Tony O’Brien was invited to present a paper at IFSEC 2014
The electronic security and fire safety markets are increasingly demanding technology that will assess and manage critical situations, distribute information and co-ordinate and manage resources. Tony O’Brien, Head of Enterprise Solutions from Siemens Building Technologies was invited to present a paper at IFSEC on 18 June 2014 from 2-2.30pm in the Smart Buildings Theatre that demonstrated how to deliver a working environment that is intelligent, responsive and adaptable.
Fully integrated technologies already enable a secure, safe and automated working environment. However the introduction of Enterprise-level Command & Control will create greater synergies between core sub-systems such as security and fire safety protection, power, communications and building energy management. This results in cost savings, revenue opportunities and improvements in manpower resources.
Where we are today: secure, safe and comfortable
To create a secure environment, devices such as CCTV are used to protect assets, access control to restrict entry to specific areas, and enhanced detection such as biometrics for higher areas of risk. Greater levels of intelligence are now achieved with video analytics and anomaly detection for both people and vehicles. Convergence of physical and logical access is provided by single card sign-on, meaning improvements in people identity and other benefits such as cash-less vending and asset tagging.
To ensure a safe environment, comprehensive fire detection systems are used to minimise the risk of false alarms as the consequences can be catastrophic. For people protection, legislation demands clear evacuation procedures, which can be supported by Public Address and Voice Evacuation systems. Critical assets such as IT rooms require some form of fire protection system that is safe and effective at extinguishing a fire without harm to personnel or equipment.
Finally a comfortable environment drives the demand for integration of security, fire safety and building energy management. A simple example demonstrating the benefits of integration is the identification of legitimate people within a building. If there are no personnel in the area, lights can dim and heating/cooling systems can respond automatically. When people return to work, lighting levels automatically increase and heating and cooling return to comfortable temperatures. Even this low level of integration will deliver greater efficiencies, improved cost control and energy savings.
A step forward with Enterprise-level Command & Control
There is no question that integration delivers benefits, but Enterprise-level Command & Control means that integration is not limited to technology. To improve efficiencies and reduce cost, an enterprise platform creates a control hierarchy that sits above all technological disciplines, managing not only technology, but also human resources and processes.
Most command platforms on the market tend to focus on a single discipline such as security, fire or building management and then extend that single function to include the other disciplines. By integrating these elements, a much more holistic approach is taken to Command & Control.
The introduction of Enterprise-level Command & Control will create greater synergies between core sub-systems such as security and fire safety protection, power, communications and building energy management
For example, the term Physical Security Information Management, or PSIM, which is then extended to PSIM+. In real terms this means ‘Security + other disciplines’. When taking an enterprise approach, the first focus must be on operations with the intention of creating a single control point. The next stage is to decide which technologies to converge, with the objective of improving situational awareness.
The advantages of Enterprise-level Command & Control
In essence, Enterprise-level Command & Control will deliver access to a wider range of resources to manage any situation. Activities are centralised to reduce cost, which puts greater importance on effective communication. To mitigate human error, decision-making is more systematic and the need to follow a logical workflow is vital.
It improves the effectiveness of critical control room applications, including call handling, resource allocation and despatch. Should a critical event occur, the operator will receive a call via the telephony integration; he then identifies the type of event and logs the relevant information.
The system automatically prompts the operator with questions about the scope of the issue, quickly identifying key parameters such as people in danger and hazardous materials and providing an audit trail for every action.
For many operations, time is critical, so operators need information at their fingertips. They have a decision management workflow that assigns priorities, determines activities and allows them to assign the appropriate actions and resources.
Enterprise-level Command & Control will deliver smart working environments. The improved assessment, management and resolution of critical situations and protection of vital assets will be provided through improved automated decision-making, more efficient workflow procedures and greater convergence of technologies. In line with the need for both the public and private sectors to lower costs, these software platforms will enable improved operational performance, safer communities, safer business, improved shared services, greater efficiencies and cost reductions.