Testing Today's Technology

New Security Equipment Has Changed Traditional Testing Requirements


Prior to purchasing a smart sensor, device or intelligent camera, its effective operation should be verified in an environment that is identical or nearly so to the target environment and its range of environmental conditions. If the device cannot be observed in field operation in a similar environment, then a pilot test should be deployed to verify that the technology will work as needed.

Recently, a systems integrator accumulated $1 million in liquidated damages on a $3 million critical infrastructure project because one aspect of the technology did not work as expected. This should have been discovered in an early proof of concept or pilot test before the product was specified, or before the final contract was signed.

Testing requirements for intelligent end-point devices include:

• Verifying that each device is the correct type and model, and is correctly configured;

• Testing each device for all conditions or objects it is intended to detect, in as full a range of operating conditions as can be accomplished (seasonal testing may be required during the first year to verify correct operations under all environmental conditions);

• For configurable devices, verifying that the configuration is recorded or backed up and can be restored (either manually or via a system function);

• Verifying that intended device smart operation is restored automatically after power or network connectivity failures;

• Verifying correct system response when multiple intelligent devices report alarm or alert conditions; and

• Operational testing is performed for a period of 30 days or more to monitor for nuisance or false alarms, in addition to testing of system or device adjustments – to allow for fine tuning of alarm and alert priority settings and to ensure that intelligent device features are configured and performing as intended.

Rules-Based Systems and Dynamic Integration

From an alarm and event monitoring perspective, traditional security systems integration generally ties an alarm or event occurrence in one system to a specific response by another system. This could be referred to as fixed integration, because it remains the same until the systems integrator or other authorized technician makes a change to the integration scheme.

In such integrations, alarm and event information generally travels automatically in one direction, from one system to another. For example, an access control system alarm from a particular door can trigger the display of a specific camera's video on an overhead display monitor. This traditional level of integration can automate some steps that a security officer would perform to determine if an actual security incident is occurring. It can save precious seconds, and in this example, could mean the difference between observing a security violation as it happens, and having to search recorded video to determine what has happened, while further security violations continue to occur and the monitoring security officer plays “catch-up.”

The Surveillint system from Proximex ( www.proximex.com ) goes beyond traditional fixed integration to provide situational awareness in two ways: by combining information from multiple systems and sensors (called data fusion) to identify situations that are occurring or are about to occur; and by assembling information from multiple sources (such as ID badge photos from recent access into an area, and images from nearby cameras) to facilitate response. Situations are identified and information is presented based on one or more rules defining how to interpret multiple sensor data, and what information to gather and present under certain conditions.

The Situator system from Orsus Solutions ( www.orsus.com ) uses its Incident Logic Workflow and Rules Engine to integrate end-point device, GIS and other real-time data with pre-defined response plans and rules so that it can drive the entire situation management process. For example, in response to a fence sensor alarm, it can identify the three closest patrolling officers and send a map of the perimeter alarm area to their PDAs, along with the following instructions:

• Go to Perimeter Zone 5

• Scan scene

• BREACH?

If the first officer to arrive at the perimeter presses the “yes” button on the PDA screen to indicate a breach in progress, the system automatically activates the perimeter breach procedure and updates the task lists on the patrolling officers PDAs. As officers answer further questions such as