Video Surveillance, Surveillance, Monitoring, Access Control, Security, Liquid Video Technologies, Greenville South Carolina

Video Surveillance and the Evolving Needs

Video Surveillance and the Evolving Needs of the End-User: Update, Integrate, Analyze, Act

Video surveillance has long been a critical component of facility management and security plans, and it is only expected to grow. Being able to use this video surveillance footage in relatively new and helpful ways is becoming more and more important.

The Global Video Surveillance Storage market generated $28.52 billion in 2016 and is projected to grow by 18 percent by 2023. With so many resources being devoted to storing video data, it will be more crucial than ever to maximize returns on that investment by increasing capabilities to use that stored video. Based on the massive amounts of data gathered by surveillance technologies, it is becoming increasingly possible to take informed action grounded in analysis of the information gathered.

Demand for these capabilities is increasing and the market is responding with more innovative video surveillance technology than ever. End-users expect their technologies to protect and optimize their businesses and facilities; however, the path to this transformation is a two-way street. The technologies to support the users’ desired needs exist. It is a matter of investment and proper implementation to arrive at a place of optimization for facility security and operations.

Updating Systems: The First Step

When discussing the improvement of end-user experiences, updating outdated technologies may seem like a rudimentary and even obvious step. However, many facilities still rely on simpler systems such as analog cameras that keep footage only for a limited period of time. A video camera is no longer just a static piece of equipment meant to be monitored in real time. They also do not take the step that many have come to expect of providing actionable insights based on data gathered.

Thirty cameras, during a 24-hour period, throughout 30 days, will record 21,600 hours of video. That is a massive amount of data that goes nowhere and is essentially useless with a ‘traditional’ video surveillance system. There is a real and valuable return to be made in the form of insights that can be gathered from all this data to understanding where customers linger, how to improve workflow and increased security capabilities. These insights can even be monetized for interested parties, such as brands selling products in a store, thereby helping the facility’s bottom line. Updating outdated video surveillance equipment is the first step to unlocking the potential of integration and analytics.

Next Up: Systems Integration

Once systems are updated, it becomes possible to unlock the next steps in the optimization of a facility, resulting in increased overall security and better day-to-day operations.  Integration with other building and security systems such as lighting, HVAC and access control allow for a more complete picture of the “pulse” of the building. It also improves the experience and comfort of occupants, staff and patrons.

Let’s take lighting, for example. There are several ways that lighting and video surveillance can work together—the simple replacement of regular light bulbs with LED bulbs can improve visibility for video surveillance systems, while also driving down energy costs. Add in motion-sensor technology, and the lights and cameras can work to deter intruders and capture their image more effectively for law enforcement. By making these changes, it is no longer on the facility manager to look at grainy, poorly lit footage to try and decipher what is going on in the event of an incident. By integrating lighting and video surveillance, the facility manager is empowered to work smarter, not harder with a basis in intelligent data they can rely on.

Analytics, Security and Operations

The ability to analyze endless hours of video footage in a realistic and intelligent way has completely changed the game. Being able to define search parameters when reviewing footage can turn an hours-long review process into one that takes minutes, saving precious time in the event of an incident and allowing personnel to make the best use of their resources. For example, knowing the gender or clothing color of someone they are hoping to identify and being able to search footage accordingly can shave hours off a search.

By integrating analytics with other systems, such as access control, users can gain insight into things like the flow of occupants through a space and who is attempting to access restricted areas. In addition, these technologies can learn patterns and establish what is the norm for the facility they protect.  When something outside of their learned patterns occurs, such as someone trying to access a building after hours, they can detect it and relay that information, as well.

Security has never been the only use for video surveillance. As analytics are being more widely implemented, operational intelligence gathering has also been affected. Some of the most important uses for video surveillance are improving sales or customer service, examining and managing employee productivity and analyzing customer behavior and patterns. Analytics increase the ability of users to examine traffic flow, wait times, the efficiency of retail floor plans and much more. This information can then be utilized to address vulnerabilities and improve the operations of the facility.

Building on existing video surveillance systems (or implementing them from scratch) gives employees the support from technology they have come to expect in other areas of their life. By prioritizing upgrades and layering in integration and analytic technology, facilities can increase productivity, safety and efficiency, while also seeing significant ROI in the form of valuable, usable data, streamlined operations and a better overall experience. Technology is the first line of defense in many cases, but it can also be a support, enabling security and operations professionals to do their job more effectively and with the knowledge that their actions are driven by data.

Article Provided By: SecurityMagazine

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Access Control, Security, Security System

What is a Security System and How Does it Work?

All home security systems work on the same basic principle of securing entry points, like doors and windows, as well as interior space containing valuables like art, computers, guns, and coin collections. Regardless of the size of your home, or the number of doors and windows or interior rooms a homeowner decides to protect, the only real difference is in the number of security components deployed throughout the home and monitored by the control panel.

What is a security system?

The most basic definition of any security system is found in its name. It is literally a means or method by which something is secured through a system of interworking components and devices.

In this instance, we’re talking about home security systems, which are networks of integrated electronic devices working together with a central control panel to protect against burglars and other potential home intruders.

A typical home security system includes:

  • A control panel, which is the primary controller of a home’s security system
  • Door and window sensors
  • Motion sensors, both interior, and exterior
  • Wired or wireless security cameras
  • A high-decibel siren or alarm
  • A yard sign and window sticker show

Does a security system work?

Home security systems work on the simple concept of securing entry points into a home with sensors that communicate with a control panel or command center installed in a convenient location somewhere in the home.

The sensors are typically placed indoors that lead to and from a house as well as easily accessible windows, particularly any that open, especially those at ground level. Open spaces inside of homes can be secured with motion sensors.

Control Panel: The control panel is the computer that arms and disarms the security systems, communicate with each installed component, sounds the alarm when a security zone is breached and communicates with an alarm monitoring company.

They typically feature a touchpad for easy programming and interaction, is where passcodes are entered to arm and disarm the system, can work on voice commands, and can be programmed to work with wireless remote controls called key fobs.

Door and Window Sensors: Door and window sensors are comprised of two parts installed adjacent to each other. One part of the device is installed on the door or window and the other on the door frame or window sill. When a door or window is closed, the two parts of the sensor are joined together, creating a security circuit.

When the security system is armed at the control panel, these sensors communicate with it by reporting that the point of entry is secure. Should a monitored door or window suddenly be opened, the security circuit is broken and the control panel interprets this as a breach of a secured zone. A high-decibel alarm is sounded and in most instances, the alarm monitoring company is automatically notified.

Motion Sensors: These security components, when armed, protect a given space by creating an invisible zone that cannot be breached without sounding an alarm. These are typically used to protect rooms containing valuables, as well as areas less frequented in larger homes.

Surveillance Cameras: Available in both wired and wireless configurations, surveillance cameras can be used in several different ways as part of an overall security system.

Typical uses include monitoring:

  • Hard to see or distant areas of your property
  • Remote buildings like garages, barns, and workshops
  • Entry points, both exterior, and interiors, like garage doors and front doors

Surveillance cameras can be accessed remotely on computers, smartphones, and tablets. They are often used in this method when homeowners are out of town, to watch for deliveries and other service personnel like caregivers and landscapers, and to monitor the arrival of children after school. They can also be used to record any security breaches, which could result in having footage of a home invasion, including a good look at the burglars and perhaps even the vehicle they drove.

High-decibel Alarm: Loud enough for neighbors to hear, home security alarms serve a few different purposes. First, they alert the people inside the house that a problem occurred. They’re also shrill enough to send a burglar running while also notifying nearby neighbors of the situation.

Yard Sign and Window Stickers: On the surface, these items might seem like nothing more than marketing tools for alarm companies, but they play important roles in home security. When you place a security company’s sticker in a front window and plant their sign in your front yard, you are telling burglars your home is professionally protected and not a wise choice for an attempted burglary. They are effective at conveying this message and should be used as recommended by the security company.

What Happens when an intrusion occurs?

Security systems are designed to perform certain tasks when a secured zone is breached. What your security systems do in the event of an intrusion depends on the type of system you’re using.

Professionally Monitored Security Systems: If your security system is professionally monitored by an alarm company, they are alerted when a security problem arises in your home. Along with the high-decibel alarm that sounds, the monitoring company is alerted. A trained security expert might attempt to communicate with the homeowner via the control panel if it’s set up for 2-Way Voice communication, or will call the emergency contact number listed on the account.

These types of security systems communicate with the monitoring company in one of several ways, including:

  • Over existing home phone lines, which continue to work during power outages when battery backup is in use.
  • Wirelessly through cellular radio frequencies like cell phones use, which also continue to work during power outages when battery backup is in use.
  • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which typically doesn’t work in a power outage.
  • Via the Internet, which also typically does not work in a power outage.

In the event of an actual emergency, the monitoring company will notify the appropriate emergency response personnel in your area. This includes police, firefighters, and paramedics. The monitoring company will also try to maintain communication with you until emergency response teams arrive at your home.

Monitored systems typically allow for the homeowners (or designees) to be notified by text message and email when a security breach occurs.

Non-monitored Security Systems: There are plenty of DIY security systems available today that don’t include professionally monitored services. In the event of a home intrusion when this type of security system is installed, a high-decibel alarm sounds (provided one is installed). Contacting the police, fire, or other emergency response personnel must be initiated by the homeowner by dialing the appropriate number, typically 911.

These types of systems may or may not allow for text messages or email notifications to be sent to the homeowner in the event of a security breach, depending on the provider and the system you opted for.

What are the advantages of having a home security system?

Numerous studies show homes without security systems, when compared to those with professionally monitored systems, are up to three times more likely to be burglarized because burglars are opportunistic by nature and are on the hunt for easy targets.

Homes without security systems are high on their list.

When you have a home security system professionally monitored, and advertise this by displaying window stickers and yard signs, you’re letting burglars know the likelihood they’ll fail and be caught are very high.

Another advantage is the ability to remotely manage your house. With this, you can typically arm and disarm your security system from anywhere in the world via a web-enabled device, monitor who arrives and leaves your home, as well as use a panic button to elicit an instant response from your alarm monitoring company.

Finally, most home insurance companies provide great discounts-up to 20 percent when you have a home security system in your home.

Article Provided by: Safewise

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Top 10 Reasons to Install Home Security Systems

Installing a home security system can be costly, but not installing one could cost you even more. Below we will take a look at the top ten reasons to install a home security system or upgrading your existing home alarm system.

1. Protect Your Home and Family from Intruders

The biggest reason a home owner should consider installing a home security system is that it offers protection to family members from intruders. According to “Securing Home and Business” by Simon Hakim/Erwin Blackstone, homes without security systems are 2.7 times more likely to be targeted by a burglar. This indicates that the mere presence of an alarm system is enough in most cases to protect the home and its occupants from break-in. In some cases, burglars may still target a home either knowingly or unknowingly when members of the family are inside. For the burglar who enters the home expecting it to be empty, finding members of the family inside can cause enough shock and panic to facilitate aggressive behavior. Having a security system in place often provides family members with enough warning to get to a safe location in our outside the home while the alarm system dispatches local authorities. For burglars that enter a home knowing that family members are inside, their intentions are often much more malicious and the home alarm system again serves as an early warning system and calls the authorities.

2. Protect Your Home and Family from Fires

The mention of home security systems tends to bring to mind home intrusion scenarios; however, these alarm systems also provide additional protection barriers for homeowners. While many homeowners rely upon smoke alarms to warn them of a fire outbreak, home security systems offer an early warning system.

Monitored home alarm systems will not only warn home occupants of the presence of smoke in the home, but they will also warn of sources of heat and contact authorities. The saying goes ‘where there is smoke, there is fire’ but it is also true that where there is heat, there could be a fire building which is why it is important to incorporate heat detectors into a fire prevention technique. While heat detectors can be purchased without the installation of a home security system, using a heat detector alone will not signal authorities.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, in just thirty seconds a small flame can turn in to a full-blown fire. In just minutes of a fire breaking out, the home will be filled with thick black smoke that makes it impossible for family members to breathe. These two facts alone are enough to reinforce the importance of having a home security system that will signal authorities to respond to a house fire. Time is the biggest factor in any emergency, but in the case of fire, time is of the essence. A few seconds of a fire safety concern could mean death or the complete destruction of a home and all of its contents.

3. Protect Your Family from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning is caused by a colorless and odorless gas that is found in combustion fumes. Within the home, carbon monoxide can be released from stoves, burning wood or charcoal, heating systems, and gas ranges among other things.

Since carbon monoxide is undetectable by the human senses, individuals are often blindsided by carbon monoxide poisoning that has been building up over time. In the human body, carbon monoxide is picked up by the red blood cells much more rapidly than oxygen is. As these blood cells release carbon monoxide into the blood, it begins to replace oxygen and this prevents tissues and organs from receiving necessary oxygen. The most severe cases of carbon monoxide poisoning can result in death. Other symptoms may include: dizziness, headache, chest pain, nausea, vomiting and confusion.

Carbon monoxide leaks can be discovered via carbon monoxide detectors. These small devices resemble smoke detectors and can be purchased alone or as part of a home security system. Similar to a home alarm-monitored smoke detector, the benefit of having these devices installed as part of a home security system is that it provides emergency service dispatch as well as calling paramedics able to treat symptoms of CO poisoning. The faster individuals are able to leave the home and receive medical treatment, the less severe CO poisoning symptoms will be.

4. Provide Your Family with Peace of Mind

The presence of a home security system provides many families with a peace of mind knowing that their home is protected from a variety of devastating scenarios. When homeowners are elderly, incapacitated in some way or frequently left home alone, this peace of mind is invaluable. For the elderly who may be unable to get out of a home with the speed required in many dangerous situations, home security systems dispatch authorities that are capable of assisting. For those who are incapacitated and unable to leave the home, home security systems not only monitor all areas of the home but again, they dispatch authorities when needed. Some home security systems also provide medical alert pendants for users to wear that are designed to call for help for specific medical situations. Finally, home alarm systems are beneficial for families that often leave family members home alone. Whether it is children of working parents being left alone, or whether it is spouses of the military who are frequently left alone for extended periods, home security systems provide peace of mind.

5. Protect Your Valuables

Throughout our lifetimes we collect and purchase a slew of items that have meaning to us. From sentimental inheritances to big ticket purchases, these things represent who we are and the accomplishments we have made. When burglars enter our home however, our feelings towards our possessions are the furthest thing from their minds, as they focus on the retail value of what they are taking. Each year it is estimated that there are some two and a half million burglaries across the United States. These burglaries cost homeowners some $3.1 billion with the average loss per burglary at around $1,700. For most homeowners, the presence of a home alarm system is enough to deter burglars but when it is not, it serves an additional function. As well as signaling authorities that the home has been burgled and increasing the chances that intruders will be caught, the cameras installed with many modern alarm systems catch the intruders in the act. Having visual documentation of the home intrusion increases the likelihood that the burglar will be identified for the crime committed. Video footage also helps homeowners create a record of what has been taken from their home during a burglary.

6. Having Someone Else to Monitor Your Home

One of the biggest benefits to having a monitored home security system is that it provides constant monitoring even when you are unable to do so yourself. Leaving town for business or going on vacation can be nerve-wracking even with a home security alarm, but with monitoring services, there is always someone to respond to emergency situations.

These services do not act like house sitters, but they do track significant events and dispatch emergency personnel when needed. Home security systems are able to respond to alarms triggered as a result of a house fire, a carbon monoxide leak, a significant temperature drop or increase, an intruder, or a natural disaster such as a flood. Without the watchful eye of a monitoring company, the damage caused by these tragic events could be much worse than they otherwise would be.

7. Save on Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance is a mandatory part of becoming a homeowner in most circumstances. The cost of this type of insurance coverage varies on location, coverage, payment plans, insurance company, type of house and a few other factors. Some people see homeowners insurance as a waste of money, those who have ever had to use it (or wish that had had it to use) will disagree.

Homeowner’s insurance is designed to cover private homes and the possessions therein from losses or damage that can occur as the result of a number of devastating events. Homeowner insurance covers most events such as fires, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Flood insurance is generally not included and must be purchased separately since floods are a more common occurrence. The cost of homeowners insurance is generally not taken into consideration by first-time homeowners when buying their home, but a significant discount is generally given to homeowners with home security systems installed. The total discount given as a result of homes having security systems differs based upon the features of the system (for instance, a system monitored by a central monitoring station should provide a larger discount compared to one that is not monitored) and the amount of coverage purchased initially and the company offering the insurance. In general, homeowners receive a 10-20% discount on their insurance by having a functioning home alarm system installed.

8. Keep an Eye on Your Home Remotely

For some homeowners, the ability to keep an eye on their home even when they are away is one of the biggest perks of having a home alarm system. As technology has improved, many home alarm systems now allow users to log on to the internet via their computers or smartphone and access their home security system remotely.

This type of system allows the home alarm to be remotely armed or disarmed, cameras to be monitored, household lights to be turned off and on, air conditioning or heating to be turned on or changed, and motion detectors to be monitored. All of these functions not only allow homeowners to watch for intruders, but they also help to protect the home remotely. Turning on lights at a specified time through remote access can help to give the illusion that someone is at home even when they are not. Accessing the heating or air conditioning can help to prepare the home for sudden temperature changes to prevent pipe damage and can also help to save on electric or gas bills. In most cases, remote access comes with a small fee, but it offers homeowners the opportunity to take charge of their home even when they are out of town.

9. Get Medical Assistance When Needed

Medical conditions are a real concern for many homeowners and many home alarm companies offer medical alert pendants or emergency pulls. These types of devices are designed so that individuals can press a button or pull a cord and immediately have emergency services dispatched to their home. Most commonly these types of services are requested by children of elderly parents, family members of sick individuals and those living with loved ones who have special needs. One of the biggest concerns for family members of the elderly is the potential of falling; fortunately, with a medical alert feature, if an elderly person falls at home when they are alone, they can signal the authorities for help immediately. For families of sick or special needs individuals, this service can be used in a similar way, signaling authorities or medical professionals that assistance is needed in the event of seizures or other medical emergencies. This feature is not standard on many home security systems but is common enough that it can be obtained for a fee. Or, click on over to see our recommendations for the best medical alert systems.

10. Reduce Energy Consumption in Your Home

Home automation is a relatively new concept and as such it is not offered by many home security companies yet but is becoming more popular. This service allows users to access and control the lighting, thermostat and, in some cases, small appliances of the home through remote access. Some homeowners utilize this feature to shut down heating and cooling when no one is home and log on to start it an hour or so before heading back to the home so they arrive to a comfortable home. Other homeowners use this feature to turn on lighting in the home before they leave their office so they do not have to enter an unlit home. This feature is also beneficial for deterring intruders since it allows homeowners to make it look as though someone is home when they are not. Jump on over to see our top recommendations for the best home automation systems that will help reduce the energy consumption in your home.

Additional Reasons Why You Should Install a Home Security System

  • Security systems not only protect family and possessions, but they also provide protection for pets. If a fire were to break out when no one but the family pet was home, without a home alarm system that pet would be doomed.
  • Home security systems allow for homeowners to secure less frequented areas of the home such as the basement and the garage. This makes it more difficult for intruders to take their preferred methods of entry into the home and go unnoticed.
  • Home security systems mean that homeowners do not have to depend upon neighbors to watch over their home when they are away. There is less chance of human error with alarm systems.
  • Home alarm systems prevent home intruders from staying too long if they do gain access to the house since there is a higher likelihood of them being scared away when an alarm is sounding loudly.
  • Modern wireless alarm systems are affordable and much easier to set up and maintain than the wired systems of the past.
  • Having a home alarm system installed actually increases your home value when it comes to selling your home. As an added bonus, it also keeps your home protected throughout the selling process where a number of strangers will be inside your home.
  • Homes with security systems installed have a quicker emergency response time because they cut out the middleman and directly contact authorities for faster dispatch.
  • The majority of large home protection companies offer 24/7 monitoring and support of their alarm systems which reduces the likelihood that the alarm system will fail and your home safety would be at risk.
  • Some home alarm systems that come equipped with outdoor cameras allow for homeowners and their families to see who is at the front door without going close to it. This feature is particularly useful for families with children of working parents who often have to leave children at home alone.

Facts to Consider

If you still have any doubts about whether or not your home or family could benefit from purchasing a home alarm system take a look at some of the following facts:

  • Approximately every twenty seconds a home fire is reported.
  • House fires are the third leading cause of fatal home injury in the nation.
  • Each year fires kill more people in the United States than all natural disasters combined.
  • 39% of residential fires and 52% of residential fatalities from fires occur in homes with no smoke alarms.
  • 70% of all burglaries occur in residential properties.
  • Every 14.5 seconds a robbery is reported.
  • Most burglaries take place between 10am and 3pm when the majority of homeowners are at work.
  • 8% of robberies are committed with a gun according to the FBI’s crime statistics.
  • The majority of burglars gain entry to the home via the front door, back door and first floor windows.
  • FBI crime statistics state that during 60% of reported burglaries, someone was at home.
  • Only 13% of reported burglaries are solved by the police.
  • Only 15% of property that is stolen in burglaries is ever recovered by the police.
  • Approximately two-thirds of home fire deaths between 2005 and 2009 were the result of fires in homes without smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

Article Provided by: A Secure Life

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Home Security – The Cost of Keeping Your Home Safe

What’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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An Alarm Should Sound On Deals


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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Video Surveillance Camera Greenville South Carolina

7 Benefits of Migrating to IP Video Surveillance

IP video surveillance has long since graduated to a mainstream technology in the security industry – but if you’re still sitting on the fence as to whether or not it’s right for your application, the following list of IP video surveillance benefits may help you to decide:

Improved Performance– Today’s IP cameras have significantly improved performance over earlier models thanks to breakthrough imaging technologies. High-performance features such as advanced digital signal processing, optical zoom lenses, wide dynamic range, on-board analytics and auto image stabilizers provide more options to help security professionals meet their specific surveillance needs more efficiently.

In addition, the high resolution of megapixel cameras affords coverage of a larger area with fewer cameras, while the forensic zooming capability of megapixel cameras can reduce the need for traditional pan/tilt/zoom appliances. The detailed images are available in live or archived format at any time to any point along the network. This enables more and better identification of individuals and events to help deter, detect and prosecute in the case of an incident.

Unlimited Scalability– One of the key benefits of IP video surveillance systems is the ease with which the system can be configured for current requirements and just as easily expanded or re-configured as needs change. Cameras can be added to the network in increments of one or more with no additional cabling or power requirements, and industry standard storage can be added as needed. Most important, these changes can be made without losing the investment in the original system.

System Configuration Versatility– Cost efficiencies can be readily gained with the system configuration versatility of IP video surveillance implementations. Video can be recorded and viewed by authorized individuals from anywhere on the network and control of multiple locations can be centralized at one location. This eliminates the need to duplicate staff or equipment at each location with potential savings of thousands of dollars in salaries and equipment cost. Cameras can be re-located or temporarily installed anywhere on the network with minimal disruption. Maintenance and service expenses can also be reduced because IP-based systems can be adjusted, checked or even re-configured remotely without the need for on-site service.

Advanced Analytics– Commonly featured in both IP video surveillance edge devices (i.e. cameras, NVRs, etc.) and at the central server, interpretive vision or analytic intelligence can be used to monitor, record, interpret, archive, retrieve and verify image data to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the security staff. Intelligent devices can improve the abilities of control room personnel by performing automated responses such as zooming in to an object which is creating an alarm or by only transmitting video that contains specifically identified activity, making it easier to search the recorded material. Advanced analytics such as face detection, license plate recognition or people counting/tracking technologies can also be used to help improve the security of a facility.

System Integration – The ability to tie together related physical security applications such as access control, alarm/intrusion, visitor management and so on, within the organization, makes economic as well as operational sense. IP video surveillance systems provide users with a common view that can be sourced and/or managed from a central control room, an office cubicle or even from a mobile device – simultaneously by multiple users. Additionally, IP video surveillance systems enable organizations to collaborate across different functional workgroups. For example, it is possible to verify abnormalities in POS transactions by coordinating data with IP surveillance images. It is also possible to integrate entry/exit access control data with maintenance and facilities information to improve building environmental operations.

Future Proofing– IP surveillance is a very flexible technology in that it can be implemented at any stage of a deployment. Existing analog systems can be upgraded to a hybrid configuration and either maintained as such or eventually configured to a fully networked system. Cameras can be added at any time, anywhere there is network capability, or as wireless technology develops, network cameras can be deployed virtually anywhere. Another important aspect of IP surveillance is adherence to industry standards. As technology develops, software/firmware upgrades can be implemented to keep the system current.

ROI and TCO– IP surveillance deployments can improve Return on Investment (ROI) and also help to lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). For example, megapixel cameras used for risk management in retail can help minimize incidents of theft or fraud because of the improved image detail; or, individual devices can take advantage of increases in computer power and improvements in network speed without having to be replaced. By making a clear positive impact on the bottom line, IP surveillance systems have more than proven their worth as tomorrow’s surveillance technology of choice.

Article Provided By Security Magazine

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Video Management Software, Security, Greenville, South Carolina

5 Benefits of Video Management Software for Safer 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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Access Control, Buisness, Home, Security, Greenville, South Carolina

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

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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Video Surveillance and VMS, Greenville, South Carolina

Creating New Benefits for Schools Through Advanced Surveillance and VMS

Creating 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

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Fire Alarm Solutions, Greenville, South Carolina

New Fire Alarm Systems Offer More Options for Challenging Spaces Part 4

New Fire Alarm Systems Offer More Options for Challenging Spaces

 In the past, requirements for detection in challenging environments often resulted in fire alarm system installations that were nearly impossible to properly maintain. New Fire Alarm Systems Offer More Options for Challenging Spaces Detectors were often installed too high or above obstructions, or were poorly or incorrectly spaced. Innovative detection technologies, as well as improvements in code guidance for the engineering community, have made challenging environments easier to address. Challenging environments often include large volume spaces (e.g., warehouses, industrial facilities and power generation facilities); architecturally sensitive spaces (e.g., historic structures); and highly sensitive electronic equipment spaces (e.g., data centers).

Major advances in detection technology provide the facility manager with more solutions to challenging environments. If the detection systems are correctly applied, reliability, safety, and maintenance costs can be greatly improved.

Modern fire alarm systems can now integrate highly refined beam detection systems that use multiple wireless beam transmitter sources and only one receiver that requires being hard-wired. Beam detection is one solution for large volume and architecturally sensitive spaces. Many manufacturers now offer beam detection systems that only require a transmitter/receiver installed in one location with a reflector on the opposite end of the detection space, reducing installation complexity. Additionally, newer beam detectors are far less prone to false alarms caused by obstructions, sunlight, building movement and misalignment.

Video image detection is a unique technology that enables facility managers to combine security and fire detection into one system while installing the detectors in perimeter locations that are easy to access for maintenance. Video detection can easily be concealed on cornice ledges in architecturally sensitive areas, and some systems allow the use of combined security and fire alarm cameras.

Very Early Fire Detection

Air sampling-type smoke detection (ASSD) requires the installation of a pipe network over the space requiring detection, through which the detector continually draws in air that is monitored for the presence of particles of combustion using very precise laser light sources. ASSD offers a very flexible detection solution for areas where access to detectors for maintenance is difficult or impossible. For example, battery vaults often present a significant concern to maintenance personnel who must work over large battery banks to inspect and test spot-type smoke detectors. Once the ASSD pipe network has been installed, the network can be cleaned and tested without requiring maintenance staff to work over the batteries.

ASSD offers an extremely sensitive and reliable detection solution that can be applied in high-value and essential applications. As our world relies more and more heavily on data processing and cloud storage, large data centers and the associated support facilities are becoming prevalent and critical. The very early detection of fires or component failures as a result of overheating can help ensure data continuity. ASSD coupled with good operational procedures can provide the detection needed to keep these facilities operational.

Although it may seem that fire alarm systems are not advancing at the same rate as other systems, it is not acceptable to rush technology into use for an industry that has the important responsibility of protecting lives and property in a reliable manner. Even considering the controlled rate that technology is being introduced into the life safety industry, fire alarm systems are advancing at an impressive rate and have become diverse and reliable building protection systems.

Article Provided By Facilitiesnet

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