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Managing Systems: Beyond Security
The Editorial Team2007/12/13

As businesses, public services, educational facilities and governmental institutions grow, so do the buildings and complexes to contain them and, therefore, their infrastructure and security requirements. "Without proper facility management ," said Hansjoerg Wigger, Press Officer of Siemens Building Technologies, "the cost is usually a combination of revenue loss, service disruption, equipment replacement, damage repair and increase in insurance premiums." Managing security and non-security systems on one single interface is not an easy task, but there are software vendors who have brought us closer to this ideal. As businesses, public services, educational facilities and governmental institutions grow, so do the buildings and complexes to contain them and, therefore, their infrastructure and security requirements. "Without proper facility management ," said Hansjoerg Wigger, Press Officer of Siemens Building Technologies, "the cost is usually a combination of revenue loss, service disruption, equipment replacement, damage repair and increase in insurance premiums." Managing security and non-security systems on one single interface is not an easy task, but there are software vendors who have brought us closer to this ideal.

The success of an integrated system is fully dependent on its ability to maintain the most up-to-date support of the integrated components. "Specifically, the system should support and expose the latest features and capabilities of each subsystem," said Carlos Lopez-Reyna, Global Product Manager for Honeywell Security. Additionally, an integrated platform should provide a powerful framework upon which each of the integrated components can interact. "Finally, the offering should provide a time-proven mechanism to integrate pre-existing systems while providing access to the latest technologies and features."

Connecting the Dots

While Lenel offers support for security systems, building automation systems can also be linked to its solution. "We have tools and can integrate with any building management systems with OPC (OLE process control)," Ross said. "Any events triggered in the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system can be brought into OnGuard as well, which is reported into the database and links into any other system." With such a highly automated system, Lenel's solution aims to be as user-friendly as possible without being overwhelming. "The system is relatively intuitive," Ross said. "On the operator side, we put in a lot of time and effort, maintaining a positive user experience."

Getting multiple inputs to display on one screen is a selling point of Canadian Visual Defence's solution, along with processing them in real time. ¨"The system can deal with 2,000 alarms per minute, 1 million a day," said Founder and Chairman Barry Tal. Even in the event of a fire, the system will continue to process signals and events accordingly. "We can set up a workflow for how to react to alarmed events, with questions and answers, getting step-by-step responses."

The solution is suited for large installations, such as mass transit. Tal said Visual Defence integrated all devices to one inter face for a U.S. transit authority on the East Coast, which used to operate five individual systems on separate screens, but now has them on one. As security personnel can operate the different systems from one platform, standardized workflows can also be implemented.

The Orsus Situator situation management system is for integrated security and safety control rooms. It has advanced yet easy-to-use planning tools that transform routine and emergency plans into actionable, adaptive tasks and procedures and integrate them with virtually any security and safety devices, device controllers, systems and dynamic data sources. "Situator has a unique and powerful tool for the planning phase that enables the organization to plan flexible, dynamic responses to almost any type of incident in an intuitive way," said Shirlee Segev, Marketing Communications Manager for Orsus. "The planning tool enables managers to implement policies for routine and emergency activities, while considering the available human and physical resources."

The different systems talk to each other by using Situator's rule-based engine that defines activation rules to be executed when events take place. "The rules engine processes sensor alarms and automatically activates pre-defined procedures or recommends procedures for operators to follow," Segev said. In addition to launching procedures, the rules engine also triggers various actions, including automatic post-event reports.

DVTel presents a unified view of security data. "The DVTel intelligent Security Operations Center (iSOC) was designed to encompass more than IP video for security," said Kim Robbins, Director of Marketing Communications. The DVTel iSOC is a unified video and access control system, which is based on a video platform as opposed to the standard access control platform. Video is the more challenging application from a resources standpoint.

DVTel plans to announce plug-in modules which offer additional features and functionality, with APIs and SDKs to ease the integration process. Robbins said, "For this kind of platform, people want to do all kinds of things building management, perimeter fencing and much more so this feature will help third-party software integration go more smoothly."

The desire for one platform stems from the short comings of maintaining multiple systems, said Anthony DeStefano, Director of Integrated Security Systems for TAC. "Companies are looking for a single system for everything an integrated platform that can accomplish energy management, video, access control, intrusion detection and so on." In the past, these systems have always been kept separate; in a single building, there could be one provider for video, one for access or intrusion and one for building automation. "You would have four different integrators servicing one facility. The trend is to cut out all of the cost of running individual cable for all these devices, put it all on one cable, and run it all on one building management system." "With our solution, when there's not much activity at night and it's easier to manage," DeStefano said, "one properly trained operator can literally control the whole building from one station just one of the benefits of the technology that helps reduce operating cost." Honeywell is well positioned to address the needs of the integrated physical and logical security market, said Lopez-Reyna. "For example, Honeywell's Pro-Watch security management platform and SmartPlus platform allow for enterprise processes like HR provisioning, regulatory compliance, brand protection and so on. This solution is a direct result of the Honeywell and Novell collaboration, which enables ample and a variety of IT adaptors and development tools to meet the needs of converged solutions."

"Moreover,"said Mark Freer, Business Development Consultant for Bytes Systems Integration, "Honeywell's Enterprise Buildings Integrator (EBI) is a high-performance platform for monitoring and managing building devices and systems, including access control, surveillance, IT/ IP subsystems , telecommunications, HVAC, lighting, hydraulics, water, electrical equipment and more."

With EBI, users have single-window control over all building operations and all the relevant data needed to maximize building performance. "The subsystems are able to talk to each other because when they are integrated into EBI," said Freer, "the information is normalized into a standard representation. This facilitates integration between the different building subsystems so that the building becomes an intelligent one."

"Bosch's Building Integration System (BIS) utilizes an open system and combines all the major IT standards and requirements that security and facility mangers are asking for," said Reinhard Bloss, Product Manager of Integrated Systems for Bosch Security Systems. "The power and capability of BIS is the true integration of different subsystems which are often supplied by different vendors. With BIS, information from individual subsystems can be presented in a common, uniformed GUI to the operator." Third-party products are connected via OPC as this standard is already adopted by a large number of products on the market. "Of course we support older products, too, via serial interfaces and OPC converters or via data-gathering equipment with I/O switches," said Bloss.

"IPSecurityCenter is an intelligent software solution, allowing customers to tailor the interface, processes and reporting procedures to their individual security needs and integrating legacy and disparate systems and devices," said Beverly Mann, VP of Marketing for CNL. "Our unique differentiation is that IPSecurityCenter is vendor-independent , technology- and device -agnostic, and is able to integrate any number of devices against customer requirement." The solution integrates applications from video surveillance, alarm systems, life-critical systems and HVAC, as well as group and functional business systems. "Driven by customer-defined, end-to-end processes, IP Security Center ensures compliance to security and business policies from single- and multi-incident response to total, real-time situational awareness response all the way through to resolution and audit."

When connecting to third-party systems, IPSecurityCenter provides a software layer between the device and IPSecurityCenter's built-in workflow and management process functionality. "This makes it possible for IPSecurityCenter to react to virtually any change initiated by the device," said Mann, "and for IPSecurityCenter to then talk to other systems, either by updating the other systems because of an event trigger, an operator intervention, or to ask for related incident information such as video."

Previously, some of the challenges have arisen due to the varying nature of customer requirements leading to long deployment cycles. "Experience has shown that a large percentage of customer requirements are broadly similar," Mann said, "but within those requirements, a degree of tailoring to the individual customer is required. Therefore we have a library of built-in, customer-driven templates allowing the customer to tailor to their individual requirement, right down to the appearance of the GUI." This allows development to be focused on individual client requirements. ¨This enables the customer to have a tailored and finely-tuned solution while saving time and money in both installation and deployment.〃

Tyco has three competitive differentiators in the market. "One, we provide a complete solution in our Software House C·CURE 9000 Security and Event Management System, offering both hardware and software, so when users have an issue they can make one call to resolve it," said Kim Carito, Marketing Manager, Tyco Safety Products. "Two, we have a global reach, with offices in more than 60 countries. Third, we have among the world's most qualified network of system integrators to complement our own installation and services teams."

C·CURE can handle up to 10,000 or more inputs, including any mix of video, physical access, HVAC, traffic and others. Different systems can communicate with each other via the embedded Microsoft .NET architecture, with FIPS-approved encryption ensuring secure communications between the client devices and the central server. "Powerful APIs serve as the foundation for an SDK that developers can use to ensure the integration of and communications among multivendor subsystems," Carito said.

With great integration capabilities, advanced alarm routing, and remote access for system administration and monitoring via a light client, Tyco's flagship solution possesses one of the richest communication platforms in any industry. For effective information management, C·CURE supports multiple layouts and monitoring station panes in the same window to enable users to focus on system activity, while another window displays live video.

The platform puts a unique spin to a familiar look and user experience. The intuitive C·CURE inter face is similar to the well-known Outlook application and Windows Explorer "tree structure" while maintaining the functionality its powerful predecessor, the 8000 series. Context sensitive menus allow user s to control objects in real time, enable/ disable cardholders from one sorted list, and create a customized system for specific requirements.

Magal's Fortis also operates on an open-system architecture. "Any types of sensors in the field (cameras, access control, perimeter, etc.) can be integrated and would report back to Fortis via TCP/IP networks," said Nadav Tzur, Software Specialist of C4I Division of Magal Security Systems. "Each subsystem is controlled by a piece of management software, and Fortis has access to all of them through vendor-specific SDKs and APIs." From a central workstation, operators can rapidly display, control and direct individual sensors, significantly increasing their effectiveness.

Fortis has the simplicity and capability to allow forces in the field to receive information from the sensors and adjust their way of reaction, said Adam Rosenberg, VP of Marketing. "The Fortis enables each individual field and patrol team to receive on a vehicle LCD or PDA a picture of the incident and be more aware of the type and cause of the alarm." The control center can direct guards on which route to take to the alarmed area, consequently approaching the incident and sealing off the area in an efficient way.

ROI is Key

Johnson Controls offers C&C software integrating multiple security technologies from different vendors into one workflow for alarm and event management. "While many vendors have integrated command and control, most often the integration is limited to single brands of subsystems," said Steve Thompson, Director of Fire and Security Products. "Our customers are requesting more brand-agnostic solutions."

A number of Johnson Controls' customers, particularly large multinationals, have large property portfolios grown over time through acquisition. This often results in a diversity of dissimilar systems under multiple brands that can be expensive to manage. For multiple brands of access control systems, the challenge is even greater as keeping credentials up to date is both labor-intensive and error-prone. By offering a single platform, Johnson Controls' customers can benefit from lower cost of operation, improved security and better compliance.

In addition to vendor-neutral middleware, Johnson Controls unveiled updates to their access control and video systems to blend traditional and IP technologies in one environment. "Many of our customers have been struggling with when and how to move their security systems to the latest IP standards," Thompson said. "By providing compatibility with both in a hybrid solution, our customers can negotiate a smooth transition to IP on their own timeline and budget."

TAC predicted that having even more product standardization will become possible with federal legislation on the horizon. Next-generation products for access control will have to be HSPD-12- and FIPS 201-compliant, and this will be a big change in the area of access control in the U.S. "American companies are pretty much reactive," DeStefano said. "Unless their security system is not working or they are required to meet a government standard, they won't upgrade their system. What companies do want when they're building new facilities is to put everything on one common infrastructure." For example, a single common IP network for the entire facility will literally have one Cat-6 cable or optical fiber.

Support for multiple third-party edge devices and legacy hardware that allows users to extend the life of their systems through a common and familiar inter face is in great demand, as this will increase users' return on investment in the various systems acquired over the years. Convergence of technologies and protocols is easier said than done, but it is obvious that these software houses are not slowing down or stopping anytime soon!

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