SIA at ASIS: Consult Stakeholders, Outsiders for Security Projects

Learn who consulting with outside integrators and end users can benefit your firm during large security integration jobs.

Phil Lisk, director of information technology at the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office in New Jersey, stressed the importance of due diligence when determining the parameters of a security integration project. Lisk looks at the vendors involved and their past performance, specifically their past performance on similar networks. But then he looks at projects with a bigger scope.

Related: Maximum Security Protection

“If I’m doing something with 1,000 cameras, I want to find someone who has done something with 1,500 or 2,000 cameras,” he said.

In Bergen County, the sheriff’s office set up a network of cameras, but before it did so, it explored all of the different cameras and different views available to them. The office looked at all of the things end users wanted to see and where they wanted the cameras to be.

Then the police force applied value engineering to the cameras and their locations, and they found that they could often install one camera with multiple lenses to cover multiple angles instead of several cameras.

Doing so reduced the number of wires involved, reduced labor hours, and reduced the number of switchboards required to support the cameras. It also reduced the number of recorders required because fewer streams from fewer cameras were being monitored. The overall cost of the project dropped by more than a third due to careful value engineering, Lisk said.

Komola emphatically endorsed this approach, underscoring the need to project maintenance costs out five years in a security project. From initial project costs, he adds growth, licensing and other costs to gain true perspective on why change might be necessary to enhance capability and increase cost-effectiveness.

MIT and Komola’s team benefit from an outstanding integrator, who is able to anticipate their needs and respond to their concerns, he said. Part of that involves understanding requirements for interoperability and capacity.

“If you’re planning on 1,000 cameras, go out and look at the people who have 1,500. If you’re planning on 3,000 card readers, go talk to the people who have 4,000,” Komola said, echoing Lisk.

It’s important to explore other security projects and ask their managers, if you could do it over again, what would you learn differently? By learning from their mistakes, you can avoid potential headaches, Komola said.

Consultant Howard Belfor, president of Belfor & Associates LLC, often sees public entities specify perhaps only 80 percent of their concept in a request for proposals. They may lack a complete understanding of everything involved their project and associated processes, he warned.

“With my clients, I try to educate them on where they are going to leave a gap if they leave some engineering attributes out,” Belfor said. “At some point they will spend the time to address the risks, either at the back end or during the execution.”

Mickey McCarter is communications manager for Security Industry Association (SIA), the trade organization that produces ISC East and ISC West.

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