Industrial Security Monitors Productivity

Industrial Security Monitors Productivity

Industrial compounds are generally large in scale and complex in design. On top of this challenging nature, fulfilling transmission needs and meeting regulation requirements pose serious challenges.

The mission-critical nature of industrial security systems depends on a reliable, safe transmission network. Available infrastructure is the key consideration and planning should account for transmission used for security systems, said Guy Yair, GM Enterprise and Vertical Solutions LOB, Alvarion.

"How the site has been used defines the network structure and types of cables that are being implemented," said Sylvain Voulfow, Security Product Manager, CAE Group (a member of TKH Group).

As large-area security projects tend to be completed in phases, a flexible architecture, such as WiMAX network, is crucial to suit changing security needs over time, Yair said.

Making sure data is delivered with enough bandwidth is essential, as inadequate communication too often originates from insufficient infrastructure, said Udi Segall, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Nice Systems.

Activity-based recording and signal transmission, localized storage and multicast distribution are designed to minimize bandwidth consumption, said Mike Webster, CPP Branch Manager, Global Security Engineering and Consulting, Johnson Controls. Involving the IT department is a necessary step for optimized bandwidth utilization.

Fiber optic backbones are favored for industrial manufacturing installations. "Multimode and monomode fibers allow transmission distance up to 2 km and 40 km respectively, with bandwidth capacity up to 100 gigabytes," Voulfow said.

However, legacy fiber backbone is difficult to extend, adjust and costly to deploy a new one, Yair said.

Although there has been skepticism surrounding wireless technology, it ensures effecive coverage of the entire site and saves on cabling costs. "Compared to trenching, which can cost as much as US$300 per linear foot in an outdoor environment, the initial investment and operating expenses of wireless network can be as low as one-tenth of the total investment for wired infrastructure," said Ksenia Coffman, Marketing Communications Manager at Firetide.

Once a wireless network is deployed, it should support feature upgrades that enable added encryption and capacity enhancement. "For mission-critical applications, a stable IP link must be made failure-proof to provide redundancy," Yair said. "Physical features such as a redundant power supply, or the WiMAX ability to automatically search and associate with an alternative base station upon losing connection, is indispensible."

Wireless mesh technology, with the design of redundant paths and multiple signal drop-off points, enables fail-safe operation. "However, wireless networks can be affected by adverse environmental conditions. Maintaining the network with redundant transmission is crucial. If a transmission node is damaged, it should be replaced quickly so there is no weak point in the system," Coffman said.

Security systems play a key role in meeting safety and security obligations. "The industrial segment has been forced to address security concerns associated with the potential terrorist threat since Sept. 11, 2001, and such concerns are most widely held in the chemical and nuclear industries," said Jennifer Mapes, Industry Analyst at Freedonia Group.

Perimeter security in industrial environments has become more prevalent as regulations are developed. The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards issued by the US Department of Homeland Security specifies a response time, demanding early alerts to be properly met, said John Romanowich, CEO of SightLogix.

"Depending on the industry and what has been manufactured, municipal, state or federal government standards could apply, as well as industry or international regulations," Webster said. To meet changing regulatory requirements, security personnel should build a set of compliance and risk management tools. These include enforcing segregation of duty policies, triggering compliance-based access and intrusion alarms, and implementing infraction and remediation management.

For industrial users, video surveillance requirements often pertain to high-definition footage with audio for inspection. "Few regulations exist to address security criteria for video," said Dave Tynan, VP of Global Sales and Marketing, Avigilon. "Regulation compliance is largely driven by the legal and consequent financial liability associated with the risk of the facility."

Typically, video is stored a minimum of two months, with real-time monitoring required at 20 to 30 fps of critical operation points and restricted areas, said Shi Zhong Su, Section Manager at Genuine C&C. Playback at 6 to 7 fps for general checkpoints is sufficient.

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