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Taiwan Update (Part II): Migrating to IP and Quality Service

Taiwan Update (Part II): Migrating to IP and Quality Service

Editor / Provider: The Editorial Team | Updated: 9/28/2010 | Article type: Hot Topics

Taiwanese manufacturers continue to deliver quality IP-based technologies, despite the global financial crisis. While each company has a unique approach to R&D and marketing, the emphasis is on solutions. More companies offer customized solutions with easy installation and maintenance.

Video surveillance providers are developing 1.3-, 2- and 3-megapixel network cameras. Stand-alone NVRs and mobile DVRs now support 3-G remote surveillance. Ethernet transmission devices, wireless and RFID technologies enable better communication between security devices, working together as an integrated whole.

While IP technology continues to advance, analog systems still have their place in the market. The gap between IT and security narrows, as more IT companies enter the security industry.

While more Taiwanese companies emphasize branding, OEM/ODM contracts still feature prominently. Tailored solutions, innovative technologies and localized service are essential for their continued success.

The following 10 Taiwanese companies are presented in alphabetical order.

Dedicated in developing network surveillance solutions, Asoni Communications had a 25-percent sales increase in 2009 and expects more than 30 percent of growth this year. About 70 percent of sales were generated from its own brand. Its major overseas markets were Northern Europe and the Middle East, which brought in about 70 percent of sales.

Strategy and Core Competence
Both R&D and sales are valuable assets to Asoni. Its R&D makes up about 50 percent of the company's staff, with 60 percent of revenue devoted to the team annually

Both its hardware and software are R&D in house with production outsourced. Its network cameras, stand-alone and PC-based DVRs all deployed progressive H.264 compression. Intelligent and value-add software features such as lost object found and face detection are available. “Being an application-oriented company, we aim to provide one-stop shopping for customers. Our software is standardized and bundled with hardware for distribution,” said Heidi Chen, Director of Sales and Marketing.

Future Outlook
In the future, Asoni will dedicate itself to increasing user confidence for branded products. “We believe that actual applications are more important than brand names,” said Chen. “We choose our components carefully, and we will continue to make progress in R&D with better compression methods and hardware enhancement.”

With a background in TV tuning and media player production, Compro Technology released its first network camera in 2010. With export experience since 1988, 70 percent of its overall sales revenue was generated overseas.

“We are targeting the worldwide market with a focus on luxury homes and apartments, where high-level security is required. Regions such as Japan, Europe and APAC are our emphasis,” said Alice Ko, Security Business Unite, Sales and Marketing Director.

“We want to continue enhancing our brand image and value with strengthened sales channels,” Ko said. “For 2011, we are expecting double growth.”

Strategy and Core Competence
R&D is its core, making two-third of company investments. “We are strong in the design and production of high-level security solutions,” said Ko. With strong belief in quality control, Compro develops and manufactures all systems in-house.

Branding is key to Compro, with 60 percent of sales generates from its own brand. Video servers, network bullet cameras and 3-G or Wi-Max wireless solutions are available.

Future Outlook
While branding will continue to be of great importance to Compro, the company also plans to increase OEM/ODM sales. “Our goal is to have 40 percent of sales generated from branding,” said Ko. Russia, the U.K. and Australia will be its future focus markets.

Founded in 2004 as a subsidiary of Chung-Hsin Electric and Machinery Manufacturing, Etrovision Technology has made significant performance in digital surveillance. With 40 percent growth in 2009, the company expects growth to double to 80 percent this year. The U.S., Europe and Southeast Asia are its major growing markets.

Its brand was established in 2007, which currently brings in 50 percent of sales. About 90 percent of sales are generated overseas.

Strategy and Core Competence
The company excels at good image color, stability in data transmission and overall system quality. “We are strong in integration and fine-tuning software with ASIC chipsets,” said Christy Tsao, Sales Manager. This year, the company released its 5-megapixel network cameras with full HD 1080p real-time and H.264 main profile compression. Focusing on providing customers with higher ROI, its surveillance solutions include face detection by using progressive scanning.

Future Outlook
In the future, Etrovision will focus on developing reliable, stable and advanced systems for smoother data streaming and better video quality.

Despite the global economic downturn, Hunt Electronic enjoyed 50 percent sales growth in 2009 and expects even higher growth this year. With more than 22 years of industry experience, the company targets the SMB market with a focus on OEM sales. The U.S. and Europe are its major markets.

Strategy and Core Competence
A comprehensive product line with affordable prices and good quality are Hunt's strengths. “With us, customers can easily find the products they need. Our solutions are highly customizable and come with good services,” said Michael Lee, President.

Strong R&D builds a solid foundation for Hunt in product development. “We have been training our software and firmware R&D team for more than five years,” said Lee. “Now we are focusing on the development of network cameras, DVRs, NVRs and recording software.”

The company is developing H.264 DVRs with 3-G mobile surveillance. It will release network megapixel cameras and IR cameras.

Future Outlook
In the future, Hunt will work hard to stay ahead of market trends. “We are developing low-lux network cameras with at least 2-megapixel technology and IVS,” said Lee. China, India, Russia and Brazil are its future target markets.

Korenix Technology, focused in industrial networking and computing solutions, has an extensive track record in providing innovative, market-oriented and value-focused solutions. In 2009, the company experienced 20 percent sales growth, which is expected to hold steady for this year. All Korenix products are sold through its own brand. The Americas, Europe and developing countries are its target markets.

Strategy and Core Competence
Innovative technology and strong marketing skills are Korenix's major strengths. “We have our own R&D center and we supply solutions to our customer,” said Armine Beybutyan, Product Sales and Marketing Manager. Flexibility is key to product development. Other than offering standard PoE switches, Korenix also offers high-power PoE switches. “Our booster PoE switches are best suited for the transportation segment,” Beybutyan said.

Its current applications include video surveillance, public safety, multisite surveillance and vehicle transit services. “More market education helps to make users realize the differences between commercial and industrial-grade products,” Beybutyan said.

Future Outlook
In the future, Korenix will continue to partner with network camera manufacturers. “We are focusing on integrated video surveillance solutions,” Beybutyan said. “The need for high-power PoE switches will also increase.”

With more than 23 years of experience in the scanner industry, Plustek has accumulated professional experience in imaging and shifted from static images to dynamic motion. Despite the financial crisis, surveillance demand increased. Under its own brand, Plustek offered a variety of products targeting Europe, Germany and Taiwan this year. Transportation, fire departments and police statiosn are its major applications, with offerings in mobile and compact NVRs.

Strategy and Core Competence
Scanner technology makes the core of Plustek's surveillance R&D. “By working with leading cameras manufacturers, it helps us to better customize our solutions for different verticals,” said Marco Kr?mer, Marketing Manager.

Good customer service is also key for total solutions providers. “Having good relationships with component companies is also important for us, to receive good component prices that enabled us to offer our customers affordable prices.”

Future Outlook
In the future, Plustek will focus on the integration of products and transmission technology to optimize product performance. “We want to develop higher performance NVRs with compact design and larger hard-disk capacity,” Kr?mer said. “GPS networks, wireless real-time data streaming and fiber gates will be made available.”

In addition to technology improvements, Plustek will expand its NVR channels in North America, the U.K., Japan, Northern Europe, Singapore, Brazil, Russia and China.

Pocketnet Tech

Focused on IP technology, Pocketnet Tech established its 3S brand for surveillance in 2010. The company had large growth in 2009. With the founding of a new division, it expects at least 70 percent sales growth this year.

About 60 percent of company sales were generated from its own brand, with 40 percent generated from OEM/ODM business. R&D makes up about 60 percent of personnel, with 20 to 30 percent of revenue invested annually toward R&D.

“Our systems are ready. Other than continuing to focus on markets in the mid-end, we are targeting the high-end market this year,” said Kevin Cheng, Sales and Marketing Director. Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and China are its major markets.

Strategy and Core Competence
PC-based software and sensor adjustment for cameras are its core technology. Currently, the company offers 2-megapixel pan-tilt and mini dome network cameras. The cameras offer 720p HD resolution and use dual streaming technology. Mobile 3-G surveillance is available, with a customizable product design, system installation and different applications. Video servers at D1 resolution are also offered.

Future Outlook
In the future, the company's R&D will continue to advance. “We not only offer HD and 2-megapixel cameras with 720p resolution, but we also will launch 5-megapixel cameras with 1080p resolution,” Cheng said.

Backend devices will also be made more convenient for users with intelligent features, such as face detection. The US will continue to be a major market.

Pongee Industries

Despite the economic crisis, Pongee Industries sales grew in 2009. The company expects growth to increase this year.

Overseas markets include Europe, the U.S., Southeast Asia and South Africa. About 70 percent of its sales revenue was generated overseas from OEM/ ODM. “We sell to Hong Kong, the U.S. and the South America by OEM and ODM sales,” said Samuel Lin, GM.

Strategy and Core Competence
PoS and customizable features are highly in demand. R&D will continue to advance for both front-end and backend devices. “Our goal is to grow with balance,” said Lin. “We will continue to learn the firmware skills required to make high-end product with more features.”

Module-based products will also be a focus, with product customization being key. The company will continue its R&D advancement. “Our long range RFID technology can receive signals up to 8 meters,” Lin said.

Future Outlook
The companies will continue its R&D progress in both software and hardware development. Development efforts will allow products to have higher market compatibility and further enable building automation.

Found in 2004, QNAP Systems pledged to become the world's leading network attached storage (NAS) and NVR solution provider. Sales grew for the company in 2009, with the U.S. having the highest growth. Focusing on the mid- to high-end applications, its major markets include Europe, Japan and the U.S.

Its top product for the year was a scalable storage solution, with a Linux management platform.

Strategy and Core Competence
NAS and NVR data storage technology are its major strengths. “We sell through our own brand,” said Jacky Cheng, Product Manager. “To protect our brand, we focus on product quality rather than price reduction.” All of QNAP's products are tested in Japan before their release.

R&D forms the core of the company. Currently, there are about 35 to 40 percent of the company's personnel in R&D. An additional 40 percent investment is made each year. Quality control is also important. “Our stand-alone Linux NVR hardware and software are all made in-house,” said Cheng.

Future Outlook
Chain store application will be QNAP's target application. The company will emphasize integration with third-party systems, PoS functions, access control and central management software.

In the future, the company will also start its OEM business. Security and IT will be more closely integrated in the near future. User friendliness will be a focus. “Linux is increasingly used, with easier to use interfaces,” Cheng said.

Ray Shine Video Technology

Ray Shine Video Technology, a video surveillance specialist, has more than 10 years of experience in designing and manufacturing analog cameras. Selling mainly through its OEM partners, the company also sells branded products.

“Growth for 2009 was not largely impacted by the economic downturn,” said Grace Chang, GM. “The company is expecting 20 percent sales growth this year.” Focusing on high-end analog solutions, airports and seaports are its major verticals.

Strategy and Core Competence
HD compression and decompression are its key strength. “We are strict on quality control. Maintaining our product's high quality help us avoid price wars,” said Chang.

R&D represents about 40 percent of the company's staff. “Our high quality and commitment to customer satisfaction match and exceed the quality requirements of OEM/ODM customers in Germany, the U.K., France, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, Japan and the U.S.,” Chang said.

Future Outlook
In the future, Ray Shine will continue to develop high quality analog systems. It will also launch more network video products. “We are planning to release more IP solutions in the future, but our product focus is still analog systems,” Chang said. Developing countries, such as China and India, will be the company's target markets.

2008 Product Focus: Best Sellers

2008 Product Focus: Best Sellers

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 10/23/2008 | Article type: Hot Topics

What makes a product sell better than others? We take a look at noteworthy submissions to see what sets a best seller apart. For this year's Product Focus feature, we also asked security providers to submit their best-selling products. As the products were not all made in 2008, we included a representative sample to see what products are in demand. This category is less about the latest solutions and more focused on whatˇs selling well now.

Grandeye's best-selling Halocam Compact IPC is similar to its most innovative partner, also a concealedmount, 360-degree network camera featuring a five-megapixel sensor. The camera's high-quality fisheye lens monitors a full hemisphere and can pan, tilt and zoom.

Another top-selling network camera was the VIVOTEK FD7131, a three-axis fixed dome equipped with a PIR sensor. With the company's VVTK-1000 SoC processor, it delivers dual video streams and enabled remote viewing with 3GPP mobile surveillance, making the camera a cost-effective solution indoor application.

Possibly the most familiar best seller is Pelco's Spectra IV IP dome. Introduced 11 years ago, the camera established Pelco as a leading dome maker and now features IP connectivity. The IP-based positioning system features latency-free operation. It also is easy to install and maintain, with Spectra systems in place from the Statue of Liberty to Macau. While the Spectra has undergone several changes, its user-friendly operation makes it a long-time buyer favorite.

One of the major players in DVRs, Dallmeier electronic's DMS 240 "In Memory of Leonardo" was submitted as the company's best-selling model. The DVR offers 24 camera inputs with real-time recording in H.264 for all channels. It features hybrid functionality for IP and analog cameras, making it a future-proof investment.

TeleEye's top seller was its RX Series Video Recording Server. Using its proprietary SMAC-M compression, the video server records 60 percent longer and transmits 50 percent faster than MPEG-4. Efficient compression was a common feature for best-selling storage products.

Thompson said the solution had the "ability to use a wide variety of protocols to serve live and recorded video to meet diverse application needs."

Italian Cieffe's best-selling product was its Nettuno, a stand-alone embedded video server, capable of multiple streams in MPEG-4 or H.264 compression. The video server is compatible with third-party analog cameras, making it highly useful for running video analytics on mixed surveillance systems with IP and analog cameras.

A video encoder that sold well was the ioimage ioibox trk1. The ioibox trk1 features "advanced technology packaged in a very flexible device for almost universal application of analytics at the edge," Thompson said.

For processors, the S6100 processor was Stretch's best-selling product, designed for video, imaging, and wireless applications.

The V'nes (Video Network Enterprise Solution) from American Fibertek was its best selling solution. It is a comprehensive security network designed for physical security applications, accommodating analog, IP or hybrid signals.

Another best seller was the Aboundi APL4200 UltraSpeed UPS-able Quad PowerLine NetBridge APL4200-200. It has continuous networking connectivity for up to 300 meters of operational distance.

AES-IntelliNet's MultiNet system was its best seller. The long-range radio mesh technology for alarm communications technology allows users to monitor alarms in multiple regions from one location, without communications costs. This low-cost real-time solution reflects user needs.

Altronix's HubWayLD8S Active UTP Transceiver Hub video, controller data and power over a CAT-5 or higher cable, making it a best seller.

Access Control
A breakthrough card reader was CDVI Group's best-selling product. The Remote Transmitter ERP combined for the first time a metal and polycarbonate casing, previously not possible in radio frequency technology.

One of the dominant players in access control, HID Global's top-selling product was the R10 Reader 6100 Mullion Smart Card Reader. The iCLASS reader had an open architecture design, making it compatible with many card formats and offering great flexibility.

The Dortronics EZ-Access Control System provides audit trails for two independent doors, making reporting convenient for users.

The best seller for IDenticard Systems was its PremiSys access control system, allowing users to set cardholder privileges and design badges.

DVTel, a leader in management software, enjoyed top sales with its intelligent Security Operations Center (iSOC) V5. The iSOC V5 is an open standard, IP-based security management center that unifies video, audio, data, access control, trend analysis and alarm management functionality into one enterprise command and control center.

The EVT Technologies Vertex was a best seller for its ease of operation. Its Image Content Navigation Vertex module enables intuitive object tailing through multiple cameras, allowing operators to not memorize camera locations, numbers and names.

Milestone's top seller was its XProtect Enterprise, suitable for large multisite installations with unlimited cameras and users.

Since its launch in 2006, the Mirasys V series has garnered top sales. The hybrid surveillance solution can be tailored to surveillance needs in many applications.

On-Net Surveillance Systems Inc. (OnSSI) enjoyed strong sales with Ocularis, an IP video surveillance management solution with the functionality of matrix switching systems and the benefits of software-driven control.

Another top seller was the STOPware PassagePoint Global v10 visitor management software, offers control over integrated systems, with communications, badging, multi-language support and reporting.

Alarms and Others
No notable products were submitted for best-selling Alarms. However three products in the Other category were best sellers.

ICx Technologies has strong sales with its identiFINDER. It offered "portable radiation detection with a broad set of identification and analysis features built-in," Thompson said.

Delta Scientific's best sellers were its DSC600 and DSC650 shallow foundation bollards. The DSC600 stops a 15,000-pound (66.7 kN) truck traveling 80 kilometers per hour (50 miles per hour), while the DSC650 fixed bollard modules stop a 2,300-kilogram (5,000-pound) vehicle going 80 kph (50 mph).

The MicroTrack intrusion system was Southwest Microwave's best seller. It consists of a processor and two pairs of cables buried 18 to 28 cm (7 to 11 inches) underground, capable of securing up to 400 meters (1,300 feet).

These products might not be the latest products, but we hope that our compilations can provide you with some helpful information.

2008 Product Focus: Intrusion Alarm

2008 Product Focus: Intrusion Alarm

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 10/20/2008 | Article type: Hot Topics

The 2008 Product Focus feature spotlights the most representative technology available. For 2008, instead of selecting a single product to cover, we invited security providers to submit their most innovative products, along with their best-selling ones.

No single product nabbed top scores out of the eight submissions in this category. Tied for best marks were Bosch and Fermax.

The Bosch Security Systems Professional Series intrusion detectors with antimask technology deploy Bosch's Sensor Data Fusion (SDF) technology, which processes data from up five different sensors to reduce false alarms.

The Fermax HALO Panel is a video entry system and access control panel, with a user-friendly interface.

John and Thompson both gave their highest scores to the Siemens Building Technologies Intrunet SI Series (SAK94) multipartition keypad as well. The intrusion control system features a built-in speaker/microphone for alarm verification, helping to distinguish between alarms and keys. It sports "innovative features packaged in an intrusion keypad interface," Thompson said.


This category was for products not belonging to the traditional categories of surveillance, access control, alarms or management software. As this was an unusual assortment, no single product received the highest overall score from all judges.

Thompson gave his highest score to the Delta Scientific Plug-and-Play High Security Vehicle Access Control barricade, capable of stopping and destroying a 6,800-kilogram (15,000-pound) truck traveling at 48 kilometers per hour (30 miles per hour).

Another product Thompson scored favorably was the RoboWatch Technologies CHRYSOR Autonomous Vehicle, a mobile robot that detects moving objects or hazardous substances. Should a deadly gas or explosive be detected, CHRYSOR will move the source away from crowds.

John gave his highest score to the ICx Technologies Fido Portable Explosives Detector. The handheld device features amplifying fluorescent polymers, providing a detectable response to explosive materials at levels as low as a few femtograms (parts per quadrillion), comparable to bomb-sniffing dogs.

2008 Product Focus: Access Control

2008 Product Focus: Access Control

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 10/16/2008 | Article type: Hot Topics

The 2008 Product Focus feature spotlights the most representative technology available. For 2008, instead of selecting a single product to cover, we invited security providers to submit their most innovative products, along with their best-selling ones.

Access Control
Key Watcher from Morse Watchmans, a key management system, received the most points for an integrated access control solution. The emergence of convergence was clear from the judges' votes, as the unit can be integrated with several access devices, ranging from keypads to fingerprint readers.

Tallo of ADI gave full grades to four of the 13 access control products. The HID Global SmartID ISO14443 (13.56MHz) MIFARE/DESFire Reader or Reader/Writer can read all formats of MIFARE and DESFire contactless credentials, making it compatible with third-party products.

Another top pick of Tallo's was the Galaxy Dimension Integrated Intrusion and Access Control Solution from Honeywell Security and Communications. Galaxy Dimension includes TouchCenter, a graphical keypad featuring an intuitive menu and a color touch screen, designed for easy interface with other building systems.

Tallo also picked Nedap's TRANSIT Entry, a reader capable of reading long-range RFID tags up to 4 meters (12 feet) away, making it ideal for high security areas or parking applications.

Pelco, a newcomer to the access control scene, received high marks from Tallo for the Intelli-M PoE-Enabled Door Controller System. It was previously offered through Integral, another Schneider Electric subsidiary. The system provides access control and alarm services, saving wiring costs for each door by using Cat 5E or 6 cables for communication and power.

Asia managed to nab top scores, with Korea's IDTECK LX007 being one of the judges' favorites. The fingerprint reader stores up to 4,000 users and comes with time and attendance software.

John gave his highest score to the Sign Assured SignHear, which verifies users by the sounds produced by their signatures.

Thompson ranked the Privaris plusID 75 highest for the biometric products. The fingerprint token includes a built-in reader and contactless smart card technology, allowing it to be recognized either as a smart card or with encrypted Bluetooth technology.

Out of the 11 entries, no clear victor emerged from the scores. Genetec and Milestone were tied neck and neck, earning highest judge scores though not necessarily full marks from John, Thompson and Freschi. The AutoVu Mobile solution identifies vehicles, with license plate recognition, at speeds of up to 225 kilometers per hour (140 miles per hour).

The XProtect Corporate video management system scales for unlimited clients and cameras, along with supporting third-party systems and analytics.

Thompson recognized the IndigoVision Control Center V3.10 - IP Video and Alarm Management Software, capable of integrating signals from systems including intrusion, access control, fire, building management, HVAC and process control. The solution was "technology-packed with both IP video management and command and control features built into a single application."

John's top marks went to the Aimetis Symphony, an intelligent surveillance platform with video analytics and smart search functions.

Another solution winning John's top scores was the CNL IPSecurityCenter, enabling physical and logical security integration. IPSecurityCenter can control surveillance equipment, intrusion alarms, fire alarms, access control, personal alarms, building management systems, digital recording and business systems.

2008 Product Focus: Surveillance

2008 Product Focus: Surveillance

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 10/13/2008 | Article type: Hot Topics

The 2008 Product Focus feature spotlights the most representative technology available. For 2008, instead of selecting a single product to cover, we invited security providers to submit their most innovative products, along with their best-selling ones.

The 2008 Product Focus feature spotlights the most representative technology available. For 2008, instead of selecting a product focus to cover, we invited security providers to submit their most innovative products, along with their best selling ones.

Products were sorted into nine categories for ease of comparison. They were judged according to three categories: Technology, Functionality and Design. Each product could receive up to five points per category, for a total of 15 points maximum.

Megapixel and networking were among the criteria for the leading cameras. The trend for IP continued in access control, with edge devices receiving high marks. Smart security responses were again seen in the number of management software solutions recognized by the judge panel. With integration on the rise, this trend has clearly spilled over into this year's products. appreciated all the security providers who kindly sent us their products for review. A special thank you goes out to our judges, who took time out of their busy schedules to assist us. We hope that this year's feature provides useful and interesting information to you, our readers!

The Grandeye Halocam Compact IP Minidome Camera received the most points overall from the judges, boasting five megapixels of resolution. Power over Ethernet (PoE) also made the camera ideal for integrated solutions, complete with embedded video analytics, garnering the sole perfect score from Cynthia Freschi, President of North American Video.

The judges did not necessarily give their highest scores to the overall top scorer, though. Steve Thompson, Director of Global Security Product Engineering and Development at Johnson Controls, selected the M3011 Fixed Dome Network Camera from Axis Communications, another network camera supporting M-JPEG and H.264 compression. Features he liked were the camera's "H.264 encoding for improved bandwidth usage and a pleasing ceiling-mount package."

The preference for networking continued with Alun John, Chief Executive of Norbain. For his highest scoring camera, John selected the WV-NF302 Metal Body Fixed Megapixel Dome Network Camera from Panasonic System Solutions. It sports 1.3-megapixel resolution and deploys a CCD for higher light sensitivity at night. Clearly, megapixel and networking are the features to have for the cameras of 2008.

For the storage category consisting of DVRs, NVRs and video servers the judges were divided on their favorites. Thompson gave his top marks to the iCatch H.264 series DVRs, along with the Nice Systems Smart NVR - NVR 9600CA series (NVR 9610CA and NVR 9620CA). More efficient compression algorithms, such as H.264, were a prominent trend for making the most of storage. While the Nice NVRs record in MPEG-4, they deploy analytics to edge devices and reduce storage space.

John of Norbain gave his highest scores to Nuuo's NVRmini Standalone - NV2040, NV4080. The diminutive NVR comes with a host of video analytics, reducing data flow from edge devices by processing images on the NVR.

Finally, the AV Tech 3G Active Call-Out/AVD718 was Freschi's highest scorer. The 3G DVR system enables secure remote monitoring for users, who can access DVR images by 3G phones.

The surveillance category consists of products for cameras and related accessories. The top-scorer was Samsung Electronics for its Professional Large Format LCD Displays, garnering a perfect score from Miroslav Tallo, Business Development Director EMEA for Intrusion and Fire, ADI-Gardiner. Flat-screen displays like Samsung's are space-saving and useful for control rooms, along with being designed for punishing 24-hour operations.

Norbain's highest score went to the Observision G3-MOD with VideoMiner System, an intelligent processor with performance equivalent to a 30-GHz computer. The processor module can be placed behind a camera source, turning cameras into edge devices capable of processing-intensive analytics.

Thompson of Johnson Controls gave top marks to the Extreme CCTV Megapixel-IP Infrared Imager, capable of seeing in the dark for up to 128 meters (420 feet). The imager boasts 3.1-megapixel resolution in color and 1.3-megapixel for monochrome.

MEL Secure Systems dominated this category with its COFDM Digital Video Link. The 5.8-GHz radio system had a range of more than 30 kilometers (about 20 miles) on five watts of power, which can come from wind or solar power sources.

Thompson lauded the system for using "technology innovation to solve an unmet market need for low cost, efficient wireless long distance video transmission."

The Guardian-Lite Series from AMG Systems was also recognized. It integrates Ethernet, low speed data, audio and high quality uncompressed video into a fiber optic transmission system.

IR Cameras of the Future

IR Cameras of the Future

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 3/14/2008 | Article type: Component

Asia was once regarded as the worldˇs manufacturing powerhouse without its own technical know-how and product specialties. The misconception, however, is changing rapidly for the better with increasing experience and expertise. Asian IR camera makers best exemplify this with their ability to research and develop state-of-the-art cameras and compete with world-leading manufacturers.

CCD and CMOS sensors, lens, IR-cut filter mechanism and high signal to noise (S/N) ratio are key technologies and deciding factors in determining how well IR cameras capture crisp images at night.


Imaging Sensors

¨High resolution, sensitivity of CCD sensors and a high S/N ratio are three vital elements in producing clear images,〃 said Paul Roan, General Manager at VDI Security. CCDs can be treated as the most important component in IR cameras as a good CCD can provide cameras with high-resolution imagery as well as sensitivity in dark surroundings. ¨We mainly use SONY CCDs, which are famous for their performance,〃 said Ohin Kwon, Chief Marketing Officer at Huviron.

CCD sensors are not perfect, however. Their limited dynamic range lead to over-saturation in bright areas, under-exposure in dark areas, poor color reproduction and interlace artifacts. Now, a significant number of IR camera manufacturers in Asia are opting for ultra-wide dynamic range technology to solve these problems.

In comparison, CMOS sensors have great price advantage over CCD ones: The cost of a CCD sensor is about two times that of a CMOS sensor. Therefore, the CMOS option is gaining popularity quickly. Despite this, many Asian manufacturers still choose CCD over CMOS sensors. ¨CCD produces excellent sensitivity and color reproduction that CMOS can hardly reach,〃 said Bo Zhang, Chief Engineer at Sunell Technology. ¨Generally a good CCD can sense up to 0.001 lux, while a good CMOS can only sense up to 0.5 lux.〃


Because of different wavelengths in visible and IR lights, the focus of the lens needs to be adjusted to capture clear images. ¨We use automatic varifocal lenses (3.8 to 9.5 millimeters) to ensure optimum video image and focus setting so that users get the best view under various surveillance conditions,〃 said Young-Dae Kim, Senior Manager at Samsung Techwin.

On the other hand, there are other camera makers who prefer using an alternative  fixed IR lens with special optical coating  so that both visible and IR lights fall on the same spot. The advantages of fixed lenses are compact size, simple mechanism, light weight and high durability.

IR-Cut Filter Mechanism

Most IR cameras have built-in, automatic IR-cut filters, allowing for both daytime and nocturnal operations. The switching mechanism, over time, becomes an issue of great importance in terms of durability and switching speed. ¨Magnetic switching mechanism gives us advantages such as smaller size, lower power consumption and longer life span when compared to those with motor drive mechanism,〃 explained Zhang. Motor drive switching, however, has better switching speed, particularly for indoor speed dome cameras. ¨We choose motor drive switching mechanism because IR-cut filters can then be switched very quickly, which is particularly useful for indoor applications,〃 said Roan.

High S/N Ratio

A high S/N ratio also helps with resolution. ¨We believe that good printed circuit board (PCB) layout and fine quality of electronic components are pivotal to raise S/ N ratios,〃 said Tina Liu, Overseas Sales Manager at YES. ¨And we ensure strict quality control on these components to maintain a high S/N ratio.〃


Taiwan, Korea and China are three major IR camera manufacturing hubs, and each has its own unique strengths. ¨Korea has strong R&D capabilities, whereas China is quite competitive in terms of pricing. Taiwan is somewhat in between,〃 said Russel Yang, Assistant Manager of Overseas Department at Camdeor. ¨Taiwan cannot compete with China over price; instead, we have to highlight product uniqueness to get ahead.〃 The same sentiment was shared by Roan of VDI: ¨Our IR cameras function equally well in severe conditions, such as underwater and in chemical plants, and meet various client demands.〃

Taiwanese IR camera manufacturers are also busy working on strengthening their R&D capabilities. Take Camdeor. ¨The effectiveness of IR LEDs has great impact on illumination,〃 said Yang. ¨We have a team to design and produce our own IR LEDs.〃 These LEDs illuminate as far as 400 meters, while competing products still lag far behind.

Korea is well known for its product innovation. Take Samsung Techwin. Its renowned noise reduction technology, Samsung Super Noise Reduction (SSNR), effectively eliminates noise and ¨after images〃 at night. ¨We develop our own technical know-how to meet our customersˇ specific product needs,〃 said Kim. ¨We mostly target high-end markets for we are confident in providing our customers with the highest quality and reliability.〃

Chinese manufacturers are also beginning to change their focus from price competition to product quality. ¨We are getting more serious about product quality control,〃 said Liu. ¨Through thorough testing, quality of our products is guaranteed.〃 Additionally, more instances of tailor-made product design can be seen as more local manufacturers step up to cater to various needs. ¨We always find the most economical yet fully operational package for our customers to achieve the best price-performance ratio.〃


All Asian IR camera manufacturers are seeing that IP will become mainstream in the near future, and their products have to be ready for that future. Given the potential of networked solutions, everyone is either planning on releasing or has already launched their IP cameras. ¨Our first IP speed dome, with built-in IR LEDs, will be launched in 2008,〃 said Roan.

Integration of multiple functions is another important product focus. Functions such as motion detection or biometric identification can be integrated into existing IR lines. ¨We are quite certain that multifunctional IR cameras will be widely adopted by high-end users soon,〃 said Kwon. ¨Demand for megapixel, IP-enabled IR cameras will definitely increase.〃

With strong technical background, infinite creativity and relatively cheap labor force, Asian IR camera makers are surely making some waves in the international arena, and all of them are well aware of the challenges ahead. Rest assured, they are more than ready to take IR technology and the entire industry to the next level.

Looking into the Chinese Fingerprint Industry

Looking into the Chinese Fingerprint Industry

Editor / Provider: The Editorial Team | Updated: 2/1/2008 | Article type: Tech Corner

Fingerprint technology came to China in the 1990s. Since then, more and more Chinese researchersfrom both academia and private enterpriseshave plunged into development of the technology. Success means that Chinese fingerprint products are now being exported to the rest of the world.

In the early 1990s, research institutions, such as Tsinghua University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences as well as related companies started developing f inge rpr int technology. The first products were for China's law enforcement agencies. Later, improvements in fingerprint algorithms shifted the focus from automated fingerprint identification systems (AFIS) to DSP-based ones. "To date, more than 20 Chinese manufacturers have patented fingerprint identification algorithms," said Jianzhong Liu, Deputy Manager at Fingertech.

Fingerprint products are used not only for criminal investigations but also time and attendance, locks, safes, PC peripherals, network-based real-time capture and comparison systems, and integrated solutions. Many Chinese players are now looking to integrate fingerprint technology with other technologies, like iris and vein identification and RFID technology.

Most successful Chinese manufacturers have strong academic backgrounds. In fact, researchers and students in academic institutions have become partners or even members of companies aiming at commercialization of fingerprint technology. These individuals retain strong relations with these academic institutions and cooperate closely on research.

Hisign Technologies, for example, has cooperated with the Tsinghua University's Department of Automation to develop algorithms since its founding in 1998. "I, myself, was once a student in the department,"said Xiaochun Liu, General Manager at Hisign.

Fingertech also pioneered such cooperative efforts. "Fingertech has worked with the Chinese Academy of Sciences on fingerprint technology development," said Liu. The pattern was repeated with IDworldone of the trail blazers in fingerprint product commercialization- -which sets up a partnership with the Software and Microelectronics Institute of Peking University.

Algorithm Development

Two key modules in fingerprint products are the algorithm and capture sensor with most Chinese manufacturers focusing efforts on the former. After more than 17 years of development, manufacturersZKSoftware, Hisign, Fingertech, Aralek, IDworld, Relong and ADELhave developed their own algorithms in subfields such as image preprocessing, feature extraction and comparison.

Chinese companies now produce world-class optical sensors. That said, "capacitive and electric field sensors are still dominated by foreign brands," said Wei Tong, General Manager of Beijing IDworld, because of weaknesses in the domestic semiconductor industry.

Since fingerprint comparison and identification requires a lot of system resources, such as server CPU and memory capacity as well as network bandwidth, Chinese manufacturers prefer to use chips with processing capabilities. This enables the fingerprint module to do processing directly; there is no need to tap into system resources. "Relong uses fingerprint chips that it has developed itself," said Tanghui Zhang, Chief Scientist at Relong. In addition, ADEL has cooperated with Texas Instruments to produce chips with powerful processing capability and a built-in mathematic modeling. According to most manufacturers, the false-rejection rate of Chinese fingerprint products is less than 0.1 percent; the false-acceptance rate is less than 0.001 percent; the resolution of optical sensors is already as high as 500 dpi. ADEL sensors can recognize fingerprints of even six-year-old children.

Industry Standardization on the Way

Robust growth of the biometric industry has made establishment of a national standards important. To have good overseas sales, Chinese players are adopting international standards. ZKSoftwareone of the leading manufacturers of fingerprint productshas bee using UL, FPS201 and ISO378 standards to benchmark quality. Its products meet all three sets of demanding standards.

In July 2007, an official committee was established to set standards. Standardization will facilitate promotion of Chinese fingerprint products both in domestic and overseas markets. Araleka manufacturer of fingerprint productswas invited to serve as an official committee member.

Chinese Fingerprint Products

To date, Chinese companies have integrated fingerprint technology with most traditional productssafes, locks, access controls and PC peripherals like mouses, flash disks, hard disks and mobile phones. Apart from that, they have embedded some novel features that have won them acclaim both at home and abroad.

Fingertech capture sensors provide users with two comparison options: image and feature so that they can select the best one for their particularly situation. In addition, safeguarding captured fingerprints and preventing such information from being stolen by hackers is a tough problem. Fingertech's answer is to build the fingerprint data encryption program into the lower layer of Windows so encryption cannot be de-installed even in safe mode. If an intruder forcibly de-installs the encryption program, the operating system will send a command to burn the hard disk. Furthermore, Fingertech's door control series allows users to configure Wiegand signals to protect fingerprint data from being stolen.

Besides enhancing system security, multiple features are being incorporated into fingerprint product design. iF4 Vistaone of ZKSoftware's most popular door control systems in the U.S. and European marketshas a 2.4-inch TFT color display screen that supports GPRS and WiFi transmission as well as HID iClass series cards. It also has an embedded Web server. iF4 Vista also supports automatic data backup and comes with a lightning-proof design.

Relong products are classified into several categories: door locks, wood door locks and bedroom door locks. Each type has exclusive features that make it appropriate for its particular application. Full patent rights for its locks and its own optical lens production lines enable the company to maximize flexibility of customization.

As DIY models are proving very popular with PC users, ADEL launched its modular LA9 fingerprint lock. Users simply install the lock by themselves, following simple instructions in the manual.

Chinese manufacturers are also stressing system integration. Their solutions enable users to implement fingerprint identification on current systems within one or two days. Aralek's Trustlink is a fingerprint module integration solution. Trustlink functions as middleware between the fingerprint sensor and users' application programs, while masking direct accesses to the physical layer from the application layer. "Trustlink supports more than seven mainstream fingerprint chips from suppliers, such as Authentec and Cypress. Trustlink can be integrated into users' OA, CRM and ERP systems," said Yu Shao, CEO of Aralek Biometric Technologies.

Beijing IDworld has also launched a similar solution. The A801R has its own processing board and can compress fingerprint data into a file as small as 193 bytes. This greatly reduces system overload during comparison. This feature is of particular use to financial institutions and banks because it releases more bandwidth for other applications. China's top four national banks will soon deploy the A801R series.

These features are equally well-received abroad. In fact, exports now account for more than 60 percent of total sales for many companies. ZKSoftware's overseas sales now account for 80 percent of the total. Strong support from joint ventures has also contributed much to ZKSoftware's success. To date, the company has partnerships in Europe and the U.S. with similar projects in the offing for Brazil, South Africa and Dubai.

In the future, Chinese manufacturers will continue to work on algorithms to make them more stable and accurate. Others will move to develop their own semiconductor-based sensors. Since these can be minimized quite easily, they are perfect for use in gadgets, such as wardrobe locks and the like.