Expoprotection 2008 draws an international crowd in Paris

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

PARIS--This year's edition of Expoprotection, France's largest security industry trade show, which took place here at the the Villepinte exhibition center Nov. 4 through 7, featured an array of French and international companies showing off new technologies and partnerships, all washed down with a bit of bubbly.
While the show definitely has a French flavor, with many smaller and medium-sized French companies on hand, it's also a gathering spot for the industry's big names, due in part to the fact that the country is seen by most as one of the largest prospective markets in Europe. Overall, the general sentiment seemed to be that this year's show was as big and busy, if not bigger and busier, than the last installment, in 2006.
Cegelec, a prominent French systems integrator, had a busy stand, where representatives were showing off the company's many high-profile projects both in France and abroad. The company's product manager, Laurent Rouyer, said that Cegelec had recently been awarded a "several million euro deal" to secure the factories of helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter across Europe, including facilities in France, Spain and Germany. Under the terms of the deal, Cegelec will provide Eurocopter with access control and visitor management systems that will involve the deployment of 2,000 cards, 20,000 readers, ANPR and biometric technology.
Besides Eurocopter, another major recent Cegelec project involves providing access control to the European Organization for Nuclear Research's (CERN) Large Hadron Collider just outside of Geneva, Switzerland.
Ateme, a French provider of video compression solutions, was on hand showing its end-to-end encoding and decoding solutions that feature dual stream, mobile access and video alarms for blurred images, camera movement and video loss. Mark Horchler, the company's marketing manager, said business is going well and that the company had recently added staff in both Spain and Latin America. Europe accounts for about 80 percent of Ateme's business right now, but the Middle East is growing in importance, and the company has deployments in Lebanon, Dubai, Morocco and Algeria. The French video security market is looking good too, according to Horchler. People in France are growing more and more comfortable with the idea of cameras--"even the Socialist mayor of Paris favors more video security," he said.
Slat, a French specialist in power supplies for security applications, featured its new partnership with the Italian wireless video surveillance specialist Fluidmesh at its stand at Expoprotection. The company's compact, long-term battery aims to make things easier for installers working on city center surveillance projects, as it's designed for mounting on an ordinary light pole. "The battery stores up power during the day when power is on and can then be used to power a camera or other security device at night," explained Slat's director general, Andre Guinet. Slat's battery systems are unique in their compactness and long-term nature, Guinet said, as they can be re-charged every day for up to three years. The new battery is currently in trials, and a full launch is schedule for next year.
French companies were certainly not the only ones on hand at Expoprotection. As just one example, the Israel-based video management systems specialist Nice Systems was exhibiting, and Tim Giles, the company's EMEA marketing manager, said business in Europe has been going very well, with a number of big project wins recently. Nice has been focusing on the transport sector, including a major project for the Belgian state railway system. In France in particular, Giles said the company has also seen significant interest for security at critical facilities.
The Polish company Satel, a developer of alarm management and devices, had an impressive and busy stand at the show. This was Satel's second time at Expoprotection, according to the company's export manager, Jaroslaw Zurawik, and the company finds France a very good prospective market, he said, due to its size and the level of the alarm market. This year's show was no disappointment, as Zurawik said it seemed even bigger and that they'd had more visitors this year than last. Besides its home market and France, Satel is active in the UK, Italy, Spain and Ukraine, where the company has partnered with selected distributors.
Yvon Pritchard, Sony's European marketing manager for network video monitoring and CCTV, said her company was "really pushing hybrid solutions" at Expoprotection this year. France is Sony's biggest market in Europe at the moment, she said, with Italy very big, too.
The Netherlands-based Nedap was still drawing a crowd at its stand Friday afternoon, thanks to its innovative new Security Controller, which ties together disparate elements of a security system such as video, access control, intrusion detection and visitor management, so they can be managed from a single platform. Bruno Litmanowicz gave me what he said was his first presentation in English, and it couldn't have gone more smoothly. And not just language-wise--from general site overview to biometric registration to LPR, accessing past footage, or setting up visitor management, the Nedap demo showed Security Controller to be seamless and easy to use.