Integrated Operations: How Panduit Did It

The goal of integration is for the whole to exceed the sum of the parts or systems. Increasingly, that equation is extending far beyond the interactivity of security systems to incorporate what had been disparate systems within buildings into cohesive enterprise-wide solutions. Panduit’s new world headquarters offers one of the most convincing examples of this vision made real.

[IMAGE]12275[/IMAGE]Environment and Aesthetics

It reasons that there would be plenty of challenges faced in pulling off a project of such technical sophistication. But it’s a bit surprising that the main impediment from the integrator’s perspective was something completely unrelated to technology or integration — Mother Nature.

“The most difficult challenges we faced were weather conditions,” says Green. “The project took place in the December to February timeframe in Chicago. Some of the concerns we had were powering up outdoor p/t/z cameras in cold conditions when their gears and motor could freeze if the enclosure heaters did not activate. So we coordinated with the electrical contractor when the weather was less severe and we could verify the cameras were not frozen.”

IPVision had a project manager onsite at all times to ensure things progressed according to plan, and the general contractor kept everyone up to speed through weekly meetings.

Panduit’s headquarters was designed with a high-tech appearance befitting its industry, which meant aesthetics were important. The firm’s architect required IPVison to custom paint exterior cameras and mounts the same color as the building or pole to which they were mounted.

One other factor that induced some restless nights for Woodward was the lag time between getting the network up and the security in place to safeguard it.

“The primary security concern during the project came when we started to install network equipment in the building and the ability to protect it without technology,” he says. “Once our IT department brought the core network up, the security systems that protected their equipment was the first system provisioned.”

Efficiencies and Benefits

When you’re dealing with this level of integrated systems, just the fact things work as anticipated is half the battle. However, Panduit’s new system not only operates like it is supposed to, but it is helping the company realize numerous enterprise benefits exceeding those of a typical security system.

First is lower operational costs from centralized security operations. Headquarters security personnel can monitor and control video surveillance cameras and building access controls for all global offices via the WAN (wide area network). By centralizing security operations and eliminating the need for a full security operation at branch offices, Panduit estimates it is saving $653,000 annually. Thus the investment is projected to pay for itself in 1½ years.

Second is quicker detection and response through automation. Interoperability between Cisco’s solutions and other IP-based solutions accelerates event detection and automates response. For example, activation of the fire system triggers the IPICS to: establish a virtual talk group; open the gate for fire trucks; and display evacuation instructions on digital signage.

Thirdly, there are increased operational efficiencies. Rather than separately maintaining a personnel database, Panduit synchronizes it with the company’s Oracle personnel database. So rather than having to manually enter changes such as new or terminated employees, the database automatically updates several times per day.

Next, there’s maintaining reliable access control even during power outages. If the access gateway door controller loses its connection to the central access manager, it continues operating. The controller receives PoE from a switch and maintains a local database.

Finally, is the increased ROI from using the physical access control system for other purposes. These include: time & attendance via badge readers instead of time clocks so employees swipe IDs to check in and out; door control for employees using wheelchairs; and positive visitor experience, as upon arrival in the lobby the receptionist can quickly find out if the sponsor is in the building.

Tip of Integration Iceberg

Expansions to the main system should be a breeze thanks to the scalable design. “One of the best things of the new system is the ability to utilize the network to add new devices,” says Woodward. “Based on the Panduit network design, it is very simple and quick to add on with minimal cable pull.”

Panduit is continuing its mission to add the same IP-based physical security solutions to other global offices. The gains are expected to be even greater in those remote offices because they have smaller security staffs.

Additional future plans include integrating the physical access control system with network access controls so an employee who has not swiped a badge to enter the building, for example, cannot log onto a PC. “I also look forward to better analytics, more interoperability and a single graphical user interface,” says Woodward.

Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine has spent more than 12 years with SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. He can be reached at (704) 663-7125.

To view more images from this project, click here.


About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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