Integrated Systems

Securing the smart grid, mass notification preparedness with a healthcare focus and deploying a hybrid approach

Today, security implications of the smart grid touch various areas including residential spaces, data centers and utilities. In the future, information from these growing areas yield promise for cities and local municipalities as well as state and federal government authorities. Incident and security reports could be shared among all interested parties to identify trends, common threats and possible proactive actions to mitigate risk.

The Smart Grid market represents an opportunity for growth for security professionals across the nation. It is imperative that we respond to the needs of this customer segment with unique and complete solutions to help protect one of our nation's most critical assets.

Steven Turney is security program manager for Buildings Business at Schneider Electric.






Mass Notification Preparedness Must Include a Healthcare Focus

By Joe Wilson

In 2011, hospitals increasingly will look for integrated communication solutions to improve their overall preparedness and response times.

Hospitals use integrated communications technologies to improve efficiencies, speed the transmission of information and better prepare for crises. Urgent notification tools allow administrators to coordinate response to emergencies such as natural disasters, system failures, workplace violence and mass casualties in seconds. Integrated communications can alert through a combination of radio, e-mail, text message, voice automated alert or voicemail.

Ingham Regional Medical Center in Lansing, Mich., deployed integrated communications technologies. Communication tools allow managers to broadcast open shift notifications to all off-duty employees with the click of a button. These same personnel can be called into the hospital to respond to the need for specialized skills or heavy resource demand. The same system can be used to automatically push voice and text messages through the hospital Public Address (PA) system, as well as to doctors, nurses or others via pager, cell phone and e-mail.

Life safety codes are augmented by notification tools that alert those inside and outside of the facility regarding status of the fire detection systems. Security personnel are automatically alerted to floor situations through the integration of panic and duress buttons ensuring faster response.

When looking for an integrated solution, it's important to find one that offers redundant servers to ensure that technology is fail-safe and will not have interrupted services, especially during a power outage. Solutions should offer the flexibility to work for both non-emergency purposes and everyday business operations, which often help justify the overall investment.

In 2011, we expect to see more emergency preparedness in hospitals and other industries.

Joe Wilson is vice president and general manager for Industrial Systems, a division of Federal Signal's Safety and Security Group.






Deploying a 'Hybrid' Approach in Security

By Steve Kuntz

The rapid movement to IP in the physical security industry has introduced a world of opportunity for not only improving and consolidating security networks, but also enabling companies to freely expand their security infrastructure for years to come. These changes are happening quickly, making it exceedingly important for integrators to evolve their customers' security networks in a way that makes sense, both in terms of how surveillance data (video) is captured and how it is transmitted across the network. As a result, hybrid transmission systems have emerged as a smart option for helping companies implement truly customized IP security networks.

A hybrid transmission system utilizes multiple transmission mediums-such as fiber, wireless and copper-to transmit data across the network in the most efficient manner possible. Many extended security networks cover large areas, remote locations and varying physical terrain, with each posing a distinct transmission challenge that is often handled best by a particular medium. If a network needs to extend to surrounding buildings on a campus and no fiber backbone exists, wireless Ethernet links provide an ideal solution. If those buildings are located a significant distance from the head end and dark fiber lines are available, the signals can be brought in over the fiber line. In other words, the characteristics of the environment will dictate the best medium for transmitting the signal.