Intruder alarm accessories - Expert commentary

Security and safety drive smart building strategies for the future
Security and safety drive smart building strategies for the future

Johnson Controls recently unveiled the findings of its 2018 Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey that examined the current and planned investments and key drivers to improve energy efficiency and building systems integration in facilities. Systems integration was identified as one of the top technologies expected to have the biggest impact on the implementation in smart buildings over the next five years, with respondents planning to invest in security, fire and life-safety integrations more so than any other systems integration in the next year. As advanced, connected technologies drive the evolution of smart buildings, security and safety technologies are at the center of more intelligent strategies as they attribute to overall building operations and efficiencies. SourceSecurity.com spoke with Johnson Controls, Building Solutions, North America, VP of Marketing, Hank Monaco, and Senior National Director of Municipal Infrastructure and Smart Cities, Lisa Brown, about the results of the study, smart technology investments and the benefits of a holistic building strategy that integrates security and fire and life-safety systems with core building systems. Q: What is the most striking result from the survey, and what does it mean in the context of a building’s safety and security systems? The results show an increased understanding about the value of integrating safety and security systems with other building systems Hank Monaco: Investment in building system integration increased 23 percent in 2019 compared to 2018, the largest increase of any measure in the survey. When respondents were asked more specifically what systems they we planning to invest in over the next year, fire and life safety integration (61%) and security system integration (58%) were the top two priorities for organisations. The results show an increased understanding about the value of integrating safety and security systems with other building systems to improve overall operations and bolster capabilities beyond the intended function of an individual system. Q: The survey covers integration of fire, life safety and security systems as part of "smart building" systems. How do smarter buildings increase the effectiveness of security and life safety systems? Hank Monaco: A true “smart building” integrates all building systems – security, fire and life-safety, HVAC, lighting etc. – to create a connected, digital infrastructure that enables individual technologies to be more intelligent and perform more advanced functions beyond what they can do on their own. For example, when sensors and video surveillance are integrated with lighting systems, if abnormal activity is detected on the building premise, key stakeholders can be automatically alerted to increase emergency response time. With integrated video surveillance, they also gain the ability to access surveillance footage remotely to assess the situation. When sensors and video surveillance are integrated with lighting systems abnormal activity on the premise can automatically be detected Q: How can integrated security and life safety systems contribute to greater energy efficiency in a smart building environment? Hank Monaco: Security, fire and life-safety systems can help to inform other building systems about how a facility is used, high-trafficked areas and the flow of occupants within a building. Integrated building solutions produce a myriad of data that can be leveraged to increase operational efficiencies. From an energy efficiency standpoint, actionable insights are particularly useful for areas that are not frequently occupied or off-peak hours as you wouldn’t want to heat or cool an entire building for just one person coming in on the weekend. When video surveillance is integrated with HVAC and lighting systems, it can monitor occupancy in a room or hallway. The video analytics can then control the dimming of lights and the temperature depending on occupant levels in a specific vicinity. Similarly, when access control systems are integrated with these same systems, once a card is presented to the reader, it can signal the lights or HVAC system to turn on. In this example, systems integration can ultimately help enable energy savings in the long run. Security and life safety systems contribute to help enable greater energy efficiency and energy savings in the long run Q: What other benefits of integration are there (beyond the core security and life safety functions)? Hank Monaco: Beyond increased security, fire and life-safety functions, the benefits of systems integration include: Increased data and analytics to garner a holistic, streamlined understanding of how systems function and how to improve productivity Ability to track usage to increase efficiency and reduce operational costs Enhanced occupant experience and comfort Increased productivity and workflow to support business objectives Smart-ready, connected environment that can support future technology advancements Q: What lesson or action point should a building owner/operator take from the survey? How can the owner of an existing building leverage the benefits of the smart building environment incrementally and absent a complete overhaul? Lisa Brown: Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator found that 77% of organisations plan to make investments in energy efficiency and smarter building technology this year. This percentage demonstrates an increased understanding of the benefits of smart buildings and highlights the proactive efforts building owners are taking to adopt advanced technologies. There is an increased understanding that buildings operate more effectively when different building systems are connected As smart buildings continue to evolve, more facilities are beginning to explore opportunities to advance their own spaces. A complete overhaul of legacy systems is not necessary as small investments today can help position a facility to more easily adopt technologies at scale in the future. As a first step, it’s important for building owners to conduct an assessment and establish a strategy that defines a comprehensive set of requirements and prioritises use-cases and implementations. From there, incremental investments and updates can be made over a realistic timeline. Q: What is the ROI of smart buildings? Lisa Brown: As demonstrated by our survey, there is an increased understanding that buildings operate more effectively when different building systems are connected. The advanced analytics and more streamlined data that is gathered through systems integration can provide the building-performance metrics to help better understand the return on investment (ROI) of the building systems. This data is used to better understand the environment and make assessments and improvements overtime to increase efficiencies. Moreover, analytics and data provide valuable insights into where action is needed and what type of return can be expected from key investments.

Smart home trends: Combining professional security with the DIY approach
Smart home trends: Combining professional security with the DIY approach

The smart home market has seen significant growth since 2010. Specifically, less than 0.5% of homes in the American region had connected home devices such as thermostats, lighting, security and entertainment in 2010; by the end of 2017, nearly 12% of households in the region will have connected home devices, an average of six devices per home. The success of smart homes started with professional security providers offering bundled packages, focused mostly on security monitoring. However, due to the cost of professional contracts, consumers began to embrace the do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. Despite the challenges and opportunities that come with professional and DIY approaches, the momentum of smart home growth depends on these two approaches working symbiotically. Smart home technology partnerships A few recent examples include the relationship with Vivint and Best Buy and Vivint with Sprint. In most cases, Best Buy is a competitor to Vivint because a consumer can buy point devices and ecosystem and install it themselves or enlist the help of the Geek Squad. Even more recently, Nest announced optional professional monitoring with its Nest Secure products in partnership with MONI. Although this approach isn’t new, Scout Alarm, LiveWatch and SimpliSafe already have similar approaches, it continues to stress the need to combine multiple channels and approaches to the smart home market. Moreover, these are examples of symbiotic partnerships that will help the total market. In 2017, there were about 122 million smart home devices shipped globally. The retail channel represented about 62 percent of all device shipments in 2017 and will represent about 70 percent in 2021. Despite the increased demand for professional installation, the do-it-for me approach, most the volume remains with ad-hoc purchases. This includes a consumer video camera or a smart thermostat purchase from a retailer or when a consumer wants to add devices to an existing professionally installed system, they often will buy products from retail. There is a growing needto combine multiplechannels and approachesto the smart home market Furthermore, the multiple-system operator (MSO) and professional security provider channels will be evenly split in 2017; however, by 2021, the MSO channel is expected to be double the market size of the security provider channel. The primary reason for this rapid change over five years is the lack of professional security providers in EMEA and APAC; as a result, MSOs will dominate the professional channels in these regions, while across North America, security providers will maintain a strong market presence. Top trends in smart homes A few of the top trends in smart homes to watch out for over the next 12-24 months include user interface, flexible services, cyber security and adjacent markets. The user interface trend continues to evolve for the smart home. Although voice commands are trending towards becoming the new user interface beyond 2017, the voice will not be the only means to control and interact with the smart home. Mobile phones or tablets will still be required to configure most devices. This means that although the Amazon Echo can control a WeMo plug, the consumer will still be required to download the WeMo app and configure the device. However, after the device is added to the same network as the Echo, the app is no longer needed on a day-to-day basis. Displays will also become increasingly popular throughout homes because the smart home is becoming increasingly isolating. Mobile phones or tablets will still be required to configure most devices in future smart homes DIY ecosystems such as Wink or SmartThings or Philips Hue lighting are often limited to one person with one mobile device. As a result, other members of the household would need access to that mobile device or would need access on their own device after being authorised by the primary user (all assuming a smart speaker is not being used). This is very limiting and the user experience is negatively affected. (Voice assistants like Google Home have added a feature to allow multiple accounts using voice recognition, which will help personalise smart homes.) However, displays in the home are a way to access all devices for anyone in the home. Smart home equipment cost Flexible service offerings and pricing is already taking shape across smart home offerings. DIY installed smart home systems such as Scout Alarm already offer no contract monitoring. Professional monitoring companies are already offering no contract pricing and providers such as Comcast are looking to pilot programs for just video monitoring bundled with Internet for a low monthly fee. Options for financing are also going to become commonplace. Smart home equipment is expensive, especially when attempting out outfit a modest size home (2,500 square feet +). Immediate access to services is becoming more critical. This means consumers should be able to access on-demand service options directly from a mobile device to activate or deactivate professional monitoring. Lastly, pricing still needs to come down for many smart home devices but there is a threshold. Since many smart home devices today do not have a recurring monthly fee, the cost of maintaining mobile apps, platforms and support services must be propped up by higher device prices. However, companies can look to offset some cost by sourcing different material. According to the IHS Markit Teardowns Team, the cost of the metal ring on the Nest 3rd Generation thermostat is $10, which is more expensive than the LCD display which comes in at $9. In comparison, the Ecobee3’s most expensive part is the LCD screen at about $4.00. As a result, the Ecobee3 costs nearly $20 less to manufacture compared with the Nest 3rd Generation thermostat. Smart home security Securing the smart home will be a hot topic over the next 12 months. One method of change will be manufacturers requiring consumers to change default passwords. Manufacturers need to start requiring consumers to change passwords before a product can be used. Home routers, for example, often use ‘admin’ as the username and ‘password’ as the password and most users never change these. For elder care, door/window sensors and motion sensors could be used in combination with software to monitor routine The challenge that many consumers and suppliers face today is that many passwords are built directly into the firmware and the consumer has no way of making changes. As a result, the integrity of the device comes down to the supplier. As threats become more severe with ransomware and other botnet attacks, manufacturers will need to implement additional thresholds of threat assessments to keep consumers safe. One method involves two-factor authentication. IHS Markit expects the monetisation of cyber-security for residential customers to start appearing in 2018. This means that security service providers would monitor network traffic for the consumer. The software would not be monitored or implemented directly by the consumer; instead, the service provider will take care of all the monitoring of network traffic. What this means is that the software or router would monitor network traffic for patterns and manage which servers are pinged by IoT devices such as consumer video cameras. Care homes and insurance companies Although the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for smart home device revenue is set to exceed 50% through 2021, the growth could be much higher with support from adjacent markets such as elder care, construction/developers and insurance companies. For elder care, door/window sensors and motion sensors could be used in combination with the software to monitor routine. If an elderly person suddenly changes their routine, this would alert caregivers. This same premise can be used in professional elderly care settings to help staff prioritise patient needs. IHS Markit expects the monetisation of cyber-security for residential customers to startappearing in 2018 Working with insurance companies is another method of reaching the customer with smart home devices; however, the use of insurance is highly fragmented across regions. As a result, North America is the best opportunity as of 2017 to partner with insurance companies. Furthermore, insurance companies are mostly interested in managing the entire ecosystem. Blending professional and DIY smart homes While offering subsidised equipment (smoke detectors and water leak detection) can reduce claims, insurance companies need to have full access to the data – as a result, they are more interested in creating their own platform from scratch or working with a provider to support data analysis. Working closely with builders will also continue to gain traction, especially across EMEA and APAC. By working closely with builders, this reduces the challenges associated with B2C channels and the overall cost of the system can be masked by the mortgage payment, resulting in more system installations with less distribution expense. Overall, the line between professional and DIY smart home is blending. CEDIA and Amazon recently announced a collaboration and Netgear Arlo announced the first wire-free and battery-operated ONVIF compliant camera. With the combination of voice-control, consultations from Amazon and Best Buy, the reduction in the pile of smart home hubs in the basement as more protocols are embedded in gateways/routers, and no further need for the special Apple chip for HomeKit compliance after iOS 11, smart homes are becoming easier to achieve both for consumers and professionals.

Despite benefit of more efficient 911 responses, ASAP-to-PSAP implementation lags
Despite benefit of more efficient 911 responses, ASAP-to-PSAP implementation lags

ASAP-to-PSAP technology automates communications between alarm monitoring companies & PSAPs and dispatches emergency service In April 2015, Cary, N.C., adopted a technology called Automated Secure Alarm Protocol to Public Safety Answering Point (ASAP-to-PSAP), but currently they are among only a handful of emergency 911 call response locales that use ASAP-to-PSAP technology in the United States. Commander Scott Edson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, speaking to a seminar gathering at ISC West, emphasised the importance of rolling out more implementations of ASAP-to-PSAP. The technology benefits residential and commercial alarm monitoring companies and their customers by eliminating dispatching errors and speeding dispatching times. There are 6,500 PSAPs that respond to emergency 911 calls in the United States. They take more than 250 million 911 phone calls per year from the public and from central station alarm monitoring companies. PSAPs then route the information from 911 calls to the right emergency service and then dispatch police or fire services. ASAP-to-PSAP technology automates the communications between alarm monitoring companies and PSAPs and dispatches the emergency service. The Central Station Alarm Association, the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials and Vector Security developed the software technology back in 2009. So what’s the implementation hold-up? “As always, funding is the issue,” says Ron Lander, CPP, principal with Ultrasafe Security Specialists in Norco, Calif. “The cities don’t want to spend the money. The central stations want to implement it. They say it will reduce personnel needs.” Replacing central station phone calls with data entered by a central station operator offers three major benefits, according to a PowerPoint presentation developed by Bill Hobgood, project manager with the Richmond, Va., Public Safety Team. First, it eliminates telephone calls between alarm monitoring companies and PSAPs, which take up time that could be spent with individual 911 callers, who might be in immediate physical danger. It eliminates the inevitable miscommunications between two human beings talking on the telephone – “Speak up, I can’t hear you.” “Was that Fourth Street or Fifth Street?” “Oh, Fifth Avenue, sorry.” Then there are also communications problems related to language in our increasingly multi-cultural society. Finally, and perhaps most important, it speeds the processing and response times by crucial minutes. Research shows that an ASAP communication takes 15 seconds or less to dispatch police or fire units. By comparison, a telephone communication takes 1.5 to 3 minutes or more to dispatch units. Upon implementing ASAP-to-PSAP, there was a 13 percent drop in the number of police alarms handled by telephone An ASAP application carries out three tasks. It translates data from the alarm monitoring company into a format that the PSAP technology can read and process. Second, it updates the alarm monitoring company on the status of the alarm — message accepted and referred to the right emergency service or rejected for one reason or another. Finally, an ASAP application provides continuing updates including cancellation notices from the alarm monitoring company, notices that emergency service has been dispatched, notices that emergency responders have arrived at the scene and notices that events have been closed out. Houston implemented the technology in 2011 and has reaped enormous benefits. According to Bill Hobgood, Houston encompasses 634 square miles, has a population of 2.3 million people and runs the nation’s fourth largest PSAP. The city receives more than 2,600 police alarms weekly from 43,000 alarm systems monitored by three alarm companies. Upon implementing ASAP-to-PSAP, there was a 13 percent drop in the number of police alarms handled by telephone. Non-emergency telephone calls declined by 15 percent. The PSAP estimates that it is saving $1 - $2 million annually. What about accuracy and response times? Hobgood studied results in his own city of Richmond as well as York County, Va., in the Tidewater region, both of which implemented ASAP-to-PSAP in 2011. Hobgood’s study found that when the system eliminated call-taker involvement, it eliminated spelling mistakes and accidental transposition of street address numbers. It also eliminated problems related to low-volume headsets and accents. Those are impressive business and performance improvements, which is driving Commander Edson’s interest in rolling out more implementations.

Latest Pyronix Limited news

Pyronix provides a small hygiene kit with every control panel to ensure installers safety during COVID-19 pandemic
Pyronix provides a small hygiene kit with every control panel to ensure installers safety during COVID-19 pandemic

As part of Pyronix’ ongoing commitment to support their valued customers, they’re now providing a small hygiene kit with every control panel. Introducing hygiene kit This small hygiene kit includes a mask, gloves and an alcohol wipe, to help their installers return to work safely during this uncertain time, while providing them and their customers with added reassurance. “We’ve introduced the hygiene kit as a free of charge item which installers can find in their control panel kits when purchasing through distribution. We want to help our customers get back to work safely and it will hopefully go some way into aiding our installers to adhere to government guidelines when returning to work,” Laurence Kenny, Pyronix Marketing Manager, said. Adhering to government guidelines As people across the country begin to go back to work, Pyronix has taken the step to help its installers do so as safely as possible. The hygiene kit is included as standard with every control panel to ensure installers are taking the necessary precautions to protect not only themselves, but their customers too. “The current situation around COVID-19 presents new challenges to all businesses. Whilst the hygiene kit we supply is not medical grade and shouldn’t replace installers carrying out proper assessments with regards risk within their business, we want to help our customers as much as possible to adhere to government guidelines when returning to work in people’s homes and businesses,” Laurence said.

Pyronix launches GAP initiative to help installation businesses grow
Pyronix launches GAP initiative to help installation businesses grow

Focused on Revenue, Knowledge and Branding, whether its profitable new cloud services, specialist ‘how to’ training or simply making a company stand out from the competition, GAP has what a business needs for success. Pyronix has launched their ‘GAP’ initiative, in an effort to help installers and their businesses grow, by working smarter and building their brand.   Key areas  Providing free tools to make an installer’s business grow faster, GAP focuses on taking a smarter approach to business performance, identifying three key areas:   Revenue - ‘Not all clouds are grey’ With an emphasis on providing superior tools for installers, in order to develop and grow their business, with offerings including PyronixCloud, an evolving product range, and additional value-added services; there’s something that all installers can benefit from with GAP. Built with businesses in mind, Pyronix can help installers grow and excel.   Knowledge - ‘Knowledge is Power’ Pyronix believes knowledge within the industry is key to being a leader, which is why they devised a knowledge-focused branch of GAP. Focusing on installation and product knowledge, and how installers can gain and use this to their advantage. Enabling them to accelerate ahead of the competition and be the best.   Brand - ‘Make Yourself Famous’ GAP guides installers by providing brand focused tools and tricks, to make their brand stand out. Encouraging installers to look at customised products and sales tools, GAP will soon also introduce the new Pyronix Personal Print Portal. Providing a one-stop solution for designing and ordering promotional materials, Pyronix is set to demonstrate the importance of an installer’s brand and presence within the market.   Helping installers grow business  Laurence Kenny, Pyronix Marketing Manager commented, “This new initiative highlights the additional commitment Pyronix wants to make to installers. We want to help them grow their business and thrive within the industry.”  We feel that this is a really positive step towards helping installers of Pyronix intruder systems" “This initiative is flexible and built with several interchangeable drivers, all designed to suit an installer’s business needs, whether they’re an experienced installer or just starting out.”  Brand marketing tools  He continued, “We feel that this is a really positive step towards helping installers of Pyronix intruder systems, guiding them through multiple aspects for business success, including recurring revenue business models, branding and training elements within their business. This initiative will provide practical tools installers need, to help them go that little bit further and realise their potential.”  “We’re very excited to see the uptake in GAP and showcase our revenue, knowledge and brand marketing tools, providing the best platform to both new and existing installer businesses within the industry.”   For any installers who would like to develop their brand and business, GAP has the needed tools. 

Pyronix adds ProControl app to enhance installation value for video verification
Pyronix adds ProControl app to enhance installation value for video verification

Pyronix is delighted to provide even more value and capabilities to installers and users alike, with the addition of video verification to ProControl+. Now, using our Enforcer V10 control panel, Wi-Fi cameras and security and life safety peripherals, the system can be tailored to detect, notify and verify any activity. “We’re really pleased to add this latest feature to our ProControl+ app,” said Pyronix Marketing Manager, Laurence Kenny. "Video verification delivers fantastic upsell opportunities to video monitoring for our installers, while providing greater functions for the user; showing them exactly what activity has triggered an event or alarm.” The addition of video verification enables the linkage of Pyronix Full-HD Wi-Fi cameras to inputs on the system via the PyronixCloud. This simple setup process adds greater scope to security; providing a 25 second video clip directly to the user via ProControl+ when an event or alarm activation occurs. The clip, which can be downloaded and stored as an MP4 file, shows 15 seconds pre-alarm and 10 seconds post-alarm; allowing the user to truly verify the activation, before taking appropriate action. Voice push notification  Whether it’s an existing system or maintainance, service can be offered to provide greater selling options for installers" For example, should an intruder be detected by an XDL12TT-WE outdoor detector, a push or voice push notification will be received by the user through their ProControl+ app, via the Enforcer V10 and PyronixCloud infrastructure. If this detector has been linked to an outdoor Mini Dome camera surveying the area, the user will also be provided with the 25 second video from the linked camera to verify the alarm. “By adding this new feature, we’re giving installers new services to offer their customers; expanding the security offering by providing real tangible benefits across both residential and commercial applications to users,” Laurence commented. "So, whether it’s an existing system, a maintenance visit or a brand-new installation, this added-value service can be offered to provide greater selling options for the installer and greater functions for the user. Simple to setup and deliver via the PyronixCloud, we want to make sure we continue to proactively provide more features, functions and capabilities via ProControl+.” Video verification for applications With video verification already added to ProControl+, more developments are in the pipeline “Now, the system not only alerts the user via voice push notification, but also shows exactly what activity has taken place on the system, so that appropriate action can be taken. Our objective is to continue to extend the potential of every installation and the level of function and value it adds to installers and users alike and we intend to do this as seamlessly and easily as possible.” Linking cameras with inputs can be set up to deliver video verification for various applications across the entire security system, from setting and unsetting, indoor detection, shock sensors and outdoor detectors, to life safety sensors, door and window contacts and even panic, hold-up and medical alerts; providing additional product upsell opportunities. With video, voice push notifications and now video verification already added to ProControl+ and many more developments in the pipeline, now’s the time to make the switch.