work in the market's favor, serving to stimulate tech development and cut prices. New solutions in the field were on display at ISC West 2019; they'll definitely be present at ISC West again in 2020. Developers specializing in VMS and modular AI video analytics should absolutely check these out. But users should understand that it's impossible to build a cost-effective video surveillance system with significant number (10–20 and more) of AI analytics channels without using neural accelerators. That said, various accelerator models may significantly differ in price and power consumption. So, when you talk to developers specializing in VMS and AI analytics modules, ask what accelerator makes and models they support. In conclusion Whether you're an integrator looking for interesting VMS offers for clients or an end-user searching for solutions to your own tasks, check out what AI analytics can do. This sector is developing very fast and is continuously introducing new features that may be just what you're looking for. Incorporating forensic search in recorded video footage is key to building an effective video surveillance system for users, and important to creating a unique product offering for integrators. Needless to say, you can't build a cost-effective video surveillance system without using CPU resources wisely. If a system's functionality completely aligns with what you're looking for, ask what neural accelerator hardware it supports to correctly estimate the cost of your video servers.