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Managing Director, OPTEX EMEA

August 23, 2019


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OPTEX at 40: A brief history of sensing innovation

OPTEX was born 40 years ago with four employees.

The founder, Toru Kobayashi, an electronics engineer, had a vision of a business with sensing technology at its heart, precision technology that could detect the ‘status’ and ‘changes’ of people and things.

Fast forward to 2019 and this vision is as important today as it was in 1979 and OPTEX has established a deserved reputation for excellence as a sensor expert.

In those four decades, the company has grown substantially. The group now comprises 1,963 employees across 35 companies, in 12 countries, delivering products and services worldwide.

During OPTEX’s existence two technological breakthroughs have shaped how the security industry has evolved. The first is the evolution of video cameras and dedicated devices to monitor and analyse events; the second is the transition of technology from analogue to digital or IP security systems.

These developments have in turn led to the emergence of ‘connected’ devices and the true integration of sensors with video surveillance and video monitoring solutions. This has itself led to the evolution of reliable solutions for high-security sites, monitored through a control room, to smaller and/or residential sites monitored via an app.

OPTEX was listed as an IFSEC exhibitor in 1996 – as far back as its archives go

Industry first

OPTEX was one of the first to bring wireless outdoor sensors to the market in 1983 and has since harnessed wireless technology for all its passive and active infrared sensors with dedicated wireless and hard-wired systems.

The convenience and reliability of OPTEX’s sensors generated successful partnerships with wireless alarm panel manufacturers to provide reliable home security and commercial systems that are widely seen as easy to install and configure. Thus OPTEX can deliver a full range of solutions for its customers.

One of the many ways OPTEX engages with customers is by exhibiting at trade shows all over the world. OPTEX’s association with IFSEC in particular is so longstanding it was listed as an exhibitor in 1996 – as far back as IFSEC’s archives go – some 23 years ago.

OPTEX added to its portfolio with the acquisition of the REDWALL brand in 2001. REDWALL has become synonymous with long-range precision detection and has benefited from further investment from the OPTEX R&D team to integrate with the latest generation of video management software (VMS) platforms.

Then in 2009 OPTEX was one of very few to introduce a laser scanner dedicated to security applications. Such was its popularity and success that the REDSCAN RLS-3060 was given an IFSEC Award.

Many sites now benefit from the REDSCAN series, thanks to its versatility and variety of applications. More recently, OPTEX has been working with a number of complementary technology partners to ensure its future generation LiDARs and IP sensors are integrated to current and future generation VMS and PSIM-led solutions.

In 2014 OPTEX collected a Benchmark Magazine Innovation Award for a collaboration with technology partner Milestone Systems. A winner in the Intruder Alarm category, REDHAWK uses the REDSCAN laser sensor together with a precise GPS mapping solution for camera tracking. The intelligent map receiving information from the OPTEX sensor takes control via the Milestone VMS and instructs cameras to view the exact location. This enables it to stitch views together and smoothly track multiple targets in outdoor or indoor environments.

Visual verification

IFSEC events have also given OPTEX the opportunity to contribute to panel debates and deliver presentations in its seminar theatres. In 2017, for instance, OPTEX joined an access control innovation panel to discuss the value of tailgating detection and delivered a presentation on the factors to consider when evaluating perimeter protection for critical infrastructure.

During IFSEC 2019, the company launched two new solutions with visual verification: an app-based solution with wifi 180° day/night camera that can be added to its best-selling VXI-CMOD sensor; and an intelligent solution for monitored alarm systems. The latter incorporates the OPTEX Bridge and a software package powered by CHeKT.

This ‘bridges’ separate intruder and ONVIF-compliant CCTV technologies installed on the same site to create one, seamless, integrated monitored solution. The upshot is that intruder alarms can now effectively be visually verified.

This latest development coincided with the 40th anniversary of the company’s inception. And OPTEX’s customers from all over Europe and Africa came to London to celebrate this milestone.

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