Value through intelligent integration

July 2012 Integrated Solutions

The basic principles of integration are simple and easy to grasp: combine the abilities of a collection of individual systems into one to create a much more powerful compound solution. Integration is easy, and with most manufacturers now offering some form of integration mechanism as a standard feature in their products, it is also a basic expectation among clients. Very few clients will ask for solutions with no potential for integration, and will, in fact, often make the requirement for integration a key point in their technical specifications.

With integration being such an important concept in system design, it is unfortunate that clients will often have very limited expectations of what the integrated solution should offer them. It is not uncommon to find that a client, having paid to have, for instance, a sophisticated perimeter intrusion detection system integrated with an even more expensive surveillance system, will be satisfied if the surveillance system will merely display a specific camera when a specific fence zone issues an alert. After a hefty investment, the result is a system mimicking an ability that could have been achieved with a dry contact and some camera presets – none of the true power of either of the two sub-systems have been leveraged. The power of integration may be profound, but the actual implementation of this concept may be very limited.

The key to true exploitation of integrated solutions lie in taking the mindset regarding integration itself out of the operational sphere, and into the world of intelligence. Integrated systems should not only be viewed as useful tools for empowering the operations of security or safety system, but rather as mechanisms for the gathering of intelligence regarding the environment being monitored.

The intelligence should also expand beyond the gathering of information, to encompass the intelligent use of the knowledge to manage the total solution even more efficiently. Data generated by the sub-systems of the integrated solution can now be combined into sophisticated decision making aids, while at the same time offering a view of the environment that the disparate systems could never offer individually.

False alarms

Consider the example used earlier, of a perimeter intrusion detection system integrated with a surveillance platform. One of the common issues experienced with perimeter protection systems is a tendency to generate false alarms when conditions in the environment of the system mimic those of an actual attempted intrusion. If the concept of intelligent integration is now applied to this solution, it is possible to formulate a solution to this problem: if a fence zone is triggered, verify the alarm by automatically checking if an associated collection of cameras are also registering motion in that area. If the cameras are indeed indicating movement in the area, the fence alarm can automatically be marked as confirmed.

As useful as the above solution may prove to be, it is still an application of the operational abilities of an intelligent integrated system. Systems such as these should offer more than this, and should be able to assist the client not just with the management of threats, but also with the management of the associated environment.

The knowledge derived from the sub-systems should offer richer insights than merely which alarm was triggered at a specific time. The information should offer intelligence on how well the sub-systems are performing, as well as an understanding of how the environment itself is behaving.

If this occurs often, the system may be incorrectly calibrated, or the environment around the system may require some maintenance – this is much more effective management of a faulty system than the inevitable desensitisation of system operators that is typical of less intelligent solutions.

A very useful aspect of intelligent integrated systems is that the power of such a solution is directly proportionate to the complexity of the integration itself. The system gains power and usefulness as more sub-systems are integrated, and the solution collects more information.

Building management

To exploit more complex examples, if a building’s access control system can be integrated with its building management system, as well as the electrical power monitoring systems, the resulting solution can be used to manage the energy footprint of the building very effectively. The intelligent component of the solution analyses the movement patterns of the population of the building, and uses the results to build rules of operation for the building management system.

The movement of the population through the building is now used to determine which lighting sections of the building should be switched on or off at specific times, what the load of the air-management devices should be, and even what the behaviour of the building’s electrical grid itself should be. The resulting solutions ensures that the building only consumes energy where and when needed, and then also only at levels that would satisfy the population in the associated area.

As with all solutions based on technology, there is a weak link in the argument for intelligent integrated systems: an intelligent system requires an intelligent management system. These systems are typically software solutions offering very attractive abilities that leverage of the power of the integrated solution whilst also offering additional ability based on the correct management of the gathered information.

An example would be the ability to generate an automatic job card for a camera going offline, without operator intervention. If the system is sufficiently powerful it will even manage the subsequent service level agreement applicable of the job card all the way to the repair of the device. The challenge lies in the selection of the correct system, as it should be able to maximise the complex abilities of the integrated solution while itself not being complex to install, commission or manage. The software should define itself as an extension of the integrated system, and should add ability to the integrated system as opposed to merely facilitating the integration itself.

For more information contact PBS Technologies, +27 (0)11 805 6600, [email protected],

Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

MySecurityApp for SME security firms
Surveillance Integrated Solutions
Solution House Software has introduced MySecurityApp, a platform that expedites security operations management for startup and growing security companies by delivering a comprehensive and user-friendly mobile app designed to simplify setting up and growing security companies’ operations.

MySecurityApp for SME security firms
Surveillance Integrated Solutions
Solution House Software has introduced MySecurityApp, a platform that expedites security operations management for startup and growing security companies by delivering a comprehensive and user-friendly mobile app designed to simplify setting up and growing security companies’ operations.

Card tapping turns expensive with new scam
Integrated Solutions
The ability to tap-and-go makes life easier and more convenient, but Richard Frost, Product Head at Armata, warns that it may cost consumers more than they bargained for.

Future trends for electronic safety and security in mining
Fang Fences & Guards Mining (Industry) Integrated Solutions AI & Data Analytics
The mining industry is ever evolving, driven by technological advancements and the growing need for enhanced safety and security measures, with significant innovation seen in turnkey electronic security for mining operations.

Unlocking enhanced security for mining
Mining (Industry) Integrated Solutions
In the dynamic landscape of African mining, security remains of paramount concern as threats evolve and challenges persist, and mining companies seek innovative solutions to safeguard their operations, assets, and personnel.

A constant armed struggle
Technews Publishing XtraVision Editor's Choice Integrated Solutions Mining (Industry) IoT & Automation
SMART Security Solutions asked a few people involved in servicing mines to join us for a virtual round table and give us their insights into mine security today. A podcast of the discussion will be released shortly-stay tuned.

Access and identity in 2024
Technews Publishing Gallagher HID Global IDEMIA Ideco Biometrics Enkulu Technologies neaMetrics Editor's Choice Access Control & Identity Management Integrated Solutions
SMART Security Solutions hosted a round table discussion with various players in the access and identity market, to find out what they experienced in the last year, as well as their expectations for 2024.

Advanced security solution for high-risk areas
Secutel Technologies Surveillance Integrated Solutions
The need for a sophisticated intrusion detection system is paramount when faced with persistent security challenges, particularly in isolated battery rooms or high-risk areas prone to vandalism, cable theft, and battery theft.

Vumacam and NAVIC enhance SafeCity initiative
Integrated Solutions Security Services & Risk Management
Vumacam and NAVIC, two of South Africa's most respected surveillance technology and vehicle intelligence providers, are proud to announce an alliance that will greatly expand the coverage and impact of the SafeCity initiative across the country.

Gallagher Security’s achieves SOC2 Type 2 recertification
Gallagher News & Events Integrated Solutions Infrastructure
Gallagher has achieved System and Organization Controls (SOC2 Type 2) recertification after a fresh audit of the cloud-hosted services of its integrated security solution, Command Centre. The recertification was achieved on 21 December 2023.