Leadership Innovation and Change at ISC West 2014

Benjamin Butchko, our President and CEO, was selected to be a Judge for the New Product Showcase at the Security Industry Association’s premier program at ISC West 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. We asked him to share his insights from the program.

The role of “Judge” at the New Product Showcase competition is challenging for many reasons. If taken seriously, the time commitment is extraordinary. Over 105 products were submitted to the competition over 26 product categories. These ranged from Integrated and Hosted Systems to Locks and individual Sensors, with a span of offerings for commercial and residential spread across the product complexity continuum.  The range included complex algorithms and software systems to improvements in locking hardware and enclosures.

Butchko, Inc. represented the perspective of enterprise risk management, engineering, and performance management or, as we like to say, the bridge from concept to operational execution. 29 judges were selected representing manufacturers, end-users, service providers, consultants, and media. We were formed into six judging teams organized by competition categories.

Prior to the conference and the eventual on-site evaluation, judges had a month to access information on submitted products.  This included:

  • Product Overview
  • Detailed Product Description
  • Target Market
  • Product Differentiators and Most Unique Attributes
  • Void or Market Need that the Product Addresses
  • Brochures, Datasheets, Product Photos,
  • Date of market introduction
  • Date of product availability
  • Retail Price

Before the ISC Show opened, each manufacturer provided a 15 minute presentation to a panel of 4-6 judges that had pre-studied their submitted information. Later, judges were allowed to visit vendor booths for the products for which they had received presentations, recommended products for review by other judging teams, and products of each judge’s choosing.

Multiple iterations of judge deliberation and discussions were held. Then winners were announced for the following:

  • Best of Product Category
  • Overall Best New Product: The product or solution that demonstrated the most impressive technological advances as evidenced through increased functionality, improved ease of use and/or cost reduction.
  • Judges’ Choice: The product or solution that, in the opinion of the judges, deserved recognition for its unique approach to a security solution.

Because we had a front and center seat for emerging ideas taking shape in one of the largest security conferences in the world, we thought we would provide our readers and clients a summary of Benjamin Butchko’s impressions.

In general, a common theme experienced was a push for providing IP solutions that were extremely simple to install and configure.  While still directed to a systems installer market, these benefits are easily transferred to the DIY (do-it-yourself) market. This could very well indicate a move by manufacturers that will lead to greater commoditization of security products, where installation is not the limiter, but knowledge of where and how to apply solutions becomes the key (and often overlooked) element for success.

As well, some products provided nice advancement, but within a tightly proprietary and closed environment.  Thus, while the advancements in video camera capacity or HDMI video wall control were impressive, the solution was self-limiting to the existing client base or with new clients who are willing to remain 100% brand exclusive.

As with all new products, the offerings may not be perfect, but in a show where many vendors provided incremental product or feature improvements; there remain examples of forward-thinking developments. The following seemed to stand out:

  • Crystal Titan by NUUO, Inc – Video Management System – Category Winner
  • The impressive element of this video management and recording solution was the marked improvement in recording efficiency.
  • Through a virtualized machine, the product supports 500mbps throughput on a single I5 processor.  This is achieved by advancements in data encoding for the hard drive which reduces disk fragmentation and processor load.
  • On-board fusing of up to 10 individual camera feeds into a single panoramic view provides flexibility for user-created views using standard and existing cameras.
  • Nextiva Situation Management Center by Verint
  • This was categorized as a Video Surveillance Management System. However, the key benefits were the integration of Computer Aided Dispatch functionality into the user video platform.  Computer Aided Dispatch has been foreign to the security marketplace and users have had to utilize procedures and user training to provide response coordination solutions.  Integration with NowForce shows responder locations along with camera positions and event/alarm triggers.
  • Operations Workflow Analysis elements feed the configuration for the user experience to maximize the product utility.  While powerful, the effectiveness of this Operations Workflow Analysis at the installation inception and maintaining the consistency of the product configuration with operator workflows remains the key challenge and payback for Return On System Expectations.
  • dFENCE by dFENCE – Tools and Hardware category – Judges’ Choice Award
  •  The beauty of the solution is its simplicity, reliability, and utility in an emergency.  School security was a common theme throughout many parts of the ISC show, and this product is a direct response.
  • This product is an extremely simple to use solution approach in response to Active Shooter tragedies at Sandy Hook and other schools.
  • The product is a very simple concept: provide a bookshelf with ballistic and forced entry protection features which can be rapidly and easily deployed in the event of an emergency.
  • The design incorporates simplicity and reliability of use, which is crucial when the people needing to deploy the unit are under very high stress and not security or military experts.  Thus the reliability of deployment is high, even under highly adverse circumstances.
  • The bookshelf incorporated ballistic protection and deployable stabilizers which is moved in front of a door in the event of an emergency.  It blends into the décor of the room, yet is always available if needed.
  •  Its not a 100% solution, as it only protects the doorway when deployed.  Thus if the walls are not reinforced, they remain vulnerable.
  • Anti-Terrorism conferences and exhibitions include multiple ballistic and blast protection systems, however this product represented a unique offering to the ISC West audience.
  • ISCAN Smart Power Management Systems by LifeSafety Power – Tools & Hardware Category – Winner
  •  A power supply?  What can be exciting about a power supply?  Either it works or it doesn’t.  – EXACTLY!
  • The key to this product is bringing the insights of overall system and power supply reliability that has long been available in high-voltage products to a low-voltage device.  Used in conjunction with network monitoring tools, this product allows forward-looking owners and integrators to identify system irregularities before a device or system failure occurs.  Thus increasing system reliability and reducing system outages (which invariably will occur during a crisis or regulatory audit)
  • SentryPOWER POD by Sentry View Systems – Tools & Hardware category
  •  This product is designed to manage and provide reliable power in remote locations.  It balances commercial (120VAC / 230VAC) feeds with solar, wind, or other renewable sources to provide consistent power for security equipment in harsh locations.  It also will auto-start an emergency generator in the event other power sources are insufficient to support the applied load.
  •  With an operational temperature range of -40C to +70C, it is operable most anywhere, except the most extreme temperature locations.
  • Once this product receives UL and CE listing, it will be a substantial market contender.
  • Zwipe by Zwipe AS – Biometrics, Identification and Credentialing category – Winner
  • This is a contactless smart card solution incorporating an on-card biometric (fingerprint) reader within the card.
  • All personal data is self-contained on the card, addressing the privacy concerns of the “big brother” database holding all the individuals biometric templates.
  • The card works as a simple proximity card if the biometric is not used. Use of the biometric reader on the card activates the card for communication with a contactless smart card reader, providing flexibility of use.
  • The approach facilitates adding biometric capabilities to existing systems as part of an upgrade path, even enabling the use of the added biometric protection for critical areas only.

As always, technology is only one element in a holistic security program. People, processes and performance metrics must be understood to properly apply technology as a force multiplier of value, cost containment and risk mitigation.

Butchko, Inc. will continue to use technology as a “canary in the cage” signaling the possibility of positive and constructive disruptions in prevailing notions of productivity and time to value.