Bringing It All Together
Physical security in the fast lane of proprietary systems
- By Len Friedman
- Jul 01, 2009
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.
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
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.
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.
Len Friedman is the president and CEO of RISCO Group USA.