Bringing It All Together

Physical security in the fast lane of proprietary systems

The accelerating rate of partnerships taking place in the security industry is an attempt to address a fast-growing need for communications and interoperability between systems across an enterprise.

The genesis of this need dates back to the post-World War II technology revolution. With the development of electronic capabilities and applications came the growth of physical security as an industry unto itself, with many companies emerging to provide proprietary systems. As businesses grew from one to many physical locations, these providers continued to install the systems with which they were familiar -- each as a stand-alone solution.

The last decade has profoundly changed the way businesses look at physical security and the need for risk management at the corporate level. The emergence of the Internet, the events of Sept. 11, 2001, hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and corporate fraud scandals have highlighted the need for fundamental operational business changes to maintain best practices in the corporate environment, keep their premises, personnel and property safe, and avoid the possibility of personal or corporate liability from the government. Physical security is an important part of this new charter, both from the standpoint of corporate governance and for protection of assets and business continuity.

True Convergence
With the recognition of the increased importance of physical security and the advent of networked systems comes a growing recognition of the need for communication between disparate new and legacy systems, including physical access control, video surveillance, HVAC and fire. In other words, convergence.

Big-picture convergence will ultimately be accomplished by a software solution that covers every physical security event, operation and transaction across all locations of a corporation. This has been the mission of RISCO Group: to provide a solution that would accomplish true convergence as defined here. Leading RISCO Group USA’s product line is a sophisticated software and building management solution that enables simplified and completely integrated site management and control via intuitive, drag-anddrop- based synoptic maps. Designed to provide system integrators with a competitive edge for easy project implementation, SynopSYS is ideal for commercial and public buildings, complexes and satellite facilities.

The software’s wide range of functions includes control of security, access control, digital video surveillance, fire and flood detection, and building control and maintenance systems such as HVAC and elevators. Networking capabilities provide monitoring of both single and multisite facilities via WAN or LAN connection and enable efficient, cost-effective, reliable and rapid response to events.

One of the many unique features of SynopSYS is its use of the Universal Plug ‘n’ Play communications protocol. Any UPnP device can be immediately integrated and controlled without the need for special software drivers. Other devices and protocols also are easy to integrate through open architecture.

A Key Shift
This solution is being implemented in a large number of enterprise-level applications.

As it is clear that the need for compliance, risk management, interoperability and financial accountability will continue to grow, strategic security management systems that are converged with other business operations over the IT network will become essential to businesses of all sizes in the future.

A paradigm shift of this magnitude brings challenges of its own that are already becoming evident in the security industry.

These challenges are not limited to manufacturers, integrators or contractors; they have an impact on all levels of the industry, and at this time, many are still being caught ill-prepared to tackle them.

At every point in the channel, from manufacturers to end users, the level of training requirements for specifying, designing, building and installing an integrated security system has increased.

Some integrators have seen the shift approaching and prepared well. Many integrators, however, have continued to scramble to find adequate training availability for their staffs. A significant investment has been made by independent integrators, distributors and manufacturers to create and implement a level of training the industry never had available before.

Some manufacturers and many distributors have risen to the occasion and focused heavily on bringing quality training to the forefront. RISCO Group had the advantage of anticipating this industry need, which led to the creation of a specialized group within the company called RISCO Engineered Systems, which is capable of training integrators, distributors and end users.

New Competition
Another example of a challenge brought about by the shift to converged systems is a new wave of competition faced by the integrator. With security joining other applications on the network, there are many installers or integrators who may have previously worked in other fields, such as IT or audio, who are now throwing their hats into the ring for security installations.

Additionally, with significant new training available, the market is more crowded than ever with multiple integrators. Unfortunately, this can lead to traditional security integrators devoting many hours of work in developing a comprehensive specification, only to see a job awarded to a new competitor. Some of these competitors will set pricing extremely low, even without profit, due to a lack of experience or simply as a means to keep a crew working.

RISCO Group is committed to being selective and semi-exclusive with its offerings; the company will not saturate any market with multiple integrators. The objective is to become a dependable and quality minded manufacturer -- to help select partners grow and prosper. We judge our success by the success of our partners.

This article originally appeared in the July 2009 issue of Security Today.

About the Author

Len Friedman is the president and CEO of RISCO Group USA.

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