Asia has emerged as the dominant provider of alarms to the world. ASMAG.com looks at key technologies, along with top regions and challenges for alarm vendors.Alarms are among the most basic and effective of security devices. Once the threshold for alarm sensitivity is established, the alarms detect for genuine threats and go off. Their simple function belies the advanced technology ensuring the sensors are not constantly going off. Several solutions deploy smart technology so alarms respond only to true emergencies.
Eliminating false alarms is a goal for alarm makers. "Suren produces a line of security motion sensors offering highest-in-price-class false alarm immunity and detection," said Eric Micko, Director of R&D, Suren Systems. "All of Suren's sensors contain detectors and processing engines that are specifically designed to reduce false alarms."
Other companies have patented technology to give them an edge over the competition. Meian's dynamic matrix time (DMT) and dynamic matrix frequency (DMF) technologies distinguish true threats from false alarms. "DMT calculates movement over time," said Pi Youlin, Director at Meian. "It distinguishes between people and pets."
Meian also emphasizes using quality lenses for accurate detection. "I would say for a qualified detector, lens are 50 percent of the solution," Pi said. "The rest is hardware for 20 percent and software for 30 percent."
Another Chinese vendor, Longhorn, has made alarm products since 2001. Its product range includes wired and wireless IR detectors, and alarm control panels.
Some vendors are making their products convergence ready, as Chuango's alarm systems can be integrated with home automation and surveillance systems. "Only security devices with good design are able to function properly throughout the entire operation," said Ken Li, General Manager at Chuango. Other vendors, like Suren, are waiting to assess market requirements before developing IP alarms, Micko said.
Targeting false alarms forms a main focus for alarm vendors. Suren's sensors adopt several strategies for false alarm reduction, including generating "larger" signals that reduce interference from other signals and requiring actual motion for detection by special detector options, Micko said.
Longhorn' s temperature auto-compensation uses an algorithm to compare the ambient temperature with that of a human's. This results in good anti-jamming performance and reduces false alarms.
Another technology is Meian's DMF, which detects the pace of people passing by the detector, with a regular pace indicating a human gait. "For outdoor applications, we have created point movement technology that uses two microwave detectors one higher, the other lower," Pi said. "Only movement detected from both sensors simultaneously triggers the alarm, lowering the rate of false alarms."
The Meian technology also uses automatic beam detection frequency adjustment to reduce false alarms from rain, fog, snow, wind and other forces of nature, Pi said. It adjusts frequency in good weather conditions, thereby extending its battery life.
Asian products are sold around the world. Europe makes up the majority of Meian's international exports, Pi said. "The average European temperature is lower than China's, with more dramatic temperature changes, so we adjusted our sensor to meet European requirements. Our sensors have been shipped to the European market for the past five years, meeting market requirements
that newcomers cannot achieve."
Foreign standards form one of the key benchmarks for Asian vendors to achieve success internationally. Chuango's wireless modules have passed FCC-ID testing for their high transmission quality. "Overseas markets have more corresponding certifications and standards to follow," Li said. "For example, they have EMC and R&TTE for anti-interference tests and strict demands for wireless transmission efficiency."
Conwin see Southeast Asia and South America as priority markets. "Our solutions have more strength in cost-performance for developing countries," said Sherwin Mok, General Manager at Conwin. "Conwin's system is strong in cost-effectiveness, high flexibility and rich experience with over thousands of customers. We have a package for domestic applications, with only one-tenth of the cost compared to international brands for building an alarm management system."
Striving for improvement is how Asian vendors have managed to stay ahead of a variety of hurdles. "Pleasing appearance, easy installation and trouble-free operation are always the highest challenges for alarm products," Micko said. "In order to realize these simple goals, Suren's sensors must conform to many rigorous standards and pass many tests."
Other challenges include future-proofing existing investments. Meian's development strategy for its alarm sensors are divided into stronger logic through wiring and wireless communication, and artificial intelligence, Pi said. Its next generation of alarms will integrate home automation products, DVRs and cameras.
Finally, some vendors challenge themselves with continuing innovation. Longhorn owns about 40 different external designs, along with four technology patents in 2007, Peng said. Not content to rest on its laurels, Longhorn's goal for 2008 is creating 12 new patents.
With lofty goals for humble equipment, Asian alarm vendors promise to remain dominant worldwide in the long haul.