As part of its feature story in the April issue on “Planning a Major Security Systems Retrofit” (April 2009, page 22), Security Technology Executive recently caught up with a few integrators and vendors to delve deeper into the retrofit issue.
The participants were:
- Brandon Arcement, manager of Global Security Technology for Johnson Controls
- Jim Hunter, senior director of national accounts for Siemens Building Technologies Inc.’s Security Solutions Business Unit
- Tom Mechler, product marketing manager for Bosch Security Systems’ Intrusion business unit, which produces control panel, central station and sensor technology
- Dan Moceri, chairman and chief executive officer for Convergint Technologies, a North American systems integrator
- and, Jennifer Toscano, marketing manager for Schlage electronic security solutions at Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies.
Here is a recap of the roundtable discussion:
STE: What is the most important fact to consider when implementing a major retrofit — cost, migration, ROI, ease of installation, level of customization or new technologies?
Moceri: While all of these are important, ultimately the solution needs to meet the customer’s goals and expectations. Depending on the reason for the retrofit, it may be to reduce operating costs for one customer; while another may be more concerned about increasing security to lower potential liabilities. A third may be installing new technology to help them meet compliance requirements. In each case, delivering what is most important to the customer is what counts.
Hunter: When planning a retrofit, it’s important to ask what is the purpose and reason. Your strategy will be driven based on the answer to that question. For example, if you have multiple sites spread across the country, is the purpose of the retrofit to bring each facility to the new security standards? Once your purpose is clear, consider who will be your partner externally. You need a partner who has experience with retrofits, who understands your market or industry, and who knows your goals and objectives.
Arcement: First and foremost, select a consultant or technology contractor with whom you are comfortable and who understands your needs. A credible technology contractor will take the time to evaluate your business and analyze your needs to provide the best security solution. Thorough planning is a vital part of the process. A custom, scalable plan will consider everything from technology integration to ROI. For example, Johnson Controls offers a planning process that we call Security Solutions Navigator. During the structured, interactive session, we work with a company’s representative stakeholders to help quickly assess a company’s priorities and perceptions. These stakeholders include building occupants and others who may not have direct responsibility for security. The navigation sessions provide the security staff and management teams with consensus data that is then used to update the security plan.
Toscano: Don’t forget, when planning the move from the mechanical world to electronic, networked or wireless locking systems, the transition does not have to take place overnight and it does not need to include every opening. Adding electronic solutions to access points as time and budgets allow is a sensible migration plan for any organization, no matter how large or small.
How can you best realize cost savings during a retrofit project and how would you determine the TCO and ROI of the project?
Arcement: When considering a security retrofit, it’s important to quantify the return on investment in four areas: reduction in operating costs, mitigation of risk, improved compliance management within your organization, and in some cases, business revenue that will be generated. Each retrofit project is unique, yet there are some surefire ways to best realize cost savings. One is to design around an open architecture and integration framework so that the systems are flexible for integration as new technologies become available.
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