Published In December 2001
What low-voltage product piques your interest—digital recording and surveillance, or cameras, burglar and fire alarms? Whatever your niche, there’s sure to be something to excite. Low-voltage professionals report an increased need for security since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. One manufacturer cited an increase in business for his digital surveillance and recording system—to protect remote locations such as oil fields and pipelines. There’s just no shortage of applications today, or lack of product either. Best of all, across the board, systems and sensors, CCTV, and scores of other products have risen several notches in capability. This push comes partially from advancement in electronic products, microprocessors, and computer and telephony technologies. Sensors and detectors are smaller and smarter, with some combining CCTV technology in impressively small enclosures. Digital signaling makes transmission sharper than ever, and intuitive as well, providing a variety of levels of supervision, with CCTV image recording space often limited only by hard drive space. That’s quite a difference from several years ago, when security users were fumbling with time-consuming tapes and laborious playback times. Besides, prices have dropped. The Security Industry Association (SIA), Alexandria, Va., recently honored some of the most innovative security products. SIA, whose membership consists of manufacturers and distributors, considered more than 50 entries in its “New Product Showcase (NPS) 2001,” then awarded accolades to 12 finalists. Innovation Award “The Innovation Award,” which was also “Best in Show,” went to the DigiOp System 5000 from General Solutions, Houston. DigiOp is CCTV at its best, with state-of-the-art digital recording and surveillance, real-time network-ready recording capability, and many other features that make it flexible and powerful. It’s especially attractive for remote surveillance functions and uses the latest storage compression technologies, said J.D. Story, president and co-founder of General Solutions with Trey Schwarz, CEO. “DigiOp can handle so much more as far as application, from government and corporations to mission-critical applications and guarding strategic sites such as oil refineries, pipelines, power companies, etc.,” Story continued. “DigiOp allows the end-user to be more effective with less manpower. You can monitor 16 cameras from 16 different locations with real-time, on-the-fly recording.” Story adds that compression and networking technologies have advanced, yet price has dropped so much that a single digital recording and surveillance system may be more cost-effective than traditional videocassette recording. DigiOp also features local and remote pan-tilt-zoom control, audio input for two-way communications, sensor inputs and outputs, point-of-sale interface, transmission capability across the regular switched telephone network, leased circuits and LAN/WAN lines, and 800 gigabytes of internal memory hard-drive storage. Both in residential and commercial applications, other NPS winners received accolades, including the Caddx NX-8E Control Panel. Caddx, an Interlogix company, won a “Judge’s Choice Award” for Residential Products. Caddx, formerly Caddi-Caddx and now part of the Interlogix family, continues to excel at control panel manufacturing, keeping it simple, yet reliable and capable. A modular design featuring slide-in PC boards, the NX-8E boasts networking capabilities and the ability to expand to as many as 48 fully programmable zones. Zones are programmable as fire or burglary and can support 24 keypads. Wireless expansion capability is also available. The NX-8E is fully programmable from any of the NetworX keypads and for the first time allows for complete integration of multiple system modules within one enclosure. This allows operation on a variety of transmission protocols within the same control. Finally, from the growing arena of fiber optics, a “Judges Choice Award” for Commercial Products went to Fiber Options, Bohemia, N.Y., for the S712D Universal Data System. This fiber optic transmission link handles all major data formats bi-directionally. This assists the installer by eliminating the need to order or stock different models to support different data formats. The S712D also features data translation functions that allow for the input of one data format and output of a different format. Testing is simpler, with built-in diagnostics that include a self-test generator to test a fiber optic link without connecting external data equipment. For a complete list of NPS winners, contact SIA at (703) 683-2075 or visit their Web site at www.siaonline.org. O’MARA specializes in security and is the owner of DLO Communications Inc. in Park Ridge, Ill. She can be reached at (847) 384-1916, or firstname.lastname@example.org.