Testing Today's Technology

New Security Equipment Has Changed Traditional Testing Requirements


• Number of Intruders?

• Firearms Visible?

and so on, the system can push information and instructions back out to nearby officers, instructs other officers to take specific backup positions, locks down nearby buildings, and takes other actions defined in the response plan. In this manner, real-time incident data coupled with individual officer instructions can be provided to multiple officers and the command center simultaneously – something that cannot be accomplished by radio-based response management. Additionally, silent operation can keep intruders from hearing instructions or identifying the locations of responding officers by sound – definite tactical and safety advantages. The occurrence of certain overriding conditions such as gunfire, a hazmat incident or a medical emergency or fire can be taken into account in response planning to provide alternate or additional response actions and instructions.

Rules-based systems use dynamic integration , which means that interactions between systems, devices and personnel are determined in real time, based on predefined rule sets and response plans. The testing of such systems requires a much more significant planning and execution effort than for systems using fixed integration. The Situator system facilitates testing through the use of alarm emulation and device failure emulation (see graphic), to provide a means of testing rules and response plans without having to initiate actual alarm conditions at one or more end-point devices.

Testing requirements for rules-based systems with dynamic integration include ensuring that:

• Each individual end-point device (or system alarm or alert condition) is properly evaluated by the rules that apply;

• Representative samplings of multiple alarm or alert conditions are properly evaluated by the rules that apply;

• The correct response rule or plan is activated as a result of specific triggers or conditions;

• Response plans can actually be executed by personnel as expected (time factors and the effects of physical facility features may call for adjustment of rules and response plans);

• Rules and priority assignments resolve or interpret multiple alarm situations in the ways intended; and

• Operators are alerted when alarms or conditions have no rules or response plans that apply (operator situation evaluation may be required).

With fixed integrations whose technology impacts security operations, changes to security operations must be made all at once when the system is commissioned. In contrast, rules-based systems allow the users to define rules and response plans on an ongoing basis to allow for phased changes to security operations and to account for new threats and response needs as they are identified over time. The deployment of rules-based systems can be optimized in consideration of training and testing requirements. In fact, training and testing can usually be combined for maximum efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Testing today's technology can require significantly more planning and execution work than previous generations of technology. A point to remember is that the greater the testing effort required, the greater the operational benefits are that the technology is providing.

Ray Bernard, PSP, CHS-III is the principal consultant for Ray Bernard Consulting Services (RBCS), a firm that provides security consulting services for public and private facilities. Bernard has also provided pivotal strategic and technical advice in the security and building automation industries for more than 18 years. He is founder and publisher of “The Security Minute” 60-second newsletter (www.TheSecurityMinute.com). For more information about Ray Bernard and RBCS go to www.go-rbcs.com or call 949-831-6788. This article is based on the upcoming book from Auerbach Publications titled Physical Security System Acceptance Testing, by Ray Bernard and Don Sturgis, scheduled for release in late 2007.