Industry Pulse In Depth: Industry Needs to Prepare for Voice Over Internet Protocol

MARKHAM, Ontario, Canada –  With contractors, central stations and other security professionals already dealing with alarm system users switching their telephone service from their regular land line to cellular or DSL (digital subscriber line), there’s now another form of telephone service growing in popularity. Whether they like it or not, electronic security professionals need to be ready for voice over Internet protocol (VoIP).

That’s the conclusion of a new study by the Canadian Security Association (CANASA) that looks at what VoIP will mean to the industry and to create awareness of the new protocol. “I believe it’s here to stay,” says CANASA Executive Director Tracy Cannata of VoIP.  “It’s a sign that the industry is changing and we need to make sure we’re involved in it.”

Also called IP telephony, VoIP involves the transmission of telephone calls over a data network. Phone service over the Internet is nothing new. The difference now is that users now have the capability to hook up their conventional telephone sets through an interface box without using a computer as the “middle man.”

Bruce Boyd is president of Commend Int’l, which has introduced an intercom system that uses IP.  Boyd says there are huge cost savings for using IP, especially for larger installations. He uses as an example an installation of Commend’s system by a Fortune 100 company that had 18 different buildings. “If I were to hook up that system using fiber optics, I would need 18 servers, 36 modems and 36 interface boards,” Boyd says. “Here, I’m going to have 19 IP interfaces for my servers.”

Texas Instruments (TI) manufactures a product that allows for the easy integration of an existing video surveillance system to VoIP called the “Video Security over Internet Protocol (VSIP) Development Platform.” Yvonne Cager, who handles DSP (digital signal processing) video solutions marketing for TI, says one advantage of IP is its ability to connect analog devices to a digital network.

“The ability to do remote video monitoring is enhanced by it. It has the potential to connect several analog cameras to one box,” says Cager.

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