Why Your Business Needs a Security System

Today’s Security System are not just Bells and Whistles.

It’s a new age for Security Systems and Technology, with today’s systems employing many different kinds of technology. Technology like, Surveillance Cameras, Access Control, devices for the Networking of building systems, Fire Alarms, and Monitoring.

Access Control


Any mechanism or system that manages access through the authorization or revocation of rights to physical or logical assets within an organization is considered access control. Great definition right! But why do I need access control? Well, there can be many different reasons why a company or property owner could need access control. Here are just a few.

  • Who is in the Building.  Know who is in your facility, manage their level of access and meet regulatory compliance objectives.
  • A safe environment for tenants, employees, visitors, and contractors. Protect people, facilities, networks, and assets.
  • Control access to highly secure areas.  Solutions can be designed to protect your facilities that require a higher level security. Areas with sensitive data, networks, and critical or high-value information.
  • Commercial fleet fueling stations. RFID enabled fueling automation system to monitor and control commercial fleet fuel access, cost, and billing.


The cameras are most often used for security, but they can also be used for building management. If there’s a broken window, trash left in the hallways (like a couch or old bed), tenants walking pets around the buildings social areas and leaving a mess (you can guess what kind), all of these and more can be monitored with Security Cameras to better help the property manager/owner manage the property or properties if you have more than one location.

Tenants who engage in any kind of misbehavior are caught on camera, identified and can be warned or fined for their actions. Once tenants and their visitors realize they can’t get away with the inappropriate behavior, it will stop. This translates to significant savings in operational costs for the property owners and justifies the cost of the cameras.

Fire Alarms and Monitoring

If there is a fire, a break-in, or if someone pushes a panic button, an alarm monitoring team is aware of it the moment it happens. Emergency agencies can be called into action immediately – police, fire, ambulance, or any necessary support services are filled in on the details about your home or business, and the designated contact is called. All of this happens within minutes of the alarm.

So, Why?

There are many reasons to have a Security System, and security companies try to plan for your needs. But it’s the things in life that happen that you least except that generate the need for a Security System.

So, Why do you need a Security System? Put simply, a Security System is your plan to handle the worst of what life throws at you.

By: Lance Roberts

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Smoke Detector Market to Hit $600 Million

Expected Growth In The U.S. Smoke Detector Market

Smoke Detector

Between 2016 and 2020 the residential market for smoke detectors will grow, according to a recent Technavio report, and technological trends in the market will shift dramatically.

“The market size for the residential smoke detector market, specifically for the U.S., stands … close to around $400 million,” Sayani Roy, Technavio industry analyst, told Security Systems News. “By 2020, it is expected to hit around $600 million,” she said. Technavio is estimating a roughly 7 percent CAGR for the period, Roy said.

Roy pointed to three key market geographies: Texas, California and Florida. “Texas comprises around 15 percent of the … new demand for smoke detectors, we are not including replacement demand here,” she said. “The rise in residential construction in the state is one of the primary reasons [for this growth].”

California makes up 8.9 percent of the total U.S. market share. “The reason for the growth of smoke detectors in California is … increasing multi-family housing construction projects.”

The market in Florida will grow due to a law that mandates the use of smoke detectors, as well as numerous housing projects in the state. Florida has a 7.7 percent share of the market.

The type of smoke detectors being installed will change over this period, Roy said. The report segments the market into three key detection technologies: ionization, photoelectric and dual sensor.

Ionization-based detectors are most prevalent now, but will drop considerably over this time period, according to Roy. “The market for ionization-type smoke detectors will actually decelerate at a negative CAGR of around 10.85 percent.”

Replacing ionization detectors with either photo-electric or dual-sensor detectors will be a factor in the growth of the market over this period. New construction of residential buildings will increase the market.

Fire-related deaths have been declining mostly due to increased use of smoke detectors, Roy said, and certain detectors are better suited for life safety. “The cause [of] fire deaths is mostly from smoldering fires, which can only be detected by these photoelectric or the dual sensors,” she said.

Another factor in the decline of ionization detectors is their rate of false alarms, which have led consumers to disable their smoke alarms. Disposal of ionization detectors causes an additional problem because they contain radioactive materials, she said.

Increased regulations in the United States will be a major trend in the market, some of which restrict the use of ionization-type detectors, Roy said. “States like Massachusetts, Iowa and Vermont—they have banned the use of ionization smoke detectors in their residential buildings.”

Roy gave another example of government involvement in the market: The city of South Bend, Ind., is considering an initiative to give homeowners two free smoke detectors.

By 2020, photoelectric detectors will be most prevalent, but the dual-sensor market share is also increasing, Roy noted.

The report also divided the market by three power sources for smoke detectors: battery powered, hardwired with a battery backup, and hardwired without a battery backup. In 2016, the battery-powered segment has 60 percent of the market, hardwiring with a battery comprises about 33 percent and hardwiring without a backup battery has the smallest share of around 6 percent.

These market shares will remain mostly the same to 2020, Roy said, with a slight decrease in battery-powered detectors.

Integration of detectors into the smart home will be an opportunity for installers in this market, Roy said, such as integration with home energy management systems.

“Integration with the IoT … is expected to open new avenues for the market in terms of revenue,” she said. This trend is in a very early phase, Roy said, and a lot of activity is expected in the next five years.

Among smoke detector manufacturers, Kidde leads the market with 25 percent of the total market, followed by BRK, Honeywell and Siemens, according to Roy.

Article Provided By: Security System News 

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Nest Builds a Smart Smoke Detector With Fewer False Alarms

Smart Smoke Detector

When smoke alarms aren’t beeping, they often fade into the background of our homes; we rarely check to make sure they’re in working order. So when you remove the batteries to stop the beeping over some extra-crispy cookies, you might forget to replace them and consequently miss an important alert.

The Nest smart smoke detector, from the same creator as the smart thermostat, is a new smart smoke detector and CO detector that actually isn’t annoying. At $129 per unit, the Protect is designed to produce fewer false alarms and avoid that low-battery beep at 2 a.m.; each Nest Protect is connected to your home’s wireless network and to one other through another private network.

Fewer False Alarms

“This is a product that the government mandates that you have to have, that you need to help keep you safe,” Nest Founder and CEO Tony Fadell told Mashable. “Yet everyone has a story about how these things that are supposed to keep you safe are so annoying.”

When Protect notices smoke or CO levels rising, it gives you a verbal “heads up” about the issue. Since each Nest Protect in your home is networked together, that heads-up is specific not only to the type of alert but also to the problematic area.

For instance, if you leave the oven on, each Protect in your home might say, “Heads up, there’s smoke in the kitchen” — an especially useful setting if you’re upstairs and didn’t realize you forgot to turn it off.

You can wave your hand in front of the smart smoke detector to dismiss the beeping — essentially, like pressing snooze on an alarm. As long as the situation doesn’t worsen, then your smoke alarms will never sound.

For severe issues, Protect may opt to bypass the “heads up” warning and simply sound the alarm.

Smarter and Safer

In the dark, the Nest smart smoke detector glows green to let you know it is functioning properly, and built-in motion sensors turn the detectors into a nightlight of sorts. During the day, the motion sensors work alongside the Nest thermostat to optimize its “away” feature.

A mobile app provides low-battery alerts for individual units and sends push notifications for “heads up” and emergency alarm notifications while you’re away from home. In the event of an emergency, the app has one-button access to an emergency number, as well as basic emergency preparedness instructions.

In this case, Nest alarms will not only beep; it will speak aloud, too.

“Studies have shown that children are less likely to wake up to a horn, and are more likely to wake up to a mother’s voice,” Faddell said. Nest recruited voice talent for five different languages that will launch on the smart smoke detector.

“We have a British-English mother, a French-Canadian mother, a Canadian-English mother … We wanted to make sure we went to that level of detail to get it right for the specific region,” he said.

After the Protect goes off, the device will check itself to ensure everything is working properly — removing yet another step for the user. In fact, Protect tests itself every 10 minutes, so you know the device is always in working order.

Ongoing Mission

Smart Smoke Detector

Faddell says the company originally launched two years ago with the whole home — not just thermostats — in mind. Nest products are now available in more than 5,000 retailers, including the recent addition of Target.

“We’re here a lot faster than we thought,” Faddell said. Already a fast-growing business, the Protect has the potential to accelerate that growth even further.

Nest Protect will be available in November at Amazon Best Buy, Home Depot and Apple stores. The smoke detector will be sold in both a wires and battery-powered version and will be priced at $129 per unit.

Article Provided By: Mashable

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Mass Notification And New Fire Alarm Systems

 mass notificationInstitutions looking to upgrade their fire alarm systems should be certain their old and new equipment can communicate with each other. New solutions should also include an mass notification so campus officials can convey important public safety information to building occupants.

Fire Systems and Mass Notification

Even during tough economic times, campuses seem to always be expanding, and this new construction often includes the installation of fire alarm systems that have come on the market recently. Those systems usually can identify a whole host of issues: from smoke detector activations to water flow from sprinklers. They can also pinpoint the location of an alarm, which is a particularly handy feature in a large facility.

But in addition to new construction and the latest technology that goes with it, most campuses also have buildings that were erected years earlier. Back then, fire alarm systems on the market didn’t provide very much information about the cause of an alarm. Also, the systems consisted of horns and strobes that communicated only one thing: “Everyone in the building must evacuate.”

“If you had talked to most school folks 15 years ago, they would have never thought they needed a procedure to lockdown a school,” says Greg Jakubowski, who is principal and chief engineer for Fire Planning Associates. “But now after these school shootings and other events, folks realize they need a procedure to lockdown the building. That requires a different type of alarm than the fire alarm box with all of the horns and strobes going off, which was all the systems were capable of doing when they were designed 20 years ago.”

Additionally, fire systems were installed on a piecemeal basis, and the equipment – often from different manufacturers – didn’t communicate with each other.

So how should university, school and hospital officials go about integrating their old fire alarm systems with their new ones so they can talk to each other? CS interviewed some of today’s top fire protection professionals for their sage advice on how institutions can tackle this troubling issue.

Combo Systems Cost Less, Provide Limited Data

Some campuses may choose to have minimal system interoperability. In these cases, probably the easiest and least expensive way of upgrading fire alarm equipment is to adopt a combined reporting solution that allows all brands of fire alarm systems to report basic fire alarm data, says Hughes Associates Inc.‘s Senior Engineer Michael J. Madden.

“A lot of campuses are just concerned about monitoring the fire alarm systems but not having a whole lot of interoperability between them,” he says. “In those instances, it’s not that big of an issue if you have fire alarm systems from different manufacturers because all of them have a method of sending a signal out to a receiving station.”

The downside of this type of solution, however, is that it doesn’t identify the specific type of problem that is causing the alarm, nor does it provide zones so the problem can be quickly located by first responders. Fortunately, campuses that wish to address these challenges and improve system interoperability have several options.

“There are proprietary systems out there where a manufacturer provides a whole suite of systems that can communicate with each other and take the place of each other in case there is a problem with the panels,” says J. Madden. “Certainly, there are a lot of advantages if a campus wants to lock itself into a single manufacturer and convert older panels to that manufacturer.”

Other advantages of proprietary systems and some third-party systems is that they can take in and process more information. The cost of training and upkeep can also be less expensive.

“It’s always best to standardize on a single line of equipment,” says Security Sales & Integrationmagazine Technical Writer Al Colombo. “Not only does this make service and maintenance easier and less costly, it also means that you only have to train personnel once, not a zillion times.”

J. Madden, however, offers a word of caution: “Sometimes you can set up future terms or purchasing arrangements. But then again, some manufacturers, once they sell you a system and put all of their equipment in, think they’ve got you over a barrel.”

For campuses that have many fire alarm systems from many different manufacturers, he recommends third-party network solutions as opposed to proprietary ones. That way, not every panel needs to be replaced during an upgrade.

Incorporate Audio Into New Fire Solutions

Most fire experts recommend campuses also include voice evacuation in their new fire alarm systems to provide mass notification capabilities.

“There is a movement to change all of the individual buildings into a voice-type system that can be managed individually,” says Cooper Notification Vice President of Marketing Ted Millburn. “It could be through the fire alarm system, or it could be a standalone solution involve voice evacuation.”

The reasons for including a mass notification are fairly straightforward: it’s no longer appropriate for a fire alarm system to only set off strobes and sirens indicating people in a building should evacuate. Now, these systems (mass notification) must be able to direct building occupants on what to do and where to go during a multitude of potential emergencies.

For example, during an active shooter incident, campus officials might need to use a mass notification system too tell occupants to shelter in place. For a tornado, the verbal instructions might be for students, staff, patients and visitors to move away from windows and into the building’s interior or basement. Additionally, instructions might vary from building to building.

Because of the need for campus fire systems to address more than just fires, many experts anticipate that in the near future, the majority of new systems deployed on campuses will include mass notification.

“I think in the next five years, we will have very few horn/strobe-type systems being installed,” says Michael T. Madden, who is national sales manager for Gamewell FCI. “I think we’re going to move over to voice just for the simple reason that it does so much more.”

If a campus does decide to incorporate mass notification or voice evacuation in its fire system, intelligibility becomes a key factor. After all, what’s the point of having an emergency public announcement system if building occupants can’t understand the information being conveyed?

The focus on intelligibility, both in practice, as well as in NFPA 72, 2010, means that the placement of fire system speakers will need to be revised.

“The days of spreading out your speakers to 75 feet and just cranking up the volume are behind us,” says T. Madden. “It’s more important now to design the system to be highly intelligible without rattling people’s ears. [Before,] fire alarms were very simple. We made a lot of noise to get people out of the building. But if we are going to use system to deal with more than just fire, the content of that message is the most important thing.”

Master Plans Guide the Procurement Process

The method of determining what should be installed or upgraded, however, should not be haphazard. An assessment and long-term plan are needed in order for a campus to select the most appropriate fire alarm system.

“They should take a step back and go through a process of master planning,” says J. Madden. “What do you want the system to do? What kind of information do you want? What do all of the other stakeholders in this process want?”

Jakubowski suggests that safety and security professionals use their most polished political skills when approaching administrators and other stakeholders about a new fire system.

“Don’t ram it down people’s throats saying, ‘This is terrible. We need to do something about it immediately,’” he says.

Instead, he recommends a measured approach incorporating the upgrade in the institution’s five- or 10-year plan.

“Otherwise, 20-30 years from now, you are going to be facing a very large bill to upgrade your system to the current technology,” Jakubowski says. “At some point, the systems you have right now are going to start failing.”

Article Provided By: Campus Safety

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Security (Fire Alarms and Safety)

Security Sorry Were ClosedFire Alarms and Safety

Almost all municipalities apply their own regulations for fire protection. This means that your businesses participation is most likely not an option.  Cities and County inforce their codes because fires are deadly, not only to your employees and customers, but also to your business. With that in mind we’ve put together an over view of options you can do to help protect your business.

Manual Fire Alarm Systems

If you or your employees discover a fire at your place of business there are things you can do. Break the glass stations or pull stations alarms (like the ones at school buildings) can directly notify the local fire department. These stations will also most likely activate horns and strobes to warn employees and customers to leave your business. You can also use fire extinguishers (if safe) to help put out a small fire before it escalates.

Fire Detection System that are Automatic

As much as you may want to be, you can’t be in every part of your business all day, every day. That’s the reason why you need an automatic fire detection system. Sensors activated by heat and/or smoke can trigger PA announcements, integrated lighting and signage that will help accelerate an evacuation. In some cities and counties local laws require a sprinkler system for your business, the sensor will active them.

Use a Central Monitoring Station

Sometimes you can’t count on your neighbors to call the fire department, so it makes sense to have professionals monitor your fire system. Very much like the signal received from a burglar alarm system, off site monitoring stations receive a signal from the fire system panels and rapidly notify first responders.

  • Failure to comply local city or county codes can lead to a fire marshal shutting down your business for as much as 30 days or more.
  • It’s been estimated that about twenty five percent or more of all businesses never reopen after a fire or major disaster. Some businesses that actually survive still lose valuable customers and employees during their recovery.
  • As with all part of your security system (video surveillance, burglar alarms, and so on), we strongly advise a maintenance agreement with a respected vendor (fire suppression) to regularly inspect and service your system.

By Lance Roberts

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Home Security – The Cost of Keeping Your Home Safe

Home SecurityWhat’s your home security plan?

A hundred years ago, people were worried about home security, just like today. “Perhaps a burglar or a fire has not invaded your home, but if they should, they would get all of your money and valuables,” warned a 1913 newspaper ad, touting the benefits of using the Merchants & Farmers Bank in Spartanburg, S.C. What has changed over the last 100 years, of course, is how people protect their homes. If you’re wondering what’s out there and available, and how much these options cost, here’s a sampling of what protections you may want to try.

If you’re a traditionalist. You can always get a gun and a watch dog. You can buy a gun (not necessarily a good one) for less than $100, but it’s more likely you’ll shell out several hundred dollars. The average annual cost of a large dog just in the first year alone is $1,843, according to the animal welfare organization ASPCA.

Something else to think about. But why spend all of that money and risk a tragic gun accident? You could just look like you own a gun, or lots of them, and instead buy a yard sign that alerts visitors that you have weaponry waiting for burglars – CafePress.com has signs for $19.50. For instance, one reads: “Nothing Inside Worth Dying For – We embrace the Second Amendment!”

As for a dog, if you just want a guard and not a furry companion, you could buy something like the Home Safe EWD-1 Electronic Watchdog, by Safety Technology International, which sells for about $80 on Amazon. When an intruder crosses the electronic radar waves, the alarm starts barking – which should send any criminal scurrying for safety.

You could get a home security system. If you’ve been thinking about getting one, you aren’t alone. Chad Laurens, the CEO of SimpliSafe, a company based in Cambridge, Mass., which sells wireless home security systems, says in the aftermath of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. last December, his security system sales spiked 60 percent higher than normal.

Overall, Americans spent about $20.64 billion on home security systems in 2011, the most recent figures available, according to the business research firm MarketsandMarkets. And the industry is expected to continue to grow to $34.46 billion by 2017.

As for how much of those billions you’re likely to pay? Most companies will offer installation specials as low as $99, but start-up costs for all the equipment could run between $600 to $1,200 says Robert Siciliano, a Boston-based personal security consultant and spokesperson for BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com, a home security review. After buying the security system equipment, you’ll have to pay for monthly monitoring, which can run from $15 to $100, but the average price is $30. Most home security systems require one to three-year contracts, although some companies, like SimpliSafe, don’t require any.

“Just make sure you always keep your alarm on. Always,” Siciliano stresses. “When you are home, away, during the day and night. Otherwise, what’s the point?”

On the plus side, you may save money on your insurance by buying a home security system; some industry experts say you’ll save anywhere from 20 to 45 percent.

Something else to think about. If a home security system is outside of your budget, there are outdoor fake security cameras that look like real ones with blinking lights. Loftek and UniquExceptional are two companies that make them, and the cameras usually cost less than 10 bucks.

Article Provided by: U.S. News

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Trust Me!

Would I Lie To You?


An Alarm Should Sound On Deals

Alarm - Security vs MoneyAlarms

An electronic home security system can be the source of great peace of mind or great financial headache. That’s because buying a system, and the alarm monitoring that often goes along with it, can be a thorny purchase, fraught with such perils as wildly differing prices, high-pressure sales tactics and unfriendly contracts.

Basic home security systems, or burglar alarms, are typically wired to a central control panel in the home that will activate when windows or doors are opened while the system is armed. More advanced systems add fire and carbon monoxide alarms, motion sensors, glass-break detectors and, increasingly, home automation options such as controlling home lighting and temperature.

The good news is that almost 80 percent of homeowners with alarms rated their systems as effective in protecting their homes, according to a survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

But consumers shopping for systems often report hassles, said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List, which collects customer ratings for various categories.

“Home alarms is one of the categories where we hear complaints about high-pressure sale and scare tactics,” she said. Some companies insist on long-term monitoring contracts.

And prices can be all over the place, said Robert Krughoff, president of Consumers’ Checkbook, which rates home security companies and recently published an extensive report on the topic to its members.

“We see a lot of variation in price and no real relationship between quality and price,” he said. “We found some of the lower-cost places rated very high in terms of quality, and some of the high-priced places don’t rate particularly high.”

Here are some basic questions and answers to help you shop.

Do I need a home security system? “I think the most important advice is to think twice before even bothering with a system,” Krughoff said. “There are a lot of things you can do that would probably be more powerful than any home security system.”

Burglars usually aren’t sophisticated. They often take advantage of unlocked doors or windows that are easily jarred open.

“Most of the time they get in through very unartful means,” said Kevin Brasler, executive editor of Consumers’ Checkbook.

Cheap and effective alternatives are quality deadbolts on doors, substantial window locks and motion-sensor lighting outside. You could get a dog, although its care might turn it into a pricey option. You could bluff by posting a Beware of Dog sign or the window stickers from alarm companies.

Habits matter too. Always lock you doors when you’re away. And when you’re on vacation, put lights on timers and have someone pick up newspapers or place newspapers on vacation hold.

“Those things really matter,” Krughoff said.

The Consumer Reports survey found that 19 percent of respondents said they at least occasionally leave doors at home unlocked when they’re out, and 26 percent said they at least occasionally leave windows unlocked when they’re not at home.

Consider that owning an alarm can be a hassle. You have to turn it on when you leave and rush to turn it off when your arrive home. Children, house guests and pets can accidentally trip the alarm, potentially leading to local fines for false alarms. And you’re supposed to test your system monthly to make sure it is communicating with the monitoring service, according to the Electronic Security Association. Maybe those hassles are why 43 percent of people who have an alarm say they occasionally don’t turn it on when not at home, according to the Consumer Reports survey.

How do I choose an equipment installer? Get several price quotes for both system installation and monitoring, perhaps starting with companies rated highly by Consumers’ Checkbook or Angie’s List. Check for complaints against individual companies with the Better Business Bureau. Salespeople who try to intimidate or pressure you into a quick decision, sometimes pointing to recent spate of burglaries in the area, are ones to avoid, according to tips at Angieslist.com. The inability of salespeople to explain how the system works is another red flag. In a recent report, Consumers’ Checkbook found prices vary widely. Prices for installation and three years of monitoring ranged from less than $2,000 to more than $3,300 for the same job.

Do I need monitoring? Central system monitoring can automatically notify an alarm company that there’s a problem by sending a signal over a landline or wireless connection. They can, in turn, notify police or fire departments. Monitoring typically costs $20 to $50 a month, depending on what’s included, but your alarm system will work without it. If your home is usually occupied or you have neighbors who will notify authorities that an alarm is sounding, central station monitoring provides only limited additional protection, according to the report in Consumers’ Checkbook.

Article Provided by: Chicago Tribune

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Access Control Systems


5 Benefits of Video Management Software for Safer Schools

Video Management Software - In Schools

Video Management Software

Parents take a double leap of faith every day when they turn their children over to the nation’s public and private schools. They believe that a good education will enable children to function more successfully in the world, and they believe that their children will be safe and protected throughout the day.

However, with the overall greater focus on school security accelerated by a number of tragic headlines in the past few years, parents are looking to school districts for assurance that appropriate steps are being taken to keep children safe. One well-established and proven tool to enable educators and administrators to provide safer learning environments is video surveillance, viewed and managed via a robust video management system.

Video management systems (VMS) are a central component of surveillance that maximize the ability of video cameras located throughout an education campus to keep students and facilities safe. Here are five ways an effective VMS can facilitate management of video surveillance to ensure a safer school:


1. Watching student activity.Video cameras provide school administrators extra sets of eyes to watch what’s happening all over the campus. Thanks to video management software, simple-to-use access to those camera views is as close as the nearest computer, or they can even be viewed on hand-held devices such as smartphones. Multiple users can view the same camera, or one user can “push” video to another user to call attention to a situation. With concerns such as loss prevention or vandalism, the ability of administrators to closely monitor student activity and respond appropriately is more valuable than ever.

2. Monitoring building access. Keeping students safe requires total control of who comes and goes on a campus. Video management software unifies the camera views throughout a campus and makes it easy for administrators to manage those views to monitor entrances and exits. When integrated with an access control system, video can be pushed to a monitor whenever someone is denied access to the building. Schools should also control access to rooms and keep an eye on hallways and cafeterias – video enables them to do just that.

3. Providing after-hours surveillance. Sometimes schools are used by outside organizations after school hours, and video surveillance can help to monitor those activities. When schools are closed for the night, video motion detection can provide an alarm if something moves in an empty hallway, for example, and video software can provide immediate views of cameras in the vicinity. Used as a forensic tool, video surveillance software can make it easy for administrators to determine the source of weekend vandalism or to solve a break-in or theft.

4. Aiding first responders in case of an emergency. When a school emergency happens, it is absolutely critical that first responders know immediately what is happening so they can respond appropriately. IP video management systems enable access to a school’s cameras remotely from a handheld device or a laptop computer in a police car. Such access aids swift response to school violence by enabling police responders to know immediately the conditions inside the school and the location of the perpetrator and possible victims before entering the premises. They can then adapt their response accordingly. In case of a severe emergency, the school’s central office can monitor evacuation response remotely.

5. Saving resources that could be used elsewhere. The recent economic downturn has been a challenge for many school districts with dwindling tax money creating budget shortfalls that often require tough economic choices. Student safety is obviously the last thing anyone would want to compromise to save costs. Fortunately, the cost of video management software is reasonable, and significant discounts for schools, universities and other educational institutions often make it even more so. Ensuring the affordability of this important component of school safety enables school districts to prioritize security while minimizing the investment and avoiding more severe economic cuts in other parts of the budget.

Views from cameras located throughout a school can provide important everyday safety information, presented in a usable format thanks to video management software. Video surveillance can ensure school discipline policies are firmly and fairly enforced and provide live views of possible trouble spots on campus. Surveillance can also protect school property from theft and vandalism, during the school day and after hours, inside and outside school buildings. In the unlikely event of school violence or other tragedy, cameras directed by video management software can provide eyes inside the building to guide a more effective, and safer, response.

Article Provided By Security Magazine

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The Top Three Selling Factors With Today’s Access Control Systems

Access Control

Access Control Systems

End user customers today expect more — not a little more, but a lot more.Secure, integrated, future-proofed and convenient are buzzwords that have substance behind them, and users look for those characteristics in the systems and services they purchase for their business. Users also want the latest technology(Access Control) they use in other areas of their life; they don’t want to manage it themselves; and they want best of breed in everything.

“Features themselves haven’t changed that much,” says John Fenske, vice president of product marketing, HID Global, Austin, Texas. “The things users seem to be focused on are making sure the system continues to be interoperable on into the future so that any changes they make won’t disrupt the overall system.”

This “global” view is a running theme among customers both large and small, he adds. “When we talk to end users, most of the conversations are about how the pain that they have is managing change in their architecture. They are looking for consistency; and those products that leverage standards and allow them to manage that architecture and keep it functioning are what they want.

“They are also looking for products that are high quality. They want to get it when they need it and have it work over the long run,” Fenske says.

The positive aspect of this thinking is that along with more demanding wish lists comes the understanding that they will have to pay for it.

“Often it isn’t an inside-the-box solution,” says integrator Jeff Houpt, president/CEO, Automation Integrated, Oklahoma City, Okla. “It is solving a problem. They have looked at access control for the past 20 years as a ‘beep/click’ product, where the reader goes ‘beep’ and the door ‘clicks’ open. Now when they start looking at it as the place where people meet buildings and systems, and begin to mine that data to get insight into how they run their enterprise, that is when they get excited. They are willing to pay for a custom integration when they have a problem nobody else could solve.”

End users today are future focused, adds Bruce Stewart, business development manager for access control, U.S., Axis Communications Inc., Chelmsford, Mass. “Most are very educated on products and solutions and have a good understanding of which way they want to go in the future.”

There is a crossover between consumer life and business expectations, adds Rob Martens, futurist and director of connectivity platforms, Allegion, Carmel, Ind. “People want innovation and expect changes at a different pace than the industry has seen before. They expect a smart device. It shouldn’t be a burden but a simple addition. That is easy to say but sometimes difficult to do.”

Martens has a good analogy: “I group things into three buckets. In this space those now either fall into security, energy [building] management, or convenience. Those are the three most important factors.”

When a product or solution falls into one or more of these three buckets, it is more likely to be attractive to end users today.

Security-related Features

Security features have to do with the card, the integration between different security components and how access control systems are designed, installed and used.

High profile events from the Target and Home Depot breaches to workplace violence, have shown users the possible consequences of not having up-to-date access control and secure cards.

“Customers in general have a more acute understanding of the security of the card,” Fenske says. “The issues with Target made it very real and highlighted the importance of security of the cards we use on a daily basis. That is a big change. It has always been a challenge to talk to customers about upgrading from legacy systems like magnetic stripe and proximity to help them understand that what they have today is probably not what they want in the future. That challenge has improved dramatically over the past 18 months. People are beginning to think about technology refresh differently and the idea that you don’t just upgrade to upgrade. You upgrade to get new value, even if the system is not falling off the wall yet.”

There is still an education process, however, says integrator Bill Hogan, president, D/A Central Inc., Detroit, Mich. “As insiders we understand the vulnerability of proximity and the reasons for new, higher technology cards. But a lot of our clients aren’t quite there yet. We are seeing a lot more rebadging of entire locations than in the past. But we still have a job to do to make sure we educate them properly about those things.”

The way access control systems are architected is also changing, he adds. “We are beginning to see smaller, edge-deployed, embedded-Web-server products. Access control is filtering away from the big headquarters to smaller edge-device-based systems.”

Large infrastructures with head ends and hardwired readers are not always the preferred path anymore. Wireless and Power over Ethernet (PoE) are two technologies that are helping to drive this. For example, “With our PoE controller we can power 12-volt locks, allowing them to become an edge device with shorter cables,” Stewart says.

“I think probably the feature pushing to the forefront the most lately involves wireless lock integrations,” adds Jason Ouellette, product line director of access control, Tyco Security Products, Westford, Mass. “With the improved reliability of wireless and the movement from offline to online locks, there has been a great advancement of optimization and performance. That is, for us, if not a daily request it is pretty close.”

Integrator Henry Olivares, president/CEO, APL Access and Security Inc., Gilbert, Ariz., agrees. “Our customers are asking for Wi-Fi and wireless locks. They want all virtual — no cabling, panels or power supply.”

Another security factor that is high on users’ priority lists is integration with things such as video and even Active Directory to provide greater security and functionality.

“Here in Oklahoma City we had a workplace beheading caused by a disgruntled former employee that made the national news,” Houpt says. “We are seeing customers shift from the old paradigm of getting rid of keys to really wanting to manage their access control and be able to turn cards on and off immediately. The other thing we are seeing with our customers is they really want to utilize their security operations staff more effectively.”

In order to do that, many end users just expect integration and interoperability. This can be accomplished in many ways, from the traditional access control platform, the video management system, or a unified approach that allows more of the features of both to be present in the integration.

“The feature sets that make a system attractive to an end user still fall into the mid to enterprise level looking for connectivity to third-party systems, be that VMS, intrusion detection or other systems,” says Christopher Sincock, vice president, DAQ Electronics, Piscataway, N.J. “The greater the number of other people’s systems it connects to, the more attractive it is, especially if they don’t have to rip and replace what is already in place.”


With so many features and functions both old and new, it can be difficult to know what is going to impress an end user.

Bill Hogan of D/A Central Inc. says to define the problems and solutions for clients. “The key is really working with a client and engaging the questions we want to talk to them about. Go beyond the surface of just saying they need access control and speak to the myriad of options.”

Henry Olivares of APL Access and Security Inc. brings road show kits to sales meetings. “We have kits with wireless locks that show them with laptops how they work. It makes us different from a lot of companies. They believe it when they see it.”

Differentiating yourself is important, says Jeff Houpt of Automation Integrated. “We go to market more like a professional service provider. We want to be looked at like an architectural or engineering firm, a CPA or a lawyer. We prefer to differentiate ourselves with that rather than price.”

Whole-building Features

The value proposition doesn’t stop at security. Increasingly, end customers want to do much more with their security platforms.

“Security is one of the only things that tends to be monitored 24/7 in a building,” Sincock says. “When you can do not only traditional security monitoring but also bring in other mission-critical systems it brings greater value to the customer.”

One of the first things an access control system has to do is control who comes in and out and the method for populating that database increasingly is integration with Active Directory. In fact, with certain sized customers, it is just expected. But beyond that is an even tighter integration to the building itself where an employee’s access can be tied to the HVAC and lighting controls in their office, saving energy as well.

“In terms of integrating with HVAC, access control is used all the time to tie in and conserve energy,” says Richard Goldsobel, vice president Continental Access, a division of Napco Security Technologies, Amityville, N.Y. “But now there are more interfaces. As Active Directory has come along, the system can run a little more automated.”

Another draw to integration between access and building systems is energy management or ‘green’ initiatives. It is becoming an increasingly important part of the conversation between integrators and their customers.

“Regardless of system size, an almost universal feature we are being asked about is PoE,” Sincock says. PoE by design relies on low-power products and systems, so the more that can be tied to it, the more ‘green’ it is.

“When you have security systems that by virtue of interoperability or connectivity with other systems allow end users to have cooperation between security and systems that consume power or electricity, that is becoming much more important,” he adds.

Houpt has a customer that is using the access control to override the HVAC system after hours, then track that usage so the building owner can bill the tenant back for after-hours usage. In addition, his customers are looking at security in a whole new way. “We are beginning to integrate into access systems the information that really matters to owners. After hours, a security guard may need to take building action but they are not a building engineer. We can integrate just the information that has value, such as the chiller failed or a motor is too hot. When we bring in that alarm, we have a script for the guard to follow step-by-step, similar to a PSIM approach.”

Convenience Factors

Often the appeal of an access control system comes down to the user level. No matter how secure, integrated or advanced it is, if it isn’t easy and convenient to use, it won’t be saleable.

Technology has helped greatly with this factor in recent years. Cloud, mobile computing, and the capability of smartphones to be involved in access control all are providing the “cool” factor as well as making life easier for users.

Probably the easiest of all is the increase in offerings in cloud, or hosted and/or managed access control. Cloud is still in its beginning stages in many aspects of security, but manufacturers and integrators see great potential of marrying it with other emerging trends to provide a much better security experience in the future.

“The days of main frames and dumb terminals are waning in favor of cloud-based solutions,” Ouellette says. “Technology today allows us to process and store data on the edge that can make that cloud-based connection much more optimized and powerful. That is absolutely the clear direction and growth area in the industry.”

Hogan agrees. “What we are seeing is with new clients where we have a blank slate they are much more open to cloud-based solutions and newer technology and allowing us to manage it. It saves them all of that training. When they can outsource that entirely as a managed service, it becomes a real savings to them.”

People want ease of use, whatever that translates to, says Lee Odess, general manager, Brivo Labs, Bethesda, Md. “What we are seeing as factors in decision making are a great user experience, technology architecture, a software-as-a-service model and mobility offerings,” he says.

Whether it is Near Field Communication (NFC) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), “mobile is certainly the thing getting the most interest right now,” Fenske adds. “I think the wow factor is around the transaction and thinking it is ‘cool.’ But the real value will come from managing the credential differently and efficiently rather than buying, storing and printing cards.” (See related article, “BLE/NFC Update” online at www.SDMmag.com.)

“I think it will augment other credentials as in: card plus access through the cell phone,” Hogan predicts. “What everyone is anticipating is that as early adopters hit the market with this you will see ‘credential envy.’ People will want to know, ‘How can I have that on my phone, too?’”

The ultimate goal of these technologies and others is to make life easier in security, just as it does in other areas of our life. “Overall we strive to have a wonderful customer experience where people feel as though it was easy,” Martens says. “If that was easy, they might stretch out to other solutions and areas and be more comfortable with it. We are not seeing people push back on change anymore. We are seeing them push forward for new technology and wanting to leverage that. That is very exciting and makes us very enthusiastic about the future of our business and our partners’ businesses as well.”

Article Provided By SDM

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Creating New Benefits for Schools Through Advanced Surveillance and VMS

Creating New Benefits for K-12 Schools Through Advanced Surveillance and VMSCreating New Benefits for K-12 Schools Through Advanced Surveillance and VMS

Security continues to be a top priority in K-12 and higher education facilities across the country as school boards and administrations are looking for better and more cost-efficient means to protect students, personnel and assets. New developments in IP video surveillance and VMS security solutions are answering this call with systems that provide superior image quality, better integration, simple accessibility, network capabilities and expanded scalability. Within this framework, video management system (VMS) solutions are already delivering advantages and positive outcomes for safety and security.

The following are a few of the benefits of a VMS deployment within an educational environment:

Cost Efficiency 

A significant economic benefit of a VMS solution built on an open architecture platform is its contribution to system ROI (return on investment). The open architecture platform promotes flexibility in system design and protection of the original investment as systems are upgraded or new industry partners are added.

A school’s total physical security package can include video surveillance integrated with access control systems, license plate recognition systems, content analysis software, fire alarm, radiation detection and/or other network-based systems. This entire package can all be managed and controlled from a VMS solution – without the need for and additional cost of matrix switching systems and other expensive or proprietary hardware. The system can often run on standard IT servers, while adhering to and supporting recognized industry standards.

As total cost of ownership (TCO) is affected by the size of the system, a VMS solution can be effective in helping to reduce overall costs. When the VMS incorporates integration of multiple license types within one system, the user can save costs for less critical applications such as a closet surveillance system. New licensing models can accommodate any size school district with centralized or satellite/distributed system models.

Many manufacturers offer a number of different feature sets to match the budget and video surveillance needs of any college or university. The user should ensure that the system is scalable, so it can expand when further funding becomes available, or as surveillance needs grow and change.

Smart Technology

One of the key factors to effective security is situational awareness, which a complement of well-placed high-definition and megapixel cameras can provide. However, not every school has a dedicated network for transmission. A VMS addresses this by enabling standard-definition and HD/megapixel cameras to stream high-resolution video over a limited bandwidth network at full frame rates with the ability to control pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) functions.

Other advanced technologies available with VMS solutions affect performance control and system design. High Definition Interactive Streaming (HDIS) technology delivers full-motion playback of up to 16 live and recorded HD camera streams at full frame rate on any web browser or handheld device, even on 3G and 4G networks. Onboard de-warping functionality reduces the number of multi-head or panoramic cameras required in a system. Both centralized and distributed system architecture can be supported via CNVR (camera NVR) capabilities.

Pro-Active Security

Analysis capabilities found in VMS solutions are helping to drive video surveillance from a detection model to a prevention model. For instance, VMS can be programmed to create meaningful events based on a number of parameters and send alerts or push video to selected displays or devices. This enables schools to react to events and potential problems quickly and effectively, and prevent them from escalating.

This additional situational awareness provided by the pushed video stream, can help to broaden the potential incident response activity in venues that cover several acres, such as university campuses, and give security management actual “eyes at the scene.” It can also enhance the ability of management and staff to share/collaborate on different threat levels. And to help ensure the integrity of the system, a management server can be programmed on a granular level for information access and control.

Ease of Use

The intelligence, intuitiveness and ease of use of VMS available today make managing video data much more efficient and less cumbersome, regardless of the size of the system. With traditional record-and-review systems, there are often too few operators who have too little time and are trying to handle too many cameras all at once. With a VMS, operators have tools that provide them with full control over all parameters, including PTZ presets, joystick control, digital zoom and more. With these intuitive features built into the user interface, operators have the advantage they need to make the right decisions when an alert is sent.

Additionally, complex systems can be centrally managed with time saving tools like touch-screen technology, map-based interfaces, context-sensitive pop-up controls and time slice forensics.

Advanced IP video surveillance VMS solutions have given schools a tremendous advantage in meeting the challenges of safety and security. Add to this the extra benefits of cost efficiencies, smart technology, pro-active security and ease of use, and it becomes clear that VMS solutions are an educated choice.

Article Provided By Security Magazine

If you would like liquidvideotechnologies.com to discuss developing your Home Security System, Networking, Access Control, Fire, IT consultant or PCI Compliance, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-859-9848 or you can email us at deveren@liquidvideotechnologies.com

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Integrating Security Systems for Greater Business Value