Leaders In Access Control

An Exlusive Security Dealer Roundtable

Mark Peterson, Director of iTechnology Design Resource Group, HID Global: Technology-based systems and components are tools to be utilized as part of a comprehensive security program. Trends towards open standards and IP convergence are expanding system capabilities beyond the traditional security department as security system components and data are being used for many non-security business applications.

Today's effective system design requires integrators to possess a more thorough understanding of their customer's organizational environment, applicable policies and procedures, and what security and/or business problems they face. Only after integrators have a sufficient understanding of the customer's business can they effectively consider and deploy the proper system features and functionality that maximizes the effectiveness of the technology solution beyond the security department. The extent to which integrators can distribute the benefits of their technology solutions across their customer's organization will play a key role in the future success of today's integrator.

A good example of this trend is the emergence of smart cards for use in physical access control. If physical access control is the sole consideration, the integrator may deploy a smart card solution that limits the potential benefits to other parts of the customer's business. However, if the integrator has interfaced with other departments within their customer's business, he may find that smart cards solve problems or increase efficiencies in other aspects of the customer's business (cashless vending, copy/print control, logical access, electronic purse, production control, biometrics, etc.). By identifying potential solutions beyond access control, the integrator can choose the proper smart card solution and extend the value of his services beyond the security department. By extending the value of products and services beyond security, the integrator increases customer loyalty and can differentiate himself from competitors.

Brady: Integration is another important aspect of system design. In general terms, discuss the emergence of the technology trend that is integrating video management systems with access control systems. What functionality is now being made possible?

Van Till : The core technology for video and access control integration is, of course, the IP protocol stack. But there's more to it than that. Not all IP video products are created equal; many don't even use the better part of what IP has to give—the Web! We've observed that many of the so-called “network ready” or “IP capable” video products being sold today don't even allow access to their video repositories with a Web browser. Instead, they still require users to download a client onto their PC, and view the video through that proprietary client. This architecture essentially makes true integration with other Web-based services impossible, at best giving users what those in the software field have for years mockingly called “Alt-Tab” integration. Such “integration” means two applications reside side-by-side on the same PC, but aren't connected and don't share data in any meaningful way.

We've pursued a very different development and integration strategy. All the video vendors we've been working with for the past year provide true Web-accessible APIs, applets, and controls that allow us to create rich user experiences where data collected in the access control domain can be used to access, view, and share data in the video domain. That's true integration of access control and video and it provides superior functionality and customer benefits.

Nargolwala: The days of talking about access control, video surveillance, and intrusion detection in silos are gone. More and more, customer requirements cannot be met with one type of solution alone; rather, they need a holistic approach that brings together the different pieces that help to address the customer's needs. In the case of video solutions, the trend towards network video recording solutions has helped make the integration easier from a management standpoint. Network video solutions tend to use off-the-shelf components such as IP cameras or DVRs and leverage the existing IT infrastructure that the customer may have, which potentially could result in significant savings for the customer.