Ask the Expert
- By J. Matthew Ladd
- Dec 01, 2007
Another year is drawing to a
close, and 2007 has remained
just as consistent as the past
few years in the security
industry, with new players, new products
and burgeoning technologies arriving at an
incredible speed. This industry—as is the
case with many others—has and will continue
to be radically altered by computerbased
ISSUE: What will be the hottest topic in
security in the next year?
SOLUTION: The word for 2008 will be
video. Video surveillance is hardly new to
our industry, but the desire of large and
small businesses to have live, recorded
images of their operations is really intensifying.
The demand for camera systems
extends to schools, government facilities
and even upscale homes.
Part of the demand is fueled by highly
publicized events in the United Kingdom,
where camera systems have helped prevent
terrorist attacks and led to the quick
arrest of suspects following successful
bombings. Local newspapers and news
shows also routinely report on surveillance
systems, leading to the arrest of
shoplifters, vandals, burglars and a host of
The systems installed today are often
very different than what was installed as
recently as five to 10 years ago. That can
be contributed to the computer. IP cameras
that run over a network are moving closer
to becoming the norm, rather than the
high-end exception. And that means network
servers, capable of storing massive
amounts of video, will become a leading
choice for recording images.
The methods of getting the images
from the camera to the recorder also are
changing. Wireless cameras allow systems
to be set up where terrain, distance or
other issues make standard cabling impossible.
Point-to-point and point-to-multipoint
networks are relatively inexpensive
to set up and work well.
ISSUE: What other innovations do you
foresee being popular in 2008?
SOLUTION:Video transmission can be a
challenge with cities looking to monitor
entire neighborhoods, seaports managing
their perimeter security or universities
looking to keep watch over a campus of
1,000 acres or more. That is where mesh
networks can come into play.
Mesh networking is a relatively new
way to transmit video data between
nodes, which may number in the hundreds
for a large network. The video
reaches its destination by moving from
node to node. If one node goes bad, the
video takes a new path, keeping the network
The use of video analytics also is
growing, and that should continue next
year. It seems as though every month
there is a new provider entering the market
with a new way of making the technology
work better. I expect we will see
some of the best make their way to the
top and some others drop by the wayside.
And as the demand for the technology
grows, the price—which has been
high—is beginning to fall.
READER QUESTION: We just
installed a small access and video system
(four doors and eight cameras) in
our office and adjacent warehouse.
Our integrator installed the equipment
as promised—on time and within
budget. But now we are having
some problems operating our system.
The integrator said he will send a
trainer to our site for $200 an hour.
We assumed training would be part of
the job. Were we wrong to think that?
SOLUTION: One of the areas where
integrators and customers sometime fail to plan for is training. You can install a
state-of-the-art system, but if you don’t
know how to use it, the value of the system
When it comes to training, some integrators
will have the technician who did
the installation “go over the system”
with the end user for little to no cost.
However, often the “tech instructions”
don’t take into account the day-to-day
operation of the system and/or speak the
language of the end user.
A certified trainer that provides
formal system training is needed.
The rate of $200 an hour is reasonable
for quality training. Attorneys are
paid $300 an hour or more because of
their training and knowledge. The integrator
has invested significant time
and money in his trainers and
therefore should be entitled to a reasonable
Prior to formalizing a final agreement,
it is important to make sure all
aspects of the system are included.
Training is a vital part of any new system,
so make sure it is included in the
final price right at the beginning.
Get the training. The investment is
needed to ensure you get the most out of