Adam Bannister

Editor, IFSEC Global

Author Bio ▼

Adam Bannister is editor of IFSEC Global. A former managing editor at Dynamis Online Media Group, he has been at the helm of the UK's leading fire and security publication since 2014.
September 13, 2016

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Benchmark Innovation Awards 2016: winners revealed

We can now reveal the most innovative security tech for 2016, according to the Which Magazine of the physical security industry: Benchmark Magazine.

A Benchmark innovation award is a prestigious accolade. Ignoring marketing hyperbole, Benchmark Magazine rigorously tests hardware and software under a range of conditions. Benchmark’s operation is geared around testing security tech to the nth degree, to see if performance lives up to the manufacturer’s technical specs (which of course never tell the whole story).

Find out below which brands came out on top in nine categories: video surveillance hardware and software; access control hardware and software; site protection hardware and software; intelligent systems; business intelligence; and infrastructure.

Video surveillance software

pelco opteraPelco: Optera

Pelco’s Optera delivers “a video stream that presents and acts as a single image without any degradation at the sensor boundaries.” Benchmark explains its verdict

This 12MP camera delivers a ‘panomersive experience’, according to Pelco. How does this work? Optera optimises images delivered from four sensors and stitches and blends them at their boundaries to create a seamless, continuous panorama.

Harnessing SureVision 2.0 technology the Optera produces high-quality images in extreme low-light conditions.

Capturing the panoramic scene does not preclude the operator from honing in on areas of interest and retaining the crisp, detailed, immersive views. Pelco claims to have banished poor alignment between sensors, manual sequencing of images or gaps in information.

‘Anti-bloom’ technology and proprietary image processing means SureVision 2.0 produces high-quality images in extreme low light without ever leaving wide dynamic range mode.

Benchmark says that Optera stood out against the competition – and other finalists included the AXIS Q6000-E, the DR-6332PS-P from IDIS, IC Realtime’s IC720 Beam and Dahua’s laser-enabled PTZ domes – because it delivered “a video stream that presents and acts as a single image without any degradation at the sensor boundaries.”

 

Video surveillance software

Milestone: XProtect Corporate 2016

“Milestone’s XProtect Corporate has always been a leading VMS solution, but the enhancements in the 2016 edition take it to a whole new level.” Benchmark explains its verdict

Designed for large-scale and high security deployments this video management system (VMS) uses a single management interface for efficient management of all cameras and other security systems, even across multiple sites. Milestone’s XProtect Corporate features interactive maps linked to alarms and includes Smart Wall and edge storage support.

First launched 15 years ago the XProtect series has long been in the vanguard for VMS innovation. Its latest incarnation achieves some real performance gains in the recording server, acording to NetworkWebcams.co.uk, while the Smart Client now supports hardware acceleration, boosting image processing in live view and playback, allowing live viewing of more, higher resolution cameras.

NetworkWebcams.co.uk are certainly impressed: “2016 is a fairly big leap after some challenges with the early 2014 versions. These changes, plus other improvements such as backwards compatibility between recording servers, improved incident handling within Smart Client, better access control and point-of-sale integration and a more streamlined trial and licensing experience will ensure that Milestone XProtect continues to be our go-to video management software.”

Benchmark said XProtect Corporate 2016 stood out among VMS systems purporting to be 4K ready because it “delivers improvements that are significant when multiple streams are being managed […] with optimisation and hardware decoding enabled, the processing levels fall away dramatically (we saw changes from around 90-95% usage to 30-40%). This is also visibly obvious from viewing the streams. Quality is enhanced, frames are not dropped and the streaming is smooth and consistent. End user expectations for 4K will certainly be met.”

Other advances that impressed Benchmark’s judges are an optimised event manager process for those implementing larger complex systems, and the option to move physical archived locations without accessing the database – a major benefit “for anyone who has had to reconcile SQL changes”.

Benchmark says that “Milestone’s XProtect Corporate has always been a leading VMS solution, but the enhancements in the 2016 edition take it to a whole new level.”

Milestone XProtect Professional

Milestone XProtect Professional

Access control hardware

Comelit: SimpleHome

Simple Home eliminates the ‘grudge’ element when a householder is considering an investment in security. The system elevates the package of access control, surveillance and alarm management into a lifestyle product.” Benchmark explains its verdict

Simple Home from Comelit  is a home automation system with visitor call recording and a touchscreen monitor with automatic display and command activation in the house or apartment.

This door-entry solution for the home uses a multi-purpose device as a controller. As well as access the user can control access, lights, automation, thermostats and other components of the ‘connected home’. Comelit’s SimpleHome also supports a range of touch-screen devices.

The SimpleHome product suite, which was launched at IFSEC 2015, is an interrelated offering where users can select and combine functions as they wish. Access control can be role-specific, meaning that, say, gardeners or contractors are only permitted to enter appropriate areas.

The modular approach allows installers and integrators to select Mifare-based access control, two-wire or digital video door entry stations, video surveillance using IP, analogue or digital over coax options, hard-wired or wireless intruder alarm and home automation, and all can be brought together via a user-friendly interface. Control can be via dedicated management devices. Alternatively, the user can interact with the system via a PC, tablet or smartphone.

Benchmark delivered this glowing verdict of Comelit’s Simple Home: “It eliminates the ‘grudge’ element when a householder is considering an investment in security. By allowing the user to control and monitor their own environment, automating or remotely controlling a range of services whilst also enjoying a level of protection, the system elevates the package of access control, surveillance and alarm management into a lifestyle product.”

comelit iconiaAccess control software

Tyco C.Cure 9000

C•CURE 9000 allows local and distributed users to monitor events, manage access control needs, generate reports and assess system activity directly from a PC using the full client, the web client, or on the mobile app.” Benchmark explains its verdict

C•CURE 9000 has been around for a few years but a series of upgrades, which have seen it incorporated into Tyco Security Products’ ‘unified’ security platform, have convinced Benchmark that the accolade of most innovative access control software is warranted.

The platform seamlessly unifies video, access control, intrusion, fire and other supported products to achieve situational awareness.

Using distributed architecture to ensure scalability, C•CURE 9000 is meets the needs of both organisations with a small number of local sites and those with national or international networks of sites.  The platform delivers centralised control over the entire system and allows for local control of specific system elements to afford enough flexibility to meet a wide range of user requirements.

Combined with edge hardware local servers can maximise bandwidth management for cost efficiency. Each site can also maintain a local SQL database, negating dependence on the master database or WAN connection for regular operations.

This ‘distributed intelligence’ model is enhanced as data from local servers is regularly synchronised with the main server to ensure consistency. Database information, including cardholder information and access control transactions, are updated and distributed back to the local servers to ensure local data is current.

Benchmark was particularly impressed with the fact that it allows local and distributed users to monitor events, manage access control needs, generate reports and assess system activity directly from a PC using the full client, the web client, or on the mobile app.

The latest version harnesses multiple CPU cores and 64-bit operating systems for greater speed and reliability.

tyco-c-cure-9000

Site protection hardware

Paxton net10

Paxton’s net10 solution enables advanced connectivity and data sharing between different technologies and devices, thereby delivering flexibility and functionality that adds genuine value to a wide range of applications. Through smart connectivity and intelligent integration it means users can fully exploit the potential inherent in their systems.” Benchmark explains its verdict

net10 delivers out-of-the-box access control, IP video management and building automation. It is suitable for projects of all sizes, from the smallest shop to the largest university campus.

The system harnesses the connectivity and sharing of information between different technologies and devices to streamline the management of buildings within one intelligent system. With the use of conventional RFID tokens or Bluetooth SMART devices the system allows specific permissions to individuals and groups of people, such as gaining access to a building using a mobile phone, automatically turning on/off the intruder alarm and controlling heating.

net10 works in conjunction with all types of IP camera in order to facilitate live viewing and the recording of video footage.  It also provides building automation, interfacing with existing infrastructure for a high level of control over lighting, heating, air conditioning, intruder and fire alarms, ensuring maximum efficiency and bolstering cost and time savings.

The system is managed using a highly intuitive web interface meaning there’s no software to install or upgrade. It is designed to be future-proof, and additional functionality will be introduced as the system evolves.

Benchmark says it declared net10 the winner because it offers advanced connectivity and data sharing between different technologies and devices, thereby delivering flexibility and functionality that adds genuine value to a wide range of applications. By implementing smart connectivity and intelligent integration, it allows users to fully exploit the potential inherent in their systems.

Site protection software

Sick Inc/The Hawkeye Effect LaserGuardian

Because the exact location of intruders is known, and their movements can be tracked and visually verified, end users are able to maximise their resources, ensuring that differing responses are issued for genuine intrusions or, for example, innocuous activity such as children retrieving a football!” Benchmark explains its verdict

Emerging from a collaboration between high-end sensor manufacturer SICK and geospatial intelligence specialists The HawkEye Effect,  The LaserGuardian combines laser-based detection with GPS location mapping.

Situational awareness is a big plus: users can identify the exact location where an alarm event has occurred and identify it on a map or floorplan of a site. PTZ cameras and laser detectors can track events and provide real-time visual verification of intrusions.

The LaserGuardian impressed the judges at Benchmark because responses can be staged based on the actual risk of a situation. Says Benchmark: “Because the exact location of intruders is known, and their movements can be tracked and visually verified, end users are able to maximise their resources, ensuring that differing responses are issued for genuine intrusions or, for example, innocuous activity such as children retrieving a football!”

Nuisance alarms caused by a range of environmental conditions are also minimised by LaserGuardian.

Advanced laser scanning technology, video surveillance and geospatial software form a smart trinity suited to higher risk applications. Automated responses can be triggered when the system is linked with VMS software supporting rules conditions.

LaserGuardian harnesses customised maps, which Benchmark found to be simple to create and configure. GPS-style coordinates will identify exact locations throughout the site. The software manages multiple cameras and laser detectors to deliver real-time situational awareness.

LaserGuardian can be customised to use a variety of SICK’s laser detectors. The HawkEye Effect software provides preprogrammed responses to critical incidents.

sick-inc-the-hawkeye-effect-laserguardian

Intelligent systems

bosch-security-ivaBosch Security IVA

Often when we encounter ‘free’ video analytics, the available discriminations and depth of configuration leave much to be desired. This is not the case with IVA. Indeed, it can compete with many premium analytics offerings.” Benchmark explains its verdict

IVA video analytics at the edge, which is a standard feature of many Bosch cameras and codecs, helps users identify relevant and critical video and create alarm scenarios.

IVA – which is suited to critical applications like perimeter protection for high risk sites, traffic monitoring or asset tracking – uses metadata means intelligently. Users can, for instance, stream only relevant footage, retrieve evidential video with ease, and generate alarm events based on an array of criteria.

Judges were impressed by IVA’s flexibility, accuracy in real-world scenarios and in-depth configuration options. “Often when we encounter ‘free’ video analytics,” says the magazine, “the available discriminations and depth of configuration leave much to be desired. This is not the case with IVA. Indeed, it can compete with many premium analytics offerings.”

IVA offers object detection for entering and exiting a zone; line crossing, including multiple lines in a logical row; objects following a route; loitering; idle objects; objects left or removed; object change; object counting; overhead people counting; crowd levels; motion based on direction and speed; wrong way motion and face detection.

Deployed at the edge IVA eases the burden of network load. Devices can stream video footage with metadata, or the metadata alone. Users can also find events even if they were not set up as alerts thanks to the forensic search option.

Cameras can detect events, such as moving objects in a scene, and dynamically optimise image processing for the right exposure.

 

Business intelligence

VCA Technology IPVM

As well as delivering a security tool with a high deterrent effect, it also delivers a full range of multi-discipline business intelligence tools. This enhances the return on investment for users, and offers a high degree of flexibility as it can deployed in departments or even individual aisles, as well as at store entrances and exits.” Benchmark explains its verdict

vca-technology-ipvmThanks to business intelligence platforms like VCA Technology’s IPVM, security systems are seen as more than just a ‘grudge purchase’ – especially in retail. As valuable to retail marketing teams and merchandisers as it is to loss prevention and security managers, IPVM harnesses HD cameras and facial detection software to capture clear facial records of everyone that enters a store or a specific department.

An integral Full HD camera is discreetly embedded within the IPVM’s housing.

Analytics software produces heat maps and tracks customer dwell time in specific store areas. Used in conjunction with cloud-based uCountit software it also tracks queuing time at the till.

 

IPVM had the edge over its rivals in this category – BreeCS from Daniel Raines Communications, the Vivotek SC8131, AllGoVision Analytics
and Iomniscient’s IQ Queue Management System – because of its “high deterrent effect” and “full range of multi-discipline business intelligence tools”. Benchmark concluded that “this enhances the return on investment for users, and offers a high degree of flexibility as it can deployed in departments or even individual aisles, as well as at store entrances and exits.”

Managers at a regional or head office can easily monitor and compare activity at different stores thanks to uCountit. Offering convenient access to a management dashboard from any network location, VCA’s cloud-based analytics reporting system presents analysed metadata in the form of easy-to-interpret charts, heat maps and reports.

Areas of interest can be established as detection zones or tripwires. When events occur, the monitor can switch into live mode and images can be recorded and transmitted to a mobile device for instant review.

Infrastructure

BCDVideo Aurora

Server manufacturers often equate low device counts with low risk, meaning many smaller applications have a choice between over-specifying servers, paying for capacity they’ll never use, and more restrictive NVRs or DVRs. The Aurora series eliminates this problem by providing economically-priced, enterprise-quality video recording systems.” Benchmark explains its verdict

Benchmark says that “BCDVideo’s Aurora server series offers cutting-edge video archiving and management to the low- to medium-risk market, delivering high functionality in a cost-effective package.”

Traditionally, price has driven functionality in this market, but Benchmark believes the Aurora elevates performance to the primary influence, which is positive implications for installers and integrators making the step up from NVRs and DVRs.

Explaining its decision to hand BCDVideo the award over D-Link DGS-1510 Switches, NVT Phybridge’s FLEX Switches, Dantech’s SecurePoE and Siklu’s EtherHaul-600TX, Benchmark said:

“The servers have been designed to meet the evolving demands of smaller applications, whilst retaining levels of performance more commonly associated with higher end systems. This means that system functionality is not limited simply because a site has a lower number of devices.

“All too often, server manufacturers equate low device counts with low risk. The result of this thinking is that many smaller applications have a choice of either over-specifying servers, paying for capacity they’ll never use, or opting for more restrictive NVRs or DVRs. The Aurora series eliminates this problem by providing economically-priced, enterprise-quality video recording systems.”

bcdvideo-aurora

Aimed at applications with lower camera counts of up to 50 cameras, the Aurora series can nevertheless support more thanks to its bandwidth capacity.

Features include 12Gbps RAID controller with 2GB of flash-based write cache, hot-pluggable hard drives, server-grade CPUs with 10000 PassMark ratings and redundant power supplies.

The servers make use of HGST helium drives. These surveillance hard drives feature superior random write capabilities, which accounts for 90-95 per cent of the hard drive’s usage in a surveillance solution. The drives used for the Aurora Series are the same drives being utilised in high-availability NAS and SAN systems. The helium hard drives are available in 6TB and 8TB variants.

The Aurora series includes tower and rack-mount units with total storage capacities ranging from 6TB up to 120TB with RAID5/6 protection.

Benchmark was also impressed by the after-sales package: “The servers are supplied with a worldwide, five-year,on-site next business day warranty. This ensures that continuity is provided, and delivers peace of mind for installers and integrators seeking best-of-breed storage.”

Free Download: The State of Surveillance Storage

From the growing quantity of data to new innovations like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the surveillance and security landscape is changing. The Seagate Surveillance Storage Survey 2018 is a look at what the industry challenges really are—and what businesses, security industry professionals, installers and integrators need from their storage moving forwards. Discover the challenges now by clicking here.

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