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Geutebruck Video System Supports Security at Ljubljana Airport

Geutebruck Video System Supports Security at Ljubljana Airport

Editor / Provider: Geutebrück | Updated: 7/7/2011 | Article type: Infrastructure

Aerodrom Ljubljana which operates Joze Pucnik Ljubljana Airport has long term plans for it to become the aviation hub for the whole region. With Slovenia's entry into the EU and admission to Schengen in 2007 came the need to increase airport capacity. In the first stage of a two-stage project, the existing passenger terminal (T1) has been renovated and a whole new 6,000 square metre storey added. The extra space together with four new jetways now facilitate the separation of Schengen and non-Schengen traffic and make boarding easier. Part 2 of the project due to start in 2011 involves the construction of a new T2 terminal adjoining T1 to provide capacity for a further 2.5 million passengers per year. 

In fact piece by piece over the last two decades the airport has been completely rebuilt. And with each new construction project the security systems have had to expand and develop. The airport's chosen video security system supplier for the original T1 building, the new garage and outdoor car parks as well as for the recent T1 renovation and additional storey was Geutebruck Adria. This business relationship has now been a long and satisfactory one. 

Technological migration
Since 2006 all new additions to the video security systems have been pure IP. Around 100 new IQeye IP cameras and Axis IP SpeedDome cameras now work alongside the original 160 analog ones. Late in 2008 some new powerful GeViScope video platforms were introduced. Besides increased performance these also brought exceptional video motion detection capabilities and enormous flexibility for future adaptation. In 2009/10 the need to relocate the control room to a new building provided the ideal opportunity to upgrade its facilities. The old analog matrix and analog monitor wall were replaced with a virtual digital matrix and an array of wide plasma monitors.

From the new security operations center staff monitor the whole site. They control the entrances to the airport, the car parking facilities, areas in and around the general aviation and passenger terminals, the VIP areas, the apron and runways.They alert colleagues ‘on the ground' to parking violations, loitering and other suspicious behaviour as well as unattended baggage. Their monitoring also ensures that pick-pockets or other small time criminals are not tempted to take advantage of unsuspecting travellers amid the hustle and bustle. The integration of the video system with the airport's access control system is key to the strict control of movements through the doors and gates which form the crucial air-side/land-side interface. Air-side cameras allow security operations center staff to check that the apron and runways remain unobstructed, safe and secure, and of course enable them to alert and manage emergency or other services if required. 

System selection
Before the contract was awarded for the most recent T1 terminal expansion the airport authority evaluated and compared video security solutions from three major European suppliers. As Dusan Sofric,Ljubljana airport's security manager reports, the Geutebruck equipment was chosen because of its performance and proven reliability. 

This latest GeViScope-based system which uses GscView display software and MBeg control units was designed by Koda and Siemens and installed by PAN electronic and G7. “It is very reliable and easy to use” explains Dusan Sofric. “It is operated by staff in security operations center who have had basic training on GscView.The system has performed very well, exactly as it was initially demonstrated to us.”

Memoori: Will Economic Setbacks Reduce Business Opportunities in the Security Industry?

Memoori: Will Economic Setbacks Reduce Business Opportunities in the Security Industry?

Editor / Provider: Submitted by Memoori Business Intelligence | Updated: 6/8/2011 | Article type: Hot Topics

This time last year economic indicators took a hit with major concerns about the need for countries within the Euro Zone to cut back on public expenditure; in order to repay their massive debts. While this did have an effect on demand for security equipment it was marginal and the fragile recovery in the economy has limped on in the last nine months. But recent events in Greece, Portugal and Ireland would suggest that the bail outs have not worked and they are likely to default on the loan repayments. This has both extinguished any recovery in these markets and has taken its toll in other weak economies in Europe. It will have an adverse impact on world trade. Stock markets across the world have significantly marked down share prices and the buoyant forecasts of economic growth made some five months ago are being revised.

However the emerging markets of China, India and Brazil have so far not been affected. For some years financial markets have turned tail at the mere hint of bad news and have exaggerated the possible consequences; but by the same token the upswing also responds as rapidly. The facts and statistics shown in this month's do not flag up any serious adverse trends that will reduce the opportunity to grow the security business in the near term of the next six months, but they do suggest that there is less confidence and a hint of caution in the air.

Our figures for the first quarter of this year showed that consolidation had slowed down with the number of acquisitions down by 20 percent on the same period of 2010. The last two months have seen a significant recovery, Tyco Fire and Security claim they are about to close a US$110 million deal, there is serious talk about Securitas and Niscayah making a reunion and the possibility that Cisco will put Linksys on the block reach fruition, then we will be on track to beat the 2010 record for value of deals exceeding $7.98 billion.

Investment for the first five months of the year is marginally up on the same period of 2010 but much of this is the result of arranging new lines of credit. There appears to be little change in the area of venture capital funding.

The most encouraging feature of the business is reflected in the financial performance of security players. The fourth quarter 2010 and first quarter 2011 financial announcements made recently show for the most part revenues and profitability well up on the same quarter of 2010; and the full year outperforming 2009. With almost all anticipating improved trading conditions in 2011, it looks as though revenues and profitability will improve on 2010.

The star performers in 2010 include Axis Communications, Mobotix, Basler, Authentec and Bio-Key, despite the fact that their fourth quarter was well down on 2009. These companies are very specialist and perform in the high growth areas of the business and / or strong in geographic markets that performed well in 2010. They are all companies that spend on product development in the high-tech areas of IP networking.

Similarly the world's major security companies such as Tyco, Honeywell Security, Schneider Electric and Siemens Security Systems all increased both profitability and growth, they are bullish about 2011. Cooper Industries and Ingersoll Rand likewise also increased their growth and profitability, while Bosch Security Systems returned to profitability on increased sales.

With trading conditions looking buoyant in some geographic regions and the drivers that accelerated consolidation and investment in 2010 still well in place that the slowdown of acquisitions and stagnation in funding in the first five months of 2011 does not indicate in anyway a correction but is just a short-term deviation. One major acquisition would bring consolidation well back on track.

So despite economic setbacks it's expected the market to continue to flourish in the high-technology areas of the security business particularly where IT convergence can deliver better ROI. Working the emerging markets and the US with emphasis on some vertical markets will produce the best results while mainstream and low-tech business will continue to reduce its share of the business.

For more information, please go visit Memoori.

Advanced Access Control Helps With Real-Life Management and Processes

Advanced Access Control Helps With Real-Life Management and Processes

Editor / Provider: Submitted by HID Global, Siemens Building Technologies, CEM Systems and UTC Fire & Security | Updated: 6/1/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Access control not only monitors the entrance and exit of a facility but ties in closely with payroll and time and attendance, enhancing total people and process management.

Albert Einstein Health Care Network Stays Connected Through HID Global
Albert Einstein Health Care Network (AEHN) in Philadelphia, U.S. is a large health care system that comprises four hospitals, seven campuses and about 50 off-site primary care physician and surgical center locations. The medical center and its network host 1,200 beds, 6,000 employees, 1,200 staff and voluntary physicians, 10,000 visitors per day and more than 100,000 emergency room patients per year. The health care system needed to replace the employees', doctors', volunteers' and other medical staff's badges with ID smart cards featuring the network's new logo while integrating its payroll system into the new badges.

For this project, AEHN selected HID's readers, smart cards and badge personalization service to replace the 300 existing swipe card readers and produce 7,000 new personalized smart card badges. To ensure a seamless transition for employees, HID offered dual-technology smart cards that worked on both existing and new systems.

HID's badge personalization service printed 50 cards that were tested over two payroll cycles before formal adoption to guarantee that AEHN's payroll system worked accurately and flawlessly with the smart cards.

Once it confirmed the payroll and ID cards were fully integrated, AEHN provided a database of employees and their photos so the badges could be printed and encoded off-site at the card production facility. Within four weeks, AEHN had 7,000 newly branded badges incorporating the new technology.

Since adoption of the new smart-card badges, other departments have integrated other functions, including single sign-ons to computers, AEHN information security enhancement, and cashless vending, integrating cafeteria and vending systems to work with the payroll system.

Future plans for the multiapplication platform include tracking employees' mandatory vaccinations and adding credentials of physicians for visiting doctors in case of a disaster. Down the road, AEHN is hoping to integrate access control cards with medical records and patient information as well.


Siemens Building Technologies Provides Better Health for Hospitals
Drastic budget cuts, aging populations and increasing patient demands present enormous challenges to hospitals around the globe — many facilities have already closed down. In Germany, for example, the number of hospitals has decreased by 10 percent to around 2,100 in just a decade. The German Hospital Association does not anticipate a reversal of this trend.

The Building Technologies (BT) division of Siemens helps hospitals address these challenges with smart and energy-efficient solutions, coupled with sophisticated security systems. BT's portfolio includes fire detection and extinguishing, security, low-voltage power distribution, building automation, energy efficiency solutions and energy management contracting. Siemens provides financing for energy-saving measures, guarantees customers preset yearly energy savings, and allows them to repay their investments from the money saved.

A case in point was the “Hospital of the 21st Century” which opened in early 2009 in Sittard, the Netherlands where patients are treated as guests and efficiency measures extend beyond cost reduction to enhance patient well-being and rapid healing. At the Orbis Medisch Centrum, advanced Siemens technologies contribute to outstanding patient care while reducing health care costs by around 10 percent.

Hospital security and fire safety were additional key issues. BT's RFID system ensures the security of personnel. In case of emergency, staff can trigger an alarm through the RFID tag integrated in their personal badge, which is forwarded to the personnel in charge through a wireless tracking system.

Additionally, Siemens installed an innovative fire safety system consisting of detection, evacuation and extinguishing components. It is mapped in a danger management system in the hospital's command center so that in an emergency, patients, visitors and personnel can be directed to safety using visual indicators and loudspeaker announcements.


Access to Edinburgh's Spire Shawfair Park Hospital Protected by CEM Systems
CEM Systems' security management system was installed by ADT Glasgow in Edinburgh's new Spire Shawfair Park Hospital to secure patients, visitors and the state-of-the-art medical equipment at the hospital. The system provides the hospital with an integrated access control, alarm-processing and photo-badging arrangement.

Spire Shawfair Park Hospital is a new hospital in the east of Scotland and is part of Spire Healthcare — a leading provider of private health care with 36 hospitals throughout the U.K., employing 7,600 individuals and treating more than 930,000 patients a year. As a new modern hospital facility with the latest medical equipment, Spire Shawfair Park Hospital provides a range of private day care services to patients across Scotland.

The management software comes with many security applications, with Spire Shawfair Park Hospital particularly favoring the ID-badging application. The ID-badging application allows the hospital to print and design its own personalized access cards, while providing the ability to divide card holders into access groups, including day surgery, X-ray, accident and emergency, and hospital porters. This ensures only authorized individuals have access to certain areas.

The software also includes the alarm event display (AED) application. AED responds to all alarm situations in real time, providing a dynamic on-screen interface to external systems such as surveillance. Spire Shawfair Park Hospital can use this application to alert security personnel if an alarm is triggered or a door forced. Security at the hospital can act on this alarm immediately to ensure staff and patients are kept safe, and restricted areas are kept secure.

With the management system successfully installed, Spire Shawfair Park Hospital now has secure entrance points, where smart card technology ID badges are issued to control accessible and inaccessible areas in the facility.


GE HealthCare Selects UTC Fire & Security for Integrated Security Access
GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services through medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient-monitoring systems, performance improvement, drug discovery and biopharmaceutical manufacturing. Headquartered in the U.K., GE Healthcare employs more than 46,000 people worldwide committed to serving health care professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries.

GE Healthcare's main facility in Italy, covering 6,920 square meters over four floors with 430 employees, was moved into a new building. This building was in need of tighter security matching GE's global security outlook. Looking at the security approach of GE's facilities around the world, there was a specific need to expand the current system with integrated access control and video surveillance. GE Healthcare turned to UTC Fire & Security to provide the solution.

GE Healthcare's new security system is based on UTC Fire & Security's integrated security platform. This enables significant integration between access control, video surveillance and other building management systems. The Italian headquarters building is equipped with 40 strategically placed day/night cameras connected to three DVRs, 14 door readers and 50 magnetic door locks. The magnetic door locks in combination with badge readers control the opening and closing of doors and act as a basic intrusion detection system, triggering alarms when doors are forced or opened without authorization.

The integrated security system links access control and video surveillance, making it possible to crossmatch events. As a result, when a specific action occurs a door is opened, forced or access is denied — the video footage of that event is stored automatically on one of the DVRs. The main server in the central control room also manages identical security systems in GE Healthcare's local offices in Rome, Bologna, Turin, Naples and Mestre. With this system, no unauthorized action goes undetected, enabling business operations in a secure environment.

Security Industry Dynamics: April Came in with a Roar but Went out with a Whimper

Security Industry Dynamics: April Came in with a Roar but Went out with a Whimper

Editor / Provider: Submitted by Memoori Business Intelligence | Updated: 5/5/2011 | Article type: Hot Topics

The first quarter results analyzed on Memoori, a site providing information involved in security industry, entitled “The Physical Security Industry in 15 Minutes” showed that both consolidation and investment had slowed down significantly. In the first quarter of this year the number of acquisitions was 20-percent down on the same period of 2010 when Tyco made a US$2 billion acquisition of Broadview Security.

This was a disappointing start to 2011, but Reuters broke the news that Schneider Electric was mulling the possibility of acquiring Tyco International. This startling news opened up the possibility of realizing a $30-billion deal, by far the biggest ever in this industry; having major implications particularly for the other suppliers in the distribution chain.

Within days every analyst and pundit had reviewed the implications from all angles most commenting that this daring strategy could work but that it was risky. Schneider quelled speculation that the company was exploring acquiring Tyco International, saying it prefers smaller deals and that there would be no large scale transaction in 2011.

There can be no doubt that Schneider had been taking a serious look at this potential acquisition but the shareholders and financial community did not like it and the board have been forced to call a halt. The risk is that this acquisition would have stretched their finances too far, which overruled the strategic benefits of driving their security business to the top of the league while at the same time providing them with a global market leading fire safety business. Both of these businesses have proved to be robust and have grown during the world recession.

So strategically this is an opportunity lost, for Tyco would fit in well with Schneider's existing security / safety structure. There is no duplication with Tyco's Fire Detection & Extinguishing business and surprisingly little overlap with their physical security business. Schneider's strength is in the video camera surveillance market in the commercial sector acquired through its purchase of Pelco in 2008 and has a strong business in systems integration through a number of acquisitions that made up Tour Andover Controls. Tyco through the ADT operation is strongest in the residential market and Schneider does not play in that market apart from low-voltage equipment.

The residential market for security is expected to play a major role in bringing together home area networks, energy management and its interface with the automatic metering infrastructure a rapidly growing part of the smart grid. This new business would offer very significant longer term prospects for organic growth.

[NextPage]Had Tyco come into play then it is highly likely that Schneider would have had to fight off Honeywell Security, Siemens Building Technologies and UTC Fire & Security, but all of these companies have a major overlap in both fire and security. While that does not obviously rule them out they would need to divest a significant part of this business in order to make the acquisition commercially viable. The deal would therefore be less attractive to them. In addition, Honeywell and Siemens would have been scrutinized by the European Commission with regard to market share implications in the fire detection market.

It would appear that Tyco would not be adverse to a merger or acquisition so expect more rumors in the next nine months.

There were no major deals this month but Tyco (ADT Security) scored again with the purchase of Proximex, a PSIM supplier; following last month's purchase of Signature Security which they purchased from Oceania Capital Partners Limited for $171 million.

April recorded two major investments, but as always alliance arrangements continued to be buoyant with some nine identified, bringing the total number to 33 for the first four months of this year.

The most encouraging feature of the business is reflected in the financial performance of security players. The fourth quarter 2010 and first quarter 2011 financial announcements made recently show for the most part revenues and profitability well up on the same quarter of 2010 and the full year outperforming 2009. With almost all anticipating improved trading conditions in 2011, it looks as though revenues and profitability will improve on 2010.

The star performers in 2010 include Axis Communications, Mobotix, Basler, China Security & Surveillance, Authentec and Bio-Key, despite the fact that their fourth quarter was well down on 2009. These companies are very specialist and perform in the high growth areas of the business and / or strong in geographic markets that performed well in 2010.

Tyco, Honeywell and Siemens all increased both profitability and growth and are bullish about 2011. Cooper and Ingersoll Rand similarly increased their growth and profitability, whist Bosch Security Systems returned to profitability on increased sales.

With trading conditions looking buoyant and the drivers that accelerated consolidation and investment in 2010 still well in place we expect that the slowdown of acquisitions and funding in the first four months of 2011 does not indicate in anyway a correction but is just a short term deviation and 1 major acquisition would bring consolidation well back on course.

From Vision to Reality Turning Convergence Into Real Business Value

From Vision to Reality Turning Convergence Into Real Business Value

Editor / Provider: Submitted by Siemens Building Technologies | Updated: 5/5/2011 | Article type: Hot Topics

Productivity and cost optimization, risk management, compliance, business continuity and sustainability are key objectives of corporations worldwide. Anand Mecheri, CMO of Siemens Building Technologies, examines the consequences of convergence of physical systems with IT and among safety, security and building management systems.

Solutions for safety, security and energy efficiency today are still largely implemented and managed separately. Over time, these solutions are expected to converge and interact with other business systems to deliver a value that is far greater than the functions they individually deliver.

Convergence started with building system backbones integrating into the IT infrastructure. But convergence is not just that. The end state with convergence will be when the customer has a seamless view of his business with collaboration among the underlying processes to achieve continuous improvements to productivity and reduction of costs and risks. There are several consequences for the industry.

Many of the control devices (the automation layer in a system) have evolved into generic IP edge devices running applications to manage building services.

● Open and standardized communication protocols between the control equipment and management stations over an IP network are becoming a reality.

● Management stations are increasingly open to interface with business systems using standard IT protocols such as LDAP, XML, TCP, HTTP and Web services.

● New services, such as hosted/remote access management, virtual guard tours, integrated mass notification and incident management, remote energy monitoring and remote services for building performance optimization, are all in some way driven or influenced by convergence.

Simplified system architectures would mean lower life cycle costs and TCO driven by backbone infrastructure, flexibility and investment protection. With standardization and eventually the potential to have vendorindependent control equipment under a common management system, the customer can upgrade the systems without ripping out everything. This was also the key value driver for the IT revolution in the 1990s.

The ability to leverage on remote services over the Web will be of great benefit for customers to obtain professional services without having to build up premisebased capability, which is more difficult and more expensive. The ability to seamlessly integrate building services with other business systems will open new capabilities hitherto not visualized in the areas of facility management, energy efficiency, energy management, convenience and enhanced security.

[NextPage]Converged solutions will also support enterprise risk management; this includes compliance with various regulatory requirements, such as those laid down in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Basel II.

The convergence of the physical and logical worlds is already here. Security and safety solutions are increasingly deployed on IT networks. Several open standards have already been published, especially in video surveillance and access control. Enterprise security is being jointly addressed across the physical and logical domains. IT network events are getting monitored by the physical security applications and vice versa. An integrated identity management approach at enterprise level is readily available.

Similarly, solutions for smart grids require demand response capability to be implemented in buildings with communication over the Web based on open protocols. Remote and hosted services are already available. Integration of physical systems with IT systems for provisioning, change management, case tracking, predictive energy planning and sustainability reporting is all available today, in varying degrees of maturity. Thus, convergence has in fact already permeated to many of the building disciplines.

The convergence of safety and security is a growing chapter within the convergence story. Traditionally, the two systems have been integrated to address scenarios arising from a fire alarm, such as opening accesscontrolled doors to allow for unhindered evacuation or closing fire doors to compartmentalize the zone of fire. Safety and security systems today are increasingly converging to common management stations to address further needs for intelligent (incident) response, such as in situational awareness and evacuation planning.

Managing incidents requires well-structured processes driven by site-specific workflows. Only such an approach can provide us with the assurance that every incident is well-managed from a response point of view. Reduction of complexity, unified command and control, standardization of policies and procedures, and logical user interfaces and workflows that reflect the scenario are implemented to manage incidents more efficiently. This results in improved accountability and assurance

Effective response starts with gathering requirements and defining scenarios. Then, determine the availability of resources and their preparedness to manage each scenario. This is followed by creating situational awareness from several sources, such as convergence of alarms and events from subsystems, or receiving emergency calls. Then, communicate to first responders on a converged communication platform. Next, alert building occupants who may be impacted and give them appropriate directions.

The signaling in buildings should be available on multiple media, including PCs, LEDs or video screens, PDAs, and dissemination of information via text messaging or email. Additionally, you need to provide decision support and make a common platform available to share the status, protocol/process, decisions and actions. Last but not least, an effective solution requires the implementation of the process and capability to gather feedback on incident progress to have a corrective, closed-loop process that enables the response to be adapted dynamically and in real time.

Disaster recovery strategies should encompass business continuity as much as sustainability. Disaster recovery demands ensuring integrity of configuration/master data and restoration of the defined functionality in the quickest possible time. When a site recovers from an incident, the security, fire and automation systems also need to be restored to ensure the operational parameters are restored to support operations. The systems also need to ensure that the site is not exposed to a greater risk than what existed before the incident, including risks to the sustainability processes and initiatives that were in place prior to the event.

The industry must adapt to this environment. The opportunities to enhance customer benefits can only be achieved with the addition of required skill sets in the design and development of the solution which will now extend beyond its conventional realms. We need to gain a better understanding of the processes that we can now start influencing and building solutions that address them. We will also need to develop competencies for a consultative sales process. The IT skills required for system integration will also be higher. New services will need to be developed and productized.

Some end customers are still relunctant to buy into “integrated and converged solutions,” due to the perceived higher costs; the value add is not fully understood. To provide complete control over all processes that affect business continuity, operational costs, productivity and sustainability, investment into building technologies must move from a cost center perspective to being a business enabler. We will continue to embrace and drive this change, including development of standards that takes convergence into account.

Siemens Access Control System Operated by Danish Power Generator

Siemens Access Control System Operated by Danish Power Generator

Editor / Provider: Siemens Building Technologies | Updated: 4/13/2011 | Article type: Government & Public Services

Siemens has built a working relationship with DONG Energy, Denmark's largest power generator. Having delivered a number of diverse projects for the company, the recent has seen Siemens work with DONG to establish one common access control system across all of the company's 85 sites throughout Denmark.

Producing more than 50 percent of Denmark's power and approximately 40 percent of its heat, DONG is one of the energy companies in Northern Europe. Its business is based on producing, distributing and selling energy and energy-related products through traditional power plants and wind farms, not only in Denmark but also in the U.K., the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Poland and France, as well as through hydroelectric plants in Sweden. The company employs around 6,000 personnel mostly working at its Danish sites.

DONG believes that maintaining a good working environment and a high level of safety for employees and suppliers is a prerequisite for operating a healthy and efficient business. This corporate responsibility being an integral part of its values and vision, the company requires all staff to undergo a safety and security certification course for each of its sites at which they work or visit. This attitude was the major driving force behind a move to improve the access control systems deployed at the 85 sites in its homeland, though the initiative also addressed recommendations made by the Danish authorities that regularly monitor security and safety at Denmark's critical infrastructure facilities.

As a result, DONG Energy determined to establish a common access control system across all of its sites in Denmark to increase the security level and to ensure easy access for all employees to centralized and decentralized power plants, city stations and office buildings alike. DONG placed the order with Siemens for the multisite access control system specified by its own facility management team. The contract was duly completed on schedule and all DONG Energy employees are able to use the same card to access all sites anywhere in the country. The project included not only implementation of new systems and the replacement of old, third-party systems, but also the facility to interface with DONG's system application & products system for exporting human resources data.

The new Siemens access control system provides freedom of movement for thousands of employees in a secure environment at numerous locations scattered throughout Denmark. It is flexible, scalable and easy to use and in its entirety comprises 6,000 contactless smart cards and proximity cards, 79 door controllers, 617 readers or proximity coupling devices and four printers. The system is also installed in smaller substations and office buildings throughout Denmark and has the capability for future expansion into other international locations.

The central controllers of the access control system play a crucial role, as they are the interface between the integrated software and the field-level devices. Two types of controllers are installed, which work in tandem on the same site. Communication between all the controllers in the system takes place peer-to-peer, independent of the server. So if connection to the server should be interrupted, operation of the system is unaffected.

Following the successful implementation of the access control system, Siemens was also awarded the service contract for three years.

DONG Energy is aiming to be a major international supplier to the whole of Northern Europe. The company has approximately 70 current licenses for research of oil and gas and is undertaking drilling activities in the Danish and Norwegian part of the North Sea.

Smarten Up Security in Green Buildings

Smarten Up Security in Green Buildings

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 4/13/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Smart or green buildings are multilayered integration projects, with security playing a vital part in building management for safety. These building projects worldwide offer the security industry new business opportunities while driving technological advancements for energy efficient and intelligent products.

With a growing awareness of environmental issues and the availability of advanced technologies, smart or green buildings have become a fast growing trend, leading to a booming vertical. “Generally there is more awareness of green initiatives and the threats posed by environmental degradation,” observed Terence Lee, Regional Director for APAC System Integration Business, Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies. “We see a growing trend that end users are becoming more active in driving the effort to help sustain the environment. Everyone is talking about environmental sustainability and it has become a core value for many contemporary organizations.”

A reliable physical security system, comprised of energy efficient surveillance and access control products, is an important component of a successful building management system in smart and green building projects. Industry experts contribute the average budget for security in intelligent buildings to a maximum of 5 percent of the total construction cost, said Theodore Bier, President of T.M. Bier & Associates. “The average budget is still relatively small compared to the total construction cost,” said Vincentius Liong, Director of Integrated Security System Solutions, Elektrodata Sistem Integrasi. “The cost of security systems is on average 1 to 2 percent or even smaller of the total construction cost.” Despite this observation, the importance of a resilient security system within a smart/green building should not be taken lightly, as business opportunities abound.

A recent report published by McGraw-Hill Construction, titled “Green Outlook 2011: Green Trends Driving Growth,” states the US green building market increased 50 percent in value from 2008 to 2010 — despite the effects of the recession. This translates to growth from US$42 billion to potentially $71 billion, comprising around 25 percent of all new construction activities in 2010. According to projections, the green building market is expected to reach $135 billion by 2015. “Smart and green building requirements are coming from multiple locations, with the most from North America and Europe, based on what we have observed,” said Ryan Hughson, PM at Delta Controls.

In “Energy Efficient Buildings in Europe,” published by Pike Research, ongoing greening efforts in Europe were mandated for all new building construction. Major renovations must meet nearly-zero energy standards by the end of 2020 — 2018 is the earlier deadline for public buildings. Pike Research found the largest European markets for green buildings are Germany and France; in fact, the combined market of the rest of Europe, including Eastern Europe and Russia, is comparable to the market of either Germany or France. When looking at Europe's long-term plans, the green building market is moving from gestation to the growth phase.

In APAC, awareness for smart/ green buildings is picking up faster than before, triggered by global warming. “Large companies and corporations in Indonesia have taken the lead in promoting the trend of smart/green buildings and energy efficiency/energy saving in sustainable buildings to cut energy costs, optimize building efficiency and improve holistic company image,” Liong said. “It is hard to get exact numbers at this point on the market size, but we estimate that it will be large enough in the next 10 years and offer growth potential above average when compared to other industries, achieving as high as 20 to 30 percent growth annually.”

[NextPage]Also in APAC, Pike Research found retrofitting projects are becoming the more cost-effective approach, as the cost of new constructions increases. Developers and building owners will be inclined to reinvest in and upgrade existing facilities, allowing for the latest technologies to be incorporated and used.

“There is greater push for green building projects in emerging markets as seen in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America,” said Peter Boriskin, Director of Product Management, UTC Fire & Security. “New buildings and infrastructure retrofitting projects will provide opportunities for the industry. From both building management and security management perspectives, new technologies help to reduce TCO as well.”

Security products used for intelligent buildings regard energy conservation with utmost importance. “The goal of products that target the smart/green building vertical is to greatly reduce energy costs while improving the user experience,” said David Wilts, Director of Integrated Building Technology, Crestron Electronics. “Our preferred approach is to address all of a building owner's needs by integrating the ‘conditional logic' of the following systems: lighting, shades, HVAC, AV, security, scheduling (Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Domino or others) and energy monitoring.”

For smart buildings, integration can be made easier with multiple products. “For instance, Ethernetcapable field-level controllers enable system designers to create a flat architecture, which eliminates the pain of integration with multiple levels of communication,” Hughson said. “It is beneficial not only for reducing the amount of system knowledge a person needs to work with a network, but minimizes logistical concerns for integrating with components in harder-to-reach areas.”

“We have developed wireless controllers for much the same reason,” Hughson added. “We have one IP network that allows one to move seamlessly throughout the network and jump off into wireless for difficult-to-install locations. We want to avoid the strains by creating a network that fits the design of a building.”

Similarly, using Power over Ethernet reduces the number of wires that must be strung for the network, leading to reduced cost, less downtime and greater flexibility in installation compared with traditional wiring, Lee said.

“Typical indoor motion sensors are simple binary switches indicating motion or no motion, and such sensors have a long-standing history of certain basic and unavoidable operational flaws, such as false motion detections from movement around but not in the room and changes in airflow from cyclic operation of HVAC systems,” said Francis Létourneau, Sales Director for Lyrtech. “Typical motion sensors don't account for the type of objects, such as a person versus a plant,or the time the objects remain in the monitored area. They are also incapable of tracking objects while they are in the monitored area and incapable of compensating for the number of objects in the monitored area, something vital in HVAC control.”

By combining video analytics and motion detection technologies, an intelligent occupancy sensor (IOS) would be able to determine both the type and number of objects in a single room accurately. “A substantial portion of the IOS's interfaces is integrated to the onboard DSP and it benefits from a relatively small FPGA and generic components, which makes the total cost of incorporating the IOS into a manufactured solution quite low for a device of its kind,” Létourneau added.

In the past, physical security for buildings would be a later addition to the master plan, yet security design nowadays is brought early into the building lifecycle depending on the degree of security focus and complexity of the building, said Dave Bartlett, VP of Smarter Buildings, IBM. When included in the beginning, system integrators (SIs) would be able to take advantage of this opportunity for easier work later on during actual installation, Boriskin said.

While construction sites need to be under video surveillance for property theft, highly sensitive buildings require extensive background checks with proper identity and access management for construction and maintenance workers, Bartlett said. “Developers and building management teams need t o consider electronic surveillance equipment and networks, camera vantage points, conduits, seals and tamper resistance for electronic cables and trays. This requires the building developer community to consider security design alongside architectural drawings. Successful security implementations rely on the philosophy of ‘defense-indepth,' so there ought to be multiple layers of security enforcement and management for both the physical and logical realms.”

The intelligent and energy-efficient aspects of a green building each pose different integration challenges. “A smart building is designed from the ground up with interoperability in mind, but the intention of integration is not enough,” Hughson explained. “When integrators get to site and begin working with the hundreds of peripherals that make up this organism, it will come down to the small choices about how these components act on the network. Are components sensitive to the bandwidth and security requirements of the site? Are components flexible enough to allow for diverse integration with rigidly designed products? Are components simple enough to configure that time won't be wasted in needless configuration? These considerations create a fulcrum that must be balanced for the smooth implementation of a smart building.”

“The success of a green building lies in the engineering,” Hughson continued. “Tools must be designed to support the knowledge of the technician on-site. Feedback information from the system needs to be simple to understand but detailed enough to provide value. Living data is needed because no matter how well-advanced the planning of constructing a building, all the pieces will not interact until after the building is in place.”

The various building functions are made available in the construction stage to connect different technologies under a central management system. Traditionally there is a lack of coordination between security staff and other divisions, based on the nature of security work, Bier said. In order for the building to operate smoothly, effective communication between different systems is much needed.

“Intelligent buildings incorporate building automation together with security and fire safety systems to enhance the user experience while minimizing operational costs,” said Anand Mecheri, CMO of Siemens Building Technologies. “Integration of energy metering and power quality in a building greatly supports these goals.”

[NextPage]“Building automation, electrical power distribution systems, lighting systems, fire safety and security systems are generally not ordered at the same point of time. The planners/technical consultants who design these systems for the developer are also not the same. Therefore, there is a situation where different systems that need to talk to each other to create a homogeneous, intelligent environment are designed by different people, tendered at different points in time in the construction program and awarded to different suppliers who may not be able to deliver an integrated value proposition,” Mecheri said.

As green building projects cross the boundaries of different business cycles and company specialties, there is a great organizational challenge posed for these projects, Boriskin said. “It is rather difficult to ask different groups of people to work together and to understand each other's business, yet organizational convergence is crucial for these businesses to work together. Even when the top management team pushes for more efficiency from top down, getting these groups to work together is challenging.”

In order to have a holistically integrated system, higher-level management software is needed to connect the building automation system (BAS) and security system through a standards-based approach, allowing them to speak the same language, Boriskin said. “The ideal situation is that end users are able to pick a protocol that everyone can utilize and communicate with. A helpful way to overcome communication barriers might be adopting network standards, computer standards, XML and Web services as industry standards, based on an internationally unified set of standards, for easier integration, although this has yet to be established.”

In addition, the lack of awareness, education and technical knowledge of building managers and owners on the full features and capabilities of BAS might lead to conservative cost considerations, which often influence the scalability of the BAS installed. “Most usually regard the budget of BAS as the last priority of the whole building construction cost,” Liong said. “Whenever necessary, at the end of the construction project they can easily cut down the budget of a proposed BAS to the lowest minimum and downgrade the specification requirement without considering the lesser functions of the installed BAS later on.”

To facilitate smooth integration of different systems into one BAS, having an integrated building technology project manager would lead to successful project completion, Wilts said.

Building subsystems are largely analog, even for newer recordholding skyscrapers like the Burj Khalifa and Taipei 101. However, more smart buildings are adopting an IP-based backbone as technology continues to advance, Bier said.

In fact, the convergence of analogand IP-based security systems is noticed in newer smart/green building projects. The ideal approach blends the two technologies with the backbone infrastructure all over the IP network, Wilts said. “Adoption of IP and IT networks as the backbone for building systems helps in minimizing engineering and deployment challenges for new buildings and for existing retrofit applications,” Mecheri said. “For example, deploying an analog video solution in an existing building presents a massive challenge of dedicated cabling to be retrofitted. Alternatively, utilizing existing data points to bridge analog video into the IP network is the most practical way to retrofit a surveillance system into an existing building.”

“Traditional analog systems are acceptable for small sites, but scalability is limited when deployed on larger sites,” Boriskin explained. “With an IP-based approach, protocols that live with security and building management systems would be able to intercommunicate better and faster. With an IP solution, the number of hardware devices gets reduced and SIs would be able to scale the system appropriately to the size of the site.”

Currently implemented network types, like Multiple Spanning Tree Protocol, have been around for 15 years or more already, Hughson said. “While it is probable that these networks will continue to be installed in the short-term, it is important to consider the rising demand for live data and the strain that is placed on a network. IP presents a great deal more longevity when considering what the network needs five years from now.”

Physical Security Consolidation and Funding Slowed Down in 2011 Q1

Physical Security Consolidation and Funding Slowed Down in 2011 Q1

Editor / Provider: Submitted by Memoori Business Intelligence | Updated: 4/7/2011 | Article type: Hot Topics

Despite marginal growth and a lack luster financial performance by suppliers across the industry in 2010, consolidation increased by 75 percent on its 2009 figure that had already picked up from its precipitous fall in 2008. Similarly new investment in the supply side also increased rapidly in 2010. So with a forecast improvement in trading conditions it was naturally assumed that the trend in both consolidation and investment would continue its upward trend in 2011 and beyond.

The first quarter results analyzed in the monthly Executive Brief “The Physical Security Industry in 15 Minutes” show that both consolidation and investment has slowed down significantly. In the first quarter of this year the number of acquisitions is 20-percent down on the same period of 2010 when Tyco made a US$2 billion acquisition of Broadview Security. The number of investments has halved compared with the same period of 2010.

Allan McHale, Director of Memoori, predicted at the beginning of this year that this high rate of consolidation would continue for a few years because the major suppliers absented themselves from the dealing tables in 2010, announcing that they will be active in 2011 and companies from the Defense and IT & Communications industries were expected to continue making forays into the security industry.

The drivers that accelerated the consolidation and investment process in 2010 are still very much in place. Technologies such as wireless, SaaS, network cameras, video management analytics and HDcctv are rapidly gaining market share and opening up new business opportunities.

IP networks whether for access control, intruder alarms or video surveillance are on the verge of a long strong run. Through these factors and IT convergence, the fundamental goal of achieving the buyer's ROI is becoming a reality. The defense- and IT-related companies entered the security business because of its proven robustness during the recession and the fact that it provides opportunities to leverage their high technology, which has not changed.

In the first quarter alarm monitoring acquisitions continued to make a major contribution to the consolidation process and it's expected to continue, driven by the basic need to consolidate this fragmented sector. In addition the players here want to pursue the opportunity that is opening up through integration of the different security services delivered through SaaS which is enabling a much more comprehensive and cost-effective service to both residential and commercial customers.

The most notable sale in the first quarter of this year was the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Infinova. This US-based company listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in January and got a much higher valuation than it would have got in the western world. Some 37 million shares were issued at $8.2/share, yielding a value of about $306 million.

[NextPage]Within days its price reached an all time high of $9.5 per share raising its value to $357 million, which for a $57 million revenue company (2009) with annual growth running around 20 percent over the last two years is a very high valuation. However its valuation is approximately $243 million.

In January 2010, HikVision, a company having annual sales in 2009 of $300 million and solely serving the Chinese market listed on the same exchange and raised $500 million making an exit sales ratio of valuation 1.66 and an EBITDA ratio of 4.4 which is far from being highly rated. So it would appear that within a year the Chinese security market has moved up a gear or two and this will inspire western companies to take a serious look at floating on the China Stock Exchange. Not surprisingly China based, China Security Systems Technology (CSST) listed on the NYSE but based in China is unhappy with its current valuation and is looking to go private.

The most interesting deal this month was Tyco's purchase of Signature Security Group for $171 million. Tyco intends to combine Signature Security's Australian and New Zealand operations with its ADT Security business under the ADT name. Signature Security is a provider of electronic security services in Australia and New Zealand, providing security installation and monitoring services. This deal looks a strategic fit with ADT business, providing increased scale and attractive operating synergies.

Alliances in the first quarter numbered 24 compared with 23 in the same quarter of last year, so this is at least one area that is still very buoyant.

So how is the financial performance of security players standing up? The fourth quarter financial announcements made recently show for the most part revenues and profitability well up on the same quarter of 2010 and the full year outperforming 2009. With almost all anticipating improved trading conditions in 2011 it looks as though revenues and profitability will improve on 2010.

The star performers in 2010 include Axis Communications, Mobotix, Basler, China Security & Surveillance, Authentec and Bio-Key, despite the fact that their fourth quarter was well down on 2009. These companies are very specialist and perform in the high growth areas of the business and are strong in geographic markets that performed well in 2010.

Tyco, Honeywell and Siemens all increased both profitability and growth and are bullish about 2011. Cooper and Ingersoll Rand similarly increased their growth and profitability, whist Bosch returned to profitability on increased sales.

With trading conditions looking buoyant and the drivers that accelerated consolidation and investment in 2010 still well in place we believe that the slowdown of acquisitions and funding in the first quarter of 2011 does not indicate in anyway a change of course but is just a short-term deviation. This industry will not buck the trend much longer for global merger and acquisition activity is well up on the same quarter of last year. Listings activity has been the highest on record so far this year, with firms raising a total of $24 billion from IPOs. Interestingly Asia, which dominated equity capital markets in 2010, continued to lead the field, with China accounting for 41 percent of issuance.

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Middle East Market Update: Siemens Building Technologies

Middle East Market Update: Siemens Building Technologies

Editor / Provider: Hayden Hsu | Updated: 3/31/2011 | Article type: Hot Topics

With so much talk on integration and IP, the Middle East is probably one of the few places in the world that brings out the best qualities of the two in real-life installations. Aside from Dubai, the rest of the United Arab Emirates is booming with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman in infrastructural development and greenfield commercial projects. While market potential is tremendous, challenges surrounding market access and talent management remain. a&s talks to some of the most active players in the region to find out what's ticking in the region after the 2009 financial crisis and economic slowdown.

Siemens Building Technologies

As a global security solutions provider, we bring a lot of experience and best practices to the Middle East. Over many years, we have also built up strong local teams which I am convinced are among our most capable people worldwide. The countless greenfield projects in the region often demand the latest technologies, which are usually one or even two generations ahead of typical projects we see in other parts of the world. Consequently, the required skill sets are very different; we employ IT specialists and engineers rather than people that can only install controllers or cameras.

One big issue we do face in the region is a typical Catch-22 situation: How does one specify the newest systems and technologies when there are still no existing reference projects using these advanced technologies? Luckily, our global community of experts is very capable of adapting novel solutions, sharing expertise globally and solving complex problems at a very fast pace. While some competitors still discuss classic video and access control systems with customers, we are discussing the latest IP-based solutions, including comprehensive security management with integrated command-and -control capabilities. Our customers no longer want proprietary, closed, single-discipline systems, but truly valuable situational awareness, through integration with subsystems, as well as decision support.

In a highly volatile market with great potential, a successful solutions provider can only differentiate itself by maintaining excellent customer relationships through providing exceptional services, delivering on promises and providing complete, interoperable, cutting-edge solutions.

Two I's Facilitate Entry into the Middle East

Two I's Facilitate Entry into the Middle East

Editor / Provider: Hayden Hsu | Updated: 3/31/2011 | Article type: Hot Topics

With so much talk on integration and IP, the Middle East is probably one of the few places in the world that brings out the best qualities of the two in real-life installations. Aside from Dubai, the rest of the United Arab Emirates is booming with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman in infrastructural development and greenfield commercial projects. While market potential is tremendous, challenges surrounding market access and talent management remain. a&s talks to some of the most active players in the region to find out what's ticking in the region after the 2009 financial crisis and economic slowdown.

The recent youth-inspired uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa appear to be spreading as Tunisia and Egypt became catalysts for a broader phenomenon of change. Protests have occurred in a growing number of countries in the region, from Algeria and Morocco in the west to Bahrain and Yemen in the east, attesting to the significance and necessity of both public and private investments in security and safety measures as the implications have now affected the global economy, to say the least.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had announced financial-support measures, worth an estimated US$36 billion, in a bid to avert the kind of popular unrest that has toppled leaders across the region and is now closing in on Libya's Muammer Gaddafi, reported the Financial Times. The cash-rich Saudi government has also pledged to spend $400 billion by the end of 2014 to improve education, infrastructure and health care. The discussions on security infrastructure that A&S had with various manufacturers, distributors and system integrators at Intersec Dubai now seem uncannily timely in retrospect, and are summarized below.

Rising Needs
The Middle Eastern and African region is comprised of more than one billion people, and the average age is relatively low compared to mature markets, which drives a growing need for infrastructure such as power, water and utilities, education and other basic civil infrastructure, said Jurgen Timperman, Regional GM for the Middle East and Africa, UTC Fire & Security (UTCFS). “The oil and gas industry continues to boom across the region, and in addition, the area is rich in natural resources like gold, silver and minerals, further driving investments, development of these resources and overall business.” Aside from oil and gas, tailored solutions for many other verticals are offered, ranging from smaller applications such as residential, retail and banking, to hotels and all the way to critical infrastructure, transportation, aviation, health care, education and city surveillance. “Our customers care about protecting their people, their assets and investments. The 2008 and 2009 financial crisis has not changed this,” Timperman said.

Bosch Security Systems is back on track as well, with double-digit growth coming from airports, seaports, traffic and road monitoring, city centers, multipurpose arenas/stadiums, hospitals and universities, said Olaf Zeissig, Regional Manager.

“Demand for integrated video/access control systems and management software is particularly strong from citywide surveillance, housing authorities, airports and many greenfield projects,” said Michel Chalouhi, Director of Product Management at Genetec. “For these types of projects, we have to be very selective of our integration and installation partners, as we don't want to flood the channel while a lot of hand-holding is still required.“

Aside from the city surveillance and transportation sectors, Axis Communications is actively involved in the financial, retail and education verticals, especially in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, said Baraa al Akkad, Regional Manager. “Although a lot of large-scale projects were put on hold in 2009, everything picked back up in 2010, and I'm talking about some good-size projects, even in momentarily cash-strapped Dubai.”

In addition to the obvious boom in the public space, midsized projects in the corporate and commercial space are also recovering, said Mohammed Zaheer, Division Manager for Business Connection. “About 70 percent of new installs, be it video surveillance or access control, go directly for IP because end users want end-to-end, connected solutions.” For 2011, growth of at least 15 to 20 percent was projected by Zaheer.

Industry estimates show the product split as 46 percent (with a larger IP portion compared to mature markets) on video, 20 percent on fire detection and alarm, and the rest split between intrusion detection and access control, according to Timperman. Sources indicated that the regional market for IP-based surveillance hardware alone could be as much as $200 to $300 million a year.

“Typical Gulf mentality is such that specifications for government or other large-scale projects like oil/gas can only be met by larger US or European brands, whereas specifications for smaller, private projects can be met by Asian brands,” said Ali Boussi, Business Development Manager at Business Automation and Security Systems. Awareness is on the rise, though, and many vendors are closing the gap between the two “classes” by launching fuller, newer product lines.

Such sweeping changes have also been noticed by Panasonic Marketing. “To say that competition is tough is an understatement. Three years ago, we only had to fight with US and European brands, but now players like CNB and Hikvision are also competing bids with us,” said Noriyuki Hayashi, Sales and Marketing Manager for System Solutions in the Middle East. Ability to deliver quality-assured, total turnkey solutions in a cost-effective and timely manner is now a key differentiator. With its local engineers and merger synergy with Sanyo, the company can quickly target sectors such as government/ commercial buildings, universities and hotels in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which account for 70 percent of its business in the region.

Aside from adopting cutting-edge hardware, an “IT” mindset also needs to be instilled. “The industry still needs to learn a little bit as the full potential and opportunities of IT, such as service and maintenance models, are not seized,” said Peter Biltsted, Sales Director for the Middle East, Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand, Milestone Systems. “People need assurances if your solutions are used at critical infrastructure like government buildings, airports, seaports, power plants and military bases. IT people are good at these, and we are an IT company in the security space.” More than 50 percent of growth was estimated as the various regional conflicts continue to unfold and large-scale projects continue to pull through.

Another issue raised by many was cultural issues — a side effect from how consumer electronics are usually distributed in the region. “A lot of resellers here only want exclusives,” said Hidenori Taguchi, Head of Marketing for B2B Products and Solutions, Sony Professional Solutions. “On the other hand, we would like to see the IT/networking and security channels compete more to grow the market. The project-based nature of most installations also means working with system integrators more closely, which explains the limited number of distributors and resellers you see on the show floor.” For Sony and many others, devising, incorporating, fostering and increasing solution-based business (rather than silo products) will be one of the most important objectives and challenges for the many years to come.

Other product groups of focus include homeland security, as reported by the Homeland Security Research Corporation that spending on homeland security in the UAE alone is expected to double from roughly $5.5 billion to $10 billion in the next few years.

[NextPage]Shiny Stars
In the Middle East and Africa, UTCFS products are used in most countries. “Securing the Abraj Al-Bait Towers hotel and the Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Saudi Arabia are two examples,” Timperman said. “Airports like Rafic Hariri International in Beirut and retail spaces such as the Dubai Mall rely on our fire products. Additionally, we offer integrated security solutions for Toyota Plaza in Bahrain and the Amiri Diwan in Qatar, to name a few.”

For Honeywell Security, top markets include Saudi Arabia, Libya, Qatar, Oman, the UAE and Turkey, with the entire region growing at roughly 25 to 30 percent, said Wisam Yaghmour, Regional Sales Director.

Saudi Arabia is likely to remain the biggest market in the region for security equipment and technology for the foreseeable future. Security concerns run very high, not the least because of a series of terrorist attacks some years ago against business infrastructure and residential compounds. Significant efforts and resources have been expended to protect universities, hospitals and critical infrastructure for the production and transportation of oil/gas, according to the US Commercial Service.

The various theme parks under construction, sporting or crowd-drawing events like the FIFA 2022, and high-end establishments that require at least 300 cameras per site will help Bosch grow exponentially in the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain, Zeissig said.

Even in smaller markets like Jordan and Syria, Milestone is doing much better than in 2009 and early 2010, with strong rapport with the local governments, military forces and police.

Quantum Leaps
The most noticeable change in the Middle Eastern security landscape is the pace of change. “Three to four years ago, education was severely lacking,” Zeissig recalled. “Now, most of our channel partners can troubleshoot network issues.”

Honeywell has also witnessed something similar. “We only sell to the right integrators that are knowledgeable, IP-savvy and trained,” Yaghmour said. “End users are getting smarter; they know exactly what they want technically. You need to ensure absolutely seamless integration that optimizes your customers' investments and the value adds of your solutions. When your customers have faith in you, orders will keep rolling in from future referrals or projects.”

For manufacturers like Axis, training sessions are held at their academies or offices every month. “Regular hands-on practice makes it easier to converge,” al Akkad said. “While education is one of our strengths, it is also one of our challenges in continuing to drive the shift to and growth in IP. So, we also educate our partners to listen to user and market needs and feed back to the R&D team for more quality and reliable products.”

There are also niche players that fill in the missing pieces in the IP supply chain — another sign that the market is rapidly approaching maturity. “We specialize in storage and wireless transmission, as well as backhaul support for industrial controls and product testing,” said Aditya Sahaya, Director of Business Development for Prologix Distribution. “With more and more IP-based products and solutions being adopted, we have become the go-to guys in the region; we expect to grow at least 200 percent this year.” Since many decision makers are still analog-minded, Sahaya believes there is plenty of room for analog/IP coexistence and for everyone to grow.

While it is crucial to stay on top of product development and channel management at all times, William Ku, Director of Brand Business for Vivotek, would like to remind all that it is equally important to remain in touch with your end customers to provide proper project support across the ecosystem for the long haul, as “total buy-in.” Sahaya added that long-term support, financial soundness, reference/experience, geographical spread and commitment are also important qualities that set players of different calibers apart.

The Middle East is brimmed with opportunities and surprises. While the market dynamics and channel structure are not like the wild wild “east,” the region does demand every ounce of strength and dedication even from the best. What follows is how four multinational system integrators see the regional market and share their insights: Johnson Controls, Schneider Electronic, Siemens Building Technologies and UTC Fire & Security.

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