Embracing Barriers to Entry

Systems integrators realizing customers are looking for a one-stop shop to meet all their security needs. This makes it critical to offer security packages that cover all the bases. One oft-overlooked aspect of a security system is the need for gates, barriers and/or turnstiles. Controlling vehicular and human traffic starts at the curb. While maintaining an aesthetically pleasing appearance, these physical security options can easily integrate with an overall security system.

By building a more robust platform, you will be able to provide your customers with the security they need while driving your revenue in the right direction. Adding turnstiles and gates as part of your value-added security solution will ultimately boost your portfolio and open up a new source of revenue.

Finding a Starting Point

Many integrators try to build a security system from the outside in, according to Barry Willingham, vice president of security and specified products for Ameristar Fence Products. It is important to look at the property’s vulnerabilities and determine what kind of exposure is present before implementing these devices.

The Tulsa, Okla.-based company knows what it means to provide a scalable security solution. The firm focuses on ornamental steel and aluminum fencing that ranges in performance level from purely decorative to high security. 

[IMAGE]11949[/IMAGE]“The missing element is in providing real value-added security solutions that are not only relevant for today’s requirements but are scalable for tomorrow’s requirements,” says Willingham. It is essential to begin with the end in mind, particularly when dealing with a fencing system.

“Too many times the fence product is viewed as a physical aspect — a physical barrier and that’s all it’s used as,” he says. “If it is given consideration as a component of a complete security system, it will avoid a lot of challenges that occur when you’re trying to integrate electronic applications. It will also allow you greater advantages in being able to put all these systems together with one scope of execution.”

Integrators are now looking at a more effective utilization of technology as it relates directly to the threat at hand and the assets they are trying to protect. At the same time, the dealer can offer a visually appealing solution to meet the customer’s security needs.

“It’s a balance between aesthetics and performance. Too many times security has to mean ugly,” Willingham says. “What we’ve done is balance those two elements with our ornamental fencing.”

Covering the Basics

[IMAGE]11950[/IMAGE]Physical security can be added to a variety of properties and buildings to restrict and control entrances and exits. Pedestrian barriers are used to minimize or stop tailgating and piggybacking. Essentially, whether it is a waist-high turnstile, optical turnstile or security revolving door, these devices augment the access control system to assure that only authorized individuals are allowed to enter the building. 

The turnstiles are able to track an authorized individual passing through the device and detect a “piggybacker” passing behind the authorized individual. Either it closes the barrier, or integrated systems within the unit track the individual.

These turnstiles were brought into the market in the past six to seven years, says Mark Borto, vice president of sales, Boon Edam Inc., a security entrance turnstiles and barriers manufacturer in Lillington, N.C.

“Traditional waist-high barriers with three-arm turnstiles have for the most part been replaced over the past decade with optical turnstiles,” says Borto.

Now, barrier-free optical turnstiles use sensors to detect an individual. A more sophisticated sensor system using multibeam algorithms is phasing out traditional turnstiles. “The basic technology from 10 years ago has recently been improved to a point where false rejections can be minimized,” Borto says.

Tripods and other mechanical turnstiles, such as what is used in stadiums and amusement parks, can help restrict access in a very inexpensive way, says Jeff Brown, president of Austin, Texas-based Smarter Security Systems. “Adding optical beam technology increases the security level and helps detect tailgaters, and it can do so in a much more elegant, sophisticated manner. But not all optical technology is equal.”

Brown suggests starting by working with larger facilities and high-rise building owners. After completing a successful turnstile installation with a customer, you can highlight a great, low-maintenance installation and business will start steadily flowing in.

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