Define New Models - Now is an exciting time to be in the business of security integration. The quality of surveillance images are getting better in a variety of configurations ranging from megapixels to multisensor panoramic to thermal imaging cameras.

Define New Models

Network Communications are integral part of new security systems

Now is an exciting time to be in the business of security integration. The quality of surveillance images are getting better in a variety of configurations ranging from megapixels to multisensor panoramic to thermal imaging cameras. There are also new integrations between entire functional subsystems, such as surveillance monitoring and access control, that have the potential to dramatically improve overall situational awareness. And perhaps most exciting of all, there are new capabilities based on analytics, such as motion detection and license plate ID, that move intelligence outward toward edge devices and free up central processing for higher-level tasks.

These new developments aren’t just bells and whistles—they are open pathways for improved detection, functionality, and all-weather reliability and are changing the way systems are designed and implemented.

Power is the Foundation for Every System

There’s an old Internet joke (or myth, perhaps—some people maintain it actually happened) in which someone calls a software company’s tech support line complaining that their word processing software had suddenly stopped working. The tech support representative patiently runs through a long process of asking about details of the hardware and operating system set-up, what the screen was displaying, and checking connections before the caller says he can’t actually see whether the monitor is correctly connected because it is too dark in the room. It turns out that the entire area is experiencing a power outage. The intended punch line of the joke is when the staffer instructs the caller to carefully disconnect the system, repack it and return it to the store—because, the staffer says, the caller is “too stupid to own a computer.”

In most versions of this story, the tech support staffer is, as expected, fired, but perhaps for the wrong reason. His own assumptions about the status of the power contributed as much to his wasted time as the ignorance of the caller. His own assumptions caused him to skip over the simplest conclusion, and instead begin a troubleshooting process for a more complex, albeit more common challenge. The bottom line is that security integrators want to be—and should be—more informed about the status of the system’s power before a customer experiences downtime.

It is not difficult to see how this situation happens. It’s easy to focus more sales attention on the bells and whistles, because they are visible to users and are delivering impressive new capabilities. But the responsibility as manufacturers, system designers and installers goes beyond bells and whistles, to ensure compatibility, reliability and other high-profile system attributes.

In truth, most of us in that situation would not have asked the caller the key question first—“do you have power in your building?” The reason: because the power grid in the United States is fairly reliable, and sustained outages are rare. For critical systems, a basic uninterrupted power supply (UPS) is typically specified with confidence that it will reasonably ensure that the system remains up and running. But that may not be the case.

Today, we can—and should—do more than just include a UPS to ensure system reliability. A UPS is an acceptable solution to bridge short-term utility power outages but continues to leave the security system vulnerable due to the failure of an integrated low voltage power source.

As experts agree, low-voltage power supply issues do not develop as suddenly as one may think. They are often the result of an overload condition or other stress factor that, if detected early enough, could be eliminated or managed in such a way as to completely avoid the problem. In many cases, the power supply is not the issue and could be attributed to other causes and devices, which for example, may be drawing excessive power. This condition could have been detected if the system was monitored remotely. Deploying power supplies capable of communicating over the network can resolve these issues with notification functionality.

Think More like Network Managers

Pro security system management challenges are not so different from the challenges that confront network communication managers in the IT department. As the security industry continues its migration from analog to IP based surveillance and access control systems, the trend is to deploy Ethernet connected products that communicate.

Some recent advances in network integration rely on just this kind of communication between subsystems. However, even these networked surveillance solutions have mostly excluded advanced communications with the core products that make up the foundations of these systems—power supplies and transmission products.

To ensure robust system reliability, the power supplies and transmission devices Remote monitoring, programming and control.

  • Strong diagnostic and reporting capabilities.
  • The ability to group multiple products and locations based on user-defined goals and parameters.
  • E-mail and/or simple network management protocol (SNMP) notification to send trap messages to authorized personnel when exceptions in an IP device’s operation or status are detected.
  • All status, event notifications and device programming changes should be recorded in a detailed event log.

Monitoring Power Improves Reliability

Fortunately, new communications solutions are available for power supply and transmission products that enable remote monitoring, control and reporting, filling this need for increased network communications. Multiple power and transmission products at different sites can be easily integrated, managed and controlled remotely. Having these feature benefits, future systems will have greater reliability and return on investment (ROI). For installing dealers, this means the elimination of service calls and system downtime complaints, and the creation of new RMR opportunities.

With new power supply and transmission devices that can be deployed with networked status and diagnostic capabilities, security professionals have the tools to deploy truly unified, comprehensive, networked solutions. These foundational components are raising the standard for integrated security and surveillance. Diagnostics and instant notifications of issues empower end users and contracted maintenance service providers to address issues quickly and efficiently. As a result end users’ security is also increased dramatically around the clock.

This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Security Today.

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