Articles by David Fleming
It’s not hard to see why more and more locations are requesting security solutions that operate on an open system. Selecting products and platforms that utilise open standards—Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), HTTP, IEEE, RESTful APIs, etc.—provide additional levels of interoperability, scalability and versatility that give organisations the flexibility they want to be proactive with safety and security. Unfortunately, creating the right solution today isn’t quite as simple as reading a product sheet or specification. In the past, end users frequently were forced to pick hardware and software products that were proprietary to each individual manufacturer, meaning pieces of technology often didn’t have the ability to talk and interact with products that didn’t also carry its brand name. In the future, all systems likely will be open in some form and will provide a litany of connectivity options with little-to-no additional development time and resources. But until that day is here, it is important to manage the expectations for stakeholders involved with the project appropriately, knowing that the current security landscape has not yet evolved to the point that all systems are truly open. The current security space can resemble its past almost as much as its future Consumer technology expectations To be fair, the end user’s expectations are often set by what they see happening with consumer technology and not by what is currently available in the security marketplace. There, technological advancements can seem to happen overnight. The apps on your smartphone, for instance, perform almost instantaneous updates, even while you are not actively using it. As convenient as that may be with social media or gaming apps, this also can signal a system that regularly requires fixes and patches, a scenario that would not provide stakeholders with the advanced level of reliability that is demanded for adequate safety with commercial security products, in large part because it will expose locations to numerous liability issues. As a result, the current security space can resemble its past almost as much as its future. Decreased potential for compatibility Make no mistake, there are certainly many products available today that can easily integrate into open platforms, only in a more limited capacity. An IP desk phone, for example, could easily connect to another IP PBX system that can then place basic calls. But as the customer’s demand for additional sophisticated options increases—diagnostics, event triggers, location identification, etc.—the potential for compatibility decreases. When it comes to security, this is due to the fact that two products or systems rarely expose similar functionality using the same technology or language. Take this example, for instance: Manufacturer A sells a product that contains Features X and Y; Manufacturer B offers one with Y and Z. The customer therefore assumes - or may even be sold - a solution where X, Y and Z can all be configured. Pairing the two may give you interoperability with Feature Y fairly easily (if they are implemented the same way), but X and Z will not happen without an additional investment that may be difficult to procure. It benefits all parties to have a common understanding of the project from the very beginning Many manufacturers offer a list of ‘integration partners’ they are compatible with, but may not match the end user’s expectations Meeting end user expectations The devil, however, is in the details, a message that isn’t always effectively communicated to end users. Excusing it all off with the old idiom ‘It’s all Greek to me’ only sets up the project for potentially expensive revisions later on – costs that the integrator often has to eat. Therefore, it benefits all parties to have a common understanding of the project from the very beginning. Given the current state of the consumer marketplace, it is vital for integrators to understand the reality of the products they are considering before seeking out potential solutions. Many manufacturers offer a list of ‘integration partners’ they are compatible with, but these scenarios will carry a predefined scope that may not match the end user’s expectations. Assessing compatibility To understand the full options available, a copy of a manufacturer’s Software Development Kit (SDK) needs to be requested, which should include detailed information about the possibilities for integrations with their products. A third-party development firm or contractor is fully capable of providing the same level of work as the manufacturer From there, you can compare the devices being considered to see how compatible they are with one another. Finally, it is important to consider the practical implications of financing. If the end user is seeking features that are not currently possible, then additional development will need to be contracted in order to make it happen. Some manufacturers offer design services with developers who are acclimated to their platforms that can help expedite the learning curve. However, with the right SDK and a background in the platforms being used, a third-party development firm or contractor is fully capable of providing the same level of work as the manufacturer. To understand the full options available, a copy of a manufacturer’s Software Development Kit (SDK) needs to be requested Considerations for security system integration To reiterate, any integration, no matter the scope, requires you to consider the following three questions: What does the end user want? What can the products do today? How can you bridge the gap? It is imperative that both integrators and end users take the time to do the homework required with those three key questions to ensure they are selecting a solution that will not only work tomorrow, but also provides an appropriate layer of protection for people and assets today. Each party involved in an integration project needs to understand what exactly is available from a hardware and software standpoint This also should help mitigate any confusion or frustration that may be experienced by the customer. As much as we all would like to believe that each and every feature available is a viable option that simply isn’t feasible given the realities we face today. There will come a day when the technological advancements enjoyed by consumers around the world provide the type of experience that can be applied to security. Until that time arrives, though, each party involved in the project needs to understand what exactly is currently available from a hardware and software standpoint. The safety of everyone at that location depends on it.
Code Blue Corporation is pushing the security industry forward into the next generation with the introduction of Centry, a compact IP video Help Point now available from the industry manufacturer of emergency communication solutions. Code Blue's Centry is the first Help Point to include a camera integrated right into its faceplate, the first to include an embedded Station Beacon Light, that will bring the visibility of a blue light phone indoors, and the first device to be Powered by EmerComm, Code Blue’s new device operating system that provides increased security and functionality and allows locations to install intelligence at the edge with an agnostic system of sensors and indicators to give emergency phones full computer capabilities. Centry is powered by Power over Ethernet (PoE), allowing a single connection to drive both power and network connectivity to the device Power and network connectivity All of this is built on the traditions synonymous with all Code Blue Help Points, including durability, visibility and versatility. “The release of Centry marks an important first step into the future of Code Blue’s emergency communication solutions,” Code Blue Chief Design Officer David Fleming said. “Not only are we bringing an exciting new Help Point to the market, but we have developed a platform in EmerComm that will serve as the backbone to our electronics for years to come.” Available in either surface or flush mounts, Centry is powered by Power over Ethernet (PoE), allowing a single connection to drive both power and network connectivity to the device. Additional features include: 1- and 2-button configurations SIP protocol support Contemporary faceplate design, with multiple ADA compliant lettering choices with Braille Station Beacon Light for visual identification 3 Ethernet ports 3 auxiliary N.O. input contact closures 3 auxiliary N.O. output contact closures
Code Blue Corporation once again is proud to partner with the Clery Center as the co-presenting sponsor for National Campus Safety Awareness Month (NCSAM). Ensuring campus safety Each September, the Clery Center partners with colleges, universities, and other organisations for NCSAM to offer free, high-quality programming, educational tools and resources that promote a community approach to campus safety. “We continue to be impressed with the way the Clery Center has been able to annually expand awareness and support for their programs,” Code Blue Chief Design Officer David Fleming said. “Through educational initiatives like National Campus Safety Awareness Month, the Clery Center continues to empower students so they can not only feel safe, but be safe, which aligns perfectly with the mission of Code Blue.” NCSAM was unanimously approved by Congress in 2008 to encourage a public conversation on important topics in violence prevention at our nation’s colleges and universities. In 2016, more than 1,100 organisations participated in NSCSAM’s free webinar series. Delivering security training The Clery Center is a national non-profit 501(c)(3) organisation focused on promoting college and university campus safety through education, awareness, policy, and prevention initiatives. The Clery Center was the first non-profit organisation dedicated to the prevention of criminal violence at colleges and universities nationwide. “We’re thrilled to partner with Code Blue in delivering training, resources, and best practices to college and university professionals during this year’s National Campus Safety Awareness Month,” Clery Center Executive Director Alison Kiss said. “2016 was our most successful campaign yet, and we’re confident that this year we will continue to reach more professionals and progress towards our goal – making campus safer campuses a reality.”
Arecont Vision, the provider of IP-based megapixel camera technology, announces that Code Blue Corporation has recently joined the Arecont Vision Technology Partner Programme. Code Blue Corporation is the manufacturer of emergency communication solutions in their industry, and Arecont Vision cameras are successfully installed with Code Blue products in a wide variety of verticals and applications. “More and more customers are enjoying the value of integrating cameras with our signature Help Point enclosures,” Code Blue Chief Design Officer David Fleming said. “By combining Arecont Vision cameras with our emergency phones and software solutions, institutions can provide comprehensive security solutions for their locations.” Founded in 1989 with a focus on making campus settings safer and more secure, Code Blue has expanded its emergency communications solutions with an extensive catalogue of speakerphones and award-winning software and hardware offerings. Their products can be found in thousands of locations worldwide, from parking garages and corporations to open spaces and educational facilities. Complete HD video coverage “We are extremely excited to have Code Blue join the Arecont Vision Technology Partner Programme,” said Jason Schimpf, Director of Marketing Programmes. “Our joint customers have benefited from using Arecont Vision SurroundVideo panoramic 180o and multi-directional SurroundVideo Omni cameras with Code Blue towers to provide complete, non-stop high definition video coverage. These cameras provide much better visibility and situational awareness around the call box than PTZs or fixed view single sensor cameras can achieve.” The Arecont Vision Technology Partner Programme established sales, development, and support contacts between the two companies. This connection facilitates better engagement with end users and integrators, helps produce new features and technologies, and aids in efficiently resolving customer support issues. Customers are already benefitting from integrated Arecont Vision and Code Blue installations.
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