“Higher quality at lower prices”: InnoSenT on radar innovation

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Adam Bannister is a contributor to IFSEC Global, having been in the role of Editor from 2014 through to November 2019. Adam also had stints as a journalist at cybersecurity publication, The Daily Swig, and as Managing Editor at Dynamis Online Media Group.
June 10, 2019


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IFSEC International will welcome a global leader in radar technology – and a host of related disciplines – for its 2019 edition.

With the show only a few weeks away, IFSEC Global spoke to Christian Bömmel, head of industrial sales & marketing for InnoSenT.

In the conversation below he told us about the Germany-headquarted company’s evolution, focus on engineering excellence, the future of security systems and radar in particular, and InnoSenT’s plans for IFSEC 2019.

IFSEC Global: Hi, Christian. Can you give me a brief history of InnoSenT and where it currently sits in the market?

Christian Bömmel: InnoSenT was founded in 1999 by two guys who were heavily involved in automotive and military applications. They saw there was a gap in the commercial market.

They talked to automatic door opener customers who were looking for a radar solution. So the first device we developed was for an automatic door opener application.

Then in 2006 we started with our automotive business. We have three business units: industrial, automotive and EMS – electronic manufacturing service.

On the industrial side we deliver our products to traffic monitoring applications, automatic door openers, sports applications – things like measuring the velocities of golf balls.

And of course we operate in the security sector, developing radar technology for intrusion detection – indoors and outdoors – perimeter surveillance, access control, tracking moving objects and integration with video surveillance.

“We sell to OEM manufacturers that use our components to develop a complete system”

We sell our products to OEM manufacturers that use our components to develop a complete system.

So for example, we provide a system for camera manufacturers that can track a person in a certain field of view, providing their X and Y coordinates. They integrate our device into their system and sell it to the end customer.

So we don’t deal with any end customers at all. We are a pure component manufacturer for OEM businesses or to integrators.

We currently have 170 employees. We’ve a strong focus on engineering, with more than 70 engineers working in product development.

We are globally active. So we sell within Germany and Europe, but also Asia, and North America.

Where would you say your strengths lie – particularly within the security arena?

I would say two things. In the intrusion detector market you’re talking about high volume products at a low cost. Usually you find those devices manufactured in China or eastern European countries.

Since we have great pedigree in radar technology – we’ve been doing it for almost 20 years – we can offer very high quality at a low price due to process automation. So for example, the latest device we distribute to the intrusion sector is called the INS, which is a motion detector for the near field. It is suitable for automated manufacturing and available for a very low price.

We also offer competitive prices in the high technology market, where radars provide more specific information – for example a person’s specific coordinates.

“In the defence sector they are usually priced at thousands of euros; we have that solution for a few hundred”

You typically find these devices in the defence sector, but priced at thousands of euros. We offer equivalent solutions for the commercial sector for a few hundred euros – and that creates a completely new market. It helps camera manufacturers reduce false alarms.

What are the most interesting things happening in the markets you operate in?

I think we’re seeing more high level integrations.

There are two markets I expect to grow very fast: security and building or home automation. A lot of these markets should be combined into a single market as they share many requirements.

I would rather see one device providing information for many segments. For instance, an intrusion detector could also regulate climate control, monitor how many people are inside a room, assist the smoke detector if there’s a fire – are there people in the room? So really a combination of requirements from all these markets with just one sensor.

What about the future of radars in particular?

The future lies in imaging radars because the semiconductor companies are focused on higher integration and adding functionality to their chipsets. It will be only a few years before more imaging radars are available for the security market, because they are priced competitively and generate invaluable data.

I would say competition in the market will intensify. When we started there were five to 10 companies in the radar field, but the availability of higher integrated components has increased that number substantially.

Moving onto IFSEC 2019, what can visitors expect to find on your stand?

We will promote our INS sensor, the first SMT-mountable radar system. SMT-mountable means you can just feed it into your production line. It comes on tape and reel, and is ready for high volume applications – for example intrusion detection.

It gives you movement in the detection area. It tells you if a person is moving towards you or receding. It has switching functionality, so if you put your hand close to the device, you can switch a light on or anything else that needs to operate. It’s touchless.

We’re also showcasing two radars that can be deployed in conjunction with a camera. They have tracking functionality, so we provide complete signal processing and tracked target information to camera manufacturers. Time to market is faster and it’s much easier for them to integrate.

This product is appealing to the European market because there’s a new standard being developed that protects privacy rights.

For example, in Germany, you’re not allowed to film people outside your own property. So how do you do that? Basically you can tilt your camera so you’re not filming outside, have signal processing software or combine it with a radar that gives you an object’s X and Y coordinates.

So if someone is climbing the fence or coming close to your property – let’s say you configure for a metre – it switches on the camera. That is something we’ll show at IFSEC.

What kind of visitors do you hope to meet and expect to take an interest at IFSEC 2019?

Basically all the camera manufacturers exhibiting or visiting as a customer. But also security integrators and companies selling complete solutions.

InnoSenT is exhibiting at IFSEC International 2019, taking place 18-20 June 2019 at ExCeL London (stand IF1624). Book your free ticket now.


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