Is your integrated electronic security system futureproof?

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Regional Security Manager Paul Sheeran strongly believes that nobody does ‘true integration’ better than Johnson Controls.

Paul, please explain what you mean by true integration?

For many years, the phrase ‘true integration’ has been excessively used, but often misunderstood within the electronic security industry and it has not been uncommon for manufacturers to state within their sales material that their products and systems can be truly or deeply integrated with third party hardware and software.

However, to genuinely make this claim, manufacturers must ensure their respective solutions are futureproof in respect of their ability to be forward compatible throughout their lifecycle.

Without this, a security system solution comprising a variety of different systems, might offer a high level of interaction ‘today’, but this will cease as and when one of the individual components are upgraded.

How is Johnson Controls Security Products able to deliver the benefits of true integration?

The development of IP network based electronic solutions has opened up a whole new world of opportunities to seamlessly integrate different types of security systems and technologies.

In recent times, this has included metadata searching, advanced video analytics and AI, all of which have the potential to assist users ‘see more, do more and save more’ in terms of combating criminal activity and helping a business increase productivity.

Importantly, the introduction of various Profiles by ONVIF, the open industry forum which provides and promotes standardised interfaces for effective interoperability of IP-based physical security products, has facilitated the integration of a far greater number of desperate products and technologies than would have been thought possible in the past.

We can also achieve a high level of integration with fire, BMS, lighting, intercom and intruder systems manufactured by Johnson Controls and other brands.

In this respect, our team of more than 200 highly talented R&D engineers working out of our UK Engineering Center of Excellence in Belfast, are constantly looking at ways to upgrade existing products or develop new solutions in response to changing market requirements, but always with integration and backward/forward compatibility in mind.

In doing so, they take onboard market feedback and research carried out by our product management team.

We are also fortunate in having access to a large network of knowledgeable security system integrators who are highly successful within the regional and vertical markets in which they operate and who have a real-life understanding of what end users are expecting from an integrated electronic security solution.

In addition to the features and functions incorporated into many of our individual products and solutions, we can also offer the benefits of deeply integrating our access control and video solutions with products and systems offered by our technology partners through an open and powerful integration platform.

These integrations support powerful solutions across our product lines and software with the brands that are under the Johnson Controls Security Products’ umbrella.

These include CEM Systems, Kantech and C•CURE/Software House on the Access Control hardware and software side and then cameras, recording devices and video management software from American Dynamics, Exacq, CloudVue and Illustra on the video side.

What does this all add up to in practical terms?

At the device level, there are now so many ways that integration can add real value.

For example, Illustra cameras with on-board analytics and recording capabilities as well as two way audio support, can be integrated with radar perimeter detection to optimise the use of PTZ functionality cameras by automating the positioning of the camera when an object is detected.

Another good example would be the use of access control devices such as our emerald touch screen readers.

These are broadening the range of services which can be carried out at a door entry point by combining functions such as health and safety check questions, mustering and data checks for compliance, audio intercom and even meeting room bookings.

These are functions traditionally thought of as being provided by other types of security systems which would come with associated costs.

There is therefore real life practical and commercial value in the integration of an ever increasing number of functions on IP network edge based devices, as it can result in lower infrastructure costs, with less network cabling required as well as a reduction in switches, ports and power requirements.

Can you outline some scenarios where security system designers can capitalise on the latest advances in technology?

We recently supplied a fully integrated electronic security and fire detection solution to a secure mental health facility.

Vandal proof, high definition cameras which can be triggered by events detected by the other systems are working alongside an access control system based on the highest encryption standard which in addition to providing strict controls to who goes where, has been integrated with key safes and staff lockers.

In addition, emerald touchscreen terminals provide for the random search of staff and visitors when they enter the building.

At the heart of the solution is our advanced Victor security management software platform which provides automatic cause and effect video popups and replay when any incident emergency occurs and pulls the whole solution together in a truly video-centric, proactive management platform.

At the other end of the scale, the availability of a comprehensive range of Johnson Control products means that the integration can be extremely cost effective even for small shops, offices, car parks, warehouses, etc.

This is because there isn’t the need to incur the cost of multiple third party interface licences; and it works!

Integrations are supported through any platform upgrades, with any new versions aligned as integrated solutions.

Applications with simple security requirements can be provided with a solution where the access control software acts as the front end, negating the need to deploy VMS.

This type of solution will typically be offered to clients who do not have a need to monitor activity 24/7 within a control room environment, but instead wish to have a security system which can simply pop up video footage on specific alarms or maybe even notify a security staff member by email or phone.

This can prove to be a very cost effective solution for the mass of applications which involve just a small number of cameras, access control devices and/or fire points.

Importantly, system integrators and end users can have peace of mind in knowing that all our solutions benefit from end-to-end encryption and have been designed and built in line with the rigorous standards of the Johnson Controls Cyber Solutions Product Security Program, one of the industry’s first to offer a holistic approach to cybersecurity for physical security products.

Whilst no manufacturer can offer 100% guarantee, the program is intended to give installers, security systems integrators and end users the confidence that the possibility of vulnerabilities in our branded digital security products and solutions has been minimised.

The program takes on board feedback from IT, security professionals and cybersecurity experts in order to combine best practice during the product development, testing and evaluation process as well as configuration guidelines for compliance in order to protect our physical security products from attack, damage, disruption, unauthorised access or misuse.

1-ISJ- Is your integrated electronic security system futureproof?
Paul Sheeran, Regional Security Manager, Johnson Controls
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