Changing tides in security innovation and market trends
Ness Corporation, manufacturers and wholesalers of Australian designed electronic security equipment will serve up something completely different at this year’s Security Exhibition & Conference, held on 15-17 July at Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre. Managing Director Naz Circosta says the company is departing from its usual offerings of CCTV products and taking a leap of faith with showcasing a new control system with automation technology as it’s a trend he sees returning at this year’s show.
A long-time and loyal exhibitor since the first exhibition held in 1986, Ness will unveil its next-generation security platform with automation features that Managing Director Naz Circosta says is virtually future-proof and tech-savvy.
We speak to Naz to find out more about why Ness has been a loyal exhibitor for the last three decades, research and development at Ness, the emphasis on innovation, and how the product that they will launch at the Security Expo is part of trend that’s set to be a gamechanger in the residential home security market in Australia.
DivCom: Ness has been a loyal and long-time exhibitor at the show, tell us what keeps you coming back and how it benefits exhibitors like you.
NC: The Security Exhibition is the only show where you get all leading suppliers in one place. For us, taking part in it keeps us in front. It’s an increasingly competitive market with pressures from oversease suppliers and we need all the exposure we can get these days. Taking part in the show keeps us in front of key potential customers and allows us to showcase products to the right clients and the target markets we’ve chosen. The show is a great way to position your new products to the market. I find that the show also benefits customers as they get the chance to compare products and services from different providers in one place. While we have a reasonable idea of what our competition is doing, its also good for exhibitors to witness first-hand not only what others are already selling, but what is coming up – It’s like how concept cars are shown in motor shows – it keeps abreast of the industry direction and trends that are developing. Exhibitors like us get the opportunity to showcase our vision of the future, while allowing us to get feedback from key players and clients. in the industry. Not often do you get a chance like this to get in front of the quality people that the show attracts.
DivCom: Could you tell us more about the the trends you’ve seen come and go over the years at the show?
NC: Trends are forever evolving, but the same trends in some form come in waves and stages. We might attend a few shows years in a row and see that little has changed in terms of trends and products on offer, and suddenly one show will be different and w see a new wave of products and technology showcased. This is what we’re expecting this year. In the last few years, there’s been an emphasis on CCTV technology and there’s been a raft of changes in that field and control system have taken a backseat. Ness thinks that might trend might make a comeback this year. We see intrusion alarm systems taking centrestage this year, and definitely for the next few years, especially with the inclusion of automation technology. CCTV technology has received great exposure in the last few years and there has been great advances in high-definition technology and IP cameras, and that’s one of the reasons why we are departing from our usual product fare at this year’s show. It is a mature and stable market and things have plateaued slightly in terms of exciting development. We hope that what we’re bringing to the show this year – a control system with automation technology – will be something exciting for visitors, and of course that we’re right in spotting this trend. We won’t know until the show takes place and that’s why the Expo is so important. It gives exhibitors to find out what everyone else is interested in and if we are on the right track. We believe we are.
DivCom: Tell us about the product Ness will feature at this year’s Security Exhibition and Conference.
NC: This year we’re doing something completely different. We’ve been working on product development for three years and lots of time and effort from our research and development team in Australia have been invested in this new platform.
DivCom: All the R&D was done locally in Australia?
NC: We are an Australian manufacturer and all R&D is carried out in Australia, not many may know this, but we have a factory in Seven Hills and production is done locally in Australia. There isn’t anyone in Australia that’s making products at our level in the residential market. Having said that, we are facing very real challenges in terms of global competition, economic forces and in recent times technological changes.
DivCom: Tell us a bit more about the technological influences at play here.
NC: Well, one big way technology will affect the residential security market in Australia is the introduction of NBN. There will be significant change with fibre-optic cables replacing copper lines. The communication pass between homes and central stations are via copper telephone lines and that line was always available even when power fails. This isn’t the case with NBN, however. When you lose power with NBN, you lose the line too. So the market has been moving towards a reliance on cellular networks with 3G which has a downside because there’s the added ongoing cost of a sim card, and a fairly expensive module — that’s not including any additional data that might be transmitted. Traditional security and monitoring systems are commonly seen as grudge buys and these additional costs don’t help matters. However, the upside is that it makes security more mobile.
DivCom: How is Ness tackling these challenges then?
NC: We took the view that if we continued doing what everyone else is doing, ie. Traditional panel systems with a keypad on the wall, we’d be struggling to compete with products with lower price points from around the world. At ness we always emphasise innovation. We’re known for it and have won eight design awards for our products through the years. Ness has been quiet for a number of years, but at this year’s exhibition, we’re taking a different tack and showcasing one primary product and a couple of peripheral products.
DivCom: Tell us more about the automation features of this new system.
NC: It has built-in home automation features like Z-Wave. Automation has been the big winner and probably the saviour for monitoring companies in the United States like ADT which have been brought back from the brink. Alarm systems are seen as grudge buys and during the GFC, many opted out of home alarm services. Automation has however turned the whole trend around because of the value-add it offers customers. The one platform that has really taken hold in the United States is Z-Wave — a mesh network and wireless protocol. It’s a simple device that connects to any appliance which you can program and control — anything from door locks to lighting controls.
DivCom: With the amount of innovation and thought put into this product, is this the future of security in Australia — Heavy on technology and integration?
NC: Security, traditionally has been conservative with its technological uptake. However, at Ness we would like to think that technology in this product has jumped one generation, and that’s in comparison with what’s going on trend-wise in the United States. I think Australia has caught up and is on an exponential growth trend in terms of technology and innovation. Ness has hitched its wagon to Z-Wave technology. There’s a lot of great options similar to Z-Wave out there, and it’s going to be interesting to see where the next five to ten years will take us.