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VCRs - Expert commentary

SourceSecurity.com's top 10 expert panel roundtable discussions in 2016
SourceSecurity.com's top 10 expert panel roundtable discussions in 2016

SourceSecurity.com’s Expert Panel covered a lot of ground in 2016 about a variety of topics in our Roundtable discussions. The very most-clicked-on Roundtable discussion in 2016 was about how to choose between a cloud-based system and a server-based system. Other hot topics that made the Top-10 list of Roundtable discussions included edge-based video storage, the challenges of commoditisation, and mistakes customers make when buying and installing security systems. Here is a listing of the Top 10 Expert Panel Roundtable discussions posted in 2016 at SourceSecurity.com, along with a “sound bite” from each discussion, and links back to the full articles. Thanks to everyone who contributed to Expert Panel Roundtable in 2016, including the quotable panelists named below! 1. What factors should a customer consider when choosing between a cloud-based system and a server-based security system? "Invariably the choices will be driven by security processes in place within the corporate environment and by ensuring the remote system is as impenetrable as the corporate network. Both options potentially leave the corporate network vulnerable to a determined cyber attacker, so the systems and access points to the network need to be sufficiently hardened to deter or prevent attacks.” [John Davies] 2. What is the most unusual application of surveillance cameras you have seen recently? "The most unusual application I’ve seen is the use of 360-degree fisheye cameras mounted on mobile poles for security along a marathon route. The poles were mounted on mobile units that contained power and communications infrastructure. Multiple mobile units were driven and placed along the route so that the entire route was constantly under surveillance. " [Jumbi Edulbehram] 3. What is the biggest mistake you see your customers make when it comes to buying or installing security or surveillance systems? "Too many businesses fail to take full advantage of the breadth of services available for maximising tools like remote diagnostic services, for example, which allow customer service teams to regularly and proactively check equipment quality and make repairs remotely." [Joe Oliveri] A number of major security companies are offering cloud video surveillance solutions apart from the traditional server-based systems, but which is best for the customer? 4. How many megapixels are enough? At what point does additional resolution not matter, or not make economic sense? "The industry commonly holds that 20 pixels/foot is enough for general surveillance, 40 pixels/foot is the minimum for facial recognition and licence plate identification, and 80 pixels/foot is used for higher detail like reading logos, names embroidered on a shirt, etc. " [Jason Spielfogel] 5. What is the value of edge-based storage and in what specific applications? "Recording at the edge frees up network bandwidth and PC processing power, allowing users to view and manage video feeds and store applicable images for later use or transfer to the network when necessary. " [Dave Poulin] 6. How can security integrators replace revenue in the age of commoditisation? "The integrator community needs to learn to embrace what hundreds of other contractor businesses have. They need to improve their predictable cash flow and margin by offering contracted services. Call it what you like – RMR, managed services, monitoring – the description makes no difference. The integrator community simply needs to get off their butt and make it happen. " [Bill Bozeman] 7. How successful was ISC West 2016? Did it meet your expectations? "It was unanimous that 2016 ISC West was the best show we have participated in Arecont Vision history! Activity on the first two days was especially strong with Systems Integrators, Dealers, Distributors, End Users, and A&E/Consultants. These people all came to see our new product line and were especially interested to see the product performance improvements and ease of installation and setup." [Scott Schafer] More of us are depending on social media smart phone apps as a source of information, providing new levels of immediacy that dovetail well into security, specifically in areas of emergency notification 8. What are the physical security challenges of "safe cities" applications, and how is the market meeting those challenges? "One of the challenges is, of course, to make systems from different manufacturers work together. Interoperability is important not only from an operator’s point of view, but also in how cities and their internal divisions should respond to incidents reported by the security systems. " [Per Björkdahl] 9. How should integrators/installers differentiate themselves or make themselves stand out in today’s market? "In today's market, it's all about customer service. Almost every integrator has good product – and most of these products do a lot of the same things – but what sets integrators/installers apart is the level of value-added support they are providing to their accounts. Increased support through training, follow-up, open communication and keeping them informed on emerging technologies can really speak to the needs that end users have and why they will remain loyal.” [Mitchell Kane] 10. What role can social media play in the security marketplace and/or as a tool to promote better security in general? "Social media has weaved its way into our daily lives and is an integral part of our interaction with customers in the marketplace. Social media outlets bring the human element to interfacing with our communities and customers. This humanization allows us to address sensitive topics like the recent events in Orlando and how to take preventative measures in the future." [Melissa Stenger] See the full coverage of 2016/2017 Review and Forecast articles hereSave Save

Video analytics comes of age
Video analytics comes of age

   Are we about to see the first truebreakthrough for video analytics? Daniel Wan, Channel Marketing Leader UK at Honeywell Security Group, assesses the development of video analytics from a perceived premium add-on to a cost-effective and key component in video surveillance and several other security applications. Its proven benefits in perimeter protection, increasing the efficiency of manned guarding services and the ROI it delivers, particularly in preventive security, shows that video analytics is indeed a technology whose time has finally come.False dawns with mass acceptance of video analyticsSince the very first so-called "video analytics" systems were introduced, the technology has experienced a number of false dawns in terms of its acceptance as a reliable and cost-effective addition to traditional video surveillance tools.  Although predicted as a significant growth area in the security industry for many years, the wide adoption of analytics has not materialised for a number of reasons. Early manufacturers made impressive claims for their solutions, often over-promising on what systems were able to deliver and causing customer dissatisfaction in the process. These solutions were usually created by start-up companies and were focused only on delivering video analytics. As a consequence, they were incapable of being effectively integrated with other components or disciplines in real-world security applications. This also resulted in many early systems being installed on a trial-only basis, with customers often unwilling to pay a premium for the new technology.Benefit of video analytics in transport applicationsThe use of video analytics in the transport sector has evolved beyond fulfilling basic security needs to include advanced features such as traffic monitoring functions and detection of left-behind luggage within transport hubs.On a basic level, the ability of video analytics to identify the movement and speed of vehicles (and people), as opposed to other spurious objects, lends the technology to monitoring of perimeters and suspicious behaviour within defined areas. Clearly, there is a requirement for security alerts where there is a danger of cars or pedestrians entering hazardous or restricted zones, such as railway tracks.    Even a lone bag can become a significantsecurity threat if left unattended at an airport Unclaimed/ orphaned luggage poses a significant security threat in airports and railway stations and, as such, has become an area of increasing interest for transport operators and governments. Again, the Home Office's Imagery Library for Intelligent Detection Systems (i-LIDS) certification contains a specific scenario relating to detection and tracking of objects. Video analytics can alert transport operators to packages left within a scene, which otherwise may go undetected in the midst of multiple CCTV screens. Similarly, the software can highlight instances of theft, where objects have been removed from a scene. Growth of video analytics in the CCTV marketRecently, a number of factors have contributed to an increase in interest and demand, enabling video analytics to be reconsidered as a viable video surveillance option. The growing transition from analogue to networked CCTV surveillance has seen a wider acceptance of digital solutions, including analytics, leading to further benefits in terms of being able to monitor and manage systems from remote locations. More importantly, end users and security system integrators were historically unable to refer to a standard, or accreditation, for analytics systems in order to judge their effectiveness before purchase. This was the case until the introduction of the Home Office's i-LIDS certification.i-LIDS is the UK government's benchmark standard for video analytics technology and is awarded to security products judged to have met the stringent criteria specified by the Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB) in the development of video-based detection systems for government use.Manufacturers meeting the highest level of performance classification receive the i-LIDS accreditation, which is the first real independent measure of the quality and functionality of a video analytics system.Improving efficacy and efficiency of manned guarding services     The time has come to view videoanalytics as a way of improving theperformance of your security staff When the costs of manned guarding and operators are considered, it's tempting when assessing video analytics to assume that the number of security staff can be immediately reduced by introducing the technology. Perhaps it's more appropriate to view video analytics as a way to improve the efficiency of operators and security guards. It has been proven that CCTV operators begin to miss significant events after monitoring video footage for more than twenty to thirty minutes. This effect is multiplied by the large number of screens that operators are now required to monitor in a control room environment. Analytics can be used to assist in highlighting notable events, thereby allowing operators to do what they do best: deciding whether an incident is suspicious or not. Security functions can therefore handle more CCTV cameras more effectively with their existing staff. The job of monitoring is also made more stimulating, removing the need to constantly survey a wall of video screens for long periods.In replacing security guards with yet more cameras, the net effect is to create more footage and screens for the operators to monitor. Supporting the guards with analytics provides the ability to switch guards to mobile patrols based on analytics incidents, thus covering a larger area more effectively and responding to real incidents more quickly, rather than just following a routine guard tour. Above all, video analytics also enables security teams to highlight potential risk situations that are taking place and have patrols pre-empt and prevent incidents rather than just respond after an incident has occurred.Perimeter protection, video analytics' core competencyThere are numerous video analytics packages available in the market today, all offering a multitude of capabilities, and not always linked to security. However, the majority of installed systems have focused on one of video analytics' core competencies: perimeter protection. Above all, video analytics also enables security teams to highlight potential risk situations that are taking place and have patrols pre-empt and prevent incidents Perimeter protection systems can supplement fences, or replace external PIRs, seismic detectors, etc., allowing the user to identify specific areas where intruders will be identified. Potentially this includes virtual ‘fence' lines that will trigger an alarm when an intruder climbs over it (rather than when a guard patrols along it), tripwires that trigger when crossed in specific directions, and alert areas, such as nearby roads, which will trigger if a car-sized object dwells in them for too long. Combining these rules ensures that only suspicious behaviours trigger the security alarms and not spurious objects such as the local wildlife or weather related effects.Eliminating such false security alarms in a sterile zone is a primary test in the HOSDB's evaluation of video analytics systems. This specific scenario continues to be a much demanded i-LIDS accreditation as increasing numbers of end users and integrators realise the performance and cost benefits of video analytics in perimeter detection type applications.Return on investment on video analyticsAlthough attracted by the benefits of video analytics, security managers have always faced challenges in justifying the investment in what has been perceived as a premium technology. One method of providing a clear return on investment (ROI) is to look at the existing costs for a business, or its losses.Prevention is almost always cheaper than cure. Analytics' ability to highlight suspicious behaviour and let operators react to and prevent them from turning into incidents rather than just reviewing video to help catch suspects after the event, can provide quick returns in avoiding loss and damage.   Daniel WanChannel Marketing Leader UKHoneywell Security Group

Why surveillance applications need high resolution images
Why surveillance applications need high resolution images

  Resolution quality must be considered when assessing surveillance effectiveness Surveillance cameras are becoming more and more commonplace, especially in busy metropolitan locales. Police and detectives hope to reduce crime rates by keeping a watchful eye on civilians but CCTV has only been helpful in solving a small percentage of crimes. Mike Lewis, Country Manager UK for CCTV manufacturer MOBOTIX AG, highlights key considerations for improving the efficiency of existing surveillance systems.In May of 2008, Detective Chief Inspector Mike Neville, head of Scotland Yard's Visual Images, Identifications and Detections Office (Viido) became the UK's first senior police officer to challenge the misconception around CCTV's role in reducing crime. Speaking at Security Document World Conference in London, the Chief Inspector said: "Billions of pounds have been spent on kit, but no thought has gone into how the police are going to use the images and how they will be used in court. It's been an utter fiasco."  Neville also pointed out that only 3 per cent of London's street robberies had been solved using CCTV images. A low figure considering the capital is one of the most densely populated areas of CCTV coverage anywhere in the world. Identifying problems with existing CCTV surveillance systems Mike Lewis, UK Country Manager for CCTV manufacturer Mobotix AG believes that the problem stems from a fundamental issue of image quality. "For many organisations CCTV is treated as a ‘check-box' item with little thought given to how a CCTV installation can help the police solve crimes. Criminals are not stupid and a deterrent is simply not enough; the technology has to be able to gather evidence to help the police secure convictions." Lewis points out that the majority of CCTV installations in the UK still use old analogue technology with barely a fifth of the resolution found in a basic camera phone. "If a CCTV system, say covering a street outside a jewellers', captures a car pulling up and three men brandishing shotguns marching into the shop - unless you have the resolution to capture the license plate, or some distinguishing features of each masked robber, or audio capture to get a voice print - the system is pretty worthless." Mandating changes in surveillance video resolution requirements The industry also is "less than opaque"  when it comes to selling CCTV in his view. "Many vendors will play down high resolution as not necessary or too expensive to implement without actually explaining that it is exactly these high resolution images and audio capture that will help police make successful prosecution where a grainy image would simply be thrown out of court." "Billions of pounds have been spent on kit, but no thought has gone into how the police are going to use the images and how they will be used in court" Lewis points to the continent as an example of where UK CCTV market needs to learn from.  In France for example, under anti-terrorism laws pioneered after the 7/7 tube bombings in London, all government building and high risk areas are legally required to have CCTV of a high resolution and retain data for up to 30 days. In Germany, all banks are required to deploy high resolution CCTV to monitor customers, staff and financial transactions in every branch.  [It will be very useful to define what is classified as "high resolution" or the minimum resolutions that are acceptable in these countries] MOBOTIX, which only sells fully-digital high resolution CCTV camera systems believes that the potential of CCTV to reduce crime won't be fulfilled unless either the government, police or even third parties such as insurers, licensing boards or trade associations insist that end users deploy a better resolution capture, coverage and video storage and retrieval. "There will be another wave of CCTV installation heading up to the Olympics, so as a nation, we have a perfect opportunity to set a CCTV standard that meets the needs of police, local government and end users to help us reduce crime and secure more prosecution off the back of CCTV evidence,"comments Lewis. Lewis believes CCTV would be able to help solve more crimes if they had higher resolutions "The technology is not the barrier and newer CCTV systems with hemispheric (360 degree) fields of view will allow end users to actually deploy fewer security cameras while maintaining better resolution and wider coverage - the problem is still trying to persuade people that CCTV can catch criminals and not just scare them away." Optimising CCTV for solving and prevention of crime Lewis offers some constructive suggestions on how to improve CCTV's effectiveness as a crime prevention and evidence gathering tool. "There are an estimated 4 million CCTV cameras in the UK but where they all are, what they record and accessibility to these video archives is mostly unknown - having a register of CCTV for use by the police would help them to quickly gather post incident evidence." The idea of CCTV built into the environment was the theme of the 200 Secured by Design' (SBD) initiative that has been adopted by parts of the building industry to promote crime prevention measures like CCTV in development design. The initiative was endorsed by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), and has the backing of the Home Office Crime Reduction Unit. However, for police gathering information after an incident, there is no easy way to locate CCTV installations in any given area. The industry also is "less than transparent" when it comes to selling CCTV in his view Most CCTV systems installed in the UK use a centralised approach. Each surveillance camera is effectively dumb with the image processing, access to footage and storage taking place at a remote location. In smaller environments, this could be a DVR simply recording everything on a 24-hour loop. In larger campuses or city centres, this is often a dedicated control room monitored 24 hours a day. Instead Lewis argues that a decentralised approach that places more intelligence into the CCTV camera would allow greater accessibility by third parties such as the police and emergency services. "With a decentralised system, private companies could allow the police to quickly add their local cameras into a centrally managed grid." In this method, if an incident occurs, the police CCTV control centre could patch an instant video feed from the nearest available CCTV camera. With a decentralised approach, each CCTV camera becomes an access point on an IP network and can be shared by multiple agencies in a more cost effective approach. "This might sound a bit hi-tech, but it is technically possible," explains Lewis. To give an analogy, when the police receive a 999 call, the dispatcher is automatically informed of the location of the caller from the Caller Line Identification system which cross references a database of addresses of each of the 25 million public and private landlines installed in the UK. "A similar system where the police type in a post code and are presented with secure access to video feeds from all decentralised CCTV installations in an area would be a potentially society changing tool for fighting crime." High risk areas in France were legally required to have high resolution CCTV following London Tube bombings Considerations for realising CCTV's full security potential Lewis also believes: "All CCTV cameras should have a minimum mandated image quality with all information stored in a digital format for a minimum of 7 days that can be easily accessed by the police for evidence gathering." Many police forces around the country already have voluntary guidelines for business deploying CCTV and several have made CCTV installation a condition of alcohol or gaming licences. However this policy has successfully been challenged by landlords and upheld by Information Commissioner as potentially in conflict with the data protection act. Unfortunately, Lewis believes for any of these measures to work, there needs to be stronger backing from the government: "There is obviously a fear of creating an oppressive surveillance society but we have regulation for other areas like fire prevention, road safety, disabled access and a host of other health and safety issues - why CCTV, which has the potential to protect lives, is treated differently is a complete mystery to me."   Mike LewisUK ManagerMobotix  AG

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Malmö schools: A case study
Malmö schools: A case study

Vandalism and arson attacks at schools have been on the rise in the Swedish city of Malmö since 2001. In the five years between 2001-2006, school property damage cost the city more than 60 million Swedish Krona (SEK), the equivalent of nearly $6.5 million USD. In addition to parents not feeling safe about sending their children to school, academic performance also dropped, as many students found it difficult to concentrate with so much disruption.The municipality of Malmö realized that something had to be done to increase security at its schools. The cost in damages was intolerable and the children's safety was a key issue. With a new state-of-the-art security solution, including an advanced video analytics system from VideoIQ, Malmö was able to achieve significant cost savings while offering students and faculty a new level of proactive security protection. The challengeAside from arson attacks providing a constant source of worry, one of the biggest problems in Malmö was vandals breaking windows and panes of glass. On one occasion in particular, 600 panes of glass were smashed at a school which cost 1.2 million SEK. Some students contributed to the archaic atmosphere at the schools by regularly pulling fire alarms, causing everyone in the school to immediately evacuate while the fire department surveyed the scene, only to determine there wasn't a threat. With each incident, feelings of anxiety and concern grew while time spent learning in the classroom was diminished. With no security system or mechanism in place, the school had to find a way to protect the staff and students and identify the culprits. To meet that need, Malmö municipality contacted systems integrator TAC Säkerhet to discuss the purchase and installation of a state-of-the-art surveillance system. Mårcus Djerf, business area manager at TAC Säkerhet, said: "The city of Malmö believed that the amount of money being spent to repair property damage caused by arson and vandalism could be far better spent on things like new computers and technology for the students, or on field trips. They sought something that would help prevent crime while allowing them to save considerable money."The solutionWith no security system or mechanism in place, the school had to find a way to protect the staff and students and identify the culprits The right solution for the schools came in the form of video surveillance cameras mounted at strategic, highly trafficked places across five schools. It was critical, however, that the solution didn't just consist of "dumb" cameras that passively record events while acts of crime go undetected. Said Djerf: "While recording events could help provide forensic evidence after an incident had taken place, Malmo wanted to be proactive and address potential security issues before they happened. We looked for an intelligent analytics system that would serve as the ‘front line' for the schools since they did not have any security guards on-site."TAC recommended the use of VideoIQ's HD Intelligent Video Analytics Engine, which acts as a digital guard, providing instant alerts and security protection across nearly any environment or condition, including bad weather and at night. The technology is in use at hundreds of customer sites around the world and is recognized for its ability to transform passive video surveillance into a dynamic, real-time and proactive system for early warning and security protection.Djerf said: "The VideoIQ HD system continuously watches for security threats across all of the cameras at all of the schools. Just one HD can simultaneously analyze eight video streams from eight different cameras. When an intruder comes onto the property, the system instantly captures a video clip and sends it to our remote guards and security personnel at the Malmö City Alarm Center who can then contact the police, fire department or other emergency responders.""The combination of VideoIQ's next-generation analytics and remote guards is the ideal approach to minimize costs while maximizing security protection," said Scott Schnell, president and CEO of VideoIQ. "Our technology works accurately and reliably in any weather, is simple to install and has been in use for years at schools, chemical sites, water facilities, border crossings, and many other kinds of businesses that want to keep their most prized assets safe."The VideoIQ HD system continuously watches for security threats across all of the cameras at all of the schoolsTAC also chose the VideoIQ HD Analyzer for its self-learning capabilities which enable it to learn and get smarter with each incident detected. The analyzer watches and learns its environment, as well as patterns of motion, so that it can instantly distinguish between a person, automobile, cat, tree, or any other object. Additionally, the system responds to rules established by the user, enabling a high level of customization and specificity to minimize false alarms and increase accuracy."VideoIQ's self-learning technology is a huge asset because the system recognizes viable threats instantly and accurately, which reduces the number of false alarms generated. This enables security personnel to respond only when needed, saving the city of Malmö considerable time, energy and money," said Djerf.The self-learning capabilities were not the only user-friendly feature that the VideoIQ HD Analyzer offered.  VideoIQ is the only video analytics technology without required calibration and TAC found the system to be extremely easy and fast to install, without any lengthy testing or set-up time required.  Said Djerf: "VideoIQ's plug-and-play approach saved us considerable effort, while ensuring very reliable protection." Another reason TAC chose the VideoIQ HD Analyzer is because it can work with any type of stationary analog PTZ or other video camera - whether color, black and white, thermal or ones that use infrared illumination. The ability to support a heterogeneous camera environment was essential since the cameras used by the Malmö schools come from a variety of camera manufacturers and vendors.The right solution for the schools came in the form of video surveillance cameras mounted at strategic, highly trafficked places across five schoolsThe resultAfter just one year of having the security system in place, the municipality of Malmö reduced costs by an astounding 90 percent and the city saved 3 million SEK on a reduction in smashed panes and broken glass alone. Djerf said: "Malmö's expenses were improved within a very short space of time. They now have more money which can be used to make other needed improvements at the schools. The security system is seen as an investment and one that will help reduce crime for years to come."Additionally, the number of false alarms has been reduced dramatically and both school personnel and students feel safer. Several of the teachers have reported an improved school environment and that the children find it easier to concentrate on their studies. "TAC's goal is to offer our customers effective solutions that improve security while increasing profitability. VideoIQ's intelligent security products are an important part of this equation and we are proud to provide the city of Malmö with a reliable, effective and easy-to-manage security system," said Djerf.

Chiron’s IRIS alarms-over-IP employed in Danish education projects
Chiron’s IRIS alarms-over-IP employed in Danish education projects

  Chiron’s IRIS alarms-over-IP used in Danish education projects International building systems integrator TAC has utilised the operational benefits of Chiron Security Communications' IRIS alarms-over-IP monitoring solution to help protect a large educational institution in Denmark. As part of TAC's ongoing contract to install integrated access control and intruder alarm systems at a large number of on-site university buildings, Chiron's IRIS 840 IP dialler is being installed at each location.TAC's Project Manager - Technical support, Henrik Olsen, explains that his client required security coverage for up to 150 separate buildings within its large, distributed campus area, all of which will be linked to a common management system at a centralised control room. "We opted to use Chiron's IRIS system at every one of the locations because it's simple to install and engineer, as well as being reliable in operation in our experience," he says.So far, some 10 buildings have been completed in this ongoing project and the Chiron systems are transmitting alarm signal information via IP links to a third party alarm receiving centre, Rednings-Ringen, Lemvig A/S. Mr Olsen adds that the university employs some 5-10,000 staff and has around 30,000 students. Once fully installed, he adds, the IRIS system may be expanded to include visual verification of alarm alerts.Meanwhile, in another important move, TAC has also selected Chiron's latest IRIS Touch system for use with its powerful I/NET Seven integrated building control solution. Offering a comprehensive package for end users such as telecoms providers, manufacturing plants, military bases and government institutions, I/NET Seven's distributed architecture incorporates HVAC, digital video, lighting and access control. "We opted for IRIS Touch because it offers the most usable and user-friendly system available on the market and as such complements the I/NET Seven system perfectly," Mr Olsen comments."We opted to use Chiron's IRIS system because it's simple to install and engineer, as well as being reliable in operation in our experience"Chiron's Corporate Account Manager, Vikram Datar, adds that the advantages of IRIS and IRIS Touch alarm transmission and monitoring systems include faster alerting, cheaper line monitoring, a range of value-added services such as building management system monitoring, plus improved network resilience. IRIS Touch is a recent major update to the IRIS range that provides a variety of extra user-friendly features as well as a fresh new design and operating interface, which makes life much easier for end users and installers alike. It now boasts independent, Europe-wide VdS verification and accreditation - the benchmark standard most widely recognised across Europe."IRIS is now supported by around 100 monitoring centres across Europe and being used by businesses including Travelex, the largest retail foreign exchange specialist in the world, High St retailers such as Halfords, Toys ‘R' Us and Topps Tiles, leading financial institutions, as well as schools, petrol station operators, chemist chains and a variety of other companies," Mr Datar notes.Many alarm panel manufacturers are also now offering IRIS technology embedded within their panels, while an increasing number of insurers are backing the system too. IRIS offers the reassurance of secure primary and back-up communications routes between a monitored site and alarm receiving centre, while providing the ability to make tangible operating cost savings and significantly adding value to a company's existing IT network.

Day Automation integrates security with building controls
Day Automation integrates security with building controls

 Day Automation, a TAC partner integrates security with building controls Day Automation Systems, headquartered in Victor, N.Y., experienced an 85 percent increase in product sales in 2008 from the previous year. Day Automation is the volume-leading partner for TAC, the building management, energy services and security solutions business of Schneider Electric. Day Automation attributes its strong showing to its dedication to expanding from building controls into the security market. With four office locations, Day Automation represents TAC for heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) control, security and door access control, and digital video surveillance systems in Central and Eastern New York State.Day Automation, a TAC partner since 1978, began selling security the mid-90s, believing that it had the potential to be a major growth engine for its business. Success did not come easy or happen overnight; rather, it took a major commitment from management along with dedicated resources."We've recommended integrating security into building management systems for years, and I think the marketplace is becoming receptive to the advantages of this approach," said Eric Orban, president of Day Automation. "Integrated systems provide a tremendous amount of value, and our customers see the difference that Day Automation brings to the table. Our focus on quality is demonstrated by the fact that most of our business is generated by word of mouth from end-user customers to consulting engineers. As a result, we've been able to expand our security business through existing HVAC customers."In 2003, after observing other control integrators adding security to their portfolios and analyzing the security market, the Day Automation management team committed to making security a major part of its business and began to grow the offering. The company added resources to focus solely on security and to build out the expertise in-house by investing in the right people and putting a dedicated sales force in place.Day Automation, a TAC partner, attributes its strong showing to its dedication to expanding from building controls into the security market. "At that time, the marketplace saw us only as an HVAC systems integrator," observed Orban. "We anticipated that there would be a perception that we lacked security expertise and experience, so we made it our mission to attract and retain knowledgeable and dedicated people on staff. It's critical to be viewed in the marketplace as competent and capable - and this starts with building your knowledge base one person at time."This meant hiring a dedicated security sales professional from the industry as well as hiring students out of college and providing them with extensive on-the-job training and mentoring. Once the expertise and a sales force were in place, the next step for the partner was to carefully analyze the marketplace to determine the type of customers that would most benefit from its solutions. Then the Day Automation sales team began tapping into its existing customer base, which consisted mainly of HVAC customers."Our strategy today is that when we lead with BAS, we follow up introducing security. And when we lead with security, we introduce our BAS solutions," explained Orban. "We always make sure to bring all of our expertise to the table in order to maximize on the total opportunity."