Advice for installers, part 1

SP&T Staff
Wednesday February 14, 2018
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SP&T News recently reached out to a variety of security systems manufacturers and developers and asked them for some helpful pointers that we can relay directly to our readership. Read on for advice on customer relationships, IoT, legacy systems, connected devices, project management and more.

Stewart Dewar, Product Manager of Perimeter Intrusion Detection Solutions, Senstar

Comprehensive site security requires the close integration of distinct systems, typically from different vendors. When evaluating systems and components (cameras, video management, perimeter intrusion detection, access control, etc.), keep in mind the following guidelines to avoid delays, unexpected costs, and unnecessary technical complexity:

• If two distinct systems are to communicate with each other over a software interface, make sure that the integration is certified and that the vendors have an established track record of success. Pay attention to the certified software versions, as compatibility can break between major upgrades.

• Whenever possible, choose devices that share a common software interface. Each system should have a readily available, fully-documented SDK that includes sample code and demonstration software. SDKs should be field-proven – that is, in use at other sites and meeting the monitoring and control requirements for your specific security environment.

• For video systems, ensure the devices follow the applicable open standards, such as ONVIF Profiles S (video/audio streaming), C (access control) or G (video storage/retrieval). Open standards future-proof your system and prevent vendor lock-in.

• When a software integration is not available between two systems (e.g. perimeter sensor and a security management system), it may be necessary to fall back on using sensor relay outputs to connect to alarm panel dry-contact inputs. The amount of field wiring can still be minimized by using sensors with built-in networking and then consolidating the relays in the equipment room environment.

Jacquelyn Davies, Vice President of Sales for Canada, Bosch Security Systems

In 2018, we’ll see an increased focus on solutions that go beyond security requirements to add value by addressing other needs of the user. As a result, systems that consist of silos of security technologies will no longer be acceptable to end users who will be looking for smart, connected systems. Integrators will need to identify how security technologies can work together to improve overall system performance.

For example, video integration with the alarm panel can enable control panel events — such as an alarm triggered by a motion detector — to initiate camera actions, including sending video snapshots from cameras focused on the area to end users via email or text. Cameras equipped with video analytics can also activate points on the control panel, improving security and enabling the integrator to extend system capabilities beyond security. A camera triggered to alert on loitering or an object left behind can notify security personnel about a pallet blocking an emergency exit door or a car parked in a no-parking zone to prevent health and safety risks. These capabilities add value for the user by providing a solution for health and safety pain points and helps them seek additional funding sources outside of the security budget.

Integrators who move out of the traditional security system comfort zone can use integrated solutions to solve issues that extend beyond security. With knowledge of the capabilities of integrated systems, the integrator can become a strategic advisor and trusted partner, helping them establish valuable, long-term relationships with customers.

Derek Arcuri, Product Marketing Manager, Genetec

Moving from a legacy access control system to an IP-based system can sometimes be seen as expensive and time consuming. Security directors can be hesitant, often asking questions such as: “Will I have to replace my entire system? How much will it cost to rewire and transition my cardholders and databases? How much downtime are we looking at?” While these concerns are valid, it’s never been easier to migrate to IP access control. The first step to ensure a successful outcome is to treat the migration as a project and elect a project manager to ensure successful planning, execution and closure. This is worth the investment as it gives the customer the assurance that everything is under control and increases your success in terms of cost, scope, schedule and time. From there, it’s important to follow the following steps:

Planning: Understand how the current system is being used from card to reader (this includes analyzing wiring drawings, architecture, where the doors and openings are located, card technologies expectations).

Analysis: Evaluate which features and technologies are being used vs. what will be needed, what work arounds are required. Evaluate what changes are needed at every level of the architecture: cards, readers, locks, wiring, controllers, servers, database cleanup, software features, etc.

Design: Map out the desired system on paper, creating a block diagram for the system migration. Build a model system in your test lab before you commence implementation.

Implementation:There are varying implementation approaches but we recommend a phased approach where components of the current system are migrated over in phases. First, set up the new system, and migrate the smallest component first (e.g. the smallest building, the smallest floor). Get feedback from system operators. Then continue moving from floor to floor or building to building.

Controlling: Test the system in batches to ensure the customer is pleased with each floor or building. Once the entire system is migrated, perform an overview test and fine-tune if needed. If the customer wants to make changes during implementation, we recommend waiting until the migration is complete as this can complicate the project plan.

Fredrik Nilsson, VP, Americas, Axis Communications

The current megatrends in most technology markets are Internet of Things (IoT), cybersecurity and big data. To security professionals it means that there will be more IP connected devices on the network, which started with IP cameras and is now moving over to perimeter protection, intercom and audio. All of these devices generate a large amount of data that can be integrated and analyzed. Additionally, with increased connectivity, security professionals need to ensure that the devices and data are protected against vulnerabilities. To do so, they’ll need to be educated in those areas to become a trusted advisor (not just an installer) to end customers. To be successful in this realm, security professionals need to ensure they align with the right partners on their journey.

Roy Park, Director of Integration Solutions, ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions Canada

Integrators should seek to build collaborative relationships with both the end user they will provide solutions for, as well as the manufacturers they plan to purchase product from.

To maximize the value of your relationships with manufacturers, work closely with their sales teams and discuss your current, future and potential projects. New products and solutions are being developed by manufacturers every day, and if you stay in contact with your sales team, you’ll be able to present the latest innovations to your customers and find the best solutions for their needs. It is also beneficial to take advantage of manufacturer training and certification programs, to increase your value to your customers and ensure successful deployments

When it comes to end-user relationships, it is critical to approach every new or potential client by taking a collaborative approach to security. That starts by listening to exactly what the end user needs. From there, you can begin providing solutions that you have previously spoken to the manufacturer about. By being well versed in all the offerings from a manufacturer, you can provide additional solutions to end users that allow you to address openings or security needs deeper into the building, and deeper into the clients’ business operations.

By establishing a long-term relationship with both sides, the integrator also becomes a conduit for information between the manufacturers and the users of these systems. That means the needs of the end user are being shared with the engineers developing new solutions. As a result, manufacturers are able to develop solutions that specifically address end-user requirements.

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