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Best practices for factory security systems integration

Best practices for factory security systems integration
Given the increasing demand for manufacturing across the world, systems integrators could find themselves with more opportunities in this vertical in the coming years.
Given the increasing demand for manufacturing across the world, systems integrators could find themselves with more opportunities in this vertical in the coming years. Geopolitical tension, cybersecurity concerns, and supply chain woes have prompted many countries to set up their own production units for high-end tech like semiconductors.
But how easy is it to provide security at factories? Given the harsh conditions in which many factories operate and the tough requirements on safety, data security, and quality, this vertical presents quite a few challenges when it comes to ensuring maximum protection.
It is in this context that we analyze the best practices that systems integrators can follow when offering security to factories and manufacturing units. Some of the tips mentioned in this article may apply to other verticals as well.

Planning with the end in mind

Starting a project with the end result in mind is one of the key steps to follow. Having a clear idea of the bigger picture, which includes the entire system and its purpose, will let the integrator know where to focus their efforts and resources. This is all the more important in the current scenario, where security is increasingly becoming a part of building management systems.
“It is best to plan out the whole system, from installation to decommissioning, with the correct sizing, overhead for customer growth, and industry capabilities in mind,” said Richard Gibbs, Senior Applications Engineer at Honeywell. “This will allow for an easy transition when it is time to add new technologies to the security and building control ecosystem. By coaching our customers to plan for this, they can help improve the overall cost of ownership and building security.”
Creating customer awareness is perhaps an often-ignored concept because many customers are simply not interested in the details or are not tech-savvy enough for it. But making them a part of the system is inevitable for lasting results.

The customer is the king

Roy Stephenson, Director of Business Development at Utah Yamas Controls, points out that one of the best practices that integrators should follow is to always define what the customer is looking to accomplish. This is critical because, in many cases, although the customer may tell you that all they need is a security system, their objective would be different.
“If the main purpose of the security cameras is to prevent shrinkage and internal theft, that system will look much different than one designed for safety, compliance, and situational awareness,” Stephenson said. “If the system is designed with cameras and video analytics for production control and processing, it would be of little to no use for loss prevention or safety use. Make sure to ask the right questions and then design the system with the end goal in mind.”

Don’t sell products, sell solutions

A point closely related to understanding customer requirements is offering solutions instead of security devices. Customers may care more about finding answers to their pain points than about the kind of camera or access control system you sell.

“Don’t sell the AI video technology, sell a solution to customer pain points, and understand that these will vary from company to company as well as site to site,” said Jamie Barnfield, Senior Sales Director, IDIS Europe. “Integrators have an opportunity to get multi-stakeholder buy-in and show how AI-powered video analytics can benefit organizations beyond security.”

For example, if health and safety is a key issue, ensure you’re talking to the right people as well as the security manager, and if a plant is suffering from bottlenecks on production lines or around loading bays, involve production and operations managers.

“A simple way for end-users to adopt AI is running a for proof of concept,” Barnfield said. “We’ve seen projects that start with perimeter protection using easy and affordable edge AI cameras targeted at high-risk points or used to replace older cameras causing false alarms. After that, organizations will expand their deployment and increasingly use the varied functions edge AI cameras offer. From that point, applications naturally evolve beyond security into tackling other operational challenges, unfolding benefits step-by-step.”

While we are on the topic, AI is a word that gets thrown around quite a bit these days. Making sure your customer understands what today’s smart cameras can do for them is essential. Assisting them to unleash the full potential of algorithms, especially in operational areas, could help the integrators get more business.

Final word

The security industry is seeing the entry of new technologies like AI and the cloud. Camera resolutions continue to increase, and even night vision is now available in color. The hype around such developments may prompt customers and, at times, integrators to purchase devices that may not be necessary or, even worse, may do more harm than good.

From an integrator’s point of view, making the customer aware of what they need is essential. This again takes us to the earlier-mentioned point of knowing the customer's requirements first. Not everyone may need AI cameras and video analytics.

To sum up, begin with the end in mind, which is solving the customer’s pain points. Talk to the customer in detail to understand why they want to secure an area. Is it theft they are worried about? Violence? Or just compliance? Knowing all this, along with their resources and budgets, would help you provide the best service.
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