ISC West 2016 Best and Worst

By IPVM Team, Published Apr 07, 2016, 08:52pm EDT

ISC West 2016 had very strong attendance and moderately strong new products, following a year of unprecedented acquisitions.

Traffic was almost too heavy on the first day. Here it is 10 minutes after the opening:

Booth Video Overviews

Below are 25 booth videos, including Axis, Avigilon, Hanwha / Samsung, Genetec, Hikvision, Milestone, Sony and many more:

Best - Attendace

Clearly, one of the best parts of the show was the strong attendance. Certainly, a solid North American economy helps but we believe the biggest factor is the continued decline in ASIS. See: Strong ISC West 2016, Cheer Manufacturers, Trumps Weak ASIS 2015

Best Shot At the Chinese Manufacturers

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Axis took its best shot yet at the Chinese manufacturers with its new Companion line. While it is the most aggressive of the premium Western brands, it is still notably more expensive than many Hikvision / Dahua equivalent offerings. Also, Axis has closed the Companion cameras, adding more risk.

Overall, we expect the Companion line to have moderate success but not enough to break the Chinese hold on the low end.

Biggest Shot At the Mid-Market / Biggest Impact

Whether you hate analog or hope it dies, it is not only staying around, it is growing fast, faster than IP. And even if you think it is not real technology or innovation, the 3rd generation of HD analog is going to make it even more competitive.

The foundation is that it is lower cost than IP and easier to setup. Now with the 3rd generation, look for: 

  • Higher resolution (previously 1080p, now up to 5MP)
  • Power over Coax
  • Longer cable Distances
  • Increased interoperability of the 3 flavors (AHD, CVI, TVI).

See: Hikvision Launches 5MP Analog Turbo HD 3.0Hanwha / Samsung Launches Analog HD+ and HD Analog All in One Techpoint chip.

Worst - Dahua

Dahua continues to execute poorly. While they upgraded to one of the largest booths, they had to resort to a magician and struggled to communicate what they were doing. Worse for them, Dahua Declares Defeat, 'Embraces' Enemies.

Best and Worst Branding

Everyone literally was a billboard for Axis and Hikvision:

While ISC West sells this for tens of thousands of dollars each, we think this is money well spent. Except for those of us who cut off the Hikvision label and switched to our own lanyards...

Best New Product Winner?

Lynx TFG won ISC West's "Best New Product" for their Tiger mobile system that turns mobile phone into surveillance cameras. Of course, there are many free mobile apps that have done this for years and a number of VMSes that offer this (DVTel, Genetec, Milestone, etc.).

Lynx Tiger is essentially trying to fit in the middle, as a mini-VMS / mobile command center, where numerous live videos from mobile devices can be managed / viewed. In addition, they offer ONVIF out to VMSes. They charge $40 per month per concurrent live stream.

We are skeptical of the overall fit, since many high-end VMSes offer this as an integrated feature and lower-end applications can use free apps to connect. However, if one has a VMS that does not have their own VMS push mobile app, this could be interesting.

Worst Sibling Rivalry - Canon vs Axis

Canon had a big booth and did not hesitate to compete directly with their subsidiary Axis.

Canon had demo areas dedicated to showing low-light performance and color reproduction accuracy. They emphasized using the same DIGIC DV3 processor in the security cameras as their broadcast cameras, positioning their cameras as a more premium product focusing on image quality over rivals. However, we have tested one of their DIGIV DV3 processor cameras (see Testing Canon IP Cameras) and they are fine but not anything outstanding compared to Axis or any other focused video surveillance provider.

No one at the Canon booth could explain why they were competing against Axis but they did say they would forward our request to corporate.

SRI Iris Tablet For Access Control

SRI is featuring its new Iris tablet for access control, which is certainly different. The cost cited was a relatively low ~$1,000 but the range is also a relatively low 6 inches, as shown in the video below:

New Sony 4K

Sony has another 4K camera coming, this one is focused on super low light performance.

Here is a demo run inside a dark room which shows Sony's claim that their new 4K 35mm camera is far better than their current generation 1080p camera (which is solid for today's low light standards in our testing):

Here is a snapshot from their demo video:

Here is what the camera looks like inside the booth: 

Looks like Sony will be positioning this against  thermal, integrated IR, Avigilon HD Pro etc., as a better alternative. Street pricing for the camera should be ~$4,000 plus an expensive lens, so it will not be cheap. 

HD Analog All-in-One Chip

Techpoint was showing off their new 3.0 chip in a demo with a TVI camera (their variant), an AHD variant and a CVI one (Dahua camera used). Here are all the 3 variants connected to a single Techpoint chip all being displayed at 1080p at the monitor in the screen:

Cisco Sells Surrenders Access Control

Cisco has surrendered its access control offering to Identiv. Here is Identiv co-exhibiting with Cisco:

For details, see: Cisco Surrenders Access Control

IC RealTime Moving Up

IC RealTime has been an exhibitor at the last several ISC West's, moving towards larger space each year.  Popular among installers that concentrate on A/V systems, they are trying to gain more ground with security integrators.

This year they are showing a more defined purpose for their "720 degree" camera, using it on a corner mount to provide a 270 degree overview of an area, and then driving a PTZ in an auto-track mode to zoom in on activity in pre-defined areas.

IC RealTime claims their 720 camera, and select other hardware components are designed and manufactured in the US.  To be clear, these products appear to be a tiny subset of the overall ICRealTime product portfolio, which is mostly cameras OEM'd from Chinese suppliers. The "Made In USA" signage in their booth left it somewhat vague as to which products were US Made vs. imported.


Stun Guns In All Forms

Towards the back of the exhibit hall you could hear stun-gun sounds every 45 seconds.  One exhibitor was taking orders for stun-guns in various form-factors including walking canes and blinged out models. Every time we walked past their booth there was a line 5 deep waiting to place orders.  

ADI Mercedes

Every year, ADI has a large booth at the front of the show floor. Instead of driving exposure for their products, the booth is mostly dedicated to a car raffle. This year, an AMG Mercedes was up for grabs in the ADI booth, while actual products were mostly non-existent.

McCarran Airport Prefers Supercircuits

Attendees moving through McCarran airport on the trams might have noticed the SuperCircuits cameras in the interior of the cars.  A bit of irony for people attending a security conference to see what would be an enticing airport customer opting for a DIY camera.

Dahua Resorts To Gimmicks

Major camera manufacturers seemed to be relying on new products and standard displays to draw in visitors.  Dahua continues to grope for a US strategy and apparently feels that card tricks are a better way to grab people's attention at the show.  Pick a card? Guess their logic and win a camera?  We will spare you the whole video, but it involves a Joker.

How Many Hashtags?

ONVIF or PSIA? 4:3 or 16:9? #ISCW16 or #ISCWest or #ISCWest16? The security industry often seems like it cannot decide on a common format. Attendees attempting to follow relevant tweets online had to search for multiple hashtags to keep up with show news.  Not sure why the show does not embrace a common hashtag year to year to make it easier to leverage social media.

Genetec Showing VR Demo

Genetec was showing off an experimental Occulus Rift VR / Security Center integration, developed in a hackathon. It was attention-grabbing but questionable how usable / practical it is for real operation.

Genetec does not plan to make this commercially available and was showing it off more for technology / novelty.

Chinese Booths Empty

Excluding the big names (e.g., Hikvision and Dahua), many of the booths from Chinese companies exhibiting at the show were empty much of the time.

The company above is Jufeng, who tripled their booth size for 2016 and got themselves right next to Genetec.

Unfortunately, the Jufeng / Genetec synergies are evidently weak.

Hisilicon is spending big but not impressively. We tried to talk to someone at Hisilicon about their chips, but no employees with conversational English skills could be found. This may be why many of these exhibitors had trouble attracting attendees.

BluBox Person Reader

BluB0X - The Most Ambitious Security Startup in Years is showing off their "person reader", which they claim can replace a standard reader and offers a variety of authentication methods including face recognition, Bluetooth/BLE (Phone Credentials), PIN and will be adding some form of voice verification in the future.  It also does traditional cards.  The current version is designed for indoor locations only.

Quanergy LIDAR Scanner

Quanergy is new to the security market.  They were showing a small LIDAR scanner that retails for $4-$5K, and covers a 100M range in a 360 degree circle.  VMS integrations are "in process".  A more interesting product that they weren't showing live is what they claimed was the first solid-state/no moving parts LIDAR scanner that has a coverage beam of ~110 degrees.

60 Second Eye Lift

Apparently a big problem for security integrators, the "60 Second Eye Lift" booth got 100x the traffic of many of the Chinese exhibitors.

IPConfigure On Various Hardware

IPConfigure was showing their VMS running on various hardware platforms, including expected one like a Razberri device, and more unique platforms such as a RaspberryPi.

Ring Competitor SkyBell

SkyBell is showing a Ring-like video doorbell that they are bringing to market through the traditional security channel.  $199 MSRP, hardwired, and it can also ring your traditional interior chime when the button is pressed.

Axis Partner Demos Have Mixed Results

Some of the Axis partner demo stations had good traffic while others went long spans between interested attendees.

Ubiquiti In The Cheap Seats

Wireless giant Ubiquiti was in the middle of the very first row, a section where you more typically find small startups and 60 Second Facelift companies.

Knightscope Security Robot

Knightscope had their newest security robot in their booth. They have a couple dozen units deployed and have been targeting customers in the education market and corporate campuses. The robots are leased, not sold, for around $4500/mo.

Manufacturer for Sale

3D PSIM manufacturer Fortem has put itself up for sale [link no longer available]. Though they are obviously in a niche, our interactions with Fortem over the years has been positive as they have been one of the few PSIM providers that were clearly technology lead and did not try to do the standard PSIM hype and magic (here's looking at you CNL and Vidsys).

Fortem is working with PricewaterhouseCoopers to manage the sales process [link no longer available]. If you are interested in buying Fortem, you need to give notice by April 25th, just a few weeks away. They could make a good add-on for a higher end company at a reasonable price. With some marketing, a real sales channel could be a winner.

Longse President

If you have only ever 'met' Longse via their spam email girls, here is their President:

You can email him at:

See our full post: Longse Spam Innovation

Axis Defender

Axis gave a demo of their just announced Defender perimeter security analytics. It runs on ACAP-enabled cameras and has a $299 MSRP. Setup/Calibration looks easy and it claims to differentiate people and vehicles.  Range on a 320x240 thermal camera with 19mm lens was stated at 94 meters.


Happy Analytics

Uniview (now branded UNV), who bills themselves as #3 in China (owned by US investment firm Bain), was showcasing, for lack of a better term, happy analytics.

The company aims to differentiate with their internally developed video analytics and networking background.

We will have a post on Uniview's strategy / approach upcoming.

The Arecont Double

Arecont is previewing an upcoming 'double' camera. It features 2 imagers / heads. Like the new Omnis, the imagers support autofocus and can be replaced / adjusted for the appropriate focal and aiming.

It is an uncommon approach and we see applications from it. The only one we know similar is the Hikvision Monovu which we do not believe is shipping yet.

Free Insecure Wifi

The show is offering free wifi. Unfortunately it is extremely crowded and also insecure.

DMP Laser Show

DMP has a smoke and laser show going on above their booth that is drawing some complaints from nearby exhibitors.

Dahua Multi

Dahua is displaying an upcoming multi-imager. In true Dahua fashion, it is weird. Low 6MP resolution, 3 imagers, somewhat less than 180°, integrated IR, big housing:

Foscam Embraces DIY

While most manufacturers exhibiting "respect the channel" and will deny any ability to buy product directly, Foscam is going against the grain and promoting their "DIY Security" solution.  They are looking for more US distributors if you would like to move large numbers of cameras on Amazon.

Attack the Red Badges

Manufacturers, ISC has made it easy to spot the whales, just look for the 1,000+ red badges:

Avigilon is #1... In Banners

Nobody has more banners than Avigilon, in addition to the airport ones they do annually, they have banner after banner lining the strip to the convention center.

But they are fairly low key for Avigilon traditional standards, like:

And this giant banner that we could not even fit:

As for Avigilon's 'minimum bandwidth' claim, it would have more power if they could release a smart codec like their competitors are doing.

Axis Biggest Banner

Speaking of smart codecs, Axis is increasingly pushing their Zipstream technology, which is a substantial advantage against many of their rivals like Avigilon, Sony, etc.

They have an enormous banner at the show floor entrance:

Genetec is Changing

After the past few years ad campaign literally emphasizing 'nothing', Genetec is now promoting their new subscription offering.

They are the first mainstream VMS to offer monthly subscription payments. It is certainly an interesting idea, but as all things Genetec, it will still be quite expensive. See: Genetec Launches Subscription VMS

FLIR is Awesome?

At least according to them:

Awesome? They are based in California...

Their big news is showing off their recent acquisition of DVTel that is help turning them into an end-to-end provider.

Biggest Trend - Not Consolidation - Running For Safety

Consolidation is happening but it is not simply consolidation. We believe the most common theme across these acquisitions is a flight to safety.

Indeed, the number of deals over the last 6 months are simply staggering:

Of course, that builds upon the other big deals of the last few years including Axis, Milestone, Samsung, Tri-Ed, Exacq, Video Insight, Seetec, Brivo, Swann, etc., etc.

At some point, it becomes almost easier to list the companies that have not been acquired than those that have been.

Safety: Manufacturers, far more than integrators and end users, are feeling the pain of the Chinese commodification. Profits are down overall. For many, revenue is down. Outlook is correspondingly down. For companies (and founders) that have been building their businesses for 10, 15, some even 20 years, it reaches a point where the best bet is to sell.

This is far from over. Many video surveillance manufacturers are surely looking at other photocopier manufacturers to sucker (May we suggest Xerox, Sharp, Ricoh, Lanier, Kyocera, etc.). And, in all seriousness, we see things only getting worse for the average manufacturer in the next few years.

2nd Trend - Rise of HD Analog

On the new product side, the most strategically important is the continued rise of HD analog (Hikvision 3.0, Dahua 3.0, Hanwha/Samsung entering, etc.). Resolution is up (to 4MP / 5MP), capabilities are up (e.g., Hikvision Power Over Coax) and prices remain far lower than IP.

We remain bullish on HD analog's value to consumers generally but bearish on what this means to IP incumbents who appear ideologically opposed to the changing technological / competitive reality. As above, manufacturers, sell now.

3rd Trend - Death of 720p / Rise of 4MP

Related to HD analog, clearly 720p is becoming the new 'VHS' tape, increasingly phased out or being relegated to really cheap products. Indeed, Axis has started to release 4MP 16:9, Hanwha / Samsung has a 4MP line coming out, etc. They join Hikvision and Dahua who have been shipping 4MP for more than a year (see The 4MP Shootout - Dahua vs Hikvision).

Keep an eye out for 4MP becoming the new 1080p in the next year. Related: Resolution Usage Statistics 2016

New Products Decent Overall

New products are definitely better than last fall (contrast Spring 2016 vs Fall 2015). We are cautious, though, of declaring innovation to be 'up' as it seems a key factor is that more manufacturers are concentrating their new big news in the Jan - April period and cutting back on new announcements for fall / ASIS / Essen time frame.

Canon vs Axis - What???

By far, the most bizarre matchup is Canon versus their own child company Axis. You would think more than a year after the acquisition, Canon would at least cut back its legacy video surveillance division. But you (or we) would be wrong. If anything, Canon is building their own non-Axis video surveillance division, announcing 5 new Canon cameras targeted at Axis core high-end market.

Why this is a good idea is beyond us. We understand the whole "Japan does it differently", "Japan has a 100 year plan" but it is hard to understand why this is not a wasteful, confusing, complete lack of strategy.

We are going to try to find out if there is any plan behind this but we are not optimistic.

The New Samsung / Hanwha

Here is how Hanwha / Samsung is positioning themselves at the show.

Here is a banner showing emphasizing the rebrand:

Note: Hanwha's corporate color is Oranage, Samsung is blue.

And here is another one of their banners, this one with no mention of Samsung:

Worth noting, Samsung is also releasing a new Q line that includes H.265 and a smart codec which they call WiseStream.

Finally, here is the rendition of their booth:

Evidently, when deciding which brand to pick, they choose "All of the Above".

Banned Ad

Last year, IPConfigure had a banner announcing their "acquisition of Cannon", a play on Canon's acquisition of IPConfigure's main partner Axis and main rival Milestone.

This year, ISC West is not happy with IPConfigure's new ad, shared below:

IPConfigure says they cannot use it, forcing the tag line to be changed from "Been Penetrated?" to "Feeling Vulnerable?"

Fair or foul?

Dahua Disaster

Dahua has doubled their booth size for 2016, proving that if you cannot win by strategy or execution, just try buying a really big booth.

To celebrate their huge booth, they are embracing their enemies who just a year ago they were threatening to sue. 

That said, it is definitely worth a visit to Dahua's booth to see if they can make a coherent presentation / pitch in person.


The Chinese semiconductor manufacturer has a really large booth, more than double of last year:

By contrast, their main competitor, Ambarella has none. Hisilicon's move, though, is confusing to us. Unless they are trying to build more of a consumer brand, that's a lot of money to spend when their manufacturer customers are quite limited and never disclose Hisilicon's brand anyway.

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