Images used to illustrate system integration can be misleading. The depiction of an executive staring glassy-eyed out into space, envisioning intergalactic enterprise size systems riding on a virtual infrastructure is not happening yet. System integration is prevalent in security. It’s happening at all levels of system sophistication, just not to the intergalactic extreme.
The best integrated system platforms are truly scalable. They need to be applicable to any size install. For instance, system integration in regard to access control may involve multiple doors and multiple sites but the systems are also efficient and feasible for even a single door. The demand for access control is greater than ever and an integrated system provides a converged solution that offers multiple functions to the end user.
Although the project described here involves only a single site and two doors, we were able to roll out a cutting edge solution. It provided an incredible value to the client in terms of physical security and life safety.
Controlling entry and egress has long been considered great for security but usually sacrificed safety. It also required additional expense, and therefore was only applied to higher end, higher risk applications. Controlling entry and egress provides multiple benefits.
Seeking Approval from All Parties Involved
The system used in this office setting improved the safety and security of its occupants immensely, especially after requesting that the fire marshal approve our plans and the building inspector approve our proposed modifications to the two doors we were working on. The two doors were essentially the premises’ primary emergency exits. Although the Fire Marshal approved our plans, he did not approve of the premises. His visit resulted in not only the installation of failsafe door controls but also a series of fire education seminars on-site and the development of an emergency evacuation plan.
The next step was to win over the users. The employees started to realize that the new system was not the boss trying to snoop on them but instead improved the security and safety of their work environment. Eventually their apathy gave way to a supportive attitude.
One sticky new feature was the Time & Attendance logging we made possible. Logging user activity enables employers to calculate time worked—pretty much everybody knows that. However, beyond calculating wages, knowing who is in the premises is useful to determine behavior patterns and also to develop muster reports in the event of an emergency. A muster report is basically a list of who is in a building at a particular point in time. It is of great value to emergency responders to know beforehand, especially because they put their own lives at risk to save others in a burning building.