Innovations and Insights From Security Essen 2018

Shane Clary shares interesting alarm verification and image detection products found at the 2018 Security Essen trade show.

This September I made my biannual trip to Essen, Germany, to attend the Security Essen 2018. This is my fourth time attending this expo, and as I have reported the previous times, it showcases more than security.

The trade show also features a large contingent of fire alarm equipment. The expo is large, and at the end of the day, my Fitbit showed that I had walked 6+ miles within the halls.

As with the show two years ago, a number of the larger manufacturers — including Honeywell, Siemens, Bosch and Johnson Controls/Tyco — chose not to exhibit.

I did notice that within the area of the expo that featured locks, most of the major players were present. While I can understand not showing at every expo, as technology advances it would be nice to see what’s on the horizon for some of these big companies that were absent.

Still, there was plenty of new technology to see, and to become reintroduced to solutions that I’d previewed before but have not made it across the pond yet.

Some of the features that one sees in Europe are due in part to the standards that are in use over there as opposed to in the United States, and that there is no Americans with Disabilities Act to be in compliance.

With a lower current draw for notification appliances, there are product attributes that can be found there but are not seen yet over here. Plus, some European companies just look at solving problems in different ways than U.S. companies. Let’s look at a few examples.

Intriguing Detection, Notification Appliances Highlighted

Advanced showcased its AlarmCalm, which was being touted as false alarm management for hotels. It employs alarm verification in all dwelling rooms.

When a detector goes off in a dwelling space, a local alarm in the room will sound, and the fire alarm control unit (FACU) will indicate to the hotel staff that a smoke detector is in verification mode. A timer countdown will then start.

If at the end of the countdown the detector is still in an alarm condition, the system will go into a full alarm throughout the building. If the detector resets, the local alarm will reset and there will be no further action.

What’s different than here is that the detector will not reset per se and then trip again to go into full alarm, but will either stay in alarm or reset depending on if there is a sensing of smoke. The system can also provide verification for heat detectors.

A number of manufacturers were showing products in which there are both sensors/detectors and beacons on the same addressable loop. Beacons is the term used in Europe for notification appliances.

While there are products in the U.S. that have addressable notification appliances, they are on a separate circuit; in Europe they are on the same circuit. This is due in part to the lower circuit draw beacons have as opposed to a traditional notification appliance.

Companies such as C-TEC, Teleteck Electronics and Aritech were demonstrating similar technology. The product that most interested me was from Mobotix. As I’ve noted about past shows, video image detection or VID was exhibited by several manufacturers but by 2016 had completely disappeared.

Mobotix has a new product that looks at thermal imagery. While not developed originally for fire detection, it is now being marketed as a device that through thermal radiometry can detect potential fire or heat source. Multiple cameras are connected via IP. Due to the technology within these units, however, the product cannot be exported into certain countries.

For those who might be wondering, yes you can attend this show without any major issues if you do not speak or read German. The timing of the expo is always around Octoberfest, too, so after visiting the show it is well worth the roughly five-hour train trip to Munich, or taking advantage of the opportunity to travel by car or train to other sites in Germany.

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About the Author


Shane Clary, Ph.D., is Security Sales & Integration’s “Fire Side Chat” columnist. He has more than 37 years of security and fire alarm industry experience. He serves on a number of NFPA technical committees, and is vice president of Codes and Standards Compliance for Pancheco, Calif.-based Bay Alarm Co.

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