Many people don’t give alarms and their monitoring much thought in their day-to-day lives. But alarms systems continually monitor our homes, workplaces and communities in order to identify a problem as soon as something happens. From the carbon monoxide detector in our apartment building to the intrusion panel at the office to the alarm system that protects a town’s public drinking water, alarm monitoring has become part of our everyday lives, whether we realize it or not.
Alarm monitoring technology has evolved to go beyond intrusion and fire alarm monitoring to also include water pressure change, carbon monoxide, fire, openings and closings, temperature changes, gas leaks alarms and medical alerts (PERS). In addition, market demand continues to increase for video monitoring, GPS monitoring and two-way voice services.
Offering these types of services is important, that’s why Centra-Larm has grown its business over the years from its primary focus on fire alarms to now include a broad array of third party alarm monitoring services. Today the company monitors more than 90,000 alarms from its three central stations in New Hampshire and California.
To meet the current and changing needs of its customers, Centra-Larm has been a longtime customer of Tyco Security Products’ Sur-Gard receivers to provide its central stations with the broad functionality and high-speed transmissions needed for such a wide and varied customer base.
With such a large number of and many types of alarms monitored, Centra-Larm’s central stations need to be fast, versatile and highly automated. That means supporting more than 100 communication formats and the capability to monitor IP transmitters.
At many central stations, it might not be uncommon for an operator to handle a signal for a burglar alarm at a residential property one minute, then have to respond to an alarm indicating a change in temperature in a refrigerator at a grocery store the next. Thanks to technology, the role of the central station and the types of systems that central station operators monitor has changed considerably. It’s a boon to the growth and the development of the central station industry.
As a force in the alarm market for the last 27 years, Centra-Larm understands that the ability to change is often crucial to survival and prosperity. That includes being able to handle multiple forms of simultaneous alarm signal communication and being able to adapt to the ever-changing customer expectations as technology continues to offer new benefits to dealers and end users.
How has central station receiver technology developed in recent years? Learn more about Sur-Gard SG-Systems, and its newly released Sur-Gard System 5 IP-based receiver, which supports visual alarm verification and is recognized as a powerful, yet space saving system.
Read more about how Centra-Larm is using Sur-Gard to serve its 90,000 commercial and residential customers.
Often integrators and systems installers don’t think of wireless intrusion as a first option for a commercial customer. Historically, wireless intrusion solutions have been seen as unreliable, plagued by interference and offering a short battery life. But it’s time to reconsider wireless intrusion’s suitability for commerce and examine just what current systems have to offer, given recent technological advances.
Poor reliability and substantial interference have been the two biggest complaints about wireless intrusion. The introduction of frequency hopping within wireless devices has solved some of this. Frequency hopping allows an intrusion device to hop around channels within the specified frequency at a constant pace to find the clearest signal, making it difficult to hack or penetrate. Frequency hopping divides a large frequency band into 50 channels, which translates to less interference and increased reliability. Adaptive path technology then finds the most efficient path to the intrusion panel so that, together with frequency hopping and 128-bit encryption, devices can communicate to one another easily and securely.
Another technology that benefits wireless intrusion is two-way synchronous communication or TDMA. With traditional one-way devices, there is no communication between an alarm device and the panel. Two-way devices allow for back and forth communication and result in less noise, which can be a problem when using a large number of devices.
Ease of installation and low maintenance are musts for the commercial intrusion market. The adaptability of cutting-edge wireless intrusion systems makes installation even easier. Already simple to install because wireless systems do not require installers to pull wire, installers can now install or update devices at any time. In addition, new technology in wireless devices can help an installer identify signal strength issues before mounting a sensor, for example.
Along with providing powerful analytic options and remote management, two-way communication makes maintenance and troubleshooting easier. Remote management allows installers and end users to solve problems without having to visit each device in person. Technology like this saves both the installer and end user time and money, providing faster troubleshooting and less down time.
The efficiency of all these advancements, including adaptive path technology and frequency hopping, results in battery savings. Battery power is no longer eaten up by signals that go nowhere or are inefficient, one-way communications. Plus these systems do not require high-capacity batteries. Add to this a longer batter life, typically five to eight years, and the user sees significant cost savings with wireless intrusion technology when it comes to battery power.
As technology in general has evolved, so too has wireless technology. Personal computers, which at one time required an Ethernet cord to connect to the Internet, now rely on wireless technology to transmit information. The same is true for the movies we watch, which can now be streamed wirelessly and directly to the television set.
As the use of wireless intrusion systems has grown it has provided the commercial user with the convenience of easier installation and maintenance, battery savings, and most importantly, high reliability. With these evolutions in technology and reliability, wireless intrusion is becoming not only a viable option in the commercial market, but could become the preferred choice of the future.
Learn more about PowerG 2-way wireless communication and the technologies from Tyco Security Products enabling this move into the commercial space.
Given the choice between complexity and simplicity, most of us choose the easy path. If there is a way to take difficulty out of any day-to-day activity, we’re all for it.
Today’s technology is increasingly reflecting our need for a pared down, but still high-quality approach. Think about some of the appliances residing in your own home. Instead of a separate blender, food processor, ice crusher and mixer, many kitchens now have a single machine — a super blender, if you will — that handles all of these chores.
In the security space, cameras with edge-based video recording capabilities are filling a similar niche. Especially for small businesses that don’t have the luxury of a large security staff, space to house multiple servers or the infrastructure to support multiple recording devices, opting instead for cameras with embedded VMS software and onboard video storage can prove to be a capable and affordable alternative.
Having a type of all-in-one solution makes high-tech security more accessible to users who only need a handful of IP cameras for their installation. However, these businesses — both large and small — still require a robust array of valuable features and they want them delivered in a user-friendly manner.
Just being able to record video clips to an SD card will cover the most basic security needs in an edge-based video system, but this is just a simple folder of video clips. Like the multi-featured super blender, end users are often looking for something more.
Fortunately, advancements in SD cards and camera processor technology provide enough horsepower to deliver not only onboard storage but video management system capabilities. This means that beyond just recording and organizing clips, business owners or security personnel can take advantage of features such as synchronized search and retrieval of the recorded video across all or specific cameras in their system. Thesevideo management tasks can be performed on a desktop or on mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones with live view or playback.
And while edge-based VMS software provides myriad benefits to smaller locations with a handful of cameras, larger organizations are also leveraging this technology. This includes the large retailer wanting a few cameras at its stores that are independent from the onsite, locally monitored surveillance network. Or, this approach can also benefit other large enterprise installations looking for freedom from managing a central server architecture for small branch locations or remote locations in the field, where a few cameras are needed but server installation is impractical.
Small or large, end users looking to employ this technology are also benefitting from new high reliability SD cards, some of which are designed specifically for the recording of HD video. Various cameras on the market, such as our new Illustra Edge series, can also provide redundancy protection for network outages, providing a backup of the recorded video that can be retrieved and stored back to a central server.
And with each camera having its own embedded VMS capability, businesses have the added assurance that even if one camera in the system fails, the others in their installation will continue to perform the critical video surveillance system duties.
This newest generation of edge-based video adds a higher level of value for end users who want storage and recording capabilities but without the investment of time, space and maintenance associated with traditional server set ups.
It is the perfect melding of simplicity with effective, cutting-edge technology — ice crusher not included.
To hear more about edge based video management as well as tips on how to calculate bandwidth and storage requirements and how to take advantage of other vendor supplied tools for easier installations, please register for the upcoming free webinar from SDM Magazine: “Making the Right Choices in IP Video,” at 2pm EDT on June 16, 2015, sponsored by Illustra from Tyco Security Products.
Exacq and Illustra introduce the first complete edge out-of-the-box solution. Illustra Edge provides a complete high definition video system as easy as 1-2-3 with a high quality Illustra IP camera, integrated video management system (VMS) software and SD card storage included in one out-of-the-box ready solution. Simply mount the camera, connect and start monitoring live and recorded video. Illustra Edge comes pre-configured with an included server license for simple, automatic installation.
Illustra Edge presents everything you need for full-featured video recording. Benefits:
- Cost-Effective Solution – With an edge video solution, fewer components are installed. Video servers and rack equipment are not required. Since Illustra Edge comes with everything bundled into the camera, it saves end users a significant amount of money. Illustra Edge provides a high quality IP cameras integrated video management system (VMS) software and SD storage included in one out-of-the-box ready solution. It even saves money in the long-term with fewer components and no server maintenance.
- Completely Bundled, Easy to Install – Simply plug in the Illustra Edge IP camera, connect to a powered network switch and watch video. Illustra Edge requires minimal configuration and hardware installation. To make it as easy as possible, it features automatic licensing and motion-based recording on first power on.
- High Reliability – Illustra Edge stores video on the camera’s premium video surveillance grade SD card for onboard storage of critical video. Illustra Edge cameras record even when the network is down. There is no single point of failure; if one camera fails, the other IP cameras will continue to stream and record video. Illustra Edge offers distributed recording with a long-life SD card. Store 5-15 days of typical internal video expandable to months or years.
- Network Friendly – The security camera to server traffic is internal, resulting in low network traffic. Therefore, the Illustra Edge solution does not use valuable network resources and bandwidth as functions are performed at the edge.
- Scalable – If more storage is needed, users can add exacqVision S-Series networked storage devices or network attached storage (NAS). Illustra Edge can be a stand-alone solution or scalable as part of a full exacqVision recorder solution.
Ideal solution for:
- Small system installations
- Perfect for 1-10 IP camera installations
- Remote sites where servers are not practical
- Power sub-stations
- Generator stations
- Wind farms
- Environments with unreliable wireless or WAN connectivity
- Covert surveillance independent of the primary video surveillance system
Illustra Edge is available in three models:
Illustra Pro 5MP Fisheye
- 5 MP
- High Resolution 360 degree situational awareness
Illustra Pro 2MP Compact Mini-Dome
Illustra Pro 2MP Compact Bullet
- True day/night
- IR Illumination
- Wide dynamic range
Learn more about the Illustra Edge solution on our website. Download the exacqVision Edge Illustra installer.
Technology has always been front and center in the healthcare market, so it would come as no surprise then that Smartphone technology has found a place here, as well. Patient and employee safety is a continuous focus for healthcare facilities, whether these people are located in in a hospital, doctor’s office or rehabilitation center.
Did you know that a Smartphone, in conjunction with the appropriate app, can provide indoor tracking of an individual? This can become valuable information, especially when it comes to pinpointing the exact location of a nurse or other hospital employee in the event of a safety issue.
There are many uses for a Smartphone in these instances, such as a duress button to detect where to send a response team if an employee is at risk or with a nurse call arrival notification to confirm that a nurse arrived at the same room as the call. Smartphones can help display patient records or medication information upon a nurse entering a room.
Several technologies are now being leveraged for indoor location and navigation, but how do you know which is the right solution and for which applications? Bluetooth Smart (BLE) beacons, for example can be placed at strategic locations so that when the phone passes within a few feet of the beacon it reads its signal and registers that ID as its current location. Energy efficient, Bluetooth Smart Beacons can be detected even when a phone is in standby mode.
However, the downside is that BLE does not provide explicit room location information that you may be after. And, because of its high frequency it introduces unexpected signal strength behavior, which result in an inability to determine range. This means that you cannot tell for sure if a person has actually entered a room.
However, by incorporating a wearable Elpas tag in conjunction with RTLS technologies, the reliability increases considerably thereby increasing possible uses to include personal emergency response.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of these various technologies, including WiFi via trilateration, accelerometer and compass and low frequency beacons thanks to a wearable BLE tag? And how does their future look as a mobile tracking solution in the healthcare market?
To learn more, sign up today for Tyco Security Products webinar on Tracking Mobile Devices Indoors on Wednesday, May 13 at 10 a.m. EDT.
We’ve made a lot of progress when it comes to women in technology careers. More and more women are taking leadership positions across the business world, with women leading large and well-known companies like IBM, Yahoo, Facebook and Lockheed Martin, to name a few. The times really are a-changin’, as Bob Dylan said, as we see more young women than ever seeking professions in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) with support from organizations like the White House’s Council on Women and Girls, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and with well-publicized initiatives at schools like MIT and Stanford.
So it was gratifying to hear that my colleague, Irene Lam, Vice President of R&D and Engineering at Tyco Security Products, was recently named one of the Women’s Security Council 2015 Women of the Year, an award that honors the top female professionals in the security industry. As a gifted leader and active philanthropist, Irene really embodies the professional woman of today and represents just how far women have come in the world of business and technology.
Today, Irene leads a 500-person department responsible for product development, from the design phase to the manufacturing phase. She is responsible for the launch of many new products each year and oversees a network of technology development centers located across the globe. Even in today’s environment, such a role is still more commonly held by men. Irene is also helping to change that reality by actively participating in Tyco Security Products’ mentoring program, where she and other leaders give of their time to several candidates each year, most of them women.
Irene and I are lucky to work for a company that values the recruitment and training of women and sees its future success including women’s contributions and leadership. It’s with good reason, as it’s been well documented that companies that embrace a diverse, highly skilled and educated employee population are simply more successful than those that do not..
Yet we realize that there is more work to be done. I’m proud to say that there has been a substantial increase in the hiring of women at Tyco Security Products in the last five years and a growing interest by women in working for the company in many of our locations throughout the globe. Currently, approximately 40 percent of our employees are women, with many of those women involved in product management, marketing and engineering in various locations around the world.
Tyco Security Products also supports women through internal programs such as the Women’s Growth Network which encourages women to seek technology-oriented roles within the company, and with involvement in events such as the annual Massachusetts’ Conference for Women, an event providing education on entrepreneurship and professional development. We also recently sponsored a local event called the All Girls Challenge, a two-day creativity marathon that invites girls to work in teams to come up with a product that solves a social problem. The program asks participants to draw upon Science, Technology, Engineering and Math skills to create their product.
It is evident that as our professions become increasingly more technology-based, businesses must add technically talented women to their ranks in order to continue to compete and succeed. I feel fortunate to work in a company that has that vision, that recognizes the vital and significant roles women will play in defining its the future. With leaders like Irene and companies like ours, we are developing the next generation of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, which can’t help but benefit all of us.
Next Stop: The Central Station of the Future
None of us can predict the future, especially when it comes to business. But it’s beneficial - and sometimes even fun - to consider what the future might be like.
Though most within the physical security industry agree that the central station is moving toward becoming multi-functional and capable of doing more than monitor alarms, the possibilities are endless. There are a few qualities that the central station of the future is likely to have, though, should current trends and innovations continue.
Adaptability and scalability will be required in the central station of the future. A system’s ability to adapt to new technologies, to integrate with other systems and expand exponentially in size will undoubtedly be key features. Incompatibility, proprietary brands and hardware limitations can no longer be the gates that stifle a system’s potential. Use of multiple profiles, receivers with increased capacities, and easy adaptability to new technologies will keep the central station of the future nimble and dynamic.
The central station of the future will likely still require an operator to make judgment calls to determine what computerized systems cannot. In order to do this efficiently, operators will need to have access to video from locations where an alarm is happening in order to make well-informed decisions. Instead of operators sorting through huge lists of events, they will use visual verification to view an image from the site and to make a determination by looking at a screen shot, which accelerates the handling of such events.
Central stations will likely have a smaller physical footprint in the future. At present, central stations must purchase additional components that often require extra space in the receiver room in order to achieve redundancy. The central station of the future will likely be smaller, but also will support a greater number of monitored accounts.
When the functionality of a security system can literally save lives, downtime is more than an inconvenience. Therefore, a service agreement will be an important component for the central station of the future. As systems become more automated, it’s critical that downtime be minimal. Manufacturers will package service agreements with their central station products to ensure continuity and functionality. Components will also be hot swappable, meaning parts can be replaced without shutting down an entire system and without having to reconfigure the settings for the replaced part.
Clearly, the central station of the future puts power in the hands of the user with larger and more powerful receivers, the ability to create groupings and with the ability to move accounts using profile features. The flexible central station of the future moves away from a proprietary model to a more integrated approach, establishing an infrastructure for future growth and changes in technology.
To learn more about how to future-proof your central station, check out the newly released Sur-Gard System 5 IP-based receiver, which supports visual alarm verification and is recognized as a powerful, yet space saving system.
A few years ago, the conversation surrounding the migration to IP from analog was focused on whether it made sense to do it. Was the technology where it needed to be? Was the cost differential justified? Was there the internal support system in place to run something more sophisticated and complex?
Today, most security personnel feel they can answer those questions favorably and have come on board with the benefits of IP video. Thus, the conversation is turning from whether to do it all to how to do it wisely and well.
Although there are many examples of end users who have successfully made the transition, there still is no single format to adopt in making the migration. The process is different for everyone, but time and field experience can help pinpoint some of the best paths to follow.
One of the issues complicating the ease of migration is that, as more and more end users have moved to IP, there has been a corresponding surge in products coming onto the market.
This has made the selection process evolve from reviewing a handful of IP megapixel cameras and recording devices to a seemingly endless array of options. And while it can be great to have choices, it also requires that you hone in on what your specific needs will be.
What type of video are you looking to record and for how long? What quality of image is needed? How can you maximize the megapixels in which you’ve invested? A thorough review of the requirements on a camera by camera basis will go a long way toward making that part of your migration a wise one.
A smart migration also requires an in-depth look at the network on which the system will run. Adding more cameras or replacing your existing ones with models that require more bandwidth can cause critical bottlenecks if there isn’t some additional planning that precedes the installation.
Much has been said about building the bridge between the security and IT departments, and this is certainly an instance where that rings true. Embarking on an IP conversion will go a lot more smoothly if IT signs on early and is given a clear understanding of what you are trying to do.
Of course, there are other areas to consider as well, ranging from power supplies to recording options as well as how best to use the technology you’ve chosen by reviewing and trying out the new IP camera and recorder features.
In our upcoming webinar, “Migration From Analog to IP”, we’ll delve into all of these topics so you can wisely and successfully manage your own journey into the world of IP. Register today - Webinar: Wed, Apr 8, 2015 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EDT.
There are thousand of moving parts in a health care organization, which operates on a 24/7/365 schedule. A medical facility such as St. Joseph’s Health Care London in Ontario, Canada, requires a security system that provides around-the-clock monitoring and immediate access as events unfold, day or night.
The organization also knows that it can certainly benefit from the latest advancements in security technology, but the approach to adopting new systems has to come with a sound strategic plan in mind.
When St. Joseph’s recently underwent an upgrade in its security system to include IP video, among the key areas the security team wanted to address were video clarity, latency and breadth of coverage so it could better monitor and respond to the ongoing and potential incidents taking place inside and outside of the hospital.
To achieve these goals, St. Joseph’s and its integrator, Integrated Video & Surveillance, added more than 45 IP cameras to supplement the hundreds of analog ones already in place, upgraded its video platform and tapped into the power of analytics.
Aided by the improved video quality of an IP-based system, with a video platform that allows security personnel to view images in real time, without playback interruption, means officers can follow a situation as it occurs, moving seamlessly from one camera view to another and at a resolution level so they can critical information clearly.
The addition of IP cameras with improved resolution and seamless recording and playback performance also provides St. Joseph’s with the ability to address myriad issues that are at the heart of running a successful medical facility — whether it is monitoring hallways and parking lots for potential accidents or checking out who is trying to access a restricted area, such as a pharmacy or psychiatric ward.
Deploying analytics added another level of sophisticated functionality to the security system, allowing St. Joseph’s security staff to engage in people counting or set security perimeters in specific areas that will trigger alarms in the system.
Like any organization looking to update its systems, St. Joseph’s approached the project with goals and a budget in mind. There are many new systems available for improving security these days, so it takes careful planning and a strategic partnership with an integrator to settle on those areas that will bring the most benefit. Instead of swapping out everything that was in place, like the hundreds of analog cameras, St. Joseph’s strategically deployed technology that would take it to the next level.
And the organization is now poised to continue its updates, operating from a timetable and with a program that works within the parameters it has carefully set.
To read more on St. Joseph’s Healthcare and their transition to an IP video platform, click here to download the full case study.
Advances in engineering and information architecture continually change how we use technology. Some advances have caused subtle changes in product design or application within the physical security market. Other technological advances fundamentally alter how we do business and think about physical security and, in particular, physical security information management (PSIM) platforms.
Proximex Surveillint PSIM
There have been a number of technological advances in the last few years, but four dynamics in particular deserve special exploration. All four are actively reshaping how PSIM products are developed and what end users are now expecting in the security market.
One of the most interesting of these dynamics is social media. Social media platforms create organic communication networks among millions of people. For example, enterprises and large municipalities today routinely monitor Twitter feeds to identify traffic disruptions or potential protest activity near a facility. In recent months, some PSIM systems have harnessed the immediacy and speed of the medium, using keyword prevalence, geospatial information and hash tag monitoring of social media to obtain a broad perspective of what is happening in a locality or at an event.
Another powerful change agent is mobile technology. Mobile technology in PSIMs will likely become more mainstream as users become more accustomed to using apps to accomplish their daily tasks. Mobile apps that leverage the native capabilities of smart phones or tablets can notify responders of events and keep security operations up-to-date with pictures and streamed video. However, the real power of mobile technologies is in being able to reach the broader user community. For example, if a tornado was identified by a command center, a PSIM operator could automatically send a customized message to community members in its path, advising them to take shelter, along with the nearest shelter location.
Even though its application is only in its infancy in physical security, cloud computing is having a significant impact on the market and the development of PSIM products. Cloud computing is beneficial to the user and integrator in several ways. Cloud applications can be deployed quickly and accommodate varying processing and storage space needs on demand. By decreasing the need for on-site servers and databases, cloud computing can reduce physical space needs, maintenance and hardware costs, and IT staffing requirements. The use of cloud computing will continue to expand as technology advances and there is broader adoption.
The Internet of Things – known as IoT – is moving beyond being just a buzzword and is becoming a reality. Big and small data is streaming into users’ and operators’ hands rapidly and in great volume. In many ways, the PSIM can be viewed as an IoT application. PSIMs today collect a variety of event and health data from different sensors to correlate information and provide insights into incidents. PSIMs of tomorrow will be able to collect all of the data that sensors of different kinds report and then make use of that data to find patterns and meaning. An example of this would be harnessing the data from police dispatch, traffic reports, keyword social media searches, onsite intrusion and access control alerts and video to monitor and anticipate security needs at a large-scale event. If the data detects an escalation in activity, additional police or security could be activated and dispatched, all through the PSIM interface.
As these four trends further permeate the industry, the PSIM market will no doubt change and adapt quickly. As data sources and data volumes continue to grow, the need for a platform that can provide understandable and actionable intelligence will become exponentially more valuable.