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Service Models Needed for Next Phase of Growth in Thailand

Service Models Needed for Next Phase of Growth in Thailand

Editor / Provider: Hayden Hsu | Updated: 8/21/2012 | Article type: Hot Topics

The annual video surveillance equipment market in Thailand is roughly US$70 million; the installed analog base is easily 10 times that, so business potential is definitely huge. Over the last two years, growth in the adoption of IP-based security technology has been phenomenal; for example, one of the brands that we represent, Vivotek, has experienced 400-percent local sales growth, particularly in government projects (city surveillance, transportation, buildings), retail and department stores, and manufacturing and commercial sites.

To properly service and sustain this growth, we have a dedicated system integration team, offering training demos/courses and project design and commissioning support. As most smaller-scale resellers, system integrators and installers are still “analog-minded,” we are actively working with manufacturers, such as Geovision, Koukaam, Nice Systems, Qnap Security and Vivotek, to come up with affordable, easy-to-install, easy-to-use systems. For example, access control and license plate recognition integrations with Geovision systems are analog-like but IP-enabled. Customizations fit for specific vertical markets are also offered.

Bandwidth availability has been a major concern and growth inhibitor in Thailand, but luckily the nationwide fiber-to-the-home project, with data speeds up to 100 Mbps, is already underway. While it might take a few more years to complete, we are looking into cloud offerings and other service models to better cater to our clients' and potential customers' growing needs, possibly going beyond our borders to neighboring countries. In the third to fourth quarter of 2012, we will be launching a DIY home surveillance kit with a telco, so homeowners can monitor their property and family on the go with ease. There are, of course, increasing challenges and competition; we will engage our solution and channel partners to increase education efforts, to help spread the benefits of IP and grow the market to be an even bigger and maturer one.

Future of Access Control (Sponsored)

Future of Access Control (Sponsored)

Editor / Provider: Submitted by TDSi | Updated: 8/17/2012 | Article type: Tech Corner

In the past, access control has been a “fit and forget” system that can last in excess of 15 years. However, according to access control manufacturer TDSi, there are some exciting innovations and trends emerging in the industry that are making security managers re-evaluate what they have and how it can be improved. These advances are penetrating every aspect of access control from controllers and readers, through to how the technology is delivered and powered.

“Access control is an integral part of the security industry's move toward IP, as the much hyped convergence of physical and IT security becomes a reality,” explained John Davies, MD of TDSi, a global solution provider access control systems. This is also driving adoption of physical security information management (PSIM) solutions to integrate security and nonsecurity systems for a more holistic approach to building and facilities management.

Vendors, installers, integrators and end users are all realizing the remote monitoring, system control and diagnostic capabilities that IP brings to access control systems, which cannot be achieved with traditional serial RS485 communications. “The introduction of IP and associated power over Ethernet (PoE) delivers substantial energy cost savings, and intelligent PoE switches can achieve even greater gains when integrated with building management and lighting systems,” Davies added.

One of the most exciting and biggest growth areas in the access control market that TDSi is at the heart of is biometrics readers, as Davies explained. “Fingerprint technology is still the main method; however, facial recognition is growing in popularity, especially in areas where noncontact is required, including sanitized health care areas or situations where the environment can affect the condition of a user's hands, such as the construction industry.”

“Biometrics will continue to increase in popularity, and with improvements in the reliability and usability of facial recognition, coupled with the advances in the video surveillance world, it won't be long before these two combine to provide facial recognition as standard from the surveillance system,” Davies stated. Soft biometrics is another exciting progression, taking advantage of video integration and utilizing human descriptions of a subject's physical appearance, to recognize individuals based upon a number of physical traits.

Davies added, “Undoubtedly, cards will continue to be an integral component for many access control systems for some time, but as well as the rise of biometrics, there is also growth in near-field communications (NFC). This has largely been borne from the market growth of smartphones and the potential to use them as an authentication credential.”

Another trend is not the technology but how it is delivered, with vendors taking advantage of IP infrastructure and cloud computing to offer hosted access control software systems and services. Davies noted that for IT managers looking after security systems on the IT network, this offers real appeal. “It minimizes hardware and running costs, as well as associated maintenance and support issues. What's more is that it provides a far more scalable and flexible system, so rather than access control being ‘fit and forget' for 15 years, it is now agile and able to embrace the very latest advances.” One issue with such services is the concern over availability, and the ability of an ISP to provide the essential 100% uptime necessary for the system to be effective, although there are ways to minimize the risk and deliver high standards of disaster recovery.

Finally, with all of the innovation taking place within access control, it is important to have stringent standards to help regulate the industry, as Davies concluded. “It is encouraging and refreshing that a new IEC standard is in development at a global level, to supersede the aging EN50133 European standard that isn't widely used due to the rate of progress in technology.”

Protection One Expands Through New Mexico and Alabama Acquisitions

Protection One Expands Through New Mexico and Alabama Acquisitions

Editor / Provider: Submitted by Protection One | Updated: 8/15/2012 | Article type: Hot Topics

Protection 1, the second-largest business and home security company in the U.S., announced the acquisition of Las Cruces, N.M.-based Central Alarm Inc., and Montgomery, Ala.-based Advanced Solutions Inc., adding to its impressive portfolio of service-focused commercial and residential security entities.

Protection 1 will gain over 2,000 accounts through these acquisitions and incorporate additional technicians and sales representatives.

“We're very pleased to announce the strategic acquisition of these two companies, which help us improve our company's reach and scope and maintain our relentless focus on providing top-notch customer service to new Protection 1 customers,” said Timothy J. Whall, Protection 1 CEO. “While organic growth is our primary focus, we continue to look for acquisitions that provide not only a stable customer base, but additional technical capabilities. For example, the Camtronics Security Integration acquisition completed back in March gave us additional video service capabilities in our offering for national accounts.”

“We are seeing many more opportunities for acquisition as more and more small to medium-sized alarm company founders look to exit the industry or join a bigger team with better service capabilities,” said Dan Bresingham, Protection 1 CFO. “Owners who have built their reputation on customer service and live in these communities are reluctant to sell if there are concerns about how customers will be taken care of long term. Our reputation and commitment to customer experience has given us an edge in finding the right opportunities for our company. Having one of, if not the lowest, attrition rates in the industry, we take great pride in making sure our acquisition candidates fit a profile that includes high customer satisfaction.”

Paramount to Protection 1's culture is a second-to-none emphasis on customer satisfaction, high-quality products and reliable service and maintenance. This is evidenced by Protection 1's introduction of such services as Tech Tracker, which provides customers text and email updates including photos and credentials of who their technician will be and when they will arrive, eliminating the need for customers to wait at their home or business for long periods of time. The company has also eliminated its automated attendant, committing to answering customer calls within one ring.

“I decided to stay with Protection 1 because I liked what I saw, respected the way they think and treat their customers and wanted the opportunity to be part of something bigger,” said Tony Pryor, the original owner of Central Alarm Company, who will remain with the company following the acquisition.

Security Services Providers Set to Embrace IP

Security Services Providers Set to Embrace IP

Editor / Provider: Tevin Wang | Updated: 8/16/2012 | Article type: Hot Topics

Security services providers (SSPs) are adjusting their business models and marketing strategies to seek more profitable operations as competition heats up. The current trend is the integration of video and alarm systems, for the sake of keeping false alarms down. As responding to every “triggered” alarm can be costly, smarter detection is a boon for integrated video and alarm solutions.

With IP connectivity, numerous subsystems can be integrated more easily, compared to analog systems. “Over these past years, we have upgraded our infrastructure, including back-end platforms such as panels, DVRs and network gateways.” said Robert Lien, Assistant VP of R&D for Taiwan, Secom.

More accessible than ever, video surveillance as a service (VSaaS) can include self monitoring, real-time alerts, integrated analytics and off-site storage. Among these services, video verification service (VVS) is a lucrative opportunity for SSPs and alarm-monitoring companies as these operators can vet alarms first to eliminate false ones before dispatching guards or passing that information on to the police. “Visual verification allows SSPs to lower false-alarm rates and increase workforce efficiency,” Lien said.

According to IMS Research, VSaaS was estimated to be worth more than US$500 million in 2011, an increase of 25 percent compared to 2010 and could exceed $1 billion by 2014.

Challenges and Opportunities
The IP-enabled market looks promising; however, according to Lien, only a few companies that are already ready with commercial models will benefit from this development. A few challenges remain. Numerous installers are intimidated by IT infrastructure and setup. It is even more challenging for traditional SSPs, in terms of IP knowledge acquisition and marketing, Lien cautioned. “The future of physical security is definitely going IP. It is important to keep up.” The winners will be the ones that adapt, adjust and promote solutions early in the transition.

Empowering research, technical and administrative staff is no small feat either. “We had to recruit more personnel with an IT background and to offer more internal trainings. These efforts do take time and money, but the effect would not be seen overnight,” Lien said. “Take the signal communication network for example. Many alarm-monitoring stations still rely on PSTN. Installers are used to its setup, system diagnosis and troubleshooting. It's a steep learning curve met with a lot of resistance and reluctance, compared to the PSTN simplicity. All these translate to the relatively slow initial uptake.”

With added services, dealers have to train their staff to better understand new offerings, allowing sales teams to present the services to customers more effectively. “Operators have to be trained on how to use a new operating system; engineers have to learn how to integrate different hardware platforms; and tech support people have to learn a new way of thinking about problems in the field,” Lien said. “Even installers have to learn entirely new troubleshooting skills.”

Turning a profit with a new offering in a financially challenging time is never easy. With IP, video feeds, lighting and HVAC control, intrusion detection and home entertainment systems can be unified and connected. “IP-based technology has vastly changed the way we do business and opened the doors to new applications for our customers. We carefully watch trends in the marketplace and make adjustments to our capabilities as required. IP has also brought many new suppliers into the marketplace,” said Lisa Ciappetta, Senior Director of Marketing at Protection One. “Our challenge is to decide when cutting-edge technologies cross the line into practical offerings that we can support in the field and our customers find valuable enough to invest in.”

Security Services Providers Set to Embrace IP (Part 2)

Security Services Providers Set to Embrace IP (Part 2)

Editor / Provider: Tevin Wang | Updated: 8/16/2012 | Article type: Hot Topics

Over these past few years, the alarm-monitoring industry has undergone such a surge in acquisition activity, according to Allan McHale, Director of Memoori Business Intelligence. Tyco International purchased Broadview Security, followed by GTCR's purchase of Protection One. Monitronics was acquired by Ascent Media as well. Cash flow in the difficult trading conditions of the last two years' economic uncertainty could be one of the acquisition drivers. The need to scale up quickly is another driving force as a requirement for an intermediary with scale and the capacity to deliver these services permeates the market. The integration of different security devices delivered through surveillance as a service enables more comprehensive and cost-effective services to both residential and commercial customers. More acquisitions, thus, might surface in the alarm-monitoring/security services industry.

Customized solutions
IP allows for more integration opportunities. “Our goal is to provide more customized solutions to meet end-user requirements; this will decide who will survive in the future. We are also seeing great potential in customized bundles in China as each vertical segment has a vast base, making customizations easier and possible,” said Robert Lien, Assistant VP of R&D for Taiwan, Secom. “Local/national legislation is definitely one of the most important catalysts that mandates the use of surveillance cameras, resolution of the cameras, frame rate and storage. For instance, the Chinese government mandated surveillance solutions be used in the heavy machinery industry in 2012.”

The right mix of technology, service and customization does make a difference. For retailers, some security services providers (SSPs) offer integrated video and PoS services to tackle shrinkage issues. The retail-specific solution enables retailers to proactively utilize the system to perform process verification audits such as PoS anomalies, monitor goods deliveries, inventory procedures and employee access, and track high-value merchandise. Management — at the corporate, regional/district and store levels — is able to anticipate loss vulnerabilities before they become unmanageable.

For ATMs, there are solutions to detect card-cloning devices. “We have services that detect and deter illegal cameras or jammers,” Lien added.

Heated Competition = Good Market
While SSPs compete with one another with customized solutions in the commercial security market, the residential security market is of increasing interest as well. A clear sign is that DIY surveillance equipment providers and ISP/cable companies are entering the home market. “Increased competition makes marketing even more critical since not every SSP has the channel and/or human resources,” Lien said.

Such business potential has attracted companies like Comcast, Rogers Communications, Time Warner Cable and Verizon Communication, which are now offering services, be it remote monitoring or home automation, to their subscribers.

Based on IMS Research estimates, worldwide shipments of smart-home devices will rise rapidly, from less than six million today to 25 million in 2014. Years ago, configuring and monitoring a fully connected home — with video cameras and remote Web access — could cost thousands of dollars. Only about 20 percent of US households today pay for professional monthly monitoring, according to Strategy Analytics. Many factors such as the dropping cost of hardware have brought smart-home technology to consumers' doorsteps. Also, consumers with smartphones and tablets have grown increasingly accustomed to using apps to manage their lives.

To “traditional” SSPs or alarm-monitoring companies, providing smart-home services can not only “differentiate” a company's offerings and win new customers, but also increase average revenue per existing user. Sounds like a game changer, doesn't it?

Take another example. ADT has its own smart-home offering called Pulse, which represents one in three new systems sold by the company. Its premium package includes 24/7 burglary and theft monitoring, smoke detection, remote access, remote arming/disarming features and lightning and HVAC control. Competitors such as ISP/cable companies are offering similar home automation bundles, with average monthly subscription fees at around US$50 or less. It is yet to be seen whether consumers will entrust home automation capability to their cable/Internet providers or SSPs.

In an effort to acquire more customers and retain the royal ones, ADT also offers a personal emergency response system, allowing for 24/7 monitoring and ambulance dispatch capability. With an aging society and increasing demand on medical resources, Secom in Taiwan has teamed up with local hospitals, medical device manufacturers, information system platforms as well as software developers to offer monthly health checkups or reports via telemedicine.

This year might be the first year the security services and alarm-monitoring industry has the bitter taste of strong competition from the more well-financed telcos and cable companies. The industry is reinventing itself to capitalize on new technology as more users seek more attractively packaged and priced solutions.

NFC Changing Identity Management

NFC Changing Identity Management

Editor / Provider: Hayden Hsu | Updated: 8/14/2012 | Article type: Tech Corner

Identity is often thought about in terms of the card that carries it. Clearly, identity can now take the shape of a mobile phone, a USB thumb drive or some other medium. These and other virtualized credentials expand the concept of identity beyond traditional ID cards to include many different credential form factors. “This new way of thinking is driving fundamental changes in how we deliver and manage secured identities,” said Tam Hulusi, Senior VP of Strategic Innovation and Intellectual Property, HID Global (an Assa Abloy company). “Today's new form factors for credentials improve user convenience and flexibility, but they also raise questions about how to ensure that all identities can be trusted.” If a user's identity resides on a mobile phone, how can one be sure that the device is trusted and secured?

Or, if a user loses a USB stick or a handset that houses his/her identity, how does one disable that device without affecting the user's identity/ credential residing on another device?

Peace of Mind
There are several important areas for near-field communication (NFC) data security: eavesdropping, corruption, modification, insertion and man-in-the- middle attack, according to NXP Semiconductors researchers.

As it is difficult to prevent signals from being compromised, several industry initiatives, including embedding encryption in secured chips, may effectively enhance security for users, said Jacek Debowski, Research Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “ARM introduced an authentication technology called TrustZone, which aims to set a new level of transaction experience and security for consumers. Sequent Software launched a neutral NFC platform developed on proprietary ‘Secure Element Management' method that facilitates management of data instead of merely storing it. It is a step toward improving data transfers through NFC.”

Solution providers are also drafting or implementing frameworks for creating, delivering and managing secured identities in virtualized credential environments. “For example, at the heart of our trusted indentify platform, the secured ‘vault' serves only known nodes within a published security policy, delivering three critical capabilities: plug-and-play secured channels between hardware and software; secured key management and provisioning processes; and integration with IT infrastructure,” Hulusi said. Data security, privacy and reliability are ensured using symmetric-key cryptography, so that all nodes can execute trustworthy transactions. “Once a ‘handshake' is accomplished between the vault and a node device, then the device is deemed ‘trusted' in the network. Trusted devices may operate independently, and resulting transactions, such as opening a door or logging onto a computer, can also be deemed trusted. Access control can actually be used in reverse, to prevent access to your NFC phone based on certain rules and authentication factors. The notion of access filters could become more important as we become inundated with electronic data vying for our attention.”

Other applications could also harness a smartphone's power to significantly reduce deployment cost. “Modern smartphones have onboard intelligence that is comparable to today's typical physical access control system, and can be used to perform most of the tasks that would otherwise be jointly executed by a reader and server or panel,” Hulusi said.

Readers (and locks) can be built without any significant intelligence or connectivity capabilities. “NFC-based phones will verify personal identities and any other relevant rules (such as whether the access request is within the permitted time frame), and then send a trusted message to the door that it should open, using cryptographically secured communication,” Hulusi continued. What the reader must do is to interpret the encrypted command to open the door; readers (or locks) become encrypted door switches that are not connected to a panel or server, reducing overall deployment cost. “This will make it possible to deploy inexpensive yet robust access systems for applications like interior doors, filing cabinets and storage units for valuable or controlled materials.”

In addition to cutting cost and creating new opportunities, digital keys and portable identity credentials will also be more secured. “At a minimum, users will be far more likely to notice and report a lost phone carrying a portable identity credential than they would a missing card,” Hulusi said, giving a frequent, real-life occurrence. “Additionally, NFC phones with embedded keys and credentials will make it easier to efficiently modify security parameters.” In a traditional application such as accessing a federal building, two pieces of ID or authentication factors are required. The same is true of financial ATMs, with the plastic card and PIN. “With an NFC phone, two-factor authentication can be dynamically turned on when necessary, such as during elevated threat levels. A command can easily be pushed to the phone to require the user to enter a PIN on the phone before it sends the message to open the door, making multifactor authentication a real-time, managed service that was not possible with plastics.”

Ready, Set, Go!
There are many possible applications for NFC-based mobile phones carrying such embedded keys and identity credentials. Although airlines today use barcode technology, travelers have already shown interest in using smartphones as mobile boarding passes, which further validates the growing popularity of using handsets for a variety of transactions. “NFC phones could also be used to provide access to personal health history. One could present his or her phone at a hospital rather than filling out forms, and have the same information available to paramedics with proper access credentials during a medical emergency,” Hulusi said. Another emerging application is “micro marketing” using intelligent posters. NFC-based access systems and other virtualized credentials will enable a new era of more convenient and secured transactions. “Delivering on this promise will require a simple but protected, scalable and standards-based identity delivery system,” Hulusi said. “These systems will need to support a wide variety of identity nodes — ranging from readers and cards to NFC-equipped mobile phones — and that each can be registered as a trusted node so that it can be securely provisioned anywhere, anytime.” With more decision making and record keeping of access control residing on NFC phones rather than individual readers or locks, it becomes significantly easier, Hulusi added, to secure locations and items with disconnected locks or lost/ compromised keys, and then acquire new keys, remotely deliver keys to other people, and change the rules for who or what can use each digital key where and when.

Milestone Systems and Optex Expand Integration Capability

Milestone Systems and Optex Expand Integration Capability

Editor / Provider: Optex | Updated: 8/13/2012 | Article type: Security 50

Milestone Systems and Optex are expanding integration development with dedicated support of IP sensors and detectors for Milestone XProtect video management software (VMS). The detector scan and video data are configured and displayed together in Milestone's easy-to-use XProtect Smart Client interface, eliminating the need to run two separate applications while lowering bandwidth consumption. This interoperability creates features and benefits unprecedented in the security industry for video verification and full control of perimeter security applications in all lighting conditions.

-Increased reliability: Advanced sensing algorithms in Optex Red-scan Laser-Scan and SIP (Synthesized Intelligent Passive Infrared) detectors offer accurate detection in real time, which significantly reduces false alarms.

- Detection in difficult lighting conditions: The detectors provide advanced accuracy in environments where there is inconsistent lighting or none at all. Reflections off water, mixed lighting areas and high contrast views like backlit entrances to tunnels can be a challenge for cameras alone.

- Works in ways cameras cannot: Because the laser scan is very directional, the detector can be positioned in a vertical or horizontal plane for a variety of conditions cameras cannot capture. For example, a virtual laser wall is useful for museums to catch hands reaching out to grab an object.

- Immediate, reliable response in real-time: With the map function in XProtect Smart Client, the detectors identify and alert on a point of intrusion to visually verify a security incident for fast and appropriate response.

- Improved evidence: Record, play back and export IP sensor and detector data with video documentation to provide an accurate timeline and overview of incidents.

As part of the Optex Redwall product family, the Redscan Laser-Scan IP detectors identify moving objects' size, speed, and distance. The devices process that information with a unique algorithm, resulting in a highly reliable detection system with minimal false alarms. SIP detectors use passive infrared technology with synthesized intelligent algorithms for reliable detection, especially in difficult lighting environments.

“Continued integration of innovative Optex products into the Milestone [XProtect] VMS will enable more accurate and reliable video analytics, reducing false alarms,” says Ryosuke Miwa, Optex's general manager of global sales and marketing. “Combining Redscan area and object data with the Milestone open platform will give unprecedented new levels of security for critical infrastructure such as electrical power plants or water reservoirs and commercial applications.”

“Innovation through partnership is the backbone of the Milestone open platform and our close collaboration with Optex epitomizes this. Milestone is demonstrating its industry leadership by being the first VMS [provider] to develop dedicated support for IP detection and sensor devices,” says Martin Friis-Mikkelsen, Head of Strategic Alliances at Milestone Systems.

“Made in Shenzhen” to “Made by Shenzhen” Breaking the Mould

“Made in Shenzhen” to “Made by Shenzhen” Breaking the Mould

Editor / Provider: a&s China Best Buys | Updated: 8/13/2012 | Article type: China Corner

The ever increasing competition in the security industry is putting immense pressure on manufacturers, especially on Shenzhen security manufacturers where they are faced with the major problem of distinguishing themselves from other competitors and “me-too” products. a&s talks to some of Shenzhen's manufacturers to learn about their experiences, the pros and cons of the market and how to establish a enterprise with advantages of winning market shares.

The talk or the thought of owning a security manufacturing company 30 years ago was perhaps not possible in Shenzhen. At that point in time, domestic buyer and users purchased foreign security products and the majority of these products passed through Hong Kong then Shenzhen and onto other cities in China. Shenzhen was then established as the first security equipment distributors and traders. Through this process, these distributors and traders learnt from their experiences and began to develop security technology and market experience and to this day have become the market leaders turning Shenzhen into the major city for security manufacturers in China.

At the end of the 90's, there was the appearance of security companies with manufacturing capabilities, these companies learnt the manufacturing workmanship of foreign products by purchasing the core components from abroad then manufacturing and assembling the products, which would be China's first security products. The rapid development of technology in the 21st century resulted in the research and development of these manufacturers, which ultimately led to the strengthening of these companies.

Advantages of Shenzhen
Currently, Shenzhen has set firm foundations as a manufacturing base for security products, regardless whether it is the domestic market or international market. Approximately 60 percent of security products are from Shenzhen, this without a doubt highlights Shenzhen's advantageous position as security manufacturers.

Within the Shenzhen security industry, the majority of enterprises are still labor intensive and resource intensive. Companies who are primarily focused on technology and innovation are still few in numbers. In the long run, the future of Shenzhen's security industry will require technology and R&D in order to flourish. There is still room for further development, with years of experience in assembling, this has allowed for companies to learn about the technology. The first stage involved imitating products through this process the companies can digest and take in the information and technology, which will then aid them in the manufacturing and innovation process.

The supporting facilities and services are complete along with the manufacturing advantages in conjunction with national level technology and development which has greatly expanded Shenzhen. “Shenzhen has gathered numerous security manufacturers, at present, a lot of these companies are using technology, R&D and innovation as a way to establish themselves,” Hyde Wu, Chief Marketing Officer at Wision Technology. “According to research in 2010, Shenzhen's security industry generated US$117.35 million, which accounts for seven percent of the city's GDP and 35 percent of the country's security output value.”

Shenzhen has already become the China's largest security manufacturing base and commercial center. “The geographical location of Shenzhen's security enterprises have already given them an advantage,” said Lau Yuanming, Domestic Market Director of TVT Digital Technology. “Meanwhile, the knowledge and grasp of new products and technology have allowed the industry to react quickly to changing market demands. The appearance of new products, mature industry links and many components can be found in the city.”

For example, Futian district is Shenzhen's largest security market, Huaqiang Bei commercial centre where there are over 1,000 security companies. This has created an international purchasing platform for users. Moreover, the majority of these companies have based themselves in Futian's science parks, which has encouraged further research and development. According to statistics, Shenzhen accounts for 2/3 of China's video surveillance market. Other representative products are: intercom systems, alarm systems and CCTV surveillance equipment, they account for the following respectively 60 percent, 40 percent and 50 percent.

From the learning process to independent research and development innovation has been increasing. It is estimated that Shenzhen's companies have created and invented over 2,000 utility model patents. According to Janice Deng, Marketing Manager at Launch Digital Technology, “the forms of technology which China are very developed with are: audio hardware, compression software, alarm systems, smart card technology and intelligent image processing.” “Shenzhen's video surveillance industry has the advantage of resources, cost control and manufacturing efficiency,” said Ju Peiquan, Marketing Manager at NPE Intelligent.

Complete Industrial Chain
The increasing capacity of the security companies in Shenzhen means that the industry chain is becoming complete, this includes the following: software, hardware, system integration, engineering installation and operation services.

Since China's reform and opening-up policies, Shenzhen has been established as a major economy zone, resulting in numerous private owned enterprises laying their roots in the city and flourishing. Manufacturers in Shenzhen know how to cater to foreign clients, with large manufacturing capabilities to meet demands, shortened waiting time in purchasing spare accessories, successful application of localized management and reduced manufacturing costs. “Shenzhen's electronic manufacturing is recognized globally, whether it is computers, electrical appliances, accessories or hardware plastic moulds, all can be found in Shenzhen,” said Ge Jian, General Manager of Aironex. “It is claimed that 95 percent of accessories which are required in manufacturing for security products are either from Shenzhen or Dongguan.”

“With over 30 years of development, Shenzhen has set mould manufacturing, security accessories manufacturing and security software development, this creates a complete security industry chain which other cities in China cannot compare with,” added Deng.

Occurring Problems
Video surveillance remains the major product for most companies as video surveillance products are the largest volume of exports. However, due to a lack of standards some security players who have just entered into the market have no long-term plans and rely on low prices to win customers for short-term benefits. For those companies who have no core technology or brand name regardless of domestic or international market should there be any sudden market changes these companies will find themselves in difficulty.

“A fundamental problem prevalent in the Shenzhen security industry is the lack of management and system governance, predictable profit pattern, inability to adapt to risks, limitations in investment for R&D, lack of knowledge in branding and corporate culture,” said Yang Dangdang, Regional Manager at Shenzhen Safer Science and Technology. “Also, there is not much added value to products and lastly labor costs are higher than manufacturing costs.”

As previously mentioned cameras are the main product for many companies, but the market share for DVRs only amount to less than three percent. Through these statistics one characteristic of Shenzhen can be highlighted, which are products that require a lot of technicality and software companies do not have this knowledge or competitive advantage. The DVR is an example, before well-known manufacturers Hikvision and Dahua began developing DVRs, there were few manufacturers who were willing to invest in encoding and decoding technology. Instead, these manufacturers turned to analog cameras where technology was more mature as they believed less investment was needed and this would reap quicker profits.

Now that DVR technology has become mature, several Shenzhen companies are attempting to enter the DVR market, but they are limited to the low-end market as companies such as Hikvision and Dahua have successfully branded themselves in the DVR market. Competition in the low-end market is fierce and relies on pricing wars to survive. “Although Shenzhen has a high market status, its faults are in the lack of technological experience in particularly in strategy and standard settings,” said Able Zhang , CEO of Relong. “This has resulted in continuous competition and the lowering of profits. But more importantly, this has hindered the growth of the company brand.”

Another distinctive characteristic of Shenzhen is due to the city being an “immigrant city”. It is often described as being impetuous. There are a number of companies which grow to a considerable scale and then are sold off by the company owner or there are those who begin as one company and then are split into several companies, these circumstances are common and can be observed throughout Shenzhen. As an economic zone Shenzhen has opportunities at every corner waiting to be discovered, in addition to this many individuals believe that the knowledge required for the security industry is low. Therefore, in some cases employees learn all the knowledge from their companies and then leave to begin their own security business.

According to Deng, there are increasing numbers of small enterprises entering the security market, but these companies are not developed in terms of production automation and information, they also have very little technological concepts and have no core technology to offer. Therefore, innovation is limited.

“Me Too” products is a term often heard when talking about the current security situation. A minority of manufacturers are blindly following trends which have stifled profit margins and intensified competition. Through this process, the corporate image is lost and there is no individuality to products or technology, but more importantly, there is no understanding as to what clients require. For those medium-sized companies whom have no thoughts of expanding globally usually deploy the short-term low price tactics to retain customers, again this cannot guarantee stability or reap the best profits possible. Unfamiliar with modern management concepts, these companies often lack internal management and motives are often not clear.

Confronting Problems — Entering New Markets
The ever changing demands for security products have created a new era in security, the market is no longer dominated by one product which was previously the analog camera. Systems which were once small scale have now expanded to systems which can cover a city. The growing awareness of safety in cities has led to the mass installation of security systems, which in turn, has further promoted Shenzhen's manufacturing. It is currently estimated that at least 60 percent of manufacturers are involved in the security industry, products include: cameras, recording hardware and transmission devices.

For manufacturers to improve their creative ability then more investment in R&D is required in particularly technology for the “Internet of Things” to enhance industry application by incorporating the latest products into the complete security solution.

As the global manufacturing base for security equipment, technology needs to advance and develop. In order to gain market shares, companies can use their advantage by opening branch offices or employ agents in different cities within China, with the increase in market the companies can expand their technology and develop their creativity to improve competitiveness. Brand awareness and culture foundations can also be firmly established. According to Liu, the key to strengthening of technology is to understand market demands, dividing different demands to provide a tailored solution with both software and hardware as a complete solution.

Shenzhen's security industry has evolved from “Made in Shenzhen” to “Made by Shenzhen.” In order to surpass such an achievement, there are four areas that need to be tackled. Firstly, the level of R&D has room for improvement, the integration of company resources to establish a technological alliance platform. Secondly, the quality and workmanship of products need more attention. Thirdly, a security talent recruitment platform and lastly is the upgrading of security products. As China's leading security manufacturing base, Shenzhen is advanced in manufacturing security products.

Vivotek Opens European Service Center in Holland

Vivotek Opens European Service Center in Holland

Editor / Provider: Vivotek | Updated: 8/10/2012 | Article type: Security 50

VIVOTEK has opened a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) centre in the Netherlands, guaranteeing turnaround time of 7 business days for returns.

Starting July 19, 2012, ComServe Network Netherlands B.V., headquartered in the Netherlands, will be providing services for repair or replacement of products from VIVOTEK within the product‘s warranty period.

ComServe Network Netherlands B.V. (ComServe) is an independent after-sales services provider, serving primarily electronic devices of small to medium size.

"We are excited about working with ComServe to fulfill the increasing demands from our worldwide users, particularly in Europe," said William Ku, Director of Brand Business at VIVOTEK.

Known as a one-stop-shop solution for customers, ComServe boasts a wide product portfolio, ranging from notebooks to tablets, game consoles to printed circuit boards, and much more. Some of the high profile vendors which ComServe has partnered with include but are not limited to: TomTom, Apple, HP, Asus, Sony Vaio, Nintendo, and others.

Geert-Jan van Etten, Program Manager of ComServe Network, remarked, "ComServe has strongly invested in the integration of all aspects of after-sales services. This assures customers have access to a unique web portal where they can easily register, track, and trace RMAs, raise questions and queries, and run status or analysis reports."

According to Ku, over 40% of VIVOTEK‘s sales revenue comes from Europe. VIVOTEK‘s plan to expand global sales remains unchanged.

"At VIVOTEK, we understand market demands and what it takes to be a leading brand in the industry, and we will continue to provide unparalelled service to our users and customers," Ku added.

HID Global Outlines Government and National ID Trends

HID Global Outlines Government and National ID Trends

Editor / Provider: HID Global | Updated: 8/9/2012 | Article type: Security 50

HID Global provided its perspective on some of the key trends likely to impact government identity programs over the next five years. The overarching drivers are the dramatic shift from traditional national identity documents to eIDs, and the growing requirement to defend against mass counterfeiting and tampering attempts while assuring privacy, efficiency and ease of authentication.

By 2015, 85% of all credentials issued annually will be eIDs, and countries issuing eIDs will exceed those still using traditional IDs by four to one, according to a recent report by Acuity Market Intelligence. These statistics underscore HID Global's own findings based on over 20 years' experience in major government-to-citizen ID projects, including 28 e-passport and 49 eID programs that range from national, foreign resident and worker ID to healthcare and vehicle registration programs.

Among the most important factors that will shape the industry as it moves to near-universal eID adoption are the twin imperatives for providers and partners to provide effective defenses against large-scale forgery attempts and adopt a holistic approach to projects, according to Craig Sandness, vice president of sales at HID Global Government ID Solutions.

Supporting Multi-Functional Solutions
“The multi-functional credential is becoming the norm, which means that counterfeit and fraud prevention, end-to-end implementation and integration expertise are now at the forefront of government ID requirements. This is vital in order to eliminate issues with technology interoperability, post-issuance updates or program longevity which would otherwise lead to cost overruns,” said Sandness.”

HID Global is experiencing accelerated demand for highly secure and layered, hybrid solutions such as the German National Identity card and the multi-tasking Carabinieri card used by Italy's national police force. These solutions perform multiple tasks including access control, proof of identity, healthcare and tax ID, and government fee payments. Multi-functional credentials also leverage a combination of different technologies including contact or contactless chips, RFID antennae, biometrics and optically variable devices to deliver the requisite levels of functionality and security.

“Meeting the needs of national ID program decision-makers is more challenging than ever before,” added Sandness. “No two programs are alike. Each government program is highly customized, but each must be secure, durable, resilient, compliant, counterfeit resistant and tamper-proof. With the additional need for future-proofing and integration with national systems, the industry must continue to innovate on all fronts to deliver new programs to specification, on time and on budget.”

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