Examining New Products From ISC West 2009

Published Apr 11, 2009 00:00 AM
PUBLIC - This article does not require an IPVM subscription. Feel free to share.

This premium report examines the value and potential impact of 12 new products announced at ISC West. If you are looking for the next new thing or trying to determine how video surveillance is changing, this report will help. It's a compliment to our earlier report on 17 video surveillance products submitted for the ISC West awards.

The products covered (with links to product's public announcement) are:

  • IP camera standards announcements
  • OnSSI 'ingredient OEM' of Milestone [link no longer available]
  • ExacqVision low-cost embedded hybrid DVR appliance
  • ioimage remote monitoring solution [link no longer available]
  • Firetide new  400 Mb/s wireless mesh [link no longer available]
  • Sony's upcoming 720p PoE PTZ [link no longer available]
  • Texas Instruments 1080p H.264 DSP [link no longer available]
  • Grandstream's H.264 IP cameras and encoders [link no longer available]
  • Vivotek releases 2MP MPEG-4 camera
  • Oncam Global /Grandeye product strategy shift
  • Genetec's Technology Partner Program
  • VideoIQ expanded video management functionality
  • Lenel OEMing OnSSI
  • Brivo managed video offering
  • Low Cost Wireless Mesh Node from Qorvus for Mobotix M-Series Cameras
  • The big news for standards at ISC West was IQinVision's implementation of the PSIA 1.0 Specification [link no longer available]. This led Security InfoWatch to make a bold claim about the speed-up of standards: "The timeline has been re-written since we’re seeing the PSIA specification already installed in an IQ 4 series camera."

    While IQinVision's demonstration is impressive, it is a prototype, not a production release. Going from a prototype to beta release to actually general available product will take a significant amount of time (often months and not uncommonly up to a year). Almost certainly IQinVision has a head start but this does not mean you can deploy these cameras.

    Moreover, for the specifications to have any practical value, both IP camera manufacturers and VMS providers will both have to support the same specification. This will take even longer as rarely do manufacturers conduct coordinated efforts to release products simultaneously.

    Perhaps most importantly is when the larger VMS companies will release support for these specifications (as these companies will motivate others to adopt). According to Milestone, it could be a while. In a video interview [link no longer available], Milestone's CEO said they 'will welcome when ready' and they are 'contributing members' to the groups but they will not push very hard because it is 'not in the interest of [Milestone] in the short term.' This may not be 'politically correct' but it makes perfect sense.

    I expect larger IP video manufacturers to delay and de-prioritize rolling out support for specifications. Milestone's the only company to publicly indicate this but that's more likely because of their honesty than because they are alone.

    The practical problem is that the hype behind standards is making dealers and other industry people claim that they already use IP camera standards, making this a justification of why their product should be selected. Unfortunately, supporting standards makes no practical difference as neither can be used today and it is unlikely for this to be resolved for quarters or more than a year to come.

    OnSSI and Milestone announce partnership

    Milestone and OnSSI are two of the biggest providers of IP Video software. For years, insiders have known about a relationship between the two companies. However, both companies always maintained a strict 'no comment' policy on the relationship. From a public point of view, this announcement [link no longer available] changes things.

Competitors have now taken to attacking OnSSI and Milestone for simply being the same product. They are using the press release as proof of this. Add the OEM agreement between Lenel and OnSSI and competitors are happy to claim that Lenel, OnSSI and Milestone are all the same.

What will be interesting to see if this has any impact on end users or dealer selections. From the dealer side, it may encourage dealers to choose a different product line as they are concerned about competing with too many other re-sellers. From an end user side, it may cause increase confusion about who makes what products.

I am told that future public announcements should help clarify the relationship.

ExacqVision releases low-cost embedded hybrid DVR appliance

I think Exacq's new embedded hybrid DVR line (the EL) is going to be very attractive, especially to dealers that are migrating to IP. Exacq now supports very inexpensive hybrid units and software only in a complete line. This provides great flexibility in deployments and design. The new embedded series supports 16 analog cameras plus an additional 24 more IP. The MSRP of most units will be in $4,000 to $6,000 range. 

Basically, this offers high end IP functionality with the simplicity of a Linux based appliance at the price point of commercial DVRs. With Exacq's deep appliance expertise and their use of Linux, I think it's going to be hard for most of today's Windows based software companies to compete with this offering.

Firetide new product claims up to 400 Mb/s wireless mesh

Firetide's new 7000 series [link no longer available] is claiming to deliver more than 500% more than any wireless mesh system has previously delivered. It's an amazingly ambitious claim.

While testing is needed to determine the actual throughput, the 400 Mb/s claim must be viewed with skepticism. 400Mb/s assumes that two radios are used and that those radios are bonded into a single link. Bonding radios has a significant negative impact on throughput for mesh networks across multiple hops. Moreover, these numbers are from indoor testing and do not reflect noise and interference that is likely in outdoor metropolitan deployments.

MIMO technology does have the potential to increase throughput but users should be very careful about the actual levels achievable which can depend heavily on design and deployment characteristics.

See Tropos' new 802.11n MIMO product for comparison. 

Sony announces 720p PoE PTZ

Scheduled for release in Fall 2009, Sony has announced [link no longer available] a 720p (1MP) PTZ (see the preliminary Sony datasheet). The MSRP has not yet been determined. PoE is certainly useful but note that it is the high power PoE version and only for the indoor model. Previously the only megapixel PTZ I was aware of was March Network's [link no longer available] 2MP PTZ.

I am not sure of the value of combining megapixel and PTZ. While I would assume the resolution of the image will be better, it's not clear how much value is increased. Megapixel is usually justified by eliminating multiple SD cameras or a single PTZ. The main benefits of a megapixel PTZ is the ability to zoom in further during investigations (if it was live, you would simply use the optical zoom).

I suspect that this will be a niche product though it certainly depends on what the pricing premium will be relative to an SD PTZ.

Texas Instruments Releases 1080p H.264 DSP

TI has released a new DSP (the 365) [link no longer available] that enables simpler setup, inexpensive H.264 1080p IP cameras (10fps max at 1080p H.264, for details, see the presentation on 365 that TI provided me). (The DSP can also be used for H.264 DVR cards.) TI will be providing a reference design (EBOM under $40) to help camera manufacturers speed go to market. TI is a significant supplier to video surveillance manufacturers, reporting 120 customers signed up for the previous generation 355 DSP.

In the next year, this should enable many more manufacturers to introduce H.264 1080p products putting further pricing pressure on the market for current megapixel providers. 

One other interesting aspect of the 365 is that TI plans to support the PSIA specification in the 365 by the end of this year. This should result in a number of cameras released in the middle of 2010 that support the PSIA specification.

Grandstream releases H.264 IP cameras and encoders

Grandstream is a VoIP manufactuer who recently announced their entry into IP video surveillance [link no longer available] (see their product page [link no longer available]). They told me that they plan to be 30-40% cheaper than Axis but that they do not currently have any 3rd party VMS support.

Without VMS support, it's hard to consider any product. As for the being less money than Axis, unless you have a large brand, you almost have to be less money than Axis to simply attract interest.

I do not see any reason to consider Grandstream today but will continue to track.

Vivotek releases 2MP MPEG-4 camera

Vivotek's 2MP camera would be the first multi-megapixel camera manufacturer from a budget provider. The MSRP is $580 which is a few hundred less than any other 2MP cameras on the market. The camera is available now but VMS support is limited. Vivotek says Milestone support is likely in May and NUUO in the summer.

Oncam Global /Grandeye launches publicly

Oncam Global announced a new strategy for the (formerly) Grandeye megapixel camera lines (see the article from SIW [link no longer available] and a video presentation by their CEO). When we examined Grandeye last year, their focus was on mass market sales and deployment of cameras (going 'mainstream').

Oncam plans to be more of a solutions provider for high end/critical security applications rather a camera company. They plan to use their own video analytics on their devices as well as being open to running a variety of 3rd party analytics. They also plan to assist in the design and deployment of solutions.

This is a significant shift that away from the positioning of other panoramic options such as Immervsion, Mobotix and Scallop, who are more focused on providing inexpensive products for general commercial use. 

Genetec Launches Technology Partner Program

While Genetec has many partners, they have decided to improve the process and structure of their partner program. They recently hired a new manager dedicated to working with partners. This may help reduce the complexity and difficulty of getting third party products to work with Genetec. It's difficult to tell how successful or how much of a difference this will make. However, for companies looking to partner with larger IP video providers, this may be a good time to contact Genetec.

Lenel SkyPoint IP Video - OnSSI Partnership

Lenel will OEM OnSSI's Ocularis. See our detailed review on the impact of this partnership. Because of Lenel's power in access control and the priority access control systems have in many enterprise and government projects, I expect this to have an impact on the selection of video systems.

Brivo Adds Managed Video through Axis STS

Brivo announced a managed video offering added to their SaaS access control solution. It uses Axis STS and only supports Axis cameras. Brivo plans to sell this to existing accounts and to offer this as an option for new access control purchasers. Brivo does not plan to sell video by itself or become a video focused provider.

I think this makes sense for Brivo and will be useful for many Brivo customers to already tend to be smaller multi-site deployments. This is unlikely to have an impact on the video surveillance business or the growth in MVaaS.

Low Cost Wireless Mesh Node from Qorvus for Mobotix M-Series Cameras

For those of you doing outdoor deployments across large areas, Qorvus could be an interesting option for wireless. They have recently announced a new low-cost product, the MeshCamJr. that works seamlessly with Mobotix cameras. If you are looking for a reliable, inexpensive solution, the combination of Mobotix and Qorvus could be a nice solution.