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Why you want only a certified integrator installing your video system

Imagine this scenario. An organization that is undergoing the process of installing their new video system finds out that the electrical contractors have installed smaller wall boxes at their facilities than needed for the surveillance system’s fiber optic transmitters. There are thousands of these boxes and it will cost several hundred thousand dollars to replace them. And the transmitter (TX) and receiver (RX) modules only came in one standard size. They have two choices: they can replace the wall boxes with the correct size for standard fibre optic transmitters or go to litigation.


July 20, 2011
By Mark S. Wilson

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In this actual situation, lucky for them, after calling in the manufacturer, it turned out that there was a third option. If just the TX module were reduced in size, the RX module could remain the same and both would fit in the “too small” wall box. That customization by the vendor saved the project, the budget and nights of sleeplessness for many people.

Not everyone has been so lucky. Integrators report that such examples are not infrequent. All too often, consultants and project managers wanting to reduce costs will subcontract the installation of the surveillance system to low-cost cable installers. Called “Joe Trunk-Slammers” by the trade, too many of them are low-competence as well as low-cost.

The quality of the job is typically rushed and substandard. The installation is riddled with errors. Since Joe forgot — or didn’t know how — to terminate a cable properly, the system produces poor quality video. There are reliability issues because the cable bend radius is too tight, among many other errors. As a result, the customer has to bring in a professional certified integrator to make the solution work. All of a sudden, the money saved with Joe is gone as are additional dollars to verify the proper installation of the system. What was to cost less just cost more. The certified integrator would have been the best investment after all.

What Is a Certified Integrator?
A certified integrator has undertaken training from the manufacturer on how to install its equipment. For instance, Infinova’s hands-on technical product certification class trains integrators and dealers how to install and optimize IP surveillance cameras to deliver the best evidence. The class covers an overview of IP camera installation and configuration as well as a demonstration and review of specific products used in the class, such as an IP megapixel, IP fixed minidome, IP dome, and IP pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) camera plus video management software (VMS).

Most importantly, there is hands-on installation and configuration of IP cameras using a browser connection followed by a hands-on exercise with the V2240 monitor station software and exploring the power of VMS software control. By actually working with the products, dealers, integrators and installers gain an increased understanding of IP technology, realize that IP video isn’t hard to understand, obtain confidence in installing and configuring IP video products, and receive verification of their knowledge through certification testing. The class constitutes 75 per cent hands-on training and 25 per cent lecture.

One way to discern the value of the classes your integrator has undertaken is to find out if the integrator gains credits from professional organizations for taking the class. For instance, Infinova certification classes provide BICSI members with 7 CEC credits and NBFAA members with 0.5 CEU credits. For BICSI and NBFAA members, this is approximately 40 per cent of their continuing education requirements.

There are other benefits of working with a certified integrator. Oftentimes, manufacturers provide certified integrators with hands-on, in-field engineering and phone support during pre-sales, design and negotiation, and post-sales stages of the project. They also get an enhanced warranty, an additional year on top of standard warranties. Continuing solution and product training is provided through conferences, newsletters, regional meetings and webinars that will help certified integrators better educate their own staff. They will also have opportunities to meet and exchange ideas, experiences and solutions with their peers.

How to tell if your integrator Is certified
Don’t let Joe sabotage your system before it is even up and running. Look for a certified integrator. The easiest thing to do is to ask your contractor or project manager if the installer is certified by the brands that they are selling you. You can often verify this on the manufacturers’ websites, although a quick call to the local manufacturer’s sales representative is just as easy. He/she can tell you who is certified in your area. Ask what kind of training they got and if it was blessed by one of the professional organizations. Lastly, don’t forget to ask your peers. They’ve already gone through the installation process and can alert you to who helped them enjoy or detest the project.

Mark S. Wilson is the vice-president of marketing at Infinova.


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