Using ROI to Get Customers to Buy Security

Gain the knowledge and tools to win the ROI battle by flipping conversations from security as cost center to cost-saver.

Extend Reach of the Security System

This is a topic that will flutter the hearts of security managers. For example, in addition to being integrated with the data network, the surveillance system can also interface with the alarm system, alarm sensors and/or access control system. If the access system or alarm sensor detects unwanted activity, the DVR can be programmed to capture more images of the incident. In addition, security guards, managers, administrators, business owners and even law enforcement can be notified upon an alarm via their PC, laptop or mobile device, notifying them of the type of alarm and where it is located so they can remedy the problem immediately. They don’t need to waste time by first checking the surveillance system for such details.

During setup, the user can program the DVR with conditions that count as alarms, based on the object’s size and location within a scene. Once the alarm is triggered, the DVR displays images from multiple cameras associated with the alarm area and sends a message to preselected E-mail addresses. Hardwired alarms such as door open or window open can also activate such E-mail messages.

Let’s look at this from another angle. What if the access system was coupled with video analytics? If the video analytics solutions saw “strange” activity, it could automatically raise the access requirements. For example, doors normally unlocked during business hours could instead require a card to gain access. Or normal card access doors might now also require card plus PIN. The system might also request the status of alarm points. And, as before, the system could also dis-patch text messages to security staff.

Feed Into Desire for Convergence

Convergence is still a vitally important concept even if it is not as discussed as much of late. That’s because security people get it; it’s a good thing. After all, customers realize that, more and more, organizations are interconnected, internally and externally, due to factors such as increased regulatory compliance governance and supply chain integrity. In contrast, traditional physical security systems have been proprietary and disconnected. Today’s business models strive to connect, converge and use every application and technology asset to maximize organizational benefits and reduce total cost of ownership. It is time to include security in this process as well.

Let’s go back to the section on credentials. The multiapplication flexibility of contactless smartcards lets a company use them for logical/information access control, time and attendance and other applications in addition to physical access control. Each application gets its own memory space on the card or tag and security keys prevent one application from accessing another.

A college campus is a perfect example. Smart credentials go far beyond traditional identification cards. In addition to individual profile information, they can provide students with secure access to everything from residence halls, recreation facilities and computer networks to safe methods of payment in campus eater
ies and vending machines. For instance, in the laundry room in college dorms, smartcards or smartphones can be used to automate the washers and dryers, eliminating the need for a cash box, increasing convenience and reducing the threat of theft. Some credential options even allow students to use their cards for access to academic information and personal documents.

Equally important, smart credentials afford security administrators more avenues to ensure safe and secure environments for students on and off campus. The cards work in concert with access control systems, video surveillance and mass notification capabilities. With to-day’s convergence of technologies, campuses can integrate existing systems with advanced credential reader technologies to enhance security of their environments, as well as student life.

Consider all of the applications that a state-of-the-art electronic access control system can perform, for instance time and attendance (see sidebar). Let’s extend this and consider the operation’s ERP system as well.

For instance, the factory has 12 people trained to work on the three key machines that produce the main component for the organization’s top-selling product. Within 15 minutes of the shift starting, the system can notice via either the access or time and attendance system that only two of the scheduled specialists have shown up for work. It can immediately notify the shift foreman, who can then call the missing employee and/or the first person on the list to substitute.

Let’s not forget the building management system. If the access control system notes that someone is in a specific part of the building, the air conditioning and lighting can be activated. Once that person leaves, either the access control or video system could automatically tell the building management to turn those systems off. This can save money and resources – a potential green solution that would be helpful in meeting smart building requirements.

Take Off Under Wings of Wireless

If wireless solutions are not on your radar for access control installations, it’s time to take notice of this growing trend in physical security. Wi-Fi is the preferred option when the use of the existing IP infrastructure is preferred. Such solutions let integrators and end users reap the benefits of a wired system, without the cost of a hardwired system. It helps extend the reach of the presently installed card system. Implementing a wireless solution often takes less time than its traditional hardwired counterpart. When retrofitting older buildings with new access control systems, wireless systems may liter-ally be the only viable option available.

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