Integration Frustration

Many of today's security systems and products integrate with each other, and thanks to end user demand, manufacturers have made integrating with multiple security products easier. But while product integration is a huge advantage to the end user, and manufacturers regularly provide lists of compatible products, it is important to understand how integrated two products really are.

For example, multiple fixed, PTZ and megapixel cameras integrate with various Security Management Systems (SMS) and Video Management Systems (VMS). Beyond connecting the camera to the system for viewing capabilities and recording formats, integration may also involve configuration and control. Most of these cameras have on-board features that allow users to change the configuration and control other aspects of the camera, such as PTZ control. A "complete" integration should allow users full access to all of the camera features through the connection to a system. In other words, by logging into an SMS or VMS software application the integration should allow for full access. Some SMS and VMS providers make their own cameras, so it stands to reason that their cameras should be "completely" integrated with their SMS or VMS. But what about third party cameras?

The level of integration of products typically depends on the manufacturer that is primarily responsible for developing the integration. Because of the following reasons, some products are not fully integrated:

  • Proprietary issues
  • Some features are not capable of integration
  • Selective features only
The user, therefore, doesn't receive the full benefits of some products. The following is a list of questions that should be answered when trying to determine the integration of products:
  • What are all of the features of the product?
  • Which manufacturer is primarily responsible for developing the integration? (e.g. camera manufacturer or SMS manufacturer?)
  • Which of the features are included or not included in the integration?
  • Is there any other degradation to the product and its features as a result of the integration?
By reading all of the documentation, conducting a little extra research and asking questions, the product integration can be better understood.

About the Author

Darren Nix is a senior associate at Risk Management Associates, Inc.

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