Break out your browser for security applications:

Physical security meets information technology, thanks to voice and video over Internet protocol (IP); the Internet is able to connect to a network, router or other transmission device and broadcast voice, video and data. As computer technology has advanced, so has the use of IP for a variety of security applications, surveillance among the most popular.

The Internet expands the realm of possibility for an installation and the way a contractor can approach the job. Browser-based communications continues to change the landscape of the security premises and extend, converge and meld applications.

Video is up and coming in the security market for on-the-fly monitoring, remote surveillance or more intense applications, which require precise visual detail, information, recording and transmission. Cellular applications for video are emerging, but for now, they allow a quick look into the protected premises on alert.

Closed-circuit television surveillance (CCTV) advances at light speed, but the emphasis is on smart sensors and intuitive software, integration with a host of security and related automation and control functions, sending data securely and accurately, and the quality of the image and its surrounding area for identification, apprehension and prosecution.

Web-based access control and alarm monitoring that does not require a centralized PC is a reality. It’s made possible with a little black box, its own “smarts” and microprocessor, called a security appliance, according to Marc Petock, director of marketing, Tridium Inc., Richmond, Va., which manufactures the Vykon security system. It protects, controls and monitors the security of a facility in real time.

“Security managers can monitor all facets of their facility from a single screen, coordinating the massive control centers now part of large enterprise applications and making them more manageable,” Petock said. “Authorized security administrators can manage credential enrollment, access rights and schedules, time and attendance and alarm response in real time via a standard Web browser. The IP-based security appliance connects to a building automation system, such as BACnet, LonWorks and others and is capable of storing thousands of credentials and controlling multiple doors.” The Vykon security system is built on the Niagara Framework, a facility management software platform.

CCTV and access control are often paired in a turnkey solution. Cameras can be situated at doors to record staff movement or the potential intruder. As soon as someone tries to gain unauthorized access, the camera records the incident and sends an alert to a computer, cell phone, PDA or other mobile device.

Now, CCTV is moving to a concept called situational awareness, guided by software to record an incident or event within selected specific alarm parameters. Smart sensors that can interpret events are the next level of security near fruition. Companies can “manage the situation, not the technology,” said Tony Lapolito, vice president of marketing, VidSys Inc., Alexandria, Va. VidShield software provides the ability of security and surveillance operation centers to proactively monitor their environments.

“The convergence of physical security and surveillance with the traditional IT network is enabling the efficient deployment and use of the network to provide better protection,” he said.

Lapolito said the sheer number of cameras in use can present a management problem, especially when alarms or alerts must be investigated to determine which require response and deployment of personnel.

“Having the ability to correlate an alert with video gives you the whole picture and reduces dramatically the number of events that must be investigated,” he said.

The open architecture platform of VidShield integrates hybrid, third-party technologies, such as access control, alarm systems, analytics and video capture and recording technology and allows the user to scale the application up or down to meet current or future needs.

“There’s a push to use more and more cameras, and this ties all the different systems together,” Lapolito said.

CCTV for physical security must be targeted for the application and must gather, view, transmit and record video images at a higher level than consumer counterparts. The quality of the image has become extremely important, and that is where innovation has evolved.

In high-security applications where positive identification and tracking of objects and individuals is critical, cameras have risen to the task in resolution.

“The market needs high-quality systems and images, especially with critical infrastructure and public safety,” said Alexander Fernandes, president and chief executive officer of Avigilon, Vancouver, B.C. “Image quality is critical.”

Internet-based security, video, data and voice transmissions continue to revamp the way physical security is deployed. Information technology is never far behind and, soon, the two will meet.                 EC

O’MARA is the president of DLO Communications in Park Ridge, Ill., specializing in low-voltage. She can be reached at 847.384.1916 or
domara@earthlink.net
.