Earlier this month, members of Faith Group’s security staff attended ASIS International’s GSX Conference in Dallas, TX. Our staff served as technology ambassadors for the week to our clients and guided them through demonstrations of the latest technologies and solutions. Each staff member that attended GSX, including our veterans, was able to learn about new technology and use cases.

Flexibility of Modular Cameras

Hanwha is one of the top enterprise-grade security camera manufacturers in the industry. At this level, the camera technology itself does not vary too much among the competitors, and there is a base level of expectation for the performance of the hardware across the top manufacturers. This requires manufacturers to look at other areas for competitive innovation – software features, hardware customization capabilities, or other creative solutions. Hanwha created a line of modular dome cameras that have a universal casing on which the interior camera components could be easily swapped in and out. They have continued investing in this line, now including everything from typical entry-level cameras up to AI-powered cameras with their best chipsets. This provides a unique solution to the life cycle of a client’s camera system, making camera upgrades less intrusive and costly. It also allows clients to start small if they can only afford a lower-level type of camera today but hope to upgrade in the future.

Faith Group recently supported the design of a lab facility for a Department of Defense weapons arsenal, and part of that facility was considered a Class I, Division 2 (C1D2). These locations are classified separately because they contain volatile flammable liquids or gases that are handled, processed, or used, and this classification requires security and telecommunications systems to be enclosed in appropriately rated conduits and enclosures. At GSX, the team was able to review new enclosures from both Axis and Hanwha that met the appropriate C1D2 requirements, along with several third-party vendors that would make custom enclosures for an end user’s already purchased cameras. This product’s availability will allow our design teams to use common, off-the-shelf (COTS) products for these unique requirements as opposed to customized solutions.

Out-of-the Box AI-Powered Camera Analytics

Artificial Intelligence continues to be a strong focus in the industry, with manufacturers looking for ways to leverage this technology. We believe this technology has come to a level of maturity where real use-cases are being developed with more accessible features. A lot of solutions were focused on a limited subset of advanced AI well suited for perimeter security applications. One major area where I see AI being utilized is for edge-based video analytics, providing some strong analytics – such as more accurate object detection and tracking and more detailed object attribute extraction such as object type, clothing, etc. – without the need to buy a separate analytics engine. The increased onboard AI coupled with traditional AI platforms is allowing for decentralized processing, making the overall solutions much more affordable and accessible to end users. We believe this will gradually become a default capability of all video surveillance systems in the future.

Faith Group had the opportunity, with so many vendors being in one place and the conference being local to Dallas this year, to setup meetings between our client (DFW) and camera manufacturers Hanwha, Axis, and Bosch for an in-depth model comparison during the show. With camera technology varying little in the industry, AI quickly became the focal point of conversations. As AI continues to advance, users can leverage the data from video content analytics for much more than security. Wayfinding, wait times, marketing, and concessions are all valid use cases for stakeholders to improve their customers’ experience. Being a part of the clients’ interests, expectations, and interaction with the manufacturers was very educational for all of our attending staff.

Physical Security Barriers

GSX can sometimes look like a technology show, though it is an overall security conference that includes sessions on operational security and the latest in physical security solutions. We are seeing an increase in the number of physical security manufacturers attending the show and exhibiting their products, which is great for the industry as a whole. We were able to demo more than just fence and gate solutions but also see full size swing gates, retractable bollards, and their related control systems. These solutions are becoming more flexible and with a high level of customization available.

Perimeter Intrusion

With Faith Group having been involved with several Perimeter Intrusion Detection System (PIDS) designs over the years, the radar systems have always been limited to a select few venders. This year those same vendors seemed to offer more product options, such as OWL, who now offer several more styles of radar. The other main focal point for PIDS was the use of LiDAR systems instead of traditional radar systems. Having recently seen the capabilities of LiDAR systems, we are confident these will now become more prevalent as the technology evolves. The newer LiDAR systems, like Hexagon’s Leica BLK247 and Accur8vision software, can generate a fully colorized 3D image of a site and create enhanced security portals to alarm when crossed while tracking individuals. LiDAR does not generate a traditional image of an individual but tracks them as an asset. This asset has no identifiable features which maintains any General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy regulations for public spaces as is the norm throughout Europe.  

Drone Detection Systems

Faith Group has noticed an increased interest from aviation clients on drone detection systems and drone mitigation systems, though there is still a lot of hesitation on the mitigation half of the problem. With many of our nation’s airports located in and around populated residential areas, the risk for drone drifts into their airspace, either intentional or inadvertent, poses massive security risks. Several vendors were present at GSX, advertising their ability to detect drone flightpaths, and more importantly, detect source signals so that response personnel can attempt to disrupt the drone controller as quickly as possible.

Overall, GSX was a valuable learning ground for our new security and technology designers and consultants, while still providing value to our seasoned experts, keeping them all up to date on the latest solution offerings and use cases. It was exciting to be able to leverage the show being in Dallas this year to provide on-site demonstrations to our local DFW client on their substantial security project. Wayne State University (WSU), who is in the middle of upgrading their access control systems, flew in for the show and had Faith Group take them around the expo floor. Audra Forsberg, WSU’s Director of OneCard/Parking Service Center, said “This allowed us to see their software and hardware ‘in action’. Having this personal time with vendors, being able to ask questions and get product demos, gave us much better grasp of what would be best for our campus.” This as an excellent opportunity for WSU to vet hardware and software all in one place with us guiding them as their security consultant. WSU’s Sr. Director of IT Infrastructure, Juan Richardson, said “I really enjoyed the GSX Conference. I believe we received a unified, holistic view of the security industry’s products and services, not only from a prospective overview, but with real life examples of implementations mixed with vendor and integration knowledge. This has better prepared us to understand what we need to do going forward with our university projects and the possibilities of integration to provide better overall security and symbiosis for our student, urban campus, as well as providing comprehensive support to our public safety department’s wants and needs.” From security drones and robotic dogs to “Johnny Five,” this year’s show did not disappoint, and we look forward to next year!