Security solutions undergo technological innovations

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Post the Mumbai terror attack, the growing demand for surveillance and security services in almost every segment has fueled the market for closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in India. According to a new report from RNCOS, a market research solutions company, titled ‘Global CCTV Market Analysis (2008-2012)’, the global CCTV market will be worth $13 billion in 2012, with a growth rate of 27 per cent during 2008-2012. The Asia Pacific market will witness a rise of 12 per cent in 2009-2012, especially in China and India.

By Sandhya Malhotra

Sunday, June 20, 2010: This rising demand for CCTVs can be attributed to the massive infrastructure developments in malls, BPOs, airports, multinational companies and hotels. The swelling crime rate and terrorism have made surveillance imperative for government and private bodies alike. A survey by Electronics Bazaar in January 2010 found that even during the 2009 recession, when growth in other segments was low, companies in the security and surveillance segment witnessed an average growth of 81.1 per cent. The survey indicated that in 2010, these companies expect an average growth rate of about 110 per cent.

“As people are taking surveillance more seriously, this market is targeting a good growth in 2010. Despite the recession across all industries, we witnessed an exceptional growth rate in 2009 as we got many big projects,” shares Sanjeev Sehgal, managing director, Samriddhi Automations Pvt Ltd, owner of the Sparsh brand, which is one of the few Indian manufacturers of all types of CCTV cameras and switchers. It is the first Indian company to manufacture indigenously developed, designed and technologically advanced CCTV cameras with technical support from Sony Electronics Singapore Pvt Ltd. “The electronics surveillance and security services business in India is flourishing as every sector in the country is spending a huge amount of money on security,” he adds.

The latest products

The electronics security industry broadly consists of security alarm systems (fire alarms, burglar alarms, etc), closed circuit television (CCTV) systems, A/V door entry systems, access control and video control systems, intrusion detection security products, network cameras, video encoders, etc. Growing opportunities in the security space have been pushing many security companies to come up with a plethora of innovative products to tap the needs of different segments.

Explains Chiranjeev Singh Bedi, head, Sales and Services, Godrej Security Solutions, a division of Godrej & Boyce and part of the Godrej group, “The security market in India has been a predominantly need based market. Earlier, it was not at all consumer-centric. However, the growing security threats have transformed people’s perceptions. Now, the need for security is being seen as a preventive measure, which every company and household wants to go for. Hence, more and more products that are innovative and user friendly are coming into the market.”

Remote surveillance systems, surveillance on mobile and Internet Protocol (IP) cameras are the latest products in the market. With surveillance on mobile, high resolution 540 TVL cameras and dip switch 420,480 and 540 TVL cameras, Sparsh offers the latest in the market. Apart from this, the company will soon be launching its OSD model in the 540 TVL range. According to Sehgal, “Surveillance on mobile gadgets will help users to remain informed about the security of their premises even when they are on the move. E-mail and buzzer alerts can be generated based on motion detection on the premises, and users can see this live on their mobiles.” Keeping in mind the preferences of users, the company has also come up with different colours and better picture quality. It has developed a new dip switch model that allows users to set or reset four functions—automatic white balance (AWB), automatic gain control (AGC), backlight compensation (BLC) and mechanical IRIS (MIRIS) in order to get the picture that suits a user’s need and preference.

TAB Technologies is a security solutions company, engaged in manufacturing security equipment, advanced CCTVs, digital video recorders (DVR) and other security equipment. Says Ajay Kumar Gaur, director, technology and sales, TAB Technologies, “We are the only manufacturer of standalone digital video recorder, offering full D1 resolution with 720X576 pixels which have more clarity in terms of resolution, where the other chinese DVRs are offering CIF which is 360X288 pixels.

“We will be introducing our intelligent video analytic applications for analogue and IP based cameras in 2011, says Gaur.” The company has a technical partnership with US based Vineyard Technologies, a manufacturer of system-on-chip (SOC) solutions.

Axis Communications India offers products ranging from network cameras, video servers, video decoders, video management software and a full range of accessories. Says Prakash Prabhu, country manager, Axis Communications India, “The Indian surveillance market, which is about 30 per cent of the entire security industry, predominantly consists of analogue based installations. IP based video surveillance is also fast gaining ground.” Axis offers the market’s broadest and most consistent range of high-quality network cameras, according to the company.

Based on open IP standards, Axis network cameras connect to any kind of IP network, including the Internet, and enable remote viewing and recording from anywhere in the world. They also provide advanced video analytics features, such as motion detection, audio detection and tampering alarms. “Whether you are looking for a video surveillance solution to secure the safety of people and places, or to remotely monitor property and facilities, Axis can meet your needs. You can benefit from an extensive selection of network cameras—several with mega-pixel/HDTV resolutions—which come in different forms to fully meet your requirements,” says Prabhu.

The latest in IP based surveillance cameras is thermal network cameras, which help in the surveillance of an area even in complete darkness by generating images based on the heat radiated by different objects, vehicles or persons.

Typically, thermal cameras are used for force protection, border surveillance, coastal surveillance and facility security. However, cameras from Axis—AXIS Q1910 and AXIS Q1910-E Thermal Network Camera—are targeted at the commercial and industrial segments, and are useful to monitor hotel premises, freeways and railways. “Thermal cameras can work under difficult weather and atmospheric conditions. For example, they allow the operator to see through smoke, haze and dust. Thermal cameras are especially useful for maintaining security in perimeter areas where poor lighting could be an issue,” informs Prabhu.

Matrix Comsec Pvt Ltd is a new entrant in this domain. It has launched its first product—a time attendance and access control solution. Dhiren Jani, manager, security products, Matrix Comsec Pvt Ltd, says, “Our range of time attendance and access control solutions are comprehensive, modular, scalable and flexible. These products are built on state of the art hardware and software technologies and are reliable. Matrix COSEC products are ideal for all customer segments and sizes like SOHO, SMB, SME and large enterprises. These products cater to the needs of customers ranging from those with a single shop to large enterprises with hundreds of employees. We offer multiple hardware models as per the market needs and we offer unique card personality modules that can be changed at the customer’s site, based on specific needs.”

Access control systems continue to evolve, with maximum changes taking place in the sensors that detect the movement of people. The latest biometric sensors can recognise the iris, face, palm, etc. However, fingerprint recognition technology is the most reliable and widely used biometric technology in the market.

Godrej Security Solutions has announced the launch of ‘Man Trap’, its security solution for organisations, where a man will get trapped in a chamber if he is detected with ammunition. It will also launch several new safes for the US and European markets. The company currently offers products like burglar and fire resistant safes, coffers, data safes, surveillance systems, tracking systems and metal detectors, among others.

Technological innovations

Ideally, manufacturers could deliver a single solution that integrated all aspects of security—CCTVs, access control, intruder and perimeter protection, and automatic number plate recognition. Integrating two or more security systems across an IP network provides the end user with far greater benefits than individual systems. Manufacturers are, therefore, incorporating advanced technological changes to bring the latest and the best solutions to their customers.

Ramesh Mittal, director, Total Surveillance Solutions Pvt Ltd says, “Apart from the new types of CCTV systems, innovation is also happening in time attendance systems and alarm systems. Offices and companies have started moving up from manual attendance to automatic systems like card access control systems, password access, biometric systems, etc. However, technologies like face detection and retina detection are no more restricted to just the defence sector but are now being used in large companies as well.”

The market for CCTVs is fast changing with new technologies being introduced almost every month. However, the technology advances are more towards software based solutions than in the hardware area. The latest technology expected to dominate the security camera space would be network or IP cameras. IP cameras offering intelligent video applications or video analytics have transformed the function of surveillance cameras from passive to intelligent surveillance. These cameras can also detect camera tampering attempts like blocking or spray painting and alert security officials.

“We have seen an increased acceptance of IP based solutions and foresee India becoming a high growth market for network video applications. The IP based surveillance market in India is approximately valued at $50-60 million and is expected to grow at 40 per cent, compared to the overall surveillance market, which is slated to grow at 10-15 per cent. This growth can be attributed to an increasing shift from analogue to IP based cameras,” informs Prabhu.

Video surveillance, which requires no human intervention, works well for schools and offices after working hours, or at retail stores, hotel corridors and parking garages after dark. Installations in such locations usually have an unmanned video surveillance set-up with automated recording. Advanced intelligent applications, like video/audio motion detection, reduce the amount of data that needs to be stored. This feature activates the recording in the surveillance camera only when it detects some activity or sound. By only storing relevant information, security personnel can store video footage over a longer period of time, given the constraints on storage capacity.

On the technological front, more products are being rolled out based on H.264 platforms. H.264 is an open, licensed video compression standard that represents a huge step forward in video compression technology, and is becoming the need of the hour in network cameras, video encoders and video management software. Now companies have solutions for open standards and technology, which will provide options for the seamless integration of surveillance equipment with other security components. This development will also involve collaboration with IT companies.

Sehgal says that the video analytics system that integrates various types of security equipment, like CCTVs, access systems, intruder alarms and fire alarms, into one single comprehensive unit is another technological innovation gaining popularity.

Service support is a must

Realising the demand for good after sales service by customers, manufacturers and distributors have started investing more in strengthening and expanding their service support across India. There is a greater thrust on educating and enhancing the technical skills of systems integrators and dealers.

Godrej Security Solutions is investing Rs 10 crore in a campaign to educate people on the benefits of security solutions. “Indians are more reactive to security threats instead of being pro-active,” says Singh.

“In our line of business, 80 per cent of the systems integrators who install the systems are neither well educated nor technically sound. We, therefore, deploy our own engineers to support our partners, systems integrators and end customers,” says Gaur.

There are companies that also offer extended warranties and onsite service support so that they can remain ahead of the grey market.

“Our support centre at Bengaluru maintains an inventory of RMA (return material authorisation) units. This data is used to render warranty and post warranty support. We give support through our systems integrators, who are accessible to us 24×7 online, and product replacements are managed through our local RMA process,” says Prabhu.

Buyers’ requirements

The requirements of end users vary as per their business or the environment in which surveillance is required. For instance, retailers use surveillance for business intelligence like tracking the volume of customers (footfall numbers), checking shrinkage, etc. People require surveillance at residences to secure their property while they are travelling or to check on their children/caretakers when they are at work. Hence, the requirement of the surveillance has to be identified first. End users don’t mind that their integrated solution is made up of components provided by different suppliers, as long as there is one centralised control of the entire system. They want one application to display and acknowledge the alarms from all sources.

Today, with the high demand for security products, buyers look for a complete access control solution. They want fully functional and completely adaptable software. The hardware must be reliable and available in a variety of models, and must support multiple functions. They insist on simplicity of installation and user friendliness, informs Jani.

Most buyers also seek options that ensure that their existing systems won’t get redundant. They look for systems that can be integrated with their existing installations using video encoders.

Consumers also look for a better ROI on their investment in security infrastructure and hence settle on truly open ended, interoperable and scalable systems. “Newer and better technologies in IP based surveillance cameras like H.264, and increased intelligence in the camera devices that would enable the designing of a cost effective overall solution with a distinctly lower cost of ownership are what consumers demand,” says Prabhu.

What a buyer should consider

Buying a CCTV system is by no means easy. The vast array of products available nowadays could confuse anyone. According to Jani, before buying any surveillance products, a buyer should consider the following:

• Does the solution come with both hardware and software?

• Is the solution easily scalable from a single office to a network of offices?

• Can the solution incorporate all the existing HR policies?

• Can additional modules (for visitor management, building management, etc) be bought as needs increase?

• Is the software fully functional or do consumers need to pay for customisation and for professional or multi-user versions?

• How long will it take to install and train the users?

Says Gaur, “A buyer should check the required resolution and network performance of the systems, apart from features like compression, recording time and file sizes.”

“A security product has multiple requirements, therefore, buyers need to understand its need and according to that go for the best solutions. Buyers should first understand what the assets are that need to be secured. They should then choose a solutions provider that can understand their needs and offer the best solution,” adds Sehgal.

The security market is different from the consumer and industrial market. Hence, it is important to check the credentials of the systems integrators. Buyers should always check for certification or the installation base of the company, sums up Singh.

Aditya Khemka, CEO and director, Aditya Infotech Ltd, a global distributor representing more than 20 international CCTV brands in India including ACTi, Avtech, CP Plus, Cynix, D-max, Yoko, Eyeview and Honeywell, says, “The Indian market has been flooded with an inferior quality of Chinese security products. Consumers need to be aware of this. These products usually don’t come with after sales support or a warranty.”

Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No.1 Electronics B2B magazine

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