Industrious Integrators Showcase Illustrious Installations

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment you get from a job well done. When it comes down to it, doing your best and fully meeting the needs of your customers is what it’s all about. However, there is one thing that makes it even better—validation through the recognition of your peers.

That’s why Security Sales & Integration launched its Integrated Installation of the Year Awards program this year. The magazine believes electronic security dealers/integrators are uniquely talented craftsmen, and wants to encourage the pursuit of excellence and elevate the profile of deserving companies.

Thus, two awards have been established: Best Commercial/Industrial and Best Residential Installation of the Year. To be eligible, participants had to be installing dealers of electronic security systems located and operating in North America. Entries included detailed information and photographs of the installation.

The challengers were judged according to innovation; systems design; integration of at least three electronic systems; seamlessness of installation; uniqueness of application; and end-user satisfaction.

Dozens of hopeful companies from across the country sent in entries—each one of them vying to capture the title, and the notoriety, magazine profile (along with 500 color reprints) and special trophy plaque that comes with it. The competition was very tight, but, ultimately, two winners had to be chosen. In addition, two other companies received honorable mention.

The Commercial/Industrial Award went to Indianapolis-based Multiguard Corp., which won for an installation at The Julian Center Shelter in Indianapolis that integrates access control, CCTV, burglary, fire and perimeter systems. The Residential Award went to Greater Alarm of Irvine, Calif., for its Plan 9 model home at Oceanfront in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., which includes multiple home theaters, CCTV, burglary, whole-house audio, central vacuum and lighting systems.

Both projects demonstrate uncommon attention to detail, and superior design and skill. Let’s take a closer look at what makes these installations so special.

Multiguard Answers ‘Gimme Shelter’ Call

Commercial/Industrial Winner: Multiguard Corp., Indianapolis Number of Monitored Accounts: 1,200+ Market Breakdown: burglary (25 percent); systems integration (25 percent); CCTV (20 percent); access control (15 percent); fire (15 percent)

Multiguard is a small but mighty alarm company located in southern Hamilton County—about a mile north of Indianapolis—that has been honing its installation skills since 1976. One of its customers, The Julian Center Shelter, recently invited Multiguard to put together a proposal when it moved from a secret location to a highly publicized and visible new location.

“The Julian Center Shelter is a high-security shelter for battered women and their children,” says Blake Wallis, president of Multiguard. “These women and their children are subject to additional harm from their abusers. The facility was seeking systems that maximized shelter security and, therefore, minimized the danger to its residents and staff.”

Although its existing relationship helped gain an audience with the end user, Multiguard still had to put in a lot of hard work to eventually land the job. The process included a threat assessment and several months of meetings.

Complex Integration Equals Simple Operation

Multiguard began the installation on Feb. 26, 2001 and logged a total of 679 man-hours for a total project cost of $172,461. The system included access control, video badging, video surveillance, intrusion and fire detection, and outdoor perimeter protection. The subsystems are fully integrated to allow for minimum operator intervention. All control gear and uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) are rack-mounted in a four-bay console staffed by shelter personnel.

At the heart of the system sits Infographics Systems’ Sapphire Pro software, which allows for the integration of alarm monitoring, access control and video badging. The Infographics system is also linked to a Pelco video system via an RS-232 data connection to provide integration of video surveillance.

In addition, a Farenhyt IFP 1000 intelligent analog-addressable fire alarm system from Silent Knight is interfaced with the Infographics system. Doors can automatically be released during a building evacuation in compliance with applicable fire and life-safety codes.

24/7 Functionality, Video Flexibility Are Built in

Some of the specific highlights of The Julian Center Shelter installation include:

Access control—17 doors using proximity card reader technology and electro-magnetic locks;

Burglary—door and window contacts, glassbreak sensors, wireless security points and infrared beams;

CCTV—14 exterior and 11 interior cameras, six monitors and two digital video recorders (DVRs);

Fire—18 addressable pull stations, 57 analog-addressable photoelectric smoke detectors, heat detectors, sprinkler supervision, horn/strobes, strobes and sounder bases.

Regarding the burglary component, Wallis says, “Since this facility is occupied on a 24/7 basis, we could not use motion detection in most of the building. Perimeter security is further enhanced by several sets of outdoor infrared beams that detect an intruder climbing over the fences or brick walls surrounding the shelter.”

Since it’s a proprietary installation, all alarms are reported to the alarm monitoring system at the security console. In addition, signals may be transmitted to the central station via a digital communicator and a radio communicator on Multiguard’s own stealth digital radio network with intelligent routing.

The CCTV system includes DVRs that are connected to the shelter’s LAN so select managers can review, print and store desired images from their individual desktop computers.

The security console is equipped with two UPSs that not only power the head-end, but all the cameras as well. Vital systems are further backed up with rechargeable power supplies of their own.

Challenging Shelter Project Is Rewarding, Fulfilling

Although this was perhaps the most challenging system Multiguard has ever designed, the months of intensive planning apparently paid off as the installation went very smoothly. Once the system was operational, it took practically no time at all for it to fulfill its promise.“Within the first week the video surveillance system proved very useful in an internal investigation at the shelter,” says Wallis. “The two individuals involved were called into the shelter manager’s office, and shown the recorded video images on the manager’s workstation. After viewing the evidence, they were in no position to dispute their termination.”

The job was especially rewarding because Multiguard’s work is protecting something you cannot place a price on—people. To top it all off, the company has been named Security Sales & Integration‘s 2002 Best Commercial/Industrial Installation of the Year Award winner.

“I believed that this was an outstanding example of systems integration. I feel honored that our installation was selected from among all of the installations submitted,” Wallis proudly proclaims.

Plan 9 From Greater Alarm Is an A-Level Installation

Residential Winner: Greater Alarm, Irvine, Calif.

Number of Monitored Accounts: 5,000+ Market Breakdown: fire (30 percent); burglary (26 percent); home automation (19 percent); access control (18 percent); CCTV 6 percent); design and engineering (1 percent)

Founded in 1981 by brothers Jim and George De Marco, Greater Alarm is one of California’s largest and most respected providers of electronic security, fire and integrated systems. The company, which has appeared three times on Inc. Magazine

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