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2013 Security50 video trend(9-6): Mobility becomes a basic feature

2013 Security50 video trend(9-6): Mobility becomes a basic feature

Editor / Provider: Jill Lai, a&s International | Updated: 11/18/2013 | Article type: Hot Topics

Tablet shipments will surpass total PC shipments annually by the end of 2015, according to IDC reports. Smartphones will continue to ship in high volumes, surpassing 1.4 billion units in 2015 and accounting for 69 percent of all smart connected device shipments worldwide. To follow the trend of mobility, security devices further enhance their connectivity by integrating with smart mobile devices.

“Honeywell also developed an easy-to-use mobile application that connects end users to the entire family of one series of Honeywell's IP-based video surveillance solutions while on the go. The application is designed for iOS and Android devices and can be used anywhere a customer has Internet access. It allows customers to view live video, access full-screen monitoring, playback and search videos by date and time, take a snapshot of a video frame, and drag and drop cameras for custom viewing,”said David Gottlieb, Director of Marketing Communications, Honeywell Security.

“Earlier this year, Panasonic announced its first mobile security control room solution designed to enable remote access to our advanced IP-based surveillance cameras and recorders using Panasonic tablets. This solution combines the mobility of Panasonic's rugged, enterprise-grade tablets with the power of our cutting-edge surveillance technologies to provide additional flexibility and put security operations right into the palm of our customers' hands,” said Greg Peratt, Senior Director of the Video Solutions Integration Team, North America, Panasonic System Communications.

Other related articles:
2013 Security50 video trend(9-5): VMS preloaded appliances are on the rise
2013 Security50 video trend(9-4): Total IP solutions are preferred
2013 Security50 video trend(9-3): Integration of video and access control
2013 Security50 video trend(9-2): IP continues to penetrate SMB sectors
2013 Security50 video trend(9-1): IP to overtake analog in 2014

2013 Top Security50

Magal S3 won $1.5M contract for secures oil & gas facility in Colombia

Magal S3 won $1.5M contract for secures oil & gas facility in Colombia

Editor / Provider: Magal Security systmes | Updated: 11/15/2013 | Article type: Security 50

Magal Security Systems announced that it recently received a $1.5 million order for securing a critical oil and gas site in Colombia.

The order is for the build, commissioning and support of a full security solution for a Colombian onshore oil and gas facility. It includes cameras, access control, communication and a Command and Control application. Magal has been contracted to provide services for an initial 15 month period with potential to extend the service beyond this timeframe.

Eitan Livneh, President and CEO of Magal S3, commented: “We are encouraged by this new order coming from recently established operations in Colombia. It validates our strategy of having a local presence in our targeted regions, where we intend to deliver solutions and execute projects.”

HID Global access solution safeguards Beijing metro stations

HID Global access solution safeguards Beijing metro stations

Editor / Provider: HID Global | Updated: 11/18/2013 | Article type: Infrastructure

In operation since the end of December 2010, the Fangshan Line of the Beijing metro is 24.79 km long with 11 stations. The line runs north and east from Suzhuang Dajie in the Fangshan District to Guogongzhuang in the Fengtai District. A backup control centre is located at the Yan Village line.

Challenges
As a key component to the success of Beijing's public transport system, strict requirements are imposed on the access control system to safeguard the passengers and staff. Line sections and stations are the core management areas in the metro's operating system, most of which are operated remotely. To ensure the metro is running safely, it is necessary to prevent unauthorised access and closely manage access to all stations, electrical substations, parking lots and major facilities at metro line sections. The new access control system also had to safeguard the equipment and staff at key locations such as fixed plants, offices, equipment areas, the machine room, the automatic fare collection system management office and central station, communication equipment rooms and public areas.

To improve the operation, the system was required to enable central monitoring for every passage area and location that housed equipment management facilities. The access control system needed to cover an extensive network and all cardholder information from different entry points with a wide range of access control rules that have to be transmitted to the central station. The new access control system also needed to be reliable with a versatile architecture. In addition, the metro network comprises complicated installation environments such as underground, narrow door frames, channel gates and glass surfaces. As a result, the access control products must withstand harsh environments, providing reliable performance and resistance to fire and electromagnetic interference.

Solutions
With the HID Global VertX V1000 controller and partner software, HID offered a centralised, web-based access control system to monitor all stations and site equipment in real-time. The system manually controls the access of high-risk zones, creates access rights settings and performs database management. At the same time, each station control centre can independently operate using an HID V100 reader interface when communication is lost with the host. HID iCLASS R10 readers were also installed at the entry points of the offices, equipment and mechanical rooms, automatic fare collection system management office and central station and other locations. All iCLASS R10 readers were connected to a VertX network controller for central access management and report generation.

The metro line control centre performs all central management functions and it consists of the central server, access authority management station, central station and system software. The control centre network primarily monitors the operation of station equipment; manages access authority such as cardholder access rights and operator administrative levels; and facilitates system functionality and database management. Every metro station office performs station-level management, database management, report generation and data tracking. An HID VertX V1000 controller was installed to enable the metro station offices to monitor the station's system real-time status, entry records and card access information.

The administrator can also check the event logs and control the access to entry points remotely. Both the control centre and station offices are connected to the central server via TCP/IP for data transmission. Finally, the metro's network features complicated installations and extreme operating environments in which the small footprint of iCLASS R10 readers for mullion-mounted door installations and the VertX controller featuring an average MTBF of over 1 million hours and water-resistance to damp environments were ideally suited for the project. The products are also UL94-certified with fire-resistant capability.

Results
The resulting access control system from HID Global enables Beijing Metro to centrally monitor all stations, fulfilling their needs for a top-to-bottom management approach. The administrator at the central station can also track and manage the door access in all metro stations, offering greater flexibility and faster response to network failures. The new system also provides multi-layered security and fail over support. Remote computers are deployed at high security level zones where access is manually controlled by the administrator and a V1000 controller is used for station access management, enabling metro station offices to work independently when offline with the central station. A V100 reader interface provides emergency support when communication between V1000 controllers and the V100 reader interface is lost. In case of communication failures, the station office executes all commands and once communications are restored, all buffered transactions are uploaded to the host, enabling real-time monitoring and data transmission.

2013 Security50 video trend(9-5): VMS preloaded appliances are on the rise

2013 Security50 video trend(9-5): VMS preloaded appliances are on the rise

Editor / Provider: Jill Lai, a&s International | Updated: 11/15/2013 | Article type: Hot Topics

To provide an easy-to-use, plug-and-play, IP video solution, we see more suppliers provide a “VMS pre-installed” appliance. Software bundled with hardware saves installers and end users time and headaches dealing with integrating different devices.

“Milestone Systems just released its new NVR appliance, featuring robust, ready-to-use, surveillance solution, which provides Milestone's advanced VMS pre-installed on high-performance hardware.

It is a new family of unique performance-optimized solutions for out-of-the-box video surveillance. When designing the new Milestone appliance series, we thought big: creating a range of products to meet a wide variety of needs, with robust products that are plug-and-play yet configurable and scalable,” said Lars Nordenlund, VP of Incubation and Ventures, Milestone Systems.

“IDIS' newly developed IP video solutions, with simplified plug-and-play installation and operation — just like analog solutions— offer rich connectivity with the ability to integrate with third-party cameras and systems. Our bundled VMS offering allows users to manage integrated security from both an NVR and existing DVR-based systems. IDIS's enterprise-level VMS solution enables integration with multiple sensors and alarm devices through its network in/out module,” Brian Song, MD, IDIS Europe.

Other related articles:
2013 Security50 video trend(9-4): Total IP solutions are preferred
2013 Security50 video trend(9-3): Integration of video and access control
2013 Security50 video trend(9-2): IP continues to penetrate SMB sectors
2013 Security50 video trend(9-1): IP to overtake analog in 2014

2013 Top Security50

2013 Security50 video trend(9-4): Total IP solutions are preferred

2013 Security50 video trend(9-4): Total IP solutions are preferred

Editor / Provider: Jill Lai, a&s International | Updated: 11/15/2013 | Article type: Hot Topics

When it comes to IP, interoperability is significant. This pushes suppliers, especially those targeting the U.S. and European markets, to provide total IP solutions for customers to eliminate further problems from integration, installation and migration from analog to IP.

“Our strategy is to offer a complete one-stop-shop solution. Packaged as a single source solution, it comprises a range of IP cameras and NVRs, as well as all the necessary network accessories. We identified that installers did not want to involve third-party IT vendors into the buying chain and end users weren't happy with additional margin added to the mix. We provide everything an installer will need to build a complete next-generation networked and HD surveillance solution,” said Brian Song, MD, IDIS Europe.

“Panasonic is unique in its ability to provide customers with a complete end-to-end solution from a single manufacturer, including software, cameras and hardware- or software-based recorders so we can deliver a complete video surveillance and security solution, or support a hybrid environment and help customers migrate over time,”said Greg Peratt, Senior Director of the Video Solutions Integration Team, North America, Panasonic System Communications.

 “End users/customers do not want products, they want solutions. The key to this is flexibility of choice. As a manufacturer, we understand that the requirements of end users are diverse. They can vary greatly depending on the unique characteristics of each individual customer. For this reason, our customers can choose a complete Samsung solution or they can integrate our product with products sourced from our network of partners that we have established and continue to grow, in order to be able to offer solutions together,” said Jonas Andersson, Senior Vice President for Product Planning and Strategic Marketing, Samsung Techwin.

2013 Security50 video trend(9-3): Integration of video and access control
2013 Security50 video trend(9-2): IP continues to penetrate SMB sectors
2013 Security50 video trend(9-1): IP to overtake analog in 2014

2013 Top Security50

Tyco Kantech Intevo Compact latest addition integrates with platform portfolio

Tyco Kantech Intevo Compact latest addition integrates with platform portfolio

Editor / Provider: Tyco Security | Updated: 11/14/2013 | Article type: Security 50

Tyco Security Products, the world's largest pure-play fire protection & Security Company, introduces the Kantech Intevo Compact. This new addition to its line of easy to deploy integrated security platforms is designed to unify access control, IP video and intrusion for small to medium size enterprises.

Measuring at 5.4 x 19 x 21.5 cm and weighing in at 1.7 kilograms, the Intevo Compact is compatible with all Kantech controllers and can connect up to 16 American Dynamics' Illustra Series IP cameras without the cost of an additional license. The Intevo Compact supports H.264, MPEG-4, MJPEG formats and a variety of IP cameras, including megapixel cameras. Featuring a 1TB hard drive, the Intevo Compact is a cost-effective solution for both small and medium businesses, with the ability to handle up to 256 doors and 10,000 card users.

The Intevo platform enables end users to integrate with intrusion panels, monitor access control and connect these events with video information in a plug-and-play and easy to manage solution.

Intevo Compact comes preloaded with Kantech's EntraPass Corporate Edition security management software, including connectivity with the EntraPass Go mobile application and EntraPass Web. The Intevo Compact also seamlessly integrates into a single solution the PowerSeries and MAXSYS alarm panels from DSC as well as a full line of American Dynamics video recording platforms, including the VideoEdge NVR, Intellex digital video management systems, HDVR and ADTVR.

Built on Windows 7 Embedded OS, the plug-and-play design of the Intevo Compact is simple to configure, saving time and money. The Intevo Compact offers a customised dashboard for system management. Via EntraPass Go, it is also compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android mobile devices. Other key features include 4 USB 2.0 ports, 1 RS-232 serial port and dual display outputs for VGA, DVI and HDMI.

2013 Security50 video trend(9-3): Integration of video and access control

2013 Security50 video trend(9-3): Integration of video and access control

Editor / Provider: Jill Lai, a&s International | Updated: 11/14/2013 | Article type: Hot Topics

Demand from end users for the integration of video and access control became more marked this year. To fulfill customer needs for higher security, video surveillance manufacturers take different approaches — either through acquiring access control technologies or partnering with access control manufacturers.

“The physical access control market is primed to make the shift to open IP technology and Axis is now entering this market by introducing a network door controller with built-in Web-based software. Axis' latest network door controller is a complement to Axis' existing portfolio of network video products and will work for businesses of any size, including SMBs. Bringing product innovation to the physical access control market is a natural step in Axis' development as there is a strong connection between access control and video surveillance,” said Johan Paulsson, CTO, Axis Communications.

“2014 will bring the full, seamless integration of RedCloud access control and the Avigilon solution. Integrating access control with HD video surveillance provides added security benefits for organizations but it can also prove challenging to integrate. In 2014, access control by Avigilon will make it easy for end users to purchase either a fully functional surveillance system or just select products that suit their needs,” said Ian Povey, Director of Product Marketing and Management, AVIGILON.

“We anticipate that the ability to integrate systems — such as video surveillance with access control — will continue to play a key role in driving growth for the security industry. System integration allows for smarter and broader control. In large part due to the proliferation of mobile devices, by integrating systems end users have more visibility into their life safety and lifestyle systems,”David Gottlieb, Director of Marketing Communications, Honeywell Security.

2013 Top Security50

Suprema to unveil USB fingerprint scanners

Suprema to unveil USB fingerprint scanners

Editor / Provider: Suprema | Updated: 11/13/2013 | Article type: Security 50

Suprema, a leading global provider of biometrics and ID solutions, announces new USB fingerprint scanners and an embedded OEM module, BioMini Slim, BioMini Combo and SFU-S20.

BioMini Slim is specially designed to provide a high level security solution for PC based identity access management solutions. It has a rugged IP65 rated dust and waterproof form factor while maintaining a sleek ergonomic design, and is also equipped with Suprema's latest 500dpi slim optical sensor, which boasts a large platen size for easy and reliable fingerprints capturing as well as provides Suprema's advanced LFD (Live Finger Detection), patent in-progress.

BioMini Slim maintains the highest standards by receiving both FBI-PIV and mobile ID FAP 20 certifications and even enables users to capture fingerprints under harsh environmental conditions as well as direct sunlight up to 100,000 LUX. BioMini Slim also offers a versatile software SDK platform that is ideal for developers to creating their custom applications.

BioMini Combo is a special fingerprint scanner which provides high level dual-authentication security using contact smart card as well as fingerprint technology for desktop PC and network environments. It also contains all the same features as BioMini Slim. The latest OEM fingerprint scanner module, SFU-S20, is ideally designed for various applications such as ATMs, kiosks, mobile-POS and handheld terminals, etc. It too hosts a variety of new features including reliable capturing under direct sunlight as well as LFD technology and has received both the FBI PIV and Mobile ID FAP 20 certifications.

Reliability and performance are two essential elements which will drive the global diversification and expansion of applications based on fingerprint technology.

HID Global to unveil latest secure issuance portfolio in Paris

HID Global to unveil latest secure issuance portfolio in Paris

Editor / Provider: HID Global | Updated: 11/13/2013 | Article type: Security 50

HID Global continues to drive innovation by unveil the latest additions to its secure issuance portfolio that include new, entry-level printers and card personalization solutions with enhanced features and capabilities. HID Global showcasing a broad range of secure card issuance, identity assurance, trusted tags and government-to-citizen ID solutions.

The company's key demonstrations include:

Solutions for Creating a Secure Identity

HID Secure Identity Services: A comprehensive suite of services to help customers address every aspect of requirements for cards and digital credentials for mobile access, including managing the daily flow of ID card badge requests, large-volume re-badging projects and combining multiple technology platforms onto one credential.

Card Personalization Solutions: New entry-level printer and a portfolio of card personalization solutions that include enhanced features and capabilities. Solutions include FARGO Direct-to-Card (DTC) and High Definition Printing (HDP) printer/encoders such as the FARGO HDP5000 Printer/Encoder, HDP8500LE Industrial Series Card Printer/Laser Engraver and a range of DTC printer/encoders.

EasyLobby Visitor Management Solutions: Enterprise-class solutions for visitor registration, badge printing, tracking and reporting. The solution is flexible, customizable and feature-rich to meet the needs of small and enterprise organizations with diverse visitor management processes and policy requirements.

Solutions for Using Secure Identity

HID Trusted Tag Services and Identification Technologies: NFC tag applications using HID Trusted Tag Services, a cloud-based platform for secure NFC tags and services that eliminates the inherent risks of authenticating original documents, processes and high-value assets. It also enables secure logging, and trusted access to various applications.

Genuine HID Credentials and Readers: Latest Crescendo, ActivID Display Card and pivCLASScredentials for strong PKI-based authentication combined with One-Time Password display supporting logical and physical control; iCLASS SE platform reader solutions, including the latest iCLASS SE décor reader and the iCLASS Seos credential that enables customers to use multiple applications and technologies on smart cards or smartphones.

ActivID Enterprise Authentication and Smart Employee ID Solutions: Including use cases for employee-centric solutions that are based on secure, remote access multi-factor authentication to cloud applications using a single credential for access to the cloud, data and door and protection of corporate data access from personal smartphones.

Layered Authentication Solutions For Secure Online Banking: The latest ActivID Appliance enables banks to take authentication beyond passwords and easily deploy risk-based authentication solutions that prevent fraud and secure transactions using our latest threat detection and transaction signing technology. It supports over 18 different authentication methods and the latest mobile operating systems for mobile tokens including: iOS, Android and Blackberry.

Desktop Readers: A wide range of OMNIKEY readers including the new OMNIKEY 5021 CL contactless (RFID 13.56MHz) smart card reader.

Complete Government-to-Citizen ID Solutions: Advanced portfolio and integrated capabilities for delivering smart card ID credentials and total ID ecosystems for e-passport, national ID, foreign resident, worker ID and vehicle registration program. Breakthroughs include HID Global's Crack Prevention Feature that extends the durability and security of e-ID cards and e-passports.

Genuine HID Technology and Embedded Solutions: Embedded platforms to enable third parties to develop hardware that works within the Genuine HID ecosystem, including HID Global's new iCLASS SE Encoder, the iCLASS SE Reader Module and the iCLASS SE Processor, that can be used across a variety of platforms to SIO-enable third-party hardware.

Solutions for Managing Secure Identities

Card and Reader Migration Solutions: For moving to higher security, interoperability and mobile access. Demonstrations include HID Global's iCLASS platform readers and smart cards including its iCLASS Seos credential for powering mobile access, and its new iCLASS SE Encoder that enables organizations to encode/manage credentials and configure readers. The multi-technology encoder makes it possible for customers to format a number of credential technologies using a single device, on demand.

Mobile Access Solutions: Technology-independent iCLASS SE access control platform including the iCLASS Seos credential that delivers advanced security, portability and flexibility whilst enabling the use of smartphones and other mobile devices for access control and a range of applications.

Home automation with a side of security, please

Home automation with a side of security, please

Editor / Provider: The Editorial Department, a&s International | Updated: 11/12/2013 | Article type: Tech Corner

Connected homes (also known as smart homes) are no longer just about controlling a few basic appliances around the house. As technology matures and consumer demands get higher, those in the connected home game are integrating extended functions to satisfy customer requirements. Despite the growing number of integrated systems, understanding what the main purpose of a system is will help end users select the most suitable system to fit their needs, instead of simply choosing the one with all the bells and whistles.

As the market for connected homes continues to grow, more and more companies from all security backgrounds are looking to steal a piece of the connected home pie. Security players with backgrounds in alarms and intercoms have joined home automation players in trying to produce a more comprehensive connected home product. Gone are the days when turning on the lights and shutting off an alarm was sufficient. Now, in order to stay in the game, home control systems need to do more than just a handful of simple tasks. Nowadays, people not only want to control everything in their homes, they want to do it from one panel, be it fixed or mobile. In order to stay competitive, manufacturers are now integrating all types of home control functions; however, bigger isn't always better.

 

Alarm-based

Home Automation-based

Intercom-based

Main propose

Home Security Alarm System

Home Entertainment, Circumstance, HVAC

Video Communication

Sub System

Fire Alarm, CCTV, Access Control

Intrusion, Perimeter Alarm, CCTV,Fire Alarm, Elevator Control

Intrusion Perimeter Alarm, CCTV, Access Control

Transmission

Hardwire, UTP-RS-422/485,Inetrnet

Internet, WiFi, Zigbee, Z-wave, X10, G.hn,KNX, UTP RS-422/485

Coaxial, Internet, UTP RS422/485

GUI (General User Interface)

Linux Embedded/Windows

Linux Embedded/Windows

Linux Embedded

Application

Application

Villa Type Smart House

Commercial Building

Home Automation Technology

TCP / IP, HTTP, JavaScript, iOS , Android-Java, C#, PHP, Linux

TCP / IP,HTTP,JavaScript,iOS , Andriod-Java,C# ,PHP,Linux,RFXCom HomeEasy,X10,Lightwave RF

TCP / IP, HTTP, JavaScript, iOS , Android, Java, C#, PHP, Linux

Mobile control

Pad

Pad

Control Panel, Pad

App Commend

Yes

Yes

Yes

Cost Price

Lower

Higher

Medium

The Three Faces of Home Control
Trying to create the most all-inclusive home control system is not limited to any one sector of the security industry. The alarm, home automation, and intercom sectors are all trying to show that they are more than just what their industry specialty suggests. Alarm companies are now incorporating audio-visual controls, home automation companies are adding video surveillance, and intercom companies are adding basic alarm functions. While each of these sectors continues to integrate functions typically outside of their namesake, each sector is still bringing its own strengths to the market.

Not Just an Alarm System
The goal of integration in the intrusion industry is beginning to gain realistic momentum with the growing trend of combining home automation and home security systems on a single platform. In 2012 the residential sector accounted for 40.7 percent of the $2.7 billion of the global intruder alarm market, which is forecasted to be one of the fastest-growing verticals with a five-year CAGR of 5.3 percent from 2012 to 2017, according to IMS, an IHS company.

The main purpose of a home security system is protecting the home from unwanted visitors, making intruder alarms the most basic element of home security systems. However, over time the demands and requirements of homeowners have evolved. As the world has become more connected, homeowners now want more than just an alarm system—they want energy saving and home management functions too. As a result, home automation functions have been integrated into many traditional home security systems in order to stay competitive, transforming plain old alarm systems into more comprehensive connected home systems.

“While the trend to integrate is becoming popular in single-family homes, its progress in the commercial sector continues to be slow,” reports IMS, an IHS company. A lack of unified legislation across each technology platform interested in integrated solutions is the reason researchers gives for the slow uptake in the commercial sector. They advise manufacturers to continue focusing on the residential market “while integration in commercial applications remains sluggish, as the industry as a whole awaits standardization.”

A California-based subsidiary of Nortek with a background in traditional security and access control, Linear has developed a platform that integrates both security and automation. The main function of the Linear home control platform is security, according to Duane Paulson, Senior VP of Product and Market Development of Linear. The platform includes a system CPU, touchscreen interface, Z-Wave radio for automation, cellular radio for communications with a central station, and narrow-based RF for communication with security sensors. Additionally, a wide range of wireless peripherals including thermostats, panic buttons, keyfobs, glass break detectors, and wireless carbon monoxide detectors can be integrated into their system and can be remotely monitored, managed, and controlled via the Internet.

Despite integration with home automation functions, the primary function of an alarm-based system is still security. Automation in this type of system is often times connected to the alarms—if an alarm is triggered certain home appliances like lights may be automated to respond. “Automation systems have the potential to make security system management more efficient. With more extensive programming, automation allows triggers to set off flashing lights and do other things should a certain security status change unexpectedly. It also allows remote access and management, so a single person a can keep an eye on multiple apartment complexes or a summer home 24/7, 365, and actually alert authorities if something is not right,” notes Paulson. Therefore, the integration of automation to an alarm-based system is secondary to the primary function of security.

Another important consideration for those looking for an alarm-based system is choosing between a wired versus wireless solution. Opinions vary vastly on this issue. While the reliability of wired systems is undisputed, the unreliability of wireless systems is grossly over exaggerated, according to many industry insiders. To this point, cost plays an important role in which type is executed.

Expanding Home Automation Functionality
By 2018 annual home automation device shipments are expected to exceed 351 million, growing at a CAGR of 78 percent, according to ABI Research. ABI also found that in 2012, 1.5 million home automation systems were installed in the U.S.

End users interested in home automation systems are usually looking to invest in the convenience, comfort, and energy savings it provides—security is not usually highlighted during the initial stages of choosing this type of system. Lighting control, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), audio-visual, and shading are basic functions of a home automation system, while security is merely an extended function. These functions are exactly the main focus of Crestron's home control system, as pointed out by Phoebe Chu, Assistant Marketing & Communications Director of Crestron Asia. With a background in advanced control and automation systems, Crestron places a heavy focus on lifestyle and convenience for the home user. Through their system, lights can be turned on and off, HVAC can be automatically triggered with occupancy sensors, equipment can set to automatically turn off when a room remains idle, and shades and projector screens can be set to automatically lower when a Blu-ray player is turned on.

Similarly, convenience and ease of installation are the main concerns for Legrand and their home control system. Legrand's home system consolidates products from their complete line of innovative home networking, intercom, camera, audio, and lighting control systems, according to Tom Cunningham, Director of Product Marketing at Legrand Home Systems. In addition to these basic functions, extended functions such as internet radio, digital music, and HVAC can also be added.

Honeywell Security Group will be offering a “lifestyle-only” type of home control system. David Gottlieb, Global Marketing Communications Leader for Honeywell Security Group explained that their system is for homeowners interested in automation. Honeywell's system will provide complete control over features, such as lights, locks, thermostats, and video cameras, and is designed to appeal to customers who are not yet interested in buying a security system.

Another growing trend in home automation is energy management. Automatically turning off lights and reducing HVAC usage in unoccupied spaces are ways that Crestron's system saves energy. The system not only tracks all lighting loads, but also provides a bar graph showing real-time and historical energy consumption, which can be viewed by group or individual room, by day, week, month, or year and compared to previous time periods. Legrand suggests using motion sensors for lighting control and scheduling daily events to reduce power consumption.

Legrand's target market sector for home automation-based systems are single-family homes and semi-custom houses, as pointed out by Cunningham. This target sector is echoed by other industry specialists as well. Although many companies are trying to come out with more cost-friendly home automation solutions, the fact remains that automating one's home is a costly task. Because of this, home automation systems continue to be more of a high-end product, still slightly out of reach for the average Joe.

Video Door Phones Get Facelift
IMS, an IHS company, also reported that worldwide unit shipments of video door phones are forecast to grow by 7.5 percent during the next five years. Several technological advances and benefits are helping to drive the transition from audio to video door phones, with global growth in this market being bolstered by Asia. One of the drivers for this growth is increased integration with building automation. It pointed out that expansion will be driven by the increasing rate of urbanization, as lower and middle-class populations move to the cities. This move will result in the need for cheap mass housing such as high-rise apartments, which lend themselves well to audio and video door phones.

Communications is the main focus of intercom-based systems like video door phones. Unlike alarm- and home automation-based systems, intercom-based video door phones do not integrate as many automation functions. Industry experts note that the lack of automation into video door phones is due to the lack of demand for it. One expert pointed out that because video door phones are most often used in residential complexes and high-rise apartments, places that have security guards onsite, the need to integrate security is not a necessity. Additionally, integrating automation functions into existing video door phone systems often requires costly additional cabling and wiring.

However, some companies that come from an intercom background like the Spanish-based Fermax have begun pairing their video door systems with TFT touchscreens for a sleeker, more modern feel. While the majority of intercom-based systems still lack the kind of integration with lighting control, entertainment, HVAC, and alarms that other systems have, Fermax has integrated some automation functions into their latest lineup of video door phones.

Users Come First
As the connected home market continues to grow, companies manufacturing home control systems will continue to expand their systems based on consumer demands and market trends. While the idea of an all inclusive home control system seems like the perfect solution, it is important that consumers consider their personal needs first and foremost. One important consideration is cost. An all-in-one system sounds like a great solution in theory, but in reality this type of system is going to be hard on the wallet. Instead, carefully considering what functions are really needed and understanding the underlying purpose for the system can help consumers make more informed decisions and prevent them from falling into the “bigger is better” trap.

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