SG-System 5 and the Central Station of the Future

Next Stop: The Central Station of the Future – T

None of us can predict the future, especially when it comes to business. But it’s beneficial – and sometimes even fun – to consider what the future might be like.

Though most within the physical security industry agree that the central station is moving toward becoming multi-functional and capable of doing more than monitor alarms, the possibilities are endless. There are a few qualities that the central station of the future is likely to have, though, should current trends and innovations continue.

Adaptability and scalability will be required in the central station of the future. A system’s ability to adapt to new technologies, to integrate with other systems and expand exponentially in size will undoubtedly be key features. Incompatibility, proprietary brands and hardware limitations can no longer be the gates that stifle a system’s potential. Use of multiple profiles, receivers with increased capacities, and easy adaptability to new technologies will keep the central station of the future nimble and dynamic.

The central station of the future will likely still require an operator to make judgment calls to determine what computerized systems cannot. In order to do this efficiently, operators will need to have access to video from locations where an alarm is happening in order to make well-informed decisions. Instead of operators sorting through huge lists of events, they will use visual verification to view an image from the site and to make a determination by looking at a screen shot, which accelerates the handling of such events.

Central stations will likely have a smaller physical footprint in the future. At present, central stations must purchase additional components that often require extra space in the receiver room in order to achieve redundancy. The central station of the future will likely be smaller, but also will support a greater number of monitored accounts.

When the functionality of a security system can literally save lives, downtime is more than an inconvenience. Therefore, a service agreement will be an important component for the central station of the future. As systems become more automated, it’s critical that downtime be minimal. Manufacturers will package service agreements with their central station products to ensure continuity and functionality. Components will also be hot swappable, meaning parts can be replaced without shutting down an entire system and without having to reconfigure the settings for the replaced part.

Clearly, the central station of the future puts power in the hands of the user with larger and more powerful receivers, the ability to create groupings and with the ability to move accounts using profile features. The flexible central station of the future moves away from a proprietary model to a more integrated approach, establishing an infrastructure for future growth and changes in technology.

i SG System 5

To learn more about how to future-proof your central station, check out the newly released Sur-Gard System 5 IP-based receiver, which supports visual alarm verification and is recognized as a powerful, yet space saving system.

IP Migration: Planning a Successful Journey

A few years ago, the conversation surrounding the migration to IP from analog was focused on whether it made sense to do it.  Was the technology where it needed to be? Was the cost differential justified? Was there the internal support system in place to run something more sophisticated and complex?

Today, most security personnel feel they can answer those questions favorably and have come on board with the benefits of IP video. Thus, the conversation is turning from whether to do it all to how to do it wisely and well.

Although there are many examples of end users who have successfully made the transition, there still is no single format to adopt in making the migration. The process is different for everyone, but time and field experience can help pinpoint some of the best paths to follow.

One of the issues complicating the ease of migration is that, as more and more end users have moved to IP, there has been a corresponding surge in products coming onto the market.

This has made the selection process evolve from reviewing a handful of IP megapixel cameras and recording devices to a seemingly endless array of options. And while it can be great to have choices, it also requires that you hone in on what your specific needs will be.

IP Cameras

What type of video are you looking to record and for how long? What quality of image is needed? How can you maximize the megapixels in which you’ve invested? A thorough review of the requirements on a camera by camera basis will go a long way toward making that part of your migration a wise one.

A smart migration also requires an in-depth look at the network on which the system will run. Adding more cameras or replacing your existing ones with models that require more bandwidth can cause critical bottlenecks if there isn’t some additional planning that precedes the installation.

Much has been said about building the bridge between the security and IT departments, and this is certainly an instance where that rings true. Embarking on an IP conversion will go a lot more smoothly if IT signs on early and is given a clear understanding of what you are trying to do. 

Of course, there are other areas to consider as well, ranging from power supplies to recording options as well as how best to use the technology you’ve chosen by reviewing and trying out the new IP camera and recorder features.

In our upcoming webinar, “Migration From Analog to IP”, we’ll delve into all of these topics so you can wisely and successfully manage your own journey into the world of IP. Register today – Webinar: Wed, Apr 8, 2015 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT.


St. Joseph’s Health Care: The Right Technology at the Right Time

St. Joseph's LogoThere are thousand of moving parts in a health care organization, which operates on a 24/7/365 schedule. A medical facility such as St. Joseph’s Health Care London in Ontario, Canada, requires a security system that provides around-the-clock monitoring and immediate access as events unfold, day or night.

The organization also knows that it can certainly benefit from the latest advancements in security technology, but the approach to adopting new systems has to come with a sound strategic plan in mind.

When St. Joseph’s recently underwent an upgrade in its security system to include IP video, among the key areas the security team wanted to address were video clarity, latency and breadth of coverage so it could better monitor and respond to the ongoing and potential incidents taking place inside and outside of the hospital.

IP CamerasTo achieve these goals, St. Joseph’s and its integrator, Integrated Video & Surveillance, added more than 45 IP cameras to supplement the hundreds of analog ones already in place, upgraded its video platform and tapped into the power of analytics.

Aided by the improved video quality of an IP-based system, with a video platform that allows security personnel to view images in real time, without playback interruption, means officers can follow a situation as it occurs, moving seamlessly from one camera view to another and at a resolution level so they can critical information clearly.

The addition of IP cameras with improved resolution and seamless recording and playback performance also provides St. Joseph’s with the ability to address myriad issues that are at the heart of running a successful medical facility — whether it is monitoring hallways and parking lots for potential accidents or checking out who is trying to access a restricted area, such as a pharmacy or psychiatric ward.

Video Security Center

Deploying analytics added another level of sophisticated functionality to the security system, allowing St. Joseph’s security staff to engage in people counting or set security perimeters in specific areas that will trigger alarms in the system.

Like any organization looking to update its systems, St. Joseph’s approached the project with goals and a budget in mind. There are many new systems available for improving security these days, so it takes careful planning and a strategic partnership with an integrator to settle on those areas that will bring the most benefit. Instead of swapping out everything that was in place, like the hundreds of analog cameras, St. Joseph’s strategically deployed technology that would take it to the next level.

And the organization is now poised to continue its updates, operating from a timetable and with a program that works within the parameters it has carefully set.

To read more on St. Joseph’s Healthcare and their transition to an IP video platform, click here to download the full case study.


Social, Mobile and Remote: The Transformation of PSIM

Advances in engineering and information architecture continually change how we use technology. Some advances have caused subtle changes in product design or application within the physical security market. Other technological advances fundamentally alter how we do business and think about physical security and, in particular, physical security information management (PSIM) platforms.

Proximex SurveillintProximex Surveillint PSIM

There have been a number of technological advances in the last few years, but four dynamics in particular deserve special exploration. All four are actively reshaping how PSIM products are developed and what end users are now expecting in the security market.

One of the most interesting of these dynamics is social media. Social media platforms create organic communication networks among millions of people. For example, enterprises and large municipalities today routinely monitor Twitter feeds to identify traffic disruptions or potential protest activity near a facility. In recent months, some PSIM systems have harnessed the immediacy and speed of the medium, using keyword prevalence, geospatial information and hash tag monitoring of social media to obtain a broad perspective of what is happening in a locality or at an event.

Social Media

Another powerful change agent is mobile technology. Mobile technology in PSIMs will likely become more mainstream as users become more accustomed to using apps to accomplish their daily tasks. Mobile apps that leverage the native capabilities of smart phones or tablets can notify responders of events and keep security operations up-to-date with pictures and streamed video. However, the real power of mobile technologies is in being able to reach the broader user community. For example, if a tornado was identified by a command center, a PSIM operator could automatically send a customized message to community members in its path, advising them to take shelter, along with the nearest shelter location.

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Even though its application is only in its infancy in physical security, cloud computing is having a significant impact on the market and the development of PSIM products. Cloud computing is beneficial to the user and integrator in several ways. Cloud applications can be deployed quickly and accommodate varying processing and storage space needs on demand. By decreasing the need for on-site servers and databases, cloud computing can reduce physical space needs, maintenance and hardware costs, and IT staffing requirements. The use of cloud computing will continue to expand as technology advances and there is broader adoption.

The Internet of Things – known as IoT – is moving beyond being just a buzzword and is becoming a reality. Big and small data is streaming into users’ and operators’ hands rapidly and in great volume. In many ways, the PSIM can be viewed as an IoT application. PSIMs today collect a variety of event and health data from different sensors to correlate information and provide insights into incidents. PSIMs of tomorrow will be able to collect all of the data that sensors of different kinds report and then make use of that data to find patterns and meaning. An example of this would be harnessing the data from police dispatch, traffic reports, keyword social media searches, onsite intrusion and access control alerts and video to monitor and anticipate security needs at a large-scale event. If the data detects an escalation in activity, additional police or security could be activated and dispatched, all through the PSIM interface.

As these four trends further permeate the industry, the PSIM market will no doubt change and adapt quickly. As data sources and data volumes continue to grow, the need for a platform that can provide understandable and actionable intelligence will become exponentially more valuable.