Articles by Jim Hoffpauir
During 2017, we witnessed as the end-user came to realise that an intercom can be a silo if not properly integrated in with access control, video management, and their existing VoIP-based systems as well as designing intelligibility into every device. We believe the next generation of communication in the Age of Voice has accelerated beyond anyone’s expectations, and we will begin to see more and more attention on highly intelligible, interoperable and scalable intelligent communications solutions protected by robust cyber-defensible shields. Clear and measurable tools Intelligent communications solutions will define a new standard for IP-based systems that are able to interoperate with existing and emerging systems Intelligent communications solutions will define a new standard for IP-based systems that are able to interoperate with existing and emerging systems such as access control, video, VoIP and messaging platforms. The winners in the commercial marketplace will design intelligibility into every device and provide clear and measurable tools for managing the performance of that device on IT’s network. We call these the “ilities”: Cyber Defensibility, High Availability, Maintainability, Reliability and Scalability. Zenitel continues to be seen by leading access control and video management companies as the preferred intelligent communications solutions provider that can interoperate within a 360-degree all-hazards risk and actionable response platform. Educating the end user When the end user or integrator is educated on how to evaluate communications solutions, or experienced the painful lessons around deploying less intelligible solutions, Zenitel becomes their solution of choice. In 2018, we hope to do the same for the VoIP channel, showing them not only how we interoperate with their current telephony solutions, but also how they can augment those solutions in new and compelling ways.
RS2 Technologies, globally renowned security and access control systems provider firm, has been named as a new Strategic Alliance Partner in the United States by Zenitel Group, the global provider of Intelligent Communication solutions. Integrated systems “Zenitel’s continued innovative approach to simple but powerful integrated systems provides a complete unified solution to customers of all sizes”, said Dave Barnard, Director of Dealer Development for RS2. “Zenitel has been established as the industry leader in integrated intelligent communications. Our companies have had a long-standing relationship where integration was valued, but we believe it is now time to go beyond simple integration to providing a full-service solution.” According to Barnard, RS2 Technologies has a reputation as a “one-stop” solution for the access management needs of customers in a wide variety of applications. RS2 delivers cost-effective access management solutions to customers in industries as diverse as ship-building, energy, hospitals, education, defense, banking, government (federal, state and municipal), museums, and a variety of diverse manufacturing companies. From small office buildings to large industrial facilities, RS2 has the products to meet the needs of business and industry. RS2 is known for having a rich feature set, continuous integrations, and the lowest total cost of ownership Intelligent Communication “The Intelligent Communication market is targeted to exceed $150 billion by 2021”, said Jim Hoffpauir, President, Zenitel Americas. “To continue to provide innovative solutions that exceed our customers’ expectations, we are creating new strategic partnerships with complimentary technology leaders in the security industry. With our recent release of the new IC-Edge system, partnering with RS2 provides Zenitel with sales channel alignment to emphasise smaller system sales, providing organisations of all sizes an easily accessible and cost-effective solution for highly intelligible audio.”
Zenitel Group, the provider of Intelligent Communication solutions is releasing a new strategy and platform at ISC West 2019: IC-EDGE. “Our industry is at an explosive inflection point”, said Jim Hoffpauir, President of Zenitel Americas. “CSO’s are demanding a security information management platform that can support intelligent communications across the enterprise. This includes supporting virtual security operation centers on premise or through a managed service. This will require pushing intelligence to the edge; to whatever device is needed to respond to an incident or to optimise a business process.” Video surveillance management IC-EDGE devices are intelligent at the core supporting advanced intelligibility, discoverability, and smart and streamlined audio management. Although there is advanced sound engineering, the complexity is hidden from the user. “They are self-aware, plug and play, and easy to use”, said Hoffpauir. Zenitel has partnered with access control and video surveillance management vendors to provide full interoperability. This promises to embed communications in every process collapsing the time it takes to respond to any incident. To create the intelligent business, CIOs and CSOs must ensure cyber-security, scalability, maintainability, reliability, and interoperability. IC-EDGE exceeds this IT mandate for the intelligent business.
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 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
Software House approved the compatibility of the Zenitel AlphaCom solution through their Connected Partner Program Vingtor-Stentofon by Zenitel Group, a provider of critical communication solutions for the security industry, announced its newest integration with Software House C•CURE 9000 from Tyco Security Products, part of Johnson Controls. C•CURE 9000 Security and Event Management platform The enterprise communication server, AlphaCom, integrates with the C•CURE 9000 Security and Event Management platform providing the customer’s security team an integrated platform for access control and critical communications. With both ears and a voice, security teams can optimise their processes and their actionable response to incidents as well as explore unmanned entry points such as the HD Video IP Intercom. Operators of the C•CURE 9000 system can easily place and answer calls, view status, and both command and control intercom stations through their C•CURE 9000 user interface. Call events of the AlphaCom system are recorded in C•CURE 9000’s database and visually shown in their Event Monitoring Station. This functionality allows for security teams to integrate all their systems and quickly associate both access control, audio, and video events for all their security reporting needs. “Our commitment to be the leader in implementing the scorecard for critical communications is reinforced through our relationship with one of the leaders in physical access control,” said Jim Hoffpauir, President of Zenitel USA. “Software House solutions are installed in over 5,500 facilities world-wide and over 170 Fortune 500 companies. Integration with one of the best solutions in IP Audio solutions helps to reinforce their leadership position.”Zenitel AlphaCom solution “Software House solutions are installed in over 5,500 facilities world-wide and over 170 Fortune 500 companies" Software House approved the compatibility of the Zenitel AlphaCom solution through their Connected Partner Program and the integration driver can now be delivered by Zenitel through their certified dealer program.“We consider Software House a strategic integration partner of Zenitel,” said Dan Rothrock, VP of Strategic Alliances. “We will be providing support through our Regional Sales Leaders to their channel to ensure the scorecard for critical communications is understood and validated by their clients.”“We have the best value proposition in the industry because we, alone, can meet the standard of performance needed by risk, resilience and security professionals,” said Peter Sandin, VP of Sales for Zenitel. “The scorecard of intelligibility, interoperability and the key ‘ilities’ needed by any mission critical IT solution; availability, reliability, scalability, maintainability and defensibility will create competitive advantage for both Software House and Zenitel.”
Peter Sandin has built a strong regional presence in the Northeast by developing trusted relationships Vingtor-Stentofon by Zenitel Group, a provider of critical communication solutions for the security industry, announced a new Vice President of Sales for its North American Division. Voice intelligibility in audio solutions “We lead the industry with delivering to our customers the highest levels of voice intelligibility in our audio solutions and our innovations in 2016 demonstrates our continued commitment,” said Jim Hoffpauir, President of Zenitel USA. “Because of our focus on the future and our growth, we have moved to strengthen our core by promoting one of our Regional Sales Leaders, Peter Sandin, to Vice President of Sales.” Sandin has been in the security industry since 1988 with a track record of leadership within technology vendors, an integrator, and a manufacturer’s representative. Since joining Zenitel in 2010, he has built a strong regional presence in the Northeast by developing trusted relationships with clients, consultants, integrators, and manufacturer’s reps. Risk mitigation “Peter has been a leader to his peers contributing valuable insights on the application of critical communication technology to risk mitigation and the optimisation of critical business processes,” said Hoffpauir. “Zenitel’s history of innovation and its core values that act as a foundation for developing a high-performance culture, has been instrumental to my growth as a professional and as a leader,” said Sandin. “I have inherited a first-class team and a thriving integration channel that is well suited to taking our clients to the next level of performance. We have the best value proposition in the industry because we, alone, can meet the standard of performance needed by risk, resilience, and security professionals. The scorecard of intelligibility, interoperability and the key ‘ilities’ needed by any mission critical IT solution; availability, reliability, scalability, maintainability, and defensibility will continue to be our focus.”
PULSE Enterprise removes the need for a centralised server, creating an intercom system unlike anything else on the market Continuing a 70-year tradition of innovation excellence, Vingtor-Stentofon by Zenitel Group announces the debut and live demonstration of PULSE Enterprise, at ISC West, April 6-8 inside the Sands Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. PULSE Enterprise - cost-effective and scalable system PULSE Enterprise shatters the expectation that high definition (HD) quality voice and reliability can only be delivered in costly, large scale critical communication solutions. The most basic and profound need to hear and be heard at any business level in the most challenging environmental settings is now available in an efficient, cost-effective, scalable system. Traditional methods in the past required a business to invest heavily in a centralised server controlling hundreds of stations. This creates a gap between small business and global enterprise solutions “By embedding processing power in the device, PULSE Enterprise removes the need for a centralised server, creating an intercom system that is unlike anything seen on the market today”, said Jim Hoffpauir, Global SVP & GM Security & Safety for Zenitel. “We are responding to the need from IT and security to provide a robust and scalable communication platform.” Extremely scalable, users now have a sophisticated audio server solution that can network up to 1,800 stations with survivability between connected systems. If capability is lost within one system cluster, the processing power will remain at the other connected clusters. Works as an interoperable solution “Security executives are given relief as they can ill-afford stand-alone products,” said Hoffpauir. “Solutions must optimise the budget and be efficient in the time-to-value of every actionable response. PULSE Enterprise not only delivers HD quality audio with active noise and echo cancellation, it also works as an interoperable solution within an organisation’s current technology architecture, such as access control, video surveillance, guard radios, digital signage, and messaging solutions.” Hoffpauir also provided insights from a national survey regarding the unique needs of the security integrator. “Processing power, scalability, audio integrity and interoperability are all top of mind. PULSE Enterprise allows integrators a way to provide a solution that can scale with the needs of their clients. To view a live demonstration of PULSE Enterprise, visit booth 23013 at ISC West 2016, April 6-8 at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas, NV.