Switching to an IP-based system provides customers with increased benefits, and the entire project can be funded through the money saved on energy costs.
Suppose a safety or security incident occurs at a customer site. If it is a crime in progress, will the customer be able to monitor video surveillance cameras and building access attempts from another location, and share video with public safety agencies? If the call is about an employee with a suspected stroke, will they be able to simultaneously notify emergency medical services and onsite personnel using any type of radio or phone?
Just a few short years ago, most safety and security organizations would have had to answer no on all counts. The impediment was that different best-of-breed systems — video surveillance, physical access control, sensors and building systems — were each connected to separate proprietary networks that could only be accessed from one location.
The benefits of an IP-based approach go beyond an improved physical safety and security posture. Customers that make the move to next-gen safety and security can also increase business resilience, enable better collaboration with public safety agencies, reduce network and operational costs and enable synergies between their physical security and building facilities. As a plus, they also save on energy costs.
Safety, security and crisis management are all pieces of the larger goal of business resiliency, and more CIOs are becoming involved. If a crisis hits one region, authorized people can monitor and control building systems from any location in the world with a network connection. For example, if an emergency devastates a facility in India, someone in the U.S. or E.U. can continue to monitor alarms, video surveillance cameras and sensors; manage building access control; and control IP-connected building systems such as HVAC systems, lighting and elevators.
Today, most enterprise safety and security groups need to go through a dispatcher to communicate with first responders because they use incompatible radios. With an IP-based, interoperable communications system, internal safety and security personnel can communicate directly with executives and first responders using any communications device, including any type of radio, phone or even a laptop with the appropriate software. If one site's network goes down entirely, a remote team can quickly reroute phone calls destined to the affected site to ensure continuity.
Incident Detection and Response
Disparate physical security systems make it very difficult to connect the dots. For example, if valuable equipment is reported missing, harried security officers need to use one console to view video footage, another to view badges used for building entry, and yet another to dispatch resources to begin the crime-in-progress response. Time spent switching attention between systems can lead to errors that postpone incident detection and response.
With an IP network, security personnel become more productive because they can use a single dashboard to view video surveillance and distribute it within the organization and local police, and perhaps even lock down certain areas of the building. A unified environment helps them focus on what counts to contribute to faster incident detection and response.
Here is an example of the value of an IP-based security solution if something were reported stolen. From one console, security personnel can use the wireless network to pinpoint the asset's location, and then poll all cameras in the building to look for suspicious persons. Building alarms can be checked to see if a badge swipe was denied, signaling unauthorized entry by means of slipping in behind authorized personnel. With this intelligence, the security team can broadcast a photo of the suspect to security personnel's PCs and smart phones for an alert.
Convergence Saves Money
The current economic climate makes it especially compelling to make the move to 21st-century safety and security for two reasons. One is that physical security and building facilities are converging. For example, failed door access control or a detected gas leak affects both areas of security. The ability for both teams to access each other's systems is often advantageous, as when certain building systems need to be shut down in the event of a chemical leak or natural disaster.
The other reason is that IP-based building control systems save money to fund the entire project. When building systems are connected to the IP network, organizations can see their energy consumption in real time, enabling them to identify anomalies that can indicate failed equipment. For more savings, organizations can participate in their utility's demand-response program.
On high-demand days, the utility sends an electronic request to customers offering financial incentives to reduce consumption. The organization can either manually adjust temperature set points and lighting, or, for faster response, invest in an IP-based system that receives the request and performs the adjustments automatically.
Preserving Existing Investments
Even better news for customers is that adopting an IP-based approach to safety and security does not require the purchase of all new equipment. Instead, customers can mix and match any open standards-based equipment. IP-based video surveillance systems work with old and new analog and network cameras from any vendor.
By recommending IP-based approach to physical security and building management, systems integrators can:
* Save their customers from the capital and operational expense of multiple proprietary networks;
* Provide the visibility and intelligence needed for collaborative response;
* Enable synergies between physical security and building facilities;
* Reduce energy costs, freeing up money for strategic IT projects while contributing to a greener planet.