Round table contributions
Hospitals and healthcare facilities are an important vertical sector in the physical security market. Protecting healthcare facilities is a rich opportunity to leverage the value of physical security systems that range from video to access control to newer location and asset protection systems. But understanding how technology can excel in the healthcare vertical requires that we first identify and understand what these institutions need. Therefore, we asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the physical security challenges of hospitals and healthcare?
Our society is engulfed in social media, from Facebook to Twitter to YouTube and all the rest. Among other benefits, social media provides an immediate and accessible form of communication. They say that social media is changing everything in our society, so we wondered what specific impact social media might have on the security marketplace. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What role can social media play in the security marketplace and/or as a tool to promote better security in general?
The security market in the United States has been in a collective state of exhilaration since ISC West. The (possibly) unprecedented success of the big trade show has left us all feeling optimistic about the year ahead. Members of our Expert Panel Roundtable are joining the chorus of compliments for the show as they answer this week’s question: How successful was ISC West 2016? Did it meet your expectations?
Articles by Bruce Czerwinski
The locks, alarms and access control solutions used for buildings have little impact outdoors Large campuses – colleges and universities, hospitals and office parks – face difficult security challenges in protecting people and property across wide-open outdoor spaces. Outdoor security requires a different approach. The locks, alarms and access control solutions used for buildings have little impact outdoors. Outdoor security may include protecting a student on an early morning run; a nurse walking to a bus stop at the end of a late-night shift; or possibly securing athletic fields, parking structures, landscaped gardens or performance amphitheaters. One constant between securing the indoor and outdoor environments is the need for multiple security layers. No single solution can meet all security needs. Outdoor surveillance Information – both visual and audio – takes on added importance as security guards and first responders need input from areas that may be hundreds of yards away from the nearest dispatch center. This is one reason video surveillance is an effective outdoor security tool. Pan-Tilt-Zoom megapixel cameras can provide sharp images of wide areas. Infrared cameras continue providing useable images throughout the night, even in low-light environments. Recorded video also provides forensic views to be used in assessing events after they have occurred. Cameras have long been shown to be a deterrent for many criminals. So, it makes sense to post signs throughout the campus reminding people they are likely to be under surveillance at any time. Emergency stations are ideal for any outdoor area Emergency stations Emergency stations are another valuable outdoor security tool. These stations are easily recognisable by their bright blue lights atop the tower. With a touch of a button, a distressed person can immediately speak with a security guard via imbedded audio intercoms. Video intercoms provide additional views of the area to help dispatchers make decisions about an emergency. The stations can also be integrated with the video surveillance system to provide a broader view of the area. There are other important benefits offered by emergency stations. They are on and available 24/7. Dispatchers immediately know the station’s precise location when calls for assistance arrive. A station’s speakers can broadcast emergency information across the campus. And the intercoms feature two buttons – one for emergencies and a second for non-critical calls, such as inquiries for campus directions. The stations are designed for easy setup by integrators or campus engineers. The units are available in IP-based models which connect to the campus network and draw power over the Ethernet using CAT-5e/6 cable. Stations are also available as stand-alone towers or wall-mounted boxes. Braille signage and adjustable call button heights allow them to comply with ADA standards. Emergency stations are ideal for any outdoor area such as running trails, parking lots, pedestrian pathways and perimeters around office buildings, dorms and recreational centers. They are also useful indoors in areas including elevator bays and stairwells. Ideally, the stations should be placed close enough to allow a distressed person an option of choosing the closest unit. The proliferation of smartphones in the campus environment has led to the development of dozens of apps capable of reaching security or local first responders Mobile applications Unlike telephone-based systems, intercom stations require no POTS line, saving monthly phone costs. Mobile apps are also available to allow patrolling guards to have immediate access to emergency calls on a smartphone or tablet. Over the past few years, the proliferation of smartphones in the campus environment has led to the development of dozens of apps capable of reaching security or local first responders. Most allow the submission of voice and video and may offer other features such as the ability to track friends’ progress as they walk to their destination. While these apps do serve as another valuable layer of outdoor security, they have limitations. They are only useable for people who have enrolled in a campus database. That eliminates students and/or employees who choose not to enroll or campus visitors. Weather, topography and the proximity of cell towers can affect signal quality, making it difficult for security to accurately identify the precise location of calls. Some remote campus areas may totally lack cellular coverage. Then, too, phones have no value if the battery is dead or is taken in a robbery. Also, they can be difficult to remove from a pocket, purse or backpack if a victim is being attacked or chased. The lessons from CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) certainly apply when protecting campus outdoor space. Lighting is critical along pathways, in parking lots and garages and surrounding building perimeters. It not only deters criminals, but also allows security to have a better view of situations either onsite or via surveillance camera or video intercom. Keeping bushes and trees well-trimmed helps deny criminals easy hiding places Additional outdoor security precautions Keeping bushes and trees well-trimmed helps deny criminals easy hiding places. Fencing and locked gates keep people from wandering into potentially dangerous areas. Fences and gates also works well to protect outdoor storage lots and equipment yards. Many campuses, particularly universities and hospitals, have formed escort services. Either security guards or carefully screened volunteers are available to accompany students or employees crossing the campus at night. Outdoor campus security requires well thought-out plans incorporating layers of security equipment. As with any security project, outdoor improvements should follow a thorough risk assessment conducted by an experienced consultant or integrator. Identifying a campus’ strengths and weaknesses will help administrators better spend limited budgets. Campuses may range in size from a few to hundreds of acres. But even the smallest offer significant challenges in protecting outdoor spaces. In the case of colleges and universities, the pressure to keep people safe has never been greater with federal mandates requiring regular crime reports. Fortunately, the security industry has responded with a range of tools to handle the challenge. With careful planning and implementation, a campus’ outdoor spaces can be made much safer.
Aiphone Corp., a manufacturer of intercom and entry security products, has announced enhancements to its emergency enclosure products. Towers and wall boxes now feature built-in UL Listed electrical boxes to easily satisfy local electrical codes. The new modular tower designs also include an optional CCTV camera arm module. Now a second camera can be mounted to the top of the towers, providing security personnel with a second line of sight to more accurately assess and respond to situations. Cost-effective ADA-compliant towers Additional new tower features include built-in mounting hardware for power supplies or accessories and rear access panels to easily pull wire from top to bottom. Aiphone’s unique modular tower design continues to save money. Smaller, segmented shipments reduce overall freight costs and only two people—without a crane—are needed for most installations. The towers are compatible with either Aiphone’s network-based IX Series or hardwired IS Series emergency intercom systems. Saves installation time and money Aiphone emergency intercom systems continue to offer: No monthly phone bills or annual licensing fees A mobile app for IX Series towers Compliance with ADA regulations and requirements "With their added flexibility, Aiphone emergency solutions can be customised to satisfy a variety of applications while saving installation time and money,” said Bruce Czerwinski, Aiphone’s U.S. general manager. "Aiphone emergency stations should be considered an integral part of any large campus or parking facility security system to offer immediate assistance to individuals and help quickly assess emergency situations.”
Baycrest Health Sciences, a Toronto-based global leader in geriatric healthcare and research – with a special focus on brain health and aging – recently installed Aiphone IX Series emergency towers in its 500-space parking lot to improve the safety and security of employees and visitors. Aiphone emergency towers The Baycrest campus facility includes a 330-bed hospital, 472-bed long-term care and 171- unit residential assisted living facility and the internationally recognised Rotman Research Institute on its 22-acre campus. The hospital is also fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. According to Martin Green, Baycrest’s manager of security, telecommunications and emergency preparedness, three new Aiphone IX Series emergency towers in the parking lot replaced a system that had become unreliable. “While upgrading our security equipment we recognised we needed a higher calibre parking lot emergency system,” he said. “The choice of the Aiphone IX System towers was easy as we were already successfully using other Aiphone intercoms throughout the hospital.” Aiphone door station An Aiphone IX Series door station is mounted at the main public entry and used by security staff to remotely buzz in visitors when the door is locked at 9 p.m. Eight other entries use Aiphone’s LEF Series audio intercoms as do two doors into the hospital’s memory care unit. Green said he likes the high visibility of the parking lot towers, each topped with a bright blue light. Once the emergency button is pushed, a call is received in the hospital’s security operations centre where officers can see and speak with the caller to determine what response is required. A second non-emergency button lets visitors seek help for a dead car battery or directions to a patient’s room. “My staff is extremely happy with the towers,” said Green, who also serves as president of the International Association of Healthcare Security and Safety. “And the reaction from employees and visitors has been very positive.” Bruce Czerwinski, U.S. general sales manager for Aiphone, said the IX Series towers are ideal for campus settings like Baycrest, providing flexible IP-based network connections that eliminate the expense of monthly phone bills. “Baycrest is known for its care and compassion for those suffering from brain diseases,” he said. “It’s showing the same level of dedication to protecting employees and visitors using the parking lot.”
Aiphone Corp., the international manufacturer of intercom and entry security products, announced upgrades to its popular GT Series multi-tenant video intercom featuring hassle-free, quick system programming and staff communication between multiple buildings. Convenience is enhanced as dealers and/or building management can remotely update tenant directories using a logical network. Updating tenant names and dialing numbers can also be accomplished onsite using an NFC-equipped Android phone or tablet. Costs of added security guards or concierge staff can be eliminated as GT Series installations connected over the same logical network enable staff in one office to speak with tenants and personnel in multiple buildings. Demand for added convenience and features Bruce Czerwinski, Aiphone’s U.S. general sales manager, said dealers, building managers and tenants are demanding added convenience and features from their security systems. “We’ve listened and are responding with advances to make the GT Series easier to update, screen visitors and answer tenant calls throughout an entire campus or residential complex,” he said. “The feature-rich GT Series is ideal for high-rise office towers, apartment and condominium buildings, independent senior living facilities and student housing.” Securing larger properties The GT Series can now be expanded to handle the needs of larger properties, supporting up to 480 entrance stations, 96 video guard stations and 5,000 tenant stations. Earlier this year, Aiphone introduced three video entrance stations with improved camera quality to make visitor identification more precise. Slim design tenant stations, available in 7- or 3 ½-inch LCD screens, fit in virtually any facility. GT Series features Integration with CCTV cameras to provide a wider view of the entry area A simple, wired intercom solution, eliminating the need and added expense of a telephone line Direct tenant station calls answerable only in the residence or office, ensuring all visitors are properly screened Keyless tenant entry with an optional card reader or keypad “As we continue to add features and convenience to the GT Series, we haven’t forgotten the role of a video intercom, which is to keep people safe and secure,” Czerwinski said. “Whether mounted at a lobby entrance or a delivery door, the GT Series allows tenants to confidently identify visitors before allowing them into the building.”
The transition from analogue to IP technologies has had a large impact on the ways intercoms are used in the security industry. The analogue-to-IP transition has generated a lot of attention in the camera market, and the transition is also taking place for intercoms. Twenty years ago, Axis Communications (2N’s parent company) led the industry in converting from analogue cameras and video to IP. Integrated IP system The conversion took 15 years to achieve, but the same conversion in intercoms is happening today. This conversion will take place over the next five years as integrators, end users, IT departments and building systems are now ready for networked IP devices, according to 2N. “The benefits of an IP system are too great to ignore,” says Craig Szmania, CEO, 2N USA. Programmability, interoperability, mobile needs, video and audio quality, costs and system wide security concerns are all driving the conversion. Users want—and in fact, expect—the benefits of an integrated IP system, he says. “The past limitations on IP-based solutions really have been swept away as most dealer/integrators in the security space have embraced networked IP devices and solutions and most now lead with such solutions,” says Szmania. “IP really is the new standard in the space. Integrators have embraced the technology it has produced, new customers, new revenue streams in service and support, and new recurring monthly revenue (RMR) opportunities.” Centralised dispatch location Likewise, Internet protocol (IP) phones are the present and the future of emergency communications. They provide flexible capabilities to future-proof installations, according to Code Blue Corp. As locations continue to expand and adapt security solutions to changing conditions, IP phones will be able to grow with you. They offer unlimited scalability, more integration opportunities, and a strong user interface that allows remote accessibility and makes a wide range of features—speed, clarity, range, versatility—more dynamic. A centralised dispatch location eliminates the need to manually test each device. "Make sure that IP systems sound as good as an analogue system even while going through difficult network issues" Digital technology units are the fastest growing of Aiphone’s product lines – selling at twice the rate of just a year ago, according to Aiphone. “As the security industry continues to move to digital networks, we can provide many more capabilities, such as long-distance communication and control, mobile apps, and network paging,” says Bruce Czerwinski, U.S. General Sales Manager, Aiphone Corp. “The digital revolution is making for smarter, more integrated systems, and intercoms play a vital role.” Jim Hoffpauir, President of Zenitel North America, sees IP decentralised audio processing as a big development. “Powerful edge processing can now deliver high intelligibility without the need of a centralised server,” he says. “Users now see intelligible audio as essential to their operations and easily achievable with advanced audio edge technology.” Seamless integration with intercom stations “The IP world changes everything when it comes to networking and pulling people and locations together,” says Dan Rothrock, SVP of Global Strategic Alliances, Zenitel North America. “One small appliance can get you into the cloud and link multiple locations with hundreds of intercom stations working together seamlessly.” Zenitel’s advice is to leverage IP technology to its full extent, and to use native IP devices. It is easy to take legacy technology and add an encoder and decoder to that same old hardware, but that limits the benefits of leading edge technology advancements and even simplicity. “Make sure that IP systems sound as good as an analogue system even while going through difficult network issues,” says Hoffpauir. “This is the secret sauce clients are asking for: a networked intelligible audio platform that interoperates with their other mission-critical systems like access, video and unified communications.”
Part 4 in our Intercoms in Security Series The ONVIF standard makes it simple to integrate the intercom with other ONVIF-compliant video management systems, access control solutions, and cameras Open standards are enabling new capabilities in the intercom market, some of it driven by the transition to systems based on Internet protocol (IP). Today’s most-used phrase in the intercom business is interoperability, given that the intercom is integrated with solutions such as video surveillance, access control and/or home automation, says Craig Szmania, CEO, 2N USA. Standardisation is essential to making possible integrations among different systems. Session Initiation Protocol 2N built its technology and solutions around the standard Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), which makes integrations into the most popular IP telephone systems possible, affordable, and simple worldwide. There are many solutions in the market that are IP-based but proprietary in nature—not SIP-compatible without a proprietary head end or server, says Szmania. “These solutions bind consumers to use only products of one brand with difficult or non-existent integration with other solutions,” he comments. “This leads to higher costs and more complicated systems.” The most mentioned standard of the last two or three years has been ONVIF for integration with video surveillance. The ONVIF standard makes it simple to integrate the intercom with other ONVIF-compliant video management systems, access control solutions and cameras. Integrated solutions are the market-wide trend for end users, consumers, and integrators alike. By having strong standards like ONVIF and SIP, manufacturers such as 2N can provide solutions to meet these needs. The most mentioned standard of the last two or three years has been ONVIF for integration with video surveillance Seamless integration with third-party products “Integrating speakerphones and intercoms with third-party products has been one of the main evolutions we have seen in the past couple of years,” agrees David Fleming, Chief Design Officer for Code Blue Corp. “For that reason, our speakerphones take advantage of open standards like SIP to make it easier for locations to communicate with other technologies. It’s important that our customers have the flexibility to choose how they want to set up their systems. That’s why we continue to build partnerships with major security providers to ensure our products can work together.” Aiphone Corp’s products also operate on open standards. That allows them to be used with most available video and access control products. There’s a real benefit to integrators and end users knowing these systems will integrate easily, says Bruce Czerwinski, US General Sales Manager, Aiphone Corp. Of course, there are still some proprietary systems on the market that make integration difficult. "It’s important that our customers have the flexibility to choose how they want to set up their systems" Intelligible intercom audio Intercom systems must also comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations, according to Aiphone. “For us, that might include the recommended height of our installations,” says Czerwinski. “The use of Braille is being required by more end users to accommodate the blind. And for the hearing-impaired, we are adding visual indicators to show that calls have been placed and received.” Laws requiring the use of intercoms in larger multi-tenant buildings are also having an impact on the market. One standard that is missing in the market is a standard benchmark for intelligibility, says Jim Hoffpauir of Zenitel. “Unfortunately, there is no standard benchmark for intelligible intercom audio. There are standards that call out the requirement to have it, but no clear path to evaluate and deploy it.” Hoffpauir says Zenitel has deployed standards for the form and function of its stations, saying: “We have shared this with our clients and our integrators. It can be demonstrated in a proof of concept if end users take the time to ask for it and deem it critical to their success.” Read our Security Intercoms series here
Part 3 of our Intercoms in Security Series: Zenitel’s Call Access Panel manages intelligible critical communications through a security operations centre or control room Greater connectivity, security software enhancements, more customisation, and better sound quality are some of the enhancements driving the intercom market.An advantage now offered on Code Blue’s emergency speakerphones include self-diagnosing software that monitors the status of the phones and their components — microphones, buttons and speakers — and delivers instant notifications if there is ever an issue. Code Blue phones also come with full duplex capabilities with echo cancelling, sometimes known as open duplex, which allows the caller and first responder to communicate simultaneously and eliminates buzzing and static. IP-based networking systems Code Blue also builds its phones to open standards like Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), which allows calls to be easily processed with a wide variety of systems and software solutions, says David Fleming, Chief Design Officer for Code Blue Corp.Networking has impacted the intercom market, with the advent of IP-based systems. The corporate network now makes it possible to share information and to control units from a few yards to thousands of miles away, according to Bruce Czerwinski, U.S. General Sales Manager, Aiphone Corp. For example, central command centre guards can monitor and allow entrance to any networked satellite or unmanned facility 24/7. Multi-site communications Networks have also spawned mobile apps that allow roaming guards to use smartphones and devices to maintain total control of an intercom system while away from the master station and on the Wi-Fi. And network paging is another recently added communications tool, valuable for routine announcements or emergency instructions. "Voice is becoming the killer app for serving the safety and security needs of employees and customers" “We’re now able to offer large-scale multi-site communications using intercom systems,” says Czerwinski. “That’s not just connecting a few buildings on opposite sides of a campus quad, but all those separated by state lines, even across the country.”As markets and customers served by intercom products continue to evolve with new needs requiring new solutions, intercom companies continually poll the market and develop new and interesting solutions for these needs.All-in-one physical access control solutionBecause intercom manufacturer 2N’s products are often used as part of a physical access control system, convenience and security are key attributes. Bluetooth technology will be employed heavily. 2N has just introduced its Bluetooth access control reader for both standalone access control and integrated into 2N’s VERSO door station.The technology is based on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, which offers long-range detection (up to 10 metres), low energy consumption and ‘banking’ level security. It can be combined with other technologies — near field communication (NFC) and radio-frequency identification (RFID) — for an all-in-one solution.Mobile video app for door intercoms 2N has also launched a mobile video app/service. It enables a consumer’s smart device to be used as an interface to the door intercom, allowing video calls from anywhere in the world, door access control, and as an ‘always on’ video and audio surveillance system. Notifications can be launched automatically; for example, if someone approaches the homeowner’s door, porch, or surrounding area. A low-cost all-in-one door station — Base — has been released for the residential and small business space, including HD video, audio, and door control but in a simpler-to-install and lower-cost format. Zenitel’s Customer Intercom Station Kit enables customers to build their own stations In the spring, 2N is releasing a Z-wave networked door control solution that’s easy to install and extends the reach of an access control system.Off-the-shelf communication devicesJim Hoffpauir, President of Zenitel North America, says the intercom company offers a choice of either off-the-shelf communication devices or components to enable customised stations to be built based on a customer’s aesthetics or form and/or function needs. Users also must be heard and be understood, says Hoffpauir. “We spend millions of dollars in research and development on the intellectual property that defines and sets the standard for intelligible voice audio in the communications industry,” he says. “And we focus on embedding that capability with strategic alliances in access control, video and unified communications.”“Voice is becoming the killer app for serving the safety and security needs of employees and customers,” says Hoffpauir. “We want to create new interoperable solutions such as our networked HD Video Door station that acts as a communication device as well as an access control station.” It has two-way communication for 24/7 video identification and support for IP phone or unified communications through SIP. Intelligible critical communications solutions Zenitel’s Call Access Panel manages intelligible critical communications through a security operations centre or control room. The panel has a small footprint with pre-programmable buttons for instantaneous emergency or mass notifications to all intercom stations or IP public address, alarms, or horns. And it is SIP-compatible for unified communications. Changes in hardware and software are transforming the intercom market, as are changes in how systems are combined and configured. There is also a trend toward more discernment in terms of audio quality and system performance. Including an evaluation ‘scorecard’ in a request for proposal (RFP), for example, can ensure there is a clear way to evaluate systems being considered. “We are teaching the market there can be a legitimate scorecard on intelligibility,” says Dan Rothrock, SVP of Global Strategic Alliances, Zenitel North America. “You may not know you have bad audio until something bad happens, and it’s too late.” Read part 4 in our Security Intercoms series here
Part 2 of our Intercoms in Security Series The 2N Helios IP family intercoms present a comprehensive portfolio of security offerings for businesses and individuals Some integrators and end users may think of intercoms as older technology that isn’t required as part of a robust security system. Not true. Intercoms include innovative technologies that have developed rapidly, keeping pace with other categories. Just as cameras and access control systems have made technology improvements in leaps and bounds, so has voice audio – and intercoms offer features and benefits no other product can provide. Aiphone entry security “When it comes to communications, entry control and emergency assistance, intercoms lead the way,” says Bruce Czerwinski, U.S. General Sales Manager, Aiphone Corp. “Intercoms are almost ubiquitous on K-12 campuses. They are common in virtually every other security vertical market. And they are providing communications without interfering with a business’s lifeline – the telephone.” Aiphone’s technology includes a variety of intercom and entry security products to meet the needs of the education, healthcare, commercial, government and residential markets. Aiphone’s audio and video intercoms include both analogue two-wire connections and TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) units to protect exterior entries and to secure vital interior spaces. With nearly 40 standard systems, Aiphone can create a system for virtually any intercom application. Are emergency intercoms still needed in the age of cell phones? The preponderance of cell phone use, not surprisingly, is contributing to the rapid growth of mobile safety apps that put callers in contact with assistance right from their smartphones. These technological advances have left some wondering if security systems like emergency speakerphones are still necessary; but simply trading out speakerphones for cell phones is ill-advised, says David Fleming, Chief Design Officer for Code Blue Corp. Code Blue VoIP/analogue speakerphones Emergency speakerphonesand intercoms act as integrated security stations that providea wide array of emergency communication solutions Emergency speakerphones and intercoms act as integrated security stations that provide a wide array of emergency communication solutions, Fleming says. They serve as the hub for all security devices at a location, from cameras to card readers to lights and speakers. “Removing them could be a potentially dangerous and hasty decision for locations looking for a complete security solution,” says Fleming. Code Blue offers both voice over IP (VoIP) and analogue emergency speakerphones that are available with multiple options and configurations to create a customised user experience. When they are combined with Code Blue’s durable steel enclosures and sophisticated systems management software, Code Blue speakerphones can be utilised as a comprehensive end-to-end security system. Intercoms also suffer from a reputation of providing unintelligible sound. “This myth has prevented security executives from optimising and innovating their people, process and technology around intelligible voice,” says Dan Rothrock, SVP of Global Strategic Alliances, Zenitel North America. “And because of this assumption, there is no evaluation criteria around judging quality intercom systems. Bad audio is not okay. It threatens the viability of the risk mitigation efforts of our security programs.” “With today’s advancements, you can hear, be heard and be understood in virtually any environment,” says Rothrock. Emergency speakerphones and intercoms serve as the hub for all security devices at a location, from cameras to card readers to lights and speakers Vingtor-Stentofon solutions Vingtor-Stentofon by Zenitel Group is a world-leading provider of critical communication solutions on the land and at sea. Building on more than 70 years of innovation, today’s technology uses secure and exceptionally intelligible SIP end-devices to provide solutions in IP intercom, video intercom, emergency communications and public address. (SIP is Session Initiation Protocol, the communications protocol used in Internet telephony.) Zenitel seeks to provide a path to intelligibility: To hear, to be heard, and to be understood in every situation. Zenitel emphasises critical communications and solutions that can be integrated in an organisation by providing seamless interoperability with access control, video surveillance management, and telephone switching and voice-over-IP systems around the world. Finally, Zenitel’s emphasis on innovation and quality ensures the solutions meet stringent requirements of IT departments by delivering high availability, scalability, reliability and defensibility that are required for mission-critical applications. 2N IP intercom models 2N says its products are much more than “just intercoms.” “They are a SIP end point, which, while serving as an intercom, can also perform much more in the end users’ system than placing a call,” says Craig Szmania, CEO, 2N USA. “Our ‘intercoms’ are highly programmable, allowing for functionality not normally attributed to a door station.” 2N’s products can add significantly to an end user’s site security system with video and audio inputs and outputs, have the ability to control actions, are integratable into most building systems and yes, of course, provide communication from one point to another or globally. “Our intercoms are definitely much more than the old-fashioned perception of an intercom,” says Szmania. Zenitel seeks to providea path to intelligibility: To hear, to be heard, and to be understood in every situation 2N USA is a manufacturer of seven IP intercom models that share a common software platform based on 2N’s own operating system. The models include basic audio only, highly ruggedised emergency call box models, and top-of-the-line sophisticated commercial models suitable to any Fortune 50 corporate headquarters. Most models can be equipped with HD/IR ONVIF-compliant cameras, high-end audio, and all are “pure SIP.” 2N intercoms are built based on the company’s own hardware designed in-house at 2N’s research and development (R&D) department in Prague, Czech Republic. Roughly a third of all 2N employees are in engineering, highlighting the company’s focus on new product development to provide a technological edge. 2N supplies solutions to schools, governments, commercial enterprises, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), residential, industrial and transportation. “At 2N we have started to call our intercoms ‘SIP end points’ as they have capabilities far beyond a point-to-point audio communicator and are used in many varying applications; including control of production lines in an industrial setting, access control for office buildings and as a first line of security for schools,” says Szmania. Read part 3 of our Security Intercoms series here
Part 1 in our Intercoms in Security Series Lambert-St. Louis International Airport uses Code Blue intercoms Organisations are demanding a new level of interoperability among mission-critical security systems. Intelligible audio, the ability to hear, be heard and be understood, is critical to communication, which is essential to the core security processes within an organisation, as well as to emergency situations. Intelligible audio provides a platform to optimise various processes, including the use of security officers. “Our main thrust is to ensure our clients see intelligible and interoperable audio, not as an option, but as instrumental to their budget optimisation, stakeholder communication and risk mitigation efforts,” says Jim Hoffpauir, President of Zenitel North America, a manufacturer of intercoms and other communications solutions. Iintercoms in building safety and security The role of intercoms in building safety and security is a given across many markets, and that use is growing. Intercoms are used in campus call boxes, elevators, muster locations, and for emergency notification. The trend is toward video, audio and access control, all tied together. There is also an emphasis on providing intelligible audio in any environment, even demanding ones. The education market has historically been a large sector for intercoms. Emergency phones and intercoms traditionally have been found throughout education settings, including colleges and universities, where they remain quite popular. Expanding markets for two-way communication In recent years, however, their popularity has also grown within the healthcare and mass transit sectors, where their versatility allows authorities to react to emergency situations while also providing a wide range of applications for non-emergency situations, such as car trouble or requests for directions. Intercoms can fulfill a variety of emergency and non-emergency needs in places like downtown Santa Ana, California (Photo courtesy Code Blue) “Markets of all sizes and shapes can benefit from a two-way communication solution that can help individuals place calls for assistance with first responders, police departments or customer service representatives,” says David Fleming, Chief Design Officer for Code Blue Corp. Intercoms for public and private sectors Aiphone is another intercom manufacturer for which education is a big market. Bruce Czerwinski, U.S. General Sales Manager, Aiphone Corp., says about 80 percent of both public and private K-12 and higher education campuses are using at least one intercom in some form. That percentage grows to nearly 100 percent for hospitals, which are using intercoms as nurse-call stations and at parking facilities, exterior door entries, nurseries and pharmacies, he says. "About 40 percent of commercial units – from strip malls to large, multi-tenant campus settings – are using intercoms" Up to 70 percent of larger multi-family facilities are also using intercoms. And that percentage is even higher in older, heavily populated Eastern cities. Many locales have laws mandating the use of audio and video intercoms on buildings beyond a threshold number of units. About 40 percent of commercial units – from strip malls to large, multi-tenant campus settings – are using intercoms, says Czerwinski. In the past year, Aiphone’s emergency stations have become very popular, particularly in campus settings; both commercial and higher education. Also, a growing number of unmanned parking garages are using the stations to allow patrons to immediately reach first responders or security personnel. Each of these markets still has growth potential, but by its sheer size, the commercial market offers the greatest opportunities, according to Aiphone. Video-enabled IP intercoms Intercom usage differs widely in various global markets, according to Craig Szmania, CEO of 2N USA, a manufacturer of IP intercoms. In the North American market, intercom usage is relatively low compared to the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region, where intercoms are a more mature market. Security, convenience, systems integration and IP-versus-analogue adoption are driving usage and growth to more than 20 percent year-over-year. More and more video-enabled IP intercoms are seen as an integral part of a system wide security and video solution, according to Szmania. “Our intercom portfolio targets all the major verticals, but we have had particular success in the education sector – K-12 and universities,” says Szmania. “These end users are looking for specific features in securing their campuses, providing convenience to their administrators, employing programmability for differing use scenarios throughout the campus, and integration to their telephony or other systems.” More and more video-enabled IP intercoms are seen as an integral part of a system wide security and video solution Szmania says the latter point is becoming a particular need in light of a requirement for campus-wide communication and coordination in emergency situations. “Our intercoms integrate seamlessly with third party solutions such as Cisco’s telephone systems that are the communication backbones of many schools and campuses,” he adds. IP-based solutions in residential verticals Considering near-term growth potential, single family and multi-tenant residential verticals have fantastic opportunities for increased usage of door stations/intercoms in the United States, according to Szmania. The company has entered this space over the last several years and has grown to be a market leader in IP-based integrated solutions, especially in the home automation space. The adoption of IP networked solutions for condominiums and apartments is just taking off, driven in part by consumer demand for mobile-anywhere video, audio and door control. The service is also a driver for integrator/dealer adoption of the technology to provide recurring monthly revenue (RMR). 2N has also achieved triple-digit growth in commercial building installations over the past two years. Building owners, IT departments and security managers want and need a networked solution for control and security. 2N’s open platforms are a good fit, says Szmania. Read part 2 of our Security Intercoms series here
Pruiett is a specialist in providing marketing and communications expertise to high-tech companies Aiphone Corp., a manufacturer of intercom and entry security products, announced Dana Pruiett has joined the company as the new Marketing Manager. She will be responsible for managing the marketing team and overseeing corporate communications, including the development of brand guidelines and strategies for marketing key products. Marketing and communications expertise Pruiett joins Aiphone with more than 15 years of experience providing marketing and communications expertise to high-tech companies including Fluke, a provider of networking solutions, electronic test tools, and biomedical equipment; Vertafore, a designer of software to the insurance industry; and Bodypoint, a medical equipment manufacturer. Bruce Czerwinski, Aiphone’s U.S. General Sales Manager, said Pruiett’s high-tech background, broad marketing experience, and strategic approach to communications gave Aiphone confidence in her ability to meet the needs of an expanding company. Providing unparalleled customer service “These are exciting times at Aiphone as we continue to achieve record growth in existing and new markets through the expansion and enhancement of the industry’s broadest intercom portfolio and customer service teams,” he said. “We look to Dana and her marketing team to continue providing targeted messaging to our channel distributors, integrators, and end users, while growing the team to meet the new challenges of our expanding market opportunities.” Pruiett said she looks forward to working with such a well-established brand and leader within the industry. “The key to Aiphone’s success has been its unique ability to partner award-winning products that customers can depend on with unparalleled customer service and support,” she said. “I’m fortunate to be leading a highly talented marketing team eager to embrace new processes, systems, and approaches to help propel the company to the next level.”
To access a centre, visitors push an exterior unit button initiating a call to a station inside the centre Aiphone, an international manufacturer of intercom and entry security products, announced its JP Series and GT Series video intercoms have been chosen by the Army Corps of Engineers to protect military recruiting centres across the United States. Video doorbell Military officials made the decision to keep recruitment centre entries locked throughout the day following the 2015 shooting deaths of five military personnel at Chattanooga, Tennessee, recruitment and reserve centres. The JP Series video intercoms will act as a video doorbell at single office recruitment centres. The GT Series will be installed at centres serving multiple military branches. To access a centre, visitors push an exterior unit button initiating a call to a station inside the centre. There, recruitment officers use an embedded 170-degee pan-tilt-zoom video camera to clearly identify visitors. An audio intercom allows two-way conversations. A one-touch door release on the interior station unlocks the door once visitors are approved for entry. JP Series and GT Series video intercoms Interior stations provide either a 7- or 3.5-inch LCD screen delivering sharp colour images. A simple control adjusts the camera position as needed to provide greater detail. The JP Series and GT Series provide hands-free communication once a door call is answered. An optional handset is available if privacy is required. Stations can also record images and conversations for later review. “Using Aiphone intercoms, recruiters now can clearly see and speak with visitors before allowing them access” Bruce Czerwinski, U.S. General Sales Manager for Aiphone, said the video intercoms will allow military recruiters to control who enters the centres. Single-user entry applications “Using Aiphone intercoms, recruiters now can clearly see and speak with visitors before allowing them access,” he said. “If there is any doubt about a visitor’s intentions, the door stays locked.”Aiphone’s JP Series video intercoms are ideal for single-user entry applications, such schools and homes. The GT Series provides multi-tenant entry security for apartment, office and mixed-use buildings, high-rise complexes, dormitories, and assisted living communities.
GT Series upgrade has improved video quality, new slim tenant stations and VMS recording connectivity available Aiphone, the international manufacturer of intercom and entry security products, announces technology upgrades to its most popular product line, the GT Series multi-tenant video entry intercom system. New video entry system features Improved video camera quality in three new video entrance stations makes identifying visitors easier and more precise than ever. Two slim-design tenant stations, with either 7- or 3 1/2-inch LCD screens, fit perfectly in apartment and condominium buildings, independent senior living facilities and student housing. A video line out allows the GT Series cameras to securely record lobby video onto a video management system (VMS). Bruce Czerwinski, U.S. general sales manager for Aiphone, said the upgrades provide greater performance, convenience and security, while the GT Series still offers the quality, features and options that have made it so popular for use in multi-tenant buildings. Customised solution for installation “The GT Series accommodates up to 500 tenant, 16 entrance and four guard stations – all configurable to create customised solutions for any installation,” he said. “As more states adopt building codes calling for video intercoms at lobby entrances, the GT Series provides the best solution for these new requirements. Residents can visually identify visitors clearly before granting them access to the building.” Additional GT Series features Alert buttons on tenant stations to immediately notify the guard station in an emergency Direct calls to tenant stations answerable only from within the residence, ensuring all visitors have been properly screened A simple, wired intercom solution, eliminating the need and added expense of a telephone line Czerwinski said Aiphone plans to announce more GT Series upgrades this summer.
The IP Addressable adaptor pages up to 50 stations for faster and more effective emergency communication Aiphone announced the release of the IX-PA IP addressable paging adaptor for their IX Series, a network-based communications and security system. The IX-PA paging adaptor allows any IX Series master station or IX Mobile app to page up to 50 stations as well as making it easier to integrate with third-party amplifiers. The adaptor provides both a 600 ohm output to connect to amplifiers and an 8-ohm, 5-watt output for connecting directly to 8-ohm speakers. Both outputs can be used simultaneously without loss of signal. Greater protection and convenience “The IX-PA adaptor adds even greater protection and convenience for users of the IX Series,” said Bruce Czerwinski, Aiphone’s U.S. general sales manager. “It’s now possible to simultaneously broadcast emergency messages and other notifications to individual speakers, throughout an entire building or to offsite locations over a network." The IX Series is an all-in-one communication system for controlling video entry and access control. IX Series stations and apps can remotely unlock doors, assist online visitors from local or offsite locations, and broadcast emergency announcements and communicate using a PoE network. The IX Series includes indoor and outdoor video intercoms, as well as wall-mount and tower-based emergency call stations. The new IX-PA adaptor is available from any distributor in Aiphone’s wide network.
Aiphone's QuikSpec solution generates a complete equipment list based on the answers to a few questions Aiphone Corp., an international manufacturer of intercom and entry security products, has updated QuikSpec, a free online design tool to help system specifiers easily and accurately design and assemble complete emergency systems using both the Aiphone IS Series and IX Series. QuikSpec features The solution generates a complete equipment list based on the answers to a few questions. QuikSpec also includes all available documentation, instructions, product specifications — even CSI specs — making an Aiphone system bid submission quick and effortless. Lists can be saved to a user profile or downloaded in several formats. Bruce Czerwinski, U.S. general sales manager for Aiphone, said the rigorously tested logic built into QuikSpec is designed to ensure the right equipment is provided each time — for every intercom, tower component, mounting bolt, power supply and accessories. QuikSpec benefits “The large number of emergency system options makes it easy to leave expensive equipment off a bid, resulting in lost profits,” he said. “QuikSpec eliminates that worry.” There is never a need to wait for emergency station parts lists — QuikSpec is always available online. Also, live assistance from Aiphone’s award-winning technical support team can be reached during standard business hours. A QuikSpec parts list can be shared with any distributor in Aiphone’s wide network for quick pricing and availability.
The new office will help Aiphone in providing highest degree of sales and support services for customers Aiphone Corp., the leading international manufacturer of intercom and entry security products, recently announced the opening of an East Coast office in Cherry Hill, N.J. enabling the company to better serve a growing U.S. market area. Aiphone service and tech support Bruce Czerwinski, Aiphone’s U.S. General Sales Manager, said the new office will house customer service and tech support members, while assisting the new sales team serving the east coast from Maine to Virginia. “We’re seeing tremendous sales growth in this area, making it the right time to open a North American office outside of Washington,” he said. “This office will help meet our consistent goal of providing the highest degree of sales and support services for all customers.” The new office can be reached by calling the existing toll-free number, 800-692-0200. It will be open from 8:00AM to 4:30PM (EST), Monday through Friday. Aiphone products range from simple door-answering units to sophisticated video entry security systems, complex microprocessor-based commercial systems and luxury condo/apartment security and communication systems. Aiphone sells to the commercial, correctional, education, government, healthcare, and residential markets.
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