Considering Open and Integrated Systems

Regardless of language, culture or economics, security in any country should protect people, property and assets. While different countries face varying compliance standards or none at all, system integrators, distributors and building owners or security managers must adapt their services and solutions appropriately.


Currently, the security marketplace is cluttered with thousands of providers claiming to offer the right products or integrated technologies to accomplish any and all goals. Walking the floor of any industry-related tradeshow can overwhelm visitors by the choices available. With the development of new standards and alliances, including the PSIA and ONVIF, end users and service providers find themselves inundated with marketing materials and white papers. It is not uncommon for a customer to question any provider's proposal.


The industry is still years away from establishing solid standards, due to countless overseas vendors and manufacturers who work with varying firmware or codec designs. Additionally, many vendors are still reluctant to create open architectures. This means that there are limitations to common building management protocols and varying levels of openness.


Meeting Business Outcomes
Building owners and security managers need to find partners who recognize their needs, and assess the priorities and perceptions of representative stakeholders, including building occupants. An analysis of that data is vital to the design process intended to meet desired business outcomes.


The technology-contracting model determines the appropriate levels of system integration to manage multiple, duplicate and discrete systems under various vendors, contracts and proprietary protocols — especially in today's ever-changing technology landscape. A single point of contact manages multiple contractors, balances first and lifestyle costs, and efficiently converges individual systems into a technology solution.


Users should avoid working with a company claiming to offer these services, without a proven track record of success. An experienced technology contractor understands the value of vendor relationships.


Open Protocols and Standards
A basic platform for an integrated solution is IP-based, and can use Ethernet technology and TCP/IP networks. This provides a foundation for success. The use of open protocols and standards will ensure that users can choose the best solutions for creating an intelligent building without losing features or connectivity.


A system able to support tens of thousands of data point capacities takes full advantage of distributed intelligence. Coupled with graphic workstations to create the basis for a personal command center, buildings can better manage the entire building automation system (BAS) network.


Building Automation Systems
One of the main highlights of a BAS is that integration can include different subsystems, including access control, video surveillance, emergency lighting, chillers, elevators and fire alarms. A computerized management system can be integrated for maintenance and facility management. Further additions can be made to the management system. In hotels, for example, power monitoring and staff paging systems can be added to round out the full intelligent building capabilities.


At the heart of the network is a modern, scalable asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) backbone, designed to easily manage and support services and protocols. ATM technology is a network infrastructure that supports enterprises with various multimedia — voice, video and data. It provides the basis for LAN interconnectivity and fully integrated network access. LAN and the ATM backbone are managed by one common network management system.


This network can distribute television, video-ondemand, e-commerce, Internet, BAS, video surveillance, and management system data through an entire complex. The network is modular and flexible, enabling users to start on a smaller scale and expand as needs evolve, to support dynamic and changing environments. In addition, the system design should ensure that any future upgrade to the optical fiber backbone and ATM switches will not adversely affect operations.


Setting New Standards
With more buildings implementing BASs, a new standard is emerging for the integration of subsystems and independent protocols into a manageable and operational network. These solutions are ideal for today's sophisticated, multipurpose facilities. It provides IP-based technologies for business and entertainment today, while offering the ability to address the demands of the next decade.

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