Integration understood

November 2001 Fire & Safety

Integration is, by its very nature, an aggregate of functions working in concert - with only one orchestra leader. It is the combination of fire, security, access control and CCTV functions in a seamless system that uses common hardware and software, shared power supplies and batteries, cabling and off-premises communications. It allows events from one function to trigger outputs and control devices of other functions by means of those shared resources.

Integration reduces wiring complexity, cuts installation time and lowers equipment costs.

Shared resources bring cost benefits

Many companies that offer integrated solutions are actually interfacing their equipment. This means that a central computer is connected to independent fire, security and access control systems. While this approach provides some of the control features found in integrated systems, it delivers none of the cost advantages derived from the sharing of resources because each system remains separate and distinct.

Interfaced systems require the installation of separate wiring, cabinets, power supplies and batteries for each of the functions. This makes the system more complex and increases requirements for troubleshooting, training and maintenance. With an integrated system, on the other hand, there is one common user interface to interact with, far fewer components and much less wiring. This greatly increases overall system reliability.

Integration myths and facts

Myth: Integration is no more than the common control of several building systems.

Fact: True integration provides common control, as well as the opportunity to significantly cut costs and boost reliability through the sharing of resources such as processing capability, power supplies, wiring and communications components.

Myth: You cannot mix fire and security.

Fact: Fire and security devices can be combined if the failure of the security component does not affect the fire alarm function. To ensure total compatibility systems such as Edward's EST3 integrated system components will be listed to the fire alarm standard in addition to the required security standards.

Myth: There are lots of integrated systems already on the market.

Fact: Many claim to have integrated systems, but in fact these are separate (sometimes supplied by third parties) interfaced together to give the illusion of true integration.

For further details contact Progressive Systems Technologies on tel: (011) 285 0056.

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