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Amid all the discussion of security integration and end-to-end solutions on the first day of IFSEC 2016 was an undercurrent of uncertainty. The international trade show opened at ExCel London just days before the historic "Brexit" vote, when Britons will decide whether to remain a part of the European Union or to exit the politico-economic fusion of 28 member states.
With the Brexit referendum this week, the polls are neck-and-neck, so the vote could go either way, hence the uncertainty. If "leave" wins the vote, what might it mean for business, including the security and video surveillance companies exhibiting at IFSEC?
Brexit implications on the security market
For example, if Great Britain leaves the EU, might it increase the costs of goods flowing throughout the larger European market? Would a distributor in Germany face new costs and/or more complex processes when sending equipment to Britain? EU laws would still apply during a two-year negotiation period if the UK votes to leave. Therefore, changes are unlikely to be immediate; however, long-term uncertainty can be bad for any market, whether it's the stock market, the currency market, or the security market.
"Once you exit the EU, there may be different rules related to larger contracts," says Ivo Drent, Arecont Vision's Vice President of European Sales. "Suddenly a UK company quoting jobs in the EU will face a different climate."
Manufacturers from other countries, including the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, would eventually need to renegotiate export contracts with the newly independent United Kingdom. Given a skilled labor shortage in the UK integrator market, might a "leave" vote also complicate the ability of companies to recruit candidates from neighboring countries, and thus aggravate the problem?
Dominant security themes at IFSEC
Although Brexit was a topic of discussion at several IFSEC stands, there were plenty of other aspects of the security market to consider, too. Manufacturers here are enthusiastic and quick to tout their new products, although many of them were shown previously in the United States last spring at ISC West. However, they're new to the international visitors to IFSEC. Also, the themes of integration, end-to-end systems, and technology partnerships dominated discussions.
New products at IFSEC 2016
If "leave" wins the vote, what might it mean for business, including the security and video surveillance companies exhibiting at IFSEC?
Arecont Vision was among the companies introducing actual new products here, including the new SurroundVideo Omni Mini IP Dome Camera, a 2-, 6- or 10-megapixel all-in-one camera with two sensors that are remotely user-configurable and provide true day/night video suitable for indoor/outdoor use. The low-profile camera is useful in schools, retail, and banking (ATM) applications. Its small size makes it less noticeable and unobtrusive, even in environments that are sensitive to aesthetics. It replicates many of the benefits of Arecont Vision's four-sensor SurroundVideo cameras in a smaller form factor and at a lower cost.
"It can replace multiple single-sensor cameras or pan-tilt-zooms (PTZs), and give coverage exactly where you want it," says Jeff Whitney, VP Marketing, Arecont Vision."If you cover a wide area, you never lose situational awareness."
Emphasis on solutions rather than single products is another theme you hear repeatedly this year at IFSEC. For example, the sensor company Optex is promoting its REDSCAN mini RLS-2020I, an indoor laser scan detector that provides a 20x20-meter vertical or horizontal detection area, as an adjunct to video analytics. The sensor helps to protect assets and equipment by creating an invisible laser wall that detects any intrusion. Combined with a video analytics system, the hardware can increase reliability and eliminate false alarms. Leveraging the two technologies creates a result that is greater than the sum of the parts. A demonstration at the stand involves a display of drink glasses and spirits (as might be seen at a bar after closing). A "laser wall" protects the display: Anyone who tries to touch a glass triggers an alarm. The alarm trigger is faster and more accurate than a video analytics approach - there is no delay as pixels are processed. The detection zone can be divided into four sections, with each linked to a PTZ preset that directs camera coverage where it is needed.
Technology partnerships are also making the news. Milestone opened the show with a press conference announcing an agreement with Dell to introduce a range of "plug and play" solutions for the surveillance market. The solutions can support 8, 16, 26 and 48 cameras and come complete with Milestone Xprotect and Microsoft Embedded licenses.
There will be more to see on the second day of the show, and possibly more Brexit discussion, too. The vote is on Thursday, the last day of the show.