How to speak IT

Communication between IT personnel and physical security integrators is paramount

Keith Deming is the director of IT at 3VR Security Inc. 3VR is s global leader in Intelligent Surveillance and Search, working together with physical security integrators to offer a faster, more reliable and less expensive way to fight crime, ensure people's safety and improve business efficiency. Learn more at



Integrators Speak Out
Getting in touch with the right school contact makes it work
By Natalia Kosk

This month we went straight to the integrators to ask them the following questions:

Q: How should an integrator approach an installation for a school environment? Who is an integrator's primary contact and what is the relationship between the integrator and that source?

A: "There's not one stakeholder but instead multiple influencers; there's only a few decision makers within an institution. If you only target a specific segment within an institution, you're making a huge mistake. An IT professional might be the technical advisor but they are not going to be the sole decision maker. At the higher level you've got public safety, campus administration, various deans and a whole bunch of other sources you need to bring into it if you're trying to do campus-wide solutions at a higher education level. It's not quite as extensive at the K-12 level but still at the school district level, you better be able to speak their language and be able to communicate with the stakeholders. The school resource officer is the school public safety official and depending on the size the school will determine how school resource officers they need to have." - Tom Giannini, director of Security and Emergency Communications Marketing, SimplexGrinnell, Boca Raton, Fla.

A: "I see a number of different formats out there. Typically I see fire alarm in buildings and grounds of the maintenance department. It's kind of a service-oriented life safety device so it's kept over in that department. Security and cameras and access control, since they're becoming more network based, is migrating over to the IT department. But I've seen building and grounds handle it all and I've also seen IT handle it all and I've seen a combination of both so I don't see a cut and dry way of how that is handled. There are a lot of school districts-the larger ones of which are starting to realize that they have to have a security director and a security department. A lot of them are incorporating security forces where they respond to their own alarms and monitor their own video surveillance systems. Typically that is the extent of it. Fire alarms get over into UL and AHJ code requirements and most districts find that that they have a hard time meeting those requirements and most school districts find they have a difficult time meeting those standards so they typically outsource that maintenance and inspection." - Marty Graves, president of SAS Security Alarm Service, Plano, Texas.

A: "As an integrator, you can't just walk into a school and expect everything to be glorifed for you. You have to understand the school and their strengths and weaknesses also. From my position within ADT, I go in and talk to these stakeholders before any type of solution is even being recommended and offered to them and making sure that they understand what these resources can do for them and how we can protect their students and their faculty and staff. We have a number of schools that we constantly work with on a daily basis and we listen to their concerns and best practices. And when we go out to a new customer, we approach them from that perspective. We don't approach them as a salesman. We're more of a consultant for them." - Patrick Fiel, public safety advisor, ADT Security Services, Boca Raton, Fla.