Intrusion detection and perimeter security is as old as houses, quite literally. One of the first things humans did when moving into a residence, whether it was made of mud or brick or even a cave, was to try to make sure they controlled the entrance to their homes, their surrounding turf as well as their communities.
Fortunately, today our intrusion and perimeter defences are somewhat more advanced, but the goal remains the same: we want to allow friends easy access and prevent bad guys from getting in.
Unfortunately, our defences are not 100%, even though we may wish they were. A clever criminal will always find a way in; it only takes time, skill and patience, and a slip up in the defence processes. To avoid any slip-ups, we need to ensure we have the best intrusion and perimeter defences installed (or the best we can afford), and we need to make sure they are working as required, all the time.
To find out more about what’s happening in the perimeter and intrusion markets, Hi-Tech Security Solutions spoke to three industry leaders for their insights into this old, but still important and still advancing market.
What do you want?
As strange as it sounds, many home and business buyers are in the market for ‘security’. They can’t tell you exactly what they want, but an alarm and an electric fence sounds good, so they would probably go for the best sales job and the lowest price. On the other hand, there are those who know what they want and are faced with a large selection of choices in terms of products and functionality, and a selection of price points.
In the majority of domestic applications, the homeowners will typically still see an alarm as an alarm, and look for something effective and reliable with the primary purpose of intruder detection and perimeter security, says Merwede van der Merwe from Regal Security. “In most cases they will then rely on the service provider to propose the best solution for their application. However, this trend is changing as the technology and the functionality of intrusion systems improves with added functions and features. Homeowners are becoming more aware of these benefits and starting to shift their focus towards a solution that offers flexibility and convenience for their needs.”
Bruce Lang from Jablotron Alarms SA believes users want more from their alarm and intrusion systems than most service providers offer. He says today’s user is gadget driven and wants to be able to control systems via an app, from remotely accessing their alarm system as well as their home automation and access control solutions.
Elvey Security Technologies’ Ingo Mutinelli agrees, noting that the end user is looking for a system that offers more than just an alarm that catches intruders; they want a system that can incorporate visual verification and home automation. “If the system can do this via an app and doesn’t break the bank, you pretty much have what property owners are looking for,” he says.
“There are various systems available that talk about having that kind of technology, and with the Internet of Things and mobile apps it is easy for manufacturers to put something out there. It’s not, however, easy to put something out there that works consistently and effectively while offering the high security levels required here in South Africa.”
What to look for?
So, what should the buyer be looking for when purchasing a new system or upgrading an existing installation. As noted above, there are many options, but their effectiveness, reliability and longevity varies.
Mutinelli says consumers should be careful not to buy into systems that haven’t been tried and tested in the market, rather opting for those with a solid pedigree built up over time. “The systems should offer a strong operating platform and a robust build that can handle SA’s conditions – like scorching sun and lightning. The application and cloud services should be secure and should have the same encryption banks used for their online banking, which is essentially a cloud service.”
A crucial part of selecting an intrusion system would be to look for a system that offers expandability and integration, and one that meets the levels of technology currently available, adds van der Merwe. “This allows for a single system that can be used for intrusion detection, perimeter security, access control functionality and video verification. Going hand-in-hand with these factors is an easy end-user interface with simple operation, a mobile app interface, SMS functionality and reporting to keep the user informed at all times of any events occurring on the system.”
She adds that perimeter security plays a vital role in intrusion detection as it is the home-owner’s first point of detection. This is a top priority and should be offered as a seamless part of any intrusion system.
“A one stop solution like Jablotron can assist with true intruder verification via our camera passives which send a picture to your mobile application in six seconds to give you a snapshot of your environment,” notes Lang. He adds that a modern system should also be able to control your gate, your lights, your pool pump and your irrigation, all at the push of a button on your remote device.
Adding additional functionality to integrate the security system into your home automation functionality is not a new experience, but to do so easily and effectively has been quite rare, until now. For most home and business users, buying security is a grudge purchase so they are likely to be more interested in additional functionality first, with security as a bonus. The added features such as home automation are often the selling point as people feel they actually get value from them rather than spending money on something ‘just in case’.
What features and functionality?
Some of the most recent features found in intrusion systems that offer a new or improved level of functionality include those such as home automation integration with mobile app interface, access control and video verification, as well as web-based panel access and management for end users and service providers, says van der Merwe.
She explains that all of these features come together to offer the end user a single smart solution for any premises. Perimeter detection products found to have the most reliable levels of functionality are still outdoor PIRs and IR beams, although there has also been an increase in the use of strip beams in outdoor applications. Perimeter products are on offer with new functionality such as microwave, specifically referring to beams that function like IR beams, but cover a larger and more flexible area of protection.
Keeping with the waves, Mutinelli adds that Z-Wave technology integrated into these systems offers some really ‘cool’ functionality and features. You can wirelessly switch on lights, control temperature and even manage power usage. With ‘if this then that’ scheduling, you can automatically switch on lights by disarming your alarm system when you get home, or switch a pool motor off when you arm your system and leave for the day. “The grudge purchase of an alarm is becoming a lifestyle and management tool.”
While there are great options to choose from if the user opts for a new installation or a compete replacement, the question of integration must be raised for the many, if not the majority of buyers who would only be looking for new or upgraded components of a full solution, not the full kit itself. Can the new all-singing-all-dancing products work with older solutions?
The answer to the question of integration capabilities is yes and no, according to van der Merwe. “New products will always offer easy integration into all forms of monitoring products to ensure reliable and stable functionality. When it comes to areas like access control and video surveillance, however, this can differ from product to product based on which brands have partnered to ensure an easy integration.”
In many circumstances, the manufacturer will often have its own range of product and software that integrate into the intrusion systems in these areas. Manufacturers of such intrusion systems will always adhere to global standards and the relevant EN standards for each country their product is sold in. This is critical when dealing with system monitoring and functionality requirements.
“The best advice I could provide a system user or service provider looking to use solutions from different vendors in the same project would be to always check with the product manufacturer or supplier as to who their current integration partners are, as this is often not publicised enough. Sometimes you may simply be unaware of an integration that has already been done.”
Echoing these thoughts, Mutinelli admits that integration is a difficult issue. “My advice would be to choose your SI (system integrator) wisely and make sure they have a good relationship with the distributor because that’s often where the disconnect lies, not with the actual product.
“In addition, it is important to remember that buying cheap will get you into trouble. You need to invest wisely and for the long term.”
Personal product punt
Putting the theory aside, we asked the three interviewees for their thoughts on which intrusion and perimeter products they would recommend.
Lang naturally recommends the Jablotron system with wireless camera passives not needing IP or wired cables because they are installed on the system’s bus wired or wireless network. “There is no fuss with extensive cabling, which cuts costs and the timing of the installation. Jablotron’s outdoor bus-wired verification camera with IR takes snapshots in frames of 10, five before the event and five after, sent to your mobile application within six seconds.
“Both the Risco and DSC products cover what I discussed above and a lot more,” adds Mutinelli. “Both products have been sold in South Africa and around the world for decades, and both companies have world-class manufacturing and R&D facilities which keeps them at the forefront of technology. Elvey has been supporting these products successfully and with our state-of-the-art facilities can demonstrate the capabilities of all the technology. We also have reference sites and companies that have taken on the technology successfully.”
As for Regal, van der Merwe says one of the systems that stands out is the new DMP system from Regal. “The DMP brand has a reputable name globally and its products have been used in solutions ranging from banking environments through to government and corporate applications, and right down to domestic solutions.
“DMP is one of the leaders in innovation with its product offering being one of the only true smart solutions with features like home automation, access control and video verification, taking the DMP range a step closer to a fully integrated solution. These features provide a simple operation through the use of a mobile app, and simple management and configuration for both the end user and service provider through web-based services.”
A DMP security system allows the combination of a hybrid (wired and wireless) intruder alarm system with access control and video verification, using one control panel with a mobile app for convenience and peace of mind.
A DMP alarm panel with cellular communication enabled allows end users to take remote control of their security system. The MyAccess feature gives end users the ability to send the most common system commands to their systems via SMS text message. They can also choose to have alerts sent to them each time there’s an arm/disarm, alarm or other selected event.
Integration is key
Dan Drayton, Paxton’s sales manager, EMEA, comments on the importance of effective integration capabilities in the security products users select.
“Customers are demanding ever more from their security systems and in many cases it is no longer satisfactory to have multiple systems being administered and managed separately. The security industry has answered this need by vendors working in partnership to build seamless integrations between their systems.
“Paxton for example is always a popular choice when partner companies are looking to integrate with access control due to the simplicity of our system and the variety of integrations we have from market-leading brands across the disciplines of our industry. However, the devil is always in the detail and while many vendors promote their partner or technology programmes, the reality is that stable and reliable integrations can be quite difficult to achieve.
“IP technology has made this easier over time but there often remain many technical barriers to remove. It is critical that installers carefully evaluate the needs of their clients and test the various systems they intend to use before embarking on the installation of an integrated platform. In the near future security installers will see more vendors providing platforms that support different requirements out-of-the-box, negating the need for complex, cross vendor integrations.”
For more information, contact Paxton, +27 (0)21 427 6691, email@example.com, www.paxtonaccess.co.za
For more information, contact:
• Elvey Security Technologies, +27 (0)11 401 6700, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.elvey.co.za
• Jablotron Alarms SA, +27 (0)82 673 6212, email@example.com
• Regal Distributors, +27 (0)11 553 3300, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.regalsecurity.co.za
|Tel:||+27 21 427 6691|
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|Tel:||+27 11 401 6700|
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