Articles by Minu Youngkin
Smart buildings are on the rise around the world, not only because a growing number of companies are considering their environmental impact, but also because of the dramatic cost savings that can be realised through integration. In every building that has an integrated security and access control system, an opportunity awaits to also integrate the building’s energy use, water use, ventilation and more. The key is to effectively convey the tremendous potential of this new technology to the end user. Creating ROI for end users As with any new product, it is critical to be able to clearly outline the end user’s potential return on investment. This can be achieved by a detailed cost analysis that compares current use and expenses to the results that can be achieved through upgrading equipment and integrating technology. When surveying, you should look at everything from air handlers and chillers to irrigation and what types of lighting are currently in place. Be sure to also include details such as switching to LED lighting and updating compressors and chillers and show the total potential cost savings. Here are some supporting facts that can be included in your assessment: The EPA estimates that the typical commercial facility wastes 30% of its energy. When you consider that commercial and industrial buildings in the U.S. are responsible for $200 billion in annual energy costs, that translates to $60 billion being wasted each year. According to a recent EnergyStar estimate, upgrading to stand-alone intelligent controllers can reduce lighting expenses by as much as 40 percent. A study by The World Green Building Council found 81 percent of workers have a difficult time concentrating if the temperature is higher than the norm, while 62 percent say it takes up to 25 percent longer to complete a task when they are too hot. However, with a lack of air and energy control, it can cost a company millions to maintain. Remote monitoring These examples of ROI are significant for any type of facility and the savings realised through building automation can free up money for other projects, while enhancing technology, comfort, and security. This can be a key selling point for customers in the education, healthcare and government markets. Building automation also enables facility managers to remotely monitor and manage devices. Having these “no tour” capabilities can save valuable time and money in addition to the benefits that come with being able to monitor critical building systems in real time. Building automation enables facility managers to remotely monitor and manage devices Make buildings smarter Although it may be part of the overall budget in new construction, automation might require a phased approach when retrofitting an existing building. This can help avoid making the transition feel overwhelming for the building occupants. Establish goals with milestones set for the next 60 days, then 6, 12 and 24 months out. 60 days – Set goals for improving efficiency. Compare energy costs across multiple locations or conduct a study of energy use in one location to establish a baseline of use and areas of loss/waste. Establish a test case by installing appropriate sensors, equipment and network technology in one location. 6 months – Use the data gathered from your test location to establish an initial ROI, look for areas to further improve and target other buildings or other areas within a building to implement the new system. 12 months – Track energy use at all locations to measure energy savings and establish overall ROI. Consider adding a building management system to increase efficiency and savings. 24 months – Develop a long-term plan for energy savings, including how to integrate new facilities into the overall solution. Creating a connected system Creating a connected system that allows every part of the building to share information results in maximum efficiency and ultimately, real cost savings for the customer. Effectively sharing that vision with customers creates new business opportunities beyond access control in every building. However, it is important for integrators to be aware that as the trend of building automation accelerates, the traditional industry boundaries are being blurred, making it more difficult for customers to distinguish knowledgeable industry experts from opportunists. Just as clients can be overwhelmed by the amount of choice and complexity when selecting an access control system, they will need a good deal of advice and handholding to automate the systems in their facility. As always, earning the respect and trust of clients will be vital to your long-term success.
Customers are increasingly requesting both mechanical and electronic services for their doors In most buildings, security is a hybrid solution of both mechanical and electronic security products. Locksmiths take care of the mechanical door hardware and the integrators focus on the electronic security technology. However, for consumers, this traditional division of labour means they must deal with two different companies for the same door - one to design, install and service all the mechanical door hardware, and another to install and service the access control system. As a result, by the end of the installation process, they are uncertain who owns the warranty for their door. Who should they call for future service issues? In a marketplace where consumers have become accustomed to one-stop shopping and single source solutions, they want a single entity to call for any problems with their door. Slowly, the industry has been responding to this demand by finding ways to blend together door hardware and electronic security systems. As customers increasingly request both mechanical and electronic services for their doors, companies are finding success forming service teams that can combine door hardware and integration to create a more cohesive installation process that will address all of the customer’s needs. Extend your service offering By offering a complete package of solutions, companies are able to extend their service offering and, more importantly, their revenue potential. But while the combined services could be of value in project bids, Robert Gaulden, Allegion’s Director of Aftermarket and Electronic Sales, believes the real value is found on the services side of the business. “Certainly, on projects, having that understanding and knowledge base of mechanical and electronics allows firms to do more detailed site surveys and potentially gain more doors,” he says. “But I think the real opportunity for expanding revenue happens more organically as part of service contracts.” “You can have the most sophisticated access control system on the planet, but if the door doesn’t latch, your opening is not secure” Gaulden says when integrators are frequently at a site, they may notice something and are able to fix it as part of their service offering. It establishes integrators as a one-stop-shop with an added level of convenience. It also makes more sense in the eyes of customers. Integrators want to maintain the health and integrity of an electronic access control (EAC) system. If the EAC isn’t working properly because a door won’t latch—that’s a security issue, regardless of where the issue lies. “You can have the most sophisticated access control system on the planet, but if the door doesn’t latch, your opening is not secure,” says Gaulden. And in a situation like that, the last thing you want to tell a customer is that they need to call a different firm to make the mechanical repair to the door. Cross-train and build depth of knowledge To be successful in integrating both hardware and electronic security specialists, there has to be a clear understanding of what each one does. There needs to be an appreciation on both teams for the various skills and how they impact the security of the door. But building that appreciation requires a lot of education, time and patience. Companies that have begun the process of building a complete service team have put their technicians on both sides through extensive training and cross-training programs. Although they maintain their core competencies, the technicians receive enough experience and education to be able to work collaboratively with the other side. Not only does this improve job performance for all staff, it also results in happier customers who now have a single point of contact for any and all door-related issues. There needs to be an appreciation on both teams for the various skills and how they impact the security of the door Build from within Adding the door hardware service could be done through selective contract partners, but Gaulden suggests looking internally first. “A lot of integrators may have been locksmiths, or may have commercial mechanical hardware experience,” he says. “A great starting point is to survey your staff to see what skill sets they have.” Next, he recommends partnering with manufacturer partners for additional training on both mechanical and electronic solutions so teams can receive the latest working knowledge on the latest locks, closers and access control technologies. The training process will require an enormous commitment of time and dedication to learning new skills on the part of the technicians The training process will require an enormous commitment of time and dedication to learning new skills on the part of the technicians, but the end result will be a cohesive team capable of handling any door-related issue and a happier client base that will more readily refer your firm to other potential customers. Invest now “As an industry, we’ve long operated these two functions separately,” says Gaulden. “But today, to drive a better customer experience, we really need to be thinking of them together.” It’s clear that today’s customers don’t want to call multiple people to fix a problem, so the industry must respond by becoming a one-stop solution for all their door and hardware needs. Invest in building a team that combines door hardware and integration and allows your firm to own the door. In the end, by offering a complete solution for your customers, you’ll make yourself more valuable—indispensable, really. You’ll also create lasting relationships that will grow your business in the coming years.
900 MHz wireless and Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz) are sometimes used interchangeably in the access control world to describe solutions that do not require running wires all the way to the opening. It’s true that, as wireless options, both technologies offer some general advantages over traditional hardwired solutions. In this article, Minu Youngkin, Allegion, Integrator Marketing Manager shares her thoughts and knowledge regarding both wireless and Wi-Fi technologies.* First of all, wireless overcomes architectural limitations. As any integrator knows, historical buildings, glass doors and atriums typically have openings that are difficult - and costly - to hardwire. Wireless also eases budgets. Some openings, such as those with drywall or wood frames, are easy to wire. However, if there are numerous openings, labour costs can rise quickly. “It generally takes five to six hours to run wire to an opening, compared to less than an hour with a wireless option,” says Brad Aikin, product leader, electronic commercial locks at Allegion. “If a client wants to reduce costs, wireless is a solid way to do it. Likewise, wireless allows integrators to expand the number of openings because the cost per door is less.” Wireless is flexible. “With wireless, you can avoid coring doors or cutting around the door,” Aikin says. “Plus, relocating a lockset from one door to another is easier because it’s all in a self-contained solution.” However, while they share some commonalities as wireless options, 900 MHz and 2.4GHz Wi-Fi are not identical solutions. So which is better? Actually, selecting one over the other is really a choice driven by the type of application and the goals of the client. “There are advantages to both 900 MHz wireless and 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, as well as trade-offs,” Aikin says. “Determining which one is the best fit really depends on where and how it will be used.” When 900 MHz is the best option 900 MHz is the ideal solution when real-time is essential. Wireless overcomes architectural limitations such as historical buildings, glass doors and atriums “900 MHz is definitely the way to go if your client wants the ability to communicate to the device in 10 seconds or less, such as applications providing remote lockdown or real-time management of changes to employee credential access,” Aikin says. “The Schlage AD-400, for example, has a patent-pending Wake-Up On Radio™ feature that allows real-time communication from the host to the device, and monitors all alarms and events in real time—all while preserving battery life.” Integrators also use 90 MHz when signal range may be problematic. A 900 MHz wireless connection typically has a larger range than a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connection. While all RF radio waves can be subject to some interference, Aikin says, technology and architecture configurations exist to ensure reliability and performance. In addition, 900 MHz operates on a lower frequency range that allows it to penetrate through buildings easier and be more resistant to interference. “It’s always important to look at existing frequencies in the environment to determine if they are compatible with the frequency you’re proposing, or if additional measures are required to minimise interference,” he says. When 2.4GHz Wi-Fi may be considered an option Current solutions for 2.4GHz Wi-Fi—which is not online at all times—also offer some benefits. 2.4GHz Wi-Fi is a worthwhile consideration for your client when real-time access control is not required: A client who wants access control but doesn’t need real-time access is a candidate for 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. “Current Wi-Fi locks communicate on a time delay, typically 12 to 24 hours,” Aikin says. “In these cases, the client can afford to have the device operate independently offline and wait for updates that are pushed down only once or twice a day.” WiFi is often used in applications where access rights seldom change. If the client has low turnover or very infrequent changes in access privileges, then updating credential information with a time delay only once or twice a day may be adequate. WiFi is also an option when the use of the existing IP infrastructure is preferred. If your client wants to use the same network architecture for locks as they do for managing other communication to printers, work stations and other devices, then 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi may be considered. The final decision The decision to use 900 MHz wireless or 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi is straightforward for some projects. Often, though, several factors need to be assessed so clients can prioritise goals and determine the trade-offs they are willing—or not willing—to accept. *Editor's Note: 900 MHz wireless is only used in some parts of the world, such as North America.
The ASIS show has not traditionally been a big forum for new product introductions -- those happen mostly at ISC West in the spring. Even so, there is plenty of technology to see at this year's show, and many exhibitors now say the products they were talking about last spring are now ready to ship. On Day Two of the show, it seems a lot of the attendees are ready, too. Video camera technology The technologies of video cameras march on, and Hanwha Techwin America has embraced the new H.265 codec in a big way. All their cameras since last January have offered three different streaming options -- H.264, MJPEG and H.265. In addition, Hanwha offers its WiseStream smart compression. Combining H.265 and WiseStream enables video outputs that use 75 percent less data, according to Hanwha. The company is leveraging the better compression to enable cameras with higher resolutions (and at 30 frames per second). For example, at ASIS, they are introducing an 8 megapixel multi-sensor camera (four 2-megapixel sensors) that provides video at 30 frames per second at a manageable data level (in fact, according to Hanwha, combining WiseStream and H.265 makes the bandwidth comparable to a 1080p camera using H.264 compression). Hanwha is displaying a complete H.265 at ASIS, including the company’s own H.265 cameras, network video recorders (NVRs) and software Hanwha has been on a tear in the product development department, introducing 46 new products this year. Previously there were two camera lines; they now have five, including a mid-market line that falls between their existing lines, and new premium 4K cameras that include the new multi-sensor camera, fisheye cameras and multiple form factors. Features like simplified focus make the cameras easier to install. Detractors of H.265 say the technology creates a costly processing burden on the server side. In answer to detractors -- and to prove the viability of H.265 to a market where implementation has lagged -- Hanwha is displaying a complete H.265 at ASIS, including the company’s own H.265 cameras, network video recorders (NVRs) and software.Ensuring reliable solutions But not all end users want to be at the cutting edge of technology. Many prefer to stick with tried-and-true solutions. “Technology moves very fast in this channel, but I think as fast as we think it’s moving, there’s also a moment of ‘hang on, we’re talking about technology and security,’” says Minu Youngkin, Market Manager at lock manufacturer Allegion. “There’s no history to this technology yet. I know wireless locks work, but users need a solution that’s reliable, and you can’t prove reliability with history if it’s new. As manufacturers, we owe it to ourselves to make sure we are constantly doing the due diligence, working with software partners, and taking into consideration the ‘what if?’” Allegion is introducing a new mortise lock in its Engage wireless technology platform. The LE Series mortise lock joins the previously introduced NDE Series cylindrical lock as Allegion continues to fill out its selection of wireless locks. Youngkin says end users, who are the predominate attendees of ASIS, tend to speak more broadly about complete solutions, not as specifically about products, which integrators tend to do. And the levels of technology understanding vary widely among ASIS attendees. Most of the Allegion booth visitors at ASIS are looking for retrofit solutions to existing installations, she comments. Tyco-Johnson Controls merger I spoke briefly with Joe Oliveri, Vice President and General Manager of Tyco Integrated Security, about Tyco’s merger with Johnson Controls, which was recently finalised. He noted that Johnson Controls’ and Tyco’s complementary branch structures will offer opportunity for both companies to leverage each other’s customer bases. “We can sell more to existing customers,” he commented. Tyco Integrated Systems will keep its name, and other high-profile Tyco brands such as Software House and SimplexGrinnell will also continue under the new combined company, named Johnson Controls. "It’s really about being bold and nimble and innovative, I don’t want to just be a security player, I want to bring new technologies to customers" Oliveri sees technology innovation playing a big role in the market, especially as a differentiator for integrator companies like TycoIS. “It’s really about being bold and nimble and innovative,” he says. “I don’t want to just be a security player, I want to bring new technologies to customers.” TycoIS operates innovation labs in Tel Aviv and Silicon Valley, vetting security solutions for some of the biggest end user customers in the world. At ASIS, they are highlighting innovative technologies such as Magos ground-based radar that enables protection of wide areas inexpensively. Another technology is Convexum’s proactive counter-drone cyberfencing -- it identifies the frequency of intruder drones and then lands them safely outside a protected zone. Many of TycoIS’ customers are early adopters of such technologies. TycoIS is also highlighting its ability to view systems data remotely, and to solve problems remotely without needing to roll a truck to a site. Working with data Data increasingly has a role helping to secure a facility, and several companies at ASIS this year are introducing new ways to use data -- both for security and also for other business purposes. An example is Qognify’s Operations Intelligence Center, which enhances the abilities of Qognify’s Situator software management system. Situator ties together multiple sensors into one interface that enables detection and guides and tracks response. The Operations Intelligence Center extracts and analyses data from Situator about threats and responses, and presents customised dashboards to inform users about issues such as response times. Data can be analysed and filtered according to specific information or time intervals, and then compared to external metrics or information such as occupancy or company sales. The resulting analysis can provide valuable insight about a business -- and how it can be more efficient, effective and/or profitable. The goal is to analyse security information in terms of how it affects overall business operations and success. It's intelligence that can enable a security department to make money rather than cost money.
ISC West was hopping on its first day, with crowded aisles, packed booths and plenty of news to share. Much of the news consists of product announcements resulting from the rapid pace of technology development in the physical security market. It was enough to cause sensory overload. Educating integrators and end users about security technology Technology is moving so fast that it’s understandable integrators, not to mention end users, might struggle to digest it all and apply it to their security needs. Minu Youngkin of Allegion suggests that the pace of new technology introductions, as exemplified at ISC West, is a factor compelling a shift toward a broader conversation in the industry. “We want to be more about the message, what’s important to an integrator,” says Youngkin, who handles integrator marketing for the lock manufacturer. “We can’t just be a lock company anymore; we have to be a step above, not just talk about the product, but about the technology, and where it’s going. We align our products to software products, various credentials, and work with the right partners. We’re an important ingredient, but there are others on board, too.” The manufacturer is increasingly fulfilling a need in the market to provide education about technology. On the product side, Allegion is promoting its Engage wireless lock technology designed to be easy to install, connect, manage and use. Axis targeting small business sector Axis kicked off the first day of ISC West with a press conference before the show floor even opened. Axis introduced a new line of cameras targeting the small business sector, called the Companion line, promising “everything you need for small business.” Noting that smaller systems are a large part of the market (and one Axis has not historically targeted), the new camera line is aimed at serving small business needs such as limited or no knowledge of systems, only sporadic use, and cash constraints. Axis introduced a new line ofcameras targeting the smallbusiness sector, called theCompanion line, promising“everything you need forsmall business” The new line includes some (but not all) of the features of Axis higher-end cameras, such as full HD resolution and Zipstream compression to minimise storage needs. However, the cameras are priced more competitively (translate: less expensive) to appeal to smaller users. Although the new line includes a small dome camera priced at $169, Fredrik Nilsson, Vice President, Americas, Axis Communications, says the company is not seeking to be the least expensive. “We will never compete based on price,” he says. “But we need to get close enough to [low-cost competitors] and then sell the Axis quality. We need to convince them to spend a little more for a better solution.” Ironically, and probably not coincidentally, lower-priced camera manufacturers, notably Hikvision, are investing heavily in cracking the enterprise market at the same time Axis is looking to create more presence at the lower end. In addition to pricing, the new Axis line includes simplified system design and implementation with components such as an 8-channel recorder for $499 and a 4-port PoE switch for $79. But Axis also introduced new cameras for its medium-sized and even enterprise customers, including a new 360-degree multi-sensor network camera. Also, the Axis Perimeter Defender is a scalable and flexible video analytics application for intrusion detection in the enterprise market. It is based on technology from Digital Barriers, a company with extensive experience in surveillance analytics. Low bandwidth options Zipstream is now a feature on the entire Axis camera line, helping to avoid bandwidth peaks and minimising storage needs, even for PTZ cameras. Zipstream can adjust to PTZ camera movements in real-time, offering even further storage and bandwidth savings and eliminating bitrate spikes. Other companies are also offering lower-bandwidth options. Panasonic’s Smart Coding system, for example, promises to substantially decrease bandwidth usage and picture noise -- they claim up to 75 percent reduction. At ISC West, Panasonic is also introducing the AeroPTZ camera, a high-performance PTZ for extreme environments. The high-durability fiberglass body resists salt-air corrosion, and image stabilisation eliminates shaking from cameras mounted on tall poles. Avigilon, another video company, is introducing the new H4 Edge Solution camera line, which includes video recorder functionality and analytics in an all-in-one edge solution. The camera records video directly to an onboard solid-state drive, thus eliminating the need for a separate network video recorder and lowering installation and systems costs. Bosch Starlight cameras deliver high quality colour video surveillance in extremely low light conditions. They’ll take your photo inside a room at their ISC West booth, first with the lights on and then in the dark. Bosch is also now offering video analytics at the edge as a standard, rather than an optional feature. Hot topic of cybersecurity Cybersecurity is a big topic here. For instance, Panasonic is highlighting its use of embedded Symantec technology to protect camera streams and ensure data integrity. Cybersecurity is not an“end-game,” but rather aconstant process thatrequires vigilance Also directing a strong focus on cybersecurity at ISC West is Tyco Security Products, which is implementing some of the cybersecurity measures developed in its government business sector to apply to its broader range of products and vertical markets. In the government market, standards such as FISMA (U.S. Federal Information Security Management Act) and the NIST cybersecurity framework specify the required cybersecurity protections. Tyco is now applying the benefit of its compliance with those standards to its systems in other verticals using a six-part holistic approach. They call it the Cyber Protection Program. “It’s all about risk management,” says William Brown, Tyco’s Senior Engineering Manager, Regulatory and Product Security. “You don’t have to install and use all the security features; you can choose your level of risk and the features that your IT department can support.” Optional features include single sign-in using an Active Directory. Brown says physical security has been too focused on hardening each individual component while overlooking the need for a more comprehensive approach, including how to install products securely and how to respond to vulnerabilities. Tyco hopes to partner with integrators to help them understand how to meet cybersecurity needs. “Physical security is still new to cybersecurity, and it’s a constant evolution,” Brown comments. He says cybersecurity is not an “end-game,” but rather a constant process that requires vigilance. Cyber-physical security A new entrant focused on cybersecurity is Wurldtech, a GE division that addresses cybersecurity challenges of operational assets such as various types of computer-driven machines, focusing on vertical markets such as power, healthcare, transportation, and oil and gas. Cybersecurity of operational assets also includes ensuring cybersecurity of video and access control systems, for example, which can be an entry point for malware into an enterprise IT system (since they are often connected). According to Wurldtech, different tools are used to protect operational technology (OT) assets as opposed to IT assets. Wurldtech’s major goal at ISC West is education. The company offers a hardware “box” to address the problems, and also has a range of services on broad issues of cybersecurity, such as assessment and evaluation of people, processes and technology. Wurldtech calls the protection of operational assets “cyber-physical security,” a term I heard today for the first time.
Beyond the need to install new systems, often overlooked is how schools are going to pay for security upgrades Limited financial resources are a common pain point for primary/secondary schools looking to implement cutting-edge security technology. But security needs persist despite scarce resources. All school administrators want to do everything in their power to secure their facilities against threats. More schools are recognising the benefits and, in some cases, requirement of upgrading systems to meet evolving threats. The solution is to find creative, cost-effective ways to support these installations. Aiming maximum security amidst fund scarcity Schools need maximum security and yet they have to work with limited budgets, says Andrew Schonzeit, CEO of integrator Idesco. “There certainly is a demand to enhance school safety, but to do so, schools have to look at the bigger picture and think in terms of solutions,” he adds. Integrators like Idesco can help by providing integrated security solutions that cover all their needs from ID cards to access systems and security cameras. “Many schools might think that they cannot afford such a solution, but with the latest technologies, they certainly can,” Schonzeit says. “I believe technology is being underutilised in primary/secondary schools because many schools feel intimidated by solutions. I think the security industry has come a very long way in development of apps for smart phones and iPad devices that are essentially one or two clicks. It is up to security integrators to provide powerful tools that customers feel very comfortable to use.” Choosing the right technology IP access control brings costs down by eliminating panels, excess wiring, and third party electricity at each door The Department of Homeland Security makes grants and funds available to schools for security upgrades and to address school vulnerabilities, Schonzeit says. The primary/secondary education market should be taking advantage more of the technology that is available right now. Schools are starting to have a very strong network infrastructure backbone, which is a resource schools should be looking at to assist them in terms of implementing a solution. Schools should also try to maximise the use of mobile devices to control access to their premises and to intervene quickly in case of an emergency, Schonzeit says. One way to use the network backbone is by adding IP access control, which brings costs down by eliminating panels, excess wiring, and third party electricity at each door. This means that more doors, in existing buildings, can be protected on a tight budget. Isonas, a provider of IP access control, has very close integration with both Video Insight and Milestone video management systems. Isonas feeds access control data to each of these video platforms, allowing them to be the command/control for both access control and video. “As budgets are tight, few districts can afford to put access control across an entire district at one time,” says Rob Mossman, CEO of Isonas. “The integration and the Pure IP structure means that a district can roll in access control school by school without having to manage two separate software packages during the expansion.” Beyond the need to install new systems, often overlooked is how schools are going to pay for security upgrades. At times, it is a matter of school boards making the tough choice to place a higher priority on security measures than other worthwhile programs competing for funding, says John Mosebar, vice president, marketing, Aiphone Corp., a manufacturer of audio and video intercoms. "I believe technology is being underutilised in primary/secondary schools because many schools feel intimidated by solutions. I think the security industry has come a very long way in development of apps for smart phones and iPad devices that are essentially one or two clicks" Recognising government grants Also, the federal government, most states, and private organisations offer many grants to pay for some portion of school security, Mosebar says. But often these grants are not well publicised, making it difficult especially for smaller districts without dedicated grant personnel to apply. This is an area where the security industry – through one of its organisations – could step up to research the various grant offerings and make them available through one website. “It would be a tremendous public service,” says Mosebar. Prioritising security requirements Partially in response to cost challenges, implementing electronic access control in phases is more common in schools than other environments. Schools and districts decide the most critical openings from a security and traffic flow perspective, and prioritise them first, according to Allegion. Priority lists vary among schools, but most start with the perimeter so they can lock down a facility and keep intruders out. Some schools look at crime statistics and prioritise schools by location, starting first with those in the highest crime areas, adds Minu Youngkin, Allegion vertical marketing manager. Others look at traffic flow and determine which openings are most problematic, or put them at the greatest risk, and add access control to those first, says Youngkin. Greater system functionality is another aspect of costs. A key opportunity for security technology in primary/secondary schools is creating more automated systems that lessen or eliminate human delay in response and notification, says Bruce Montgomery, Business Development Manager, Honeywell. Creating an automated “If this, then what?” protocol streamlines a school’s approach to violence and improves response time. A one-button approach – where only one action is required to notify teachers, students and police, trigger a lockdown and provide video surveillance and campus access to law enforcement – is ideal for managing the broad range of communication and logistical challenges in the event of an emergency.
Integrators must understand that the primary/secondary education market has a unique and urgent need for access control, but with limited budgets Systems integrators play a key role delivering effective security solutions to the kindergarten through 12th grade (primary/secondary) education market. Schools certainly depend on an integrator’s expertise regarding which electronic products to choose. However, schools also rely the benefit of an integrator’s experience and the insight gained by putting security practices in action on a daily basis. “Schools need integrators who can help them solve problems by performing overall risk assessment and work within their budget to meet their needs,” says Minu Youngkin, Allegion vertical marketing manager. Forming relationships with school superintendents is one route for integrators into the education market, says Youngkin. However, integrators should also form relationships with other stakeholders, such as architects, general contractors, manufacturers and independent security advisors. Youngkin advises integrators to “follow the money trail.” They should know which districts have bond money and the goals set forth in the bond effort. Integrators can also help districts with grants such as a federal Department of Education hardware grant or a Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) grant. Helping districts write grant applications builds goodwill even if the grant request is unsuccessful. An understanding of the mechanical hardware (as well as the electronics) is foundational to success, says Youngkin. “You have to understand a door opening’s solution in its entirety. In schools, that typically includes a fair amount of mechanical hardware based on how the building is being used as well as Fire Life Safety Codes that dictate the type of hardware you use on certain openings.” New technologies expand integrator’s role Historically speaking, the primary/secondary school security market often has been driven by low bids with very basic security technology requirements, says Sean McGrath, vice president of marketing and business development, ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions. As heightened security needs have taken center stage within school systems, the emergence and benefits of security technology innovation such as wireless and power over Ethernet intelligent access control locks, IP video and emergency communication systems are expanding the integrator’s role, which is becoming increasingly more important in creating secure environments. Integrators servicing the primary/secondary education market should be proactively involved with the local committees responsible for defining a school system’s security objectives during the pre-construction phase, says McGrath. In those cases where a school system does not have the budgetary flexibility to hire a professional security consultant to act on their behalf, they will openly embrace the education that many security integrators can provide. The end user community will benefit greatly from integrators taking a consultative approach – not a sales approach – in assisting them to find a balance between the school system’s budgetary framework and its security objectives. It is also important for the end user community to understand the value of a long-term preventative service plan for critical security technology implementation and to budget accordingly post-construction, says McGrath. Look to solve problems, not design systems School security consultant Paul Timm, president of RETA Security, says schools are getting away from relying on integrators to design systems. More often, integrators are asked to solve problems rather than design systems. He says integrators should be solution-oriented and part of a collaborative team that includes the architect, door hardware people and outside consultants. “Administrators are looking for someone they can trust,” he says. Many primary/secondary education districts lack an experienced security director on premises. In those cases, administrators typically seek out a local security integrator to provide guidance in developing a programme Integrators can also help to identify funding sources, says Timm. “If integrators were aware of grant programmes, that would help schools. Any resources you can bring as an integrator can help.” Knowledge of government or foundation grants, money available from manufacturers such as US Cellular, and other funding sources can be helpful to school systems. “Most schools have no idea of what’s available unless it’s a big statewide programme,” he says. Many primary/secondary education districts lack an experienced security director on premises. In those cases, administrators typically seek out a local security integrator to provide guidance in developing a programme, says John Mosebar, vice president, marketing, Aiphone Corp., manufacturer of audio and video intercoms. This is an opportunity for security professionals to maximise their value by providing the equipment and services each campus needs. The integrator can also help with training on equipment as well as assist in setting policies and procedures for the security function, he says. Take a consultative, solution-based approach Security integrators must address the primary/secondary education market with a consultative, solutions-based approach, says Bruce Montgomery, Business Development Manager, Honeywell. A pitfall can be assuming that all schools face the same challenges and that one previously successful system can be duplicated in its entirety for another school. “Previous incidents and installations should be studied and referenced to provide proven solutions for managing crisis situations, but it is crucial to couple research and knowledge of previous installations with an open mind to seek out the unique security challenges of a particular school,” says Montgomery. “At Honeywell, our research has indicated that using one integrated family of products improves not only ease of installation but, more importantly for the school districts, a unified platform for improved user experience. “ Integrators must understand that the primary/secondary education market has a unique and urgent need for access control, and they have limited budgets, says Rob Mossman, CEO of Isonas. Superintendents have many constituents to satisfy, from parents to state governments. They have limited time windows for installation, and little room for error. IP cameras expanded quickly into primary/secondary education due to the simplicity and cost savings of IP architecture. An integrator must be savvy to provide solutions that build off existing hardware and software systems, rather than rip and replace. Small legacy systems often need to be taken over, and new doors need to be added. Pure IP access control provides the unique flexibility, speed, cost savings and open architecture that work perfectly in primary/secondary education, says Mossman. Security integrators must address the primary/secondary education market with a consultative, solutions-based approach Youngkin of Allegion lists some other ways integrators can foster relationships with education clients: Apply to be listed on a state’s buying cooperative associations. Schools prefer working through these entities because it eases the procurement process and saves time. Attend school association events, networking, industry trade shows. Donate money to a bond campaign. Develop manufacturer partnerships and leverage the training they provide. Help develop a plan and budget that allow schools to consider all the scenarios they face or could potentially face, and put the right resources in place to ensure the best possible outcome. Youngkin also suggests several questions to ask education clients to direct the security conversation: Do you have an emergency/crisis management plan? Who manages the security system? How do you communicate to staff and teachers in the event of an emergency? How do you move through the building on a daily basis (including after school and on weekends)? Do you practice lockdowns? How does a lockdown work? Are there different levels (i.e., lockout versus lockdown)? How long does it take to lock down? How do you react based on different times of the day (i.e., recess)? What are your goals?
Schools are unlike commercial buildings or other facilities in several ways, and the differences impact how they should be secured. For one thing, the inhabitants are mainly children and won’t carry card credentials. Also, schools have distinct traffic flows and are open all hours of the day for after-school activities and evening and weekend usage. “Security solutions must take into account this flexible and fluid schedule,” says Minu Youngkin, vertical marketing manager, Allegion. Also, schools tend to have a longer selling cycle – typically an average of 18 months, Youngkin adds. The sales process is also more complex and involves multiple stakeholders. Other considerations include propped doors, multiple visitors, high staff turnover and competing budgets. Each school presents its own unique challenges The changing education environment is also among the unique challenges of the primary/secondary education marketplace. “I think the typical classroom setting is long gone,” says Andrew Schonzeit, CEO of Idesco, a security integrator. “Every school is unique and should be treated as such; you may have to alter your installation schedule to not interfere with the day-to-day flow of the school schedule.” For example, there are technical schools available in the 9-12 grade range, and many schools now offer co-teaching classrooms for children on the autism/Asperger’s spectrum. “Ultimately, you want to provide a solution that is driven by the needs of the client,” adds Schonzeit. Another important point is that the needs of all primary/secondary schools evolve very quickly and from one year to the other, their security requirements might change. As an integrator, it is essential to anticipate these changes and provide each school with a scalable solution that can be adapted at any time, says Schonzeit. Primary/secondary school security is different from other types of installs, agrees Rob Mossman, CEO of Isonas, an IP access control company. The motivations in primary/secondary schools are different and more urgent. The windows of time for installation are tighter. Buildings are often older and budgets are tighter. He says IP technology provides a solution for primary/secondary schools because the flexibility and cost savings fit these unique problems. Upgrading basic school security Reducing costs by improving system efficiency is not a new concept, but with growing interconnectivity of formerly disparate building systems, the opportunity to leverage connected upgrades may continue to gain ground Schools are beginning to rethink the basics, adds John Mosebar, vice president, marketing, Aiphone Corp., a manufacturer of audio and video intercoms. That trend will result in taller and stronger fencing to protect campuses, for example. More lighting will illuminate schools at night. And CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) principles will guide building design and landscaping to maximize security benefits. From advanced video management systems integrated with access control authorisation technology to intrusion sensors linked to email and text message notification, true end-to-end solutions can be tailored to meet the unique needs of each education installation, says Bruce Montgomery, business development manager, Honeywell. Native integration between access control, video and intrusion products and services streamlines the user experience, providing one unified platform at a cost-effective price point, he adds. The primary/secondary school market is also increasingly interested in security features combined with or complemented by automation features, says Montgomery. As schools revamp their systems to improve and integrate intrusion, access and video systems, there is an opportunity to present additional lifestyle enhancements, such as lighting and HVAC control, that improve ease-of-use while simultaneously reducing costs and easing environmental burden. Reducing costs by improving system efficiency is not a new concept, but with growing interconnectivity of formerly disparate building systems, the opportunity to leverage connected upgrades may continue to gain ground among this group of customers. ASSA ABLOY’s smart door opening solutions ASSA ABLOY provides all the components to create door opening solutions that meet the needs of any end user application – doors, frames, locks, hardware, gasketing, door controls, electronic access control devices and key systems. By bringing all these doorway components together, ASSA ABLOY is able to create solutions that address common security challenges. For schools, these challenges include the obvious like classroom and perimeter security, durability and reliability. Then there are the not-so-obvious factors, such as noise abatement, energy efficiency and sustainability, storm shelter requirements (depending on geography) and accessibility needs. ASSA ABLOY Group brands work together to create door opening solutions that address all these school-related issues. New locking and access control innovations are filling the technological void that occupied the realm of medium security doors, says ASSA ABLOY. Long trapped in a vacuum between high- and low-security openings, medium security is now filled with electronic locking solutions that secure doorways without draining budgets. The void was the result of a technology gap that left facilities with a difficult choice – protect the assets behind these doorways with simple mechanical locks or over-secure the openings with costly hardwired devices. There was no continuum of technologies to bridge the gap between high- and low-security openings. Electronic locks have now evolved to the point where it’s possible to examine every opening in a facility and customize the level of security needed for each door. The motivations in primary/secondary schools are different and more urgent. The windows of time forinstallation are tighter. Buildingsare often older and budgetsare tighter Wireless access control locks Today’s wireless access control locks are making it possible to implement online access control on any facility doorway, even if it’s in a remote part of the school. This will give administrators better control over all facility doorways without having to run expensive wiring and making other infrastructure improvements. Impact of sustainability Sustainability is another big issue that impacts security of schools. Buildings that want to improve energy efficiency can now choose an access control solution that consumes up to 97 percent less power than previous generations of technology, says Sean McGrath, vice president of marketing and business development, ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions. Product transparency is another hot sustainability-related topic. May new construction projects will only consider products that have Health Product or Environmental Product Declarations that list material ingredients and their potential health impact.
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