Integrate to Go From Good to Great

Today you can make a compelling case – and more dollars – convincing customers about the added benefits of an integrated solution. Learn creative ways to blend together security systems for a greater whole, and how to make the sales pitch.

[IMAGE]12035[/IMAGE]Of course, the intrusion system would monitor at least every perimeter door and probably some high-dollar areas internally. The access control system would be configured similarly. On the video side, cameras around the perimeter of the building looking out at parking and shipping/receiving areas, as well as coverage of outside doors would be the norm. All of these systems would tie back into a security room of some kind, possibly with a guard looking on. In many cases, each system would have its own monitoring software and possibly each might even have its own computer.

It is exactly at this point where looking with an eye toward integration can add a great deal of value for your customer. If an alarm occurs, wouldn’t it be nice if cameras automatically moved to cover the alarmed door? How about for that video to pop up on someone’s screen? When systems are properly integrated, any number of responses can be generated from any number of inputs.

What can we see, though, as we broaden our view beyond the tunnel to take in the bigger picture? Outside of our standard offerings, what other solutions can we provide?

There are some logical steps we can take to find integration possibilities all around us. For instance, almost every access control solution can have a use for an intercom system. Whether it’s a shipping dock or after-hours door, having the ability to remotely see or hear who’s at the door is a great value proposition for some clients. This should be an automatic consideration if you do access projects.

Sometimes integration possibilities aren’t as obvious. License plate recognition (LPR) systems have become a valuable tool for law enforcement agencies and other vehicle-related industries.

Consider this example of an LPR technology application: The license plates of vehicles approaching a facility’s entrance gate are checked against a current list of registered employees. If the license plate matches, they receive a green light to proceed. If the vehicle plate doesn’t match one on the list, they get a red light and have to stop for further screening.

Using a technology like that in a different way can save manpower resources and relieve traffic issues at a client’s front gate. While still related to security, benefits can be had beyond traditional use.

Other nontraditional uses for our usual technology are all around. Let’s take a manufacturing plant, for example. As such, they most likely have some sort of assembly line or conveyor system. In many cases, a person is assigned to watch the line or conveyor to make sure there isn’t a jam-up of any kind. Video can be successfully used in this situation to free up that person to take a more productive position somewhere else in the company.

Another project serves as an example of using technology in just this way. A liquor distributor needed to see each and every bottle that left its facility. Cameras were placed directly above each belt for overhead viewing. With a very powerful vid
eo system able to record high resolution images at 30 images per second, each case of bottles was recorded in high quality. This allowed the auditors to go back and see exactly how much of each kind of liquor went down the belt by looking at the bottle tops.

Video with access control, intercom with video, access control with intrusion — these are all low-hanging fruit for integration possibilities.

Increasingly, equipment manufacturers are realizing integration is highly sought after in the market. Adding intelligence to a system reduces the need for manpower to respond to each and every event, allowing redeployment or even reduction of valuable resources. This level of intelligence is only possible when all systems are communicating together, even if they come from different manufacturers.

Varying Degrees of Integration

Suppose in our application above we wanted to link the video security system with access control, so that an invalid card read or other condition on the access side triggered a response on the video side. There are a few options available to us.

In the analog days, this could be accomplished via ASCII text commands being passed back and forth over a serial cable. Now things are being handled more at the software level.

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