ISC West 2017 Best and Worst

Published Apr 10, 2017 04:00 AM
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IPVM went to Las Vegas, examining what vendors are showcasing and what is new.

Attendance was up, according to the show, and was certainly well attended.

This is our final edition of the show report covering all 3 days of exhibits and key takeaways:

  • Best / biggest trends
  • Race to the Bottom - Three Remaining
  • Even at the airport
  • This is the best?
  • Hikvision new products
  • Hikvision dancer
  • Hikvision OEM major move
  • The brand no one evidently demands
  • The sad sad robot
  • The exhibitor selling sex
  • JCI / Tyco confused
  • Anixter's Got Balls
  • Indoor Gunshot Detector
  • $350 AI Camera
  • Utility Cart 
  • Parties
  • Booth Videos
  • Deep Learning
  • Robots and Drones
  • 100MP Camera
  • Axis Top News
  • Big Ring
  • Best Marketing Move
  • 3D Glasses 
  • Longse Back
  • LTS Growing
  • Best Sign
  • Made In the USA
  • Avigilon Analytics
  • Axis Advertising
  • ONVIF Display
  • Drones Demo
  • Hisilicon's Return
  • Free Drinks and Rap Music
  • Wisenet Marketing
  • Sales Strategies
  • Genetec Case Studies
  • Nvidia's Security Premier

Booth Videos

Below are 30+ videos from the show floor:

Best Trends

The 'best' trend at the show was deep learning video analytics and its potential to make video analytics, the 'next big thing' for many years to finally come true. There are clearly still issues and questions - including how 'intelligent' will it become, how much will it cost and who will make it mainstream, just to name a few. We will be ramping up our coverage (see our in progress list of deep learning video analytics provider) and testing as more products are released.

Biggest - Race To The Bottom - Three Remaining

A clear theme at the show was major manufacturers avoiding the race to the bottom and actively looking for verticals or niches where they could avoid the cut throat price cuts.

We only see 3 manufacturers willing to offer low-cost products with high levels of sales and marketing - Hikvision, Dahua and Hanwha. Hikvision is obvious. Dahua is actually ramping up aggressively, undeterred by their backdoor or Hikvision. Finally, Hanwha who had a big presence and rejuvenated by their recent Wisenet X series release.

Everyone else we see is either objecting to further price cuts (e.g., Axis) or are unwilling to spend the big sales and marketing expenditures (e.g., Uniview) needed to compete in this game.

There is still a lot at stake since such general purpose cameras are the mass of the market.

Best Marketing Move

People all over the show floor were carrying the bags of a company with the vague name of "Surveillance Monitoring":

They had people handing out the bags as attendees walked on to the show floor. It was, by far, the most widespread marketing we saw. 

The company, Surveillance Monitoring, is a startup that plans to start operations in a few months and used the bag promotion to get the word out.

Even At the Airport

The bag guys continue to win, with attendees going home at the airport continuing to act as walking billboards:

This Is The Best?

The ISC West Best New Product award continues to get more irrelevant, following up last year's strange selection of a mobile streaming offering, this year, it went to CrucialTrak BACS, a $9,300 biometric reader that can scan fingerprints, palms, eyes, and faces combined, demonstrated below:

Even if it works, like last year's mobile streaming selection, it is an extremely niche application with no chance of impacting the broader market.

Exhibitor Selling Sex

Thankfully the use of 'booth babes' is way down overall, increasing the level of professionalism of the show.

However, one exhibitor, Rapid Response, continues to treat ISC West like its an HBO brothel documentary with a literal lineup of booth babes:


Hikvision New Products

Hikvision announced ~100 new models and while none of them were novel or are likely to deliver a significant competitive shift, it was strong relative to the meager overall industry releases. Notable categories included:

  • HikCentral (successor to the iVMS-5200) and the Blazer Express are the next levels up for Hikvision on the VMS side, improving on the iVMS-4200 and their recorder appliances. Overall, though, this still will not be competitive for those wanting the full features of a Milestone Corporate or Genetec Security Center. However, the Blazer Express provides a Windows based application, increased functionalities (e.g., LPR) and HikCentral provides improved enterprise management capabilities. Note: both of these were only shown on one station and not highlighted prominently at the booth.
  • H.265+ is the successor to Hikvision's well received H.264+, bringing smart codec capabilities to their H.265. Like Hanwha's Smart H.265, shipping for a few months, we expect this to be an modest advantage over H.264+ but not a big impact since H.264+ already significantly reduced bandwidth. On the positive side, Hikvision broader support for H.265 should motivate more VMSes to add H.265 support.
  • Power over Coax, discussed for more than a year, is said to be released in the next few months. The power functionality is said to be integrated into both the camera and recorders with 80 watts for 8 cameras (per Techpoint, the component supplier here). When that is released, and presuming the functionality works and the price increase is modest, this could further help Hikvision and HD analog, despite Axis recent false pronouncement that everything is IP
  • Thermal cameras - Hikvision was particularly excited about their new thermal cameras and, in particular models, with integrated color and thermal options. Overall, thermal is not a big growth area (especially as color cameras, including Hikvision's, continue to improve) and Hikvision's pricing, from our review of ADI, is not particularly low, e.g., compared to FLIR. Because of that, we do not see it having mainstream impact. However, Hikvision may benefit from revenue growth, as this gives their growing enterprise team a high dollar product that even if they only sell a few thousands of in NA to start in 2017, could still generate $10+ million in revenue.

Hikvision Dancer

Hikvision went all out on their dancer advertising campaign. Here is one:

And another one:

And on the main presentation, explaining their rationale:

And tens of thousands of more dollars spent to be on the cover of trade magazines including both day's show daily:

And on numerous pages in their new product guide:

And the giant one on the way to the show floor:


And here are the dancers inside the Hikvision booth dancing:


Long gone are the days of widespread huge parties like the million dollar Pelco extravaganzas of a previous era. Even Avigilon, the most recent big partiers (recall the half-naked painted women parties) has cut back.

One manufacturer still partying is Hikvision at one of Vegas' most expensive nightclubs:

This is one of the amazing (and unsustainable) aspects of Hikvision. They are spending far more on sales and marketing (expensive local costs) than any of their Western rivals with prices that are regularly half of those rivals.

Hikvision OEM Major Move

One of the fastest growing of Hikvision OEMs, LTS, has now become a Hikvision distributor. This is a very uncommon move as generally OEMs value being OEMs and selling under their own brand.

Now, LTS is directly an authorized distributor of Hikvision branded products, as shown in their booth:

See our report on Hikvision / LTS Distribution here

Anixter's Got Balls

And we are not referring to them exhibiting at an integrator centered trade show after their ongoing end user sales problems.

Anixter had a claw game where attendees clawed for balls that could win them prizes. Video below:

Axis Top New Announcement - Radar

Axis trend towards non-cameras - and away from the race to the bottom - continues with its announcement of an upcoming network radar detector (see our full report here). Axis presented it with their co-founder Martin Gren as a magician:

Axis was really emphasizing the silly magician theme:

Here is what the upcoming Axis radar detector looks like:

It is relatively small, roughly the half the size of a speeddome.

The Axis radar price is really low (~$1,000) though the range is limited and it will have difficulties distinguishing humans from large animals so the applications are constrained.

Nonetheless, that really is Axis 'big' news for the show as it had many new camera releases but essentially all of them were refreshes or minor enhancements to existing lines, nothing that has potential to really break ground or shift competitive positioning significantly.

Indoor Gunshot Detector

Gunshot detection has historically been expensive and complex. DMP announced an indoor gunshot detector they claim is as simple and inexpensive as an acoustic glassbreak detector, with a standard NC contact compatible with any alarm panel. This will allow schools, banks, and other buildings concerned about active shooters to send an alarm signal as soon as an incident begins. 

$350 AI Camera

There are a lot of 'AI' / 'deep learning' products. One of the more interesting / production ready is a minidome from Nvidia partner Umbo that they are selling for just $350:

The Sad Sad Robot

Knightscope sad fund raising campaign continues, now advertising "$3 per share":

Billing it at "$3 per share" is a pathetic attempt to clown the naive to thinking its some form of deal.

Power Over Coax Getting Closer

Power over Coax is getting closer, or so the vendors say. Techpoint (the manufacturer of the encoding chips used by Hikvision, among others) is showing a PoC demo using Hikvision products, and LTS is also showing a PoC promo in their booth. Products are expected to be available in Q3 2017:

Deep Learning

Deep learning, machine learning, AI - all the buzz words for the next generation of video analytics were there throughout the floor.

The most notable demo was likely Dahua's setup outside the show floor that attracted a steady stream of people:

While certainly cameras still dominated (as they always do), only deep learning and drones / robots experienced such a sharp increase.

Drones / Robots

There were either lots of drones and robots or no drones and robots, depending on where on the show one went. In the far back, back corner there were many drones and robot companies, including ones we have never heard (though we have already covered ~8 of them). So this is a growing market, though how viable most of these are remain questionable.

Here is a video overviewing the Unmanned Expo area:

And here focuses specifically on drones:

And finally on drone detection:

100MP Camera

One re-entrant of interest was Aqueti, a US startup that launched 5 years ago (see our 2012 post) but pivoted out and now back into video surveillance.

They are using Nvidia and that has helped them significantly reduce the size and cost of their 100MP camera. We plan further coverage later this week.


Big Ring

Doorbells continue to grow, with the most well-known provider, Ring, significantly expanding its booth and building a 'home' on the show floor:

Sony Inside Bosch Booth

Just months after closing the 'combination' deal, Sony was inside the Bosch booth, literally in an overflowing nook:

The companies say the booth setup was a function of the recent close of the combination and making it fit within Bosch's existing booth structure. Sony also showed 8 new HD camera with improved image capabilities and low light at equal to reduce costs. The companies also emphasized benefits already of the combination, including increased support personnel, better Sony inventory and shipping through Bosch's logistics.


The Brand Evidently No One Demands

The strangest booth was ADT's. It was regularly nearly empty, even their own employees were generally missing.

It appeared they just did not want to be there.

Strange Brands Offered

Are you interested in branding your cameras with a tractor manufacturer or bankrupted camera manufacturer?

Starring in the Global Expo, a company named Tend is showing home cameras with Kodak branding and John Deer-branded outdoor CCTV cameras in green that they claim to own the licenses for:

Utility Cart

Cable manufacturer Windy City Wire were displaying a utility cart designed to carry their RackPack series cable reels, and is intended for use in large open spaces. It opens from the top so you can pull wires while keeping your wire and tools locked inside. 

The RackStack is a heavy duty dolly that can carry multiple spools of cable at once, and can go up and down stairs. Most dollies can only accommodate 3-4 spools, and can only handle stairs with difficulty. 

3D Marketing

Another standout marketing move, though, clearly much less broadcast was Aiphone with their enclosed demo with a note to use 3D glasses.

We have not checked it out yet but there was a line regularly for it.

Longse Back And Bigger

Lawless Longse was back at ISC West with a bigger booth. However, while most booths were busy, Longse was one of the least well attended:

LTS Growing

Another growing vendor was LTS, Hikvision's increasingly key OEM in the US. The low cost provider spent on a big booth:

In addition, they sponsored badges putting their wordmark on each attendee's badge, which is a fairly big (list price $12,500) expense. LTS continues to be a fascinating business as it is relabelled Hikvision sold by young inside sales people.

Best Sign

The best sign, in terms of being different and eye catching, was from video analytics provider VCA, whose sports arena style overhanging signs clearly grabbed attention:

Made In America - OpenEye

OpenEye, who recently took aim at American competitor Exacq, is now calling out its differences vs foreign foes with a prominent booth display:

Better Choice Than Dahua and Hikvision

China rival Kedacom, who recently IPO'ed and now has a $1+ billion USD valuation, had a sign taking aim at Dahua and Hikvision using their initials and wordmark styling:

JCI / Tyco Confused

Tyco is now owned by JCI but 'Tyco' Security Products remain under the JCI overall brand:

Avigilon Analytics 

Avigilon has no airport ads this year, but they had a number in the Sands hallways, the main one focusing on video analytics:

That is their theme this year, along with face / vehicle search and a BRS Labs style 'unusual motion detection' demo.

Axis Buzzwords

Axis is heavy on the buzzwords this year:

Not clear what that means, perhaps the meaning was lost in translation to English.

More of that in a big, big banner outside the show floor:

Axis, like in years past, continues to market its partners that co-exhibit in their booth.

Hikvision Solutions

To the contrary, Hikvision is focusing on their own COMPLETE SECURITY SOLUTIONS:

Hikvision aims to move up market (in verticals like education, health care and retail), a pattern many Western manufacturers have taken over the last few years. If Hikvision can succeed here, it should increase their margins significantly and hurt incumbents who have fled there with Hikvision's expansion in the low end.


Free Drinks - Open Bar With DJ Mustard

This may be the strangest and worst ISC West event we can recall:

We had no idea who 'DJ Mustard' was but a few minutes of googling shows he has such family unfriendly songs like "Main Bitch" and "Down On Me" with a hook of:

Got a bitch that drop it down for a nigga
I got a bitch that drop it down for a nigga
Yea, my bitch drop it down for me

Bizarre and inappropriate for this conference. For those of who you do not care, they are giving away free drinks to all those seeing DJ Mustard.

Update - The show organizer Reed responded saying:

We have negotiated an agreement with TAO that allows ISC badge holders free admission to the club on Thursday night. However, the event is organized and produced by TAO. Neither ISC or SIA have any say over the DJ that performs. We have, however, taken your comments seriously and have removed mention of DJ Mustard from our promotion.

ISC still promoted the customer appreciation party at Tao, but with 'DJ Mustard' removed:

Those attending the customer appreciation party may be interested in this offer from Hangover Heaven, which is, sadly, one of the more creative/engaging tweets with the #ISCWest hastag:

Sales Strategies For ISC West

Chris Peterson has released an interesting and timely guide - Four Strategies to a Successful ISC West for a Sales Professional. Here is one of his suggestions:

The Grand Lux Café in the Venetian is a perfect breakfast venue. However, the line starts forming about 7:30 and the wait can be very long. Get there super early, secure a table and hold court for a few hours.

ONVIF Outside Display

Two years ago, ONVIF had the bizarre / illicit Austin Powers shtick, now they are back with a far more conventional setup outside the show floor:

Wisenet Made In Korea

While the Samsung brand is fading, Wisenet is taking center stage, with a note that it is made in Korea in the center:

That continues Hanwha's differentiation of their new chip not being Chinese.

And here is another large banner above the show entrance:

Hisilicon Back

Major chip provider Hisilcon is back. While their low cost chips are especially popular at the low end, they have limited brand. At last year's show, they had a big booth but little presence (at least who could speak English). 

This year, they have another big booth and an ad out front:

Genetec Case Study Book

Genetec is strangely releasing a book of case studies:

How many of them are going to wind up in the trash?

Don't Say Axis Owns Us

Axis biggest announcement in 2016 was of intercom maker 2N. However, 2N's advertisement hides that ownership:

Given Axis' strong overall reputation, this is puzzling.

Drone Cage

New for 2017 is an 'unmanned' exhibit, below is the drone cage on the show floor being set up:

Zappos Co-Working/Meeting Space

Shoe e-tailer Zappos has a co-working space with a private meeting room for attendees outside the Global Expo entrace. ISC West attendees can walk-in to charge phones, sit down and work, or schedule the meeting room for up to 1 hour to hold a private meeting off of the show floor.

Tyco/JCI Tweet Storm

Very few manufacturers leverage social media effectively, but JCI/Tyco sent out a flood of unengaging tweets, using the same generic sales-meeting picture and text across 7 different brands.

Security Notice No One Will Remember

For a security show, ISC does not do much about security. Here is a sign with instructions:

However, it is unlikely that many will remember texting CENTURYSECURITY to 702-789-6422.


Below is copied from our Top ISC West 2017 Booth Moves:

There are significant moves among many major manufacturers on the ISC West show floor, and very few prime spaces left unoccupied. In this report we analyze which companies have increased their position for ISC West 2017, who has given up a prime spot, and other top show floor changes for 2017.

NVIDIA Premier

NVIDIA makes their ISC West debut with a 40'x50' booth, NVIDIA's closest competitors with deep-learning focused products, Intel/Movidius and Qualcomm, have no presence on the show floor, though they may have private demo areas.

Deep learning has been a trending topic in the security industry, and while 2017 may not be the breakout year for deep learning, NVIDIA is putting a lot of resources into promoting their products for use in security applications. Earlier in 2016 NVIDIA announced a partnership with Hikvision focused on their DGX-1 chip, which will likely be a core part of their ISC West exhibit.

Hikvision Moves Up

Hikvision continues to spend heavily on marketing, and has increased from a 50'x60' booth in 2016 to a 60'x60' booth for 2017, and also moved forward to a slightly better location 1 row back from the main entrance.

The image below shows the location of Hikvision's 2016 location vs. their location for ISC West 2017



Dahua Takes Panasonic's Old Space

Somewhat true to form, Dahua mimic's Hikvision's moves in an opposite way, going from a 60'x60' booth in 2016 to a smaller 50'x60' booth for 2017. Dahua did manage to take a spot right behind Honeywell, occupied by Panasonic in 2016, meanwhile Panasonic goes from that prime location that was a 50'x50' booth in 2016 to a smaller 30'x50' booth in 2017. This is not surprising, given that Panasonic has generally been stagnant in terms of major product releases recently, and is likely being negatively impacted by the race-to-the-bottom trends driven by Hikvision and Dahua.

IDIS Still Taking Large Space

Maybe the 3rd time will be the charm for IDIS, with a 40x'60' booth again, in the middle of the show-floor. This is likely a 15-20% savings from their massive 2015 ISC West booth, but still a large spend when they have made little impact in North America for another year.


Wave Swells

Distributor Wave Electronics [link no longer available] also has increased their booth size 5x for 2017, with a 40'x50' this year, compared to their 20'x20' booth in 2016. This puts Wave in the same general size category as ADI or Anixter/TRI-ED, and a much larger space than ScanSource, who has a 20'x30' booth.


Cisco - Out, Cisco Meraki - In (Barely)

Cisco was MIA in 2015, then showed back up in 2016 with a 40'x40' booth, now in 2017 they are on the floor as "Cisco Meraki" (after their launch of the most expensive HD camera in years). The booth is a tiny (for Cisco, and such a premium-priced product) 10'x20' spot in a back corner of the floor:


XiongMai Subsidiary Jufeng Not Exhibiting

After tripling their booth size in 2016 to a 30'x30' location, Jufeng, the product brand of Mirai botnet enabler Xiongmai, dropped out of exhibiting this year. 

Explore ISC West 2017 Floorplan

You can look up other companies exhibiting at ISC West 2017 via the online floorplan.

ISC West 2017 Outlook

Exhibitors were generally pleased with the results of ISC West 2016, and with only 3 booths over 500sqft left unclaimed for the 2017 show along with several expanded booths compared to 2016, exhibitors seem to have strong expectations for ISC West 2017 to deliver similar results.  We will of course feature live updates from the show floor again.

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