Many companies today are looking for an opportunity to generate revenue. Software systems wanting to stay current will need to provide tools that allow the user to save money or generate additional income. One way to generate revenue is to charge contractors daily, weekly, monthly or annual admittance fees for access to the community. After all, it is often these same contractors who are causing the most wear and tear on the roads and are the reason for the need for security in the first place. Communities that are not open to the public, such as most guarded, gated communities, are facing the dilemma of reduced association fee payments due to foreclosures and deteriorating infrastructures due to such issues as aging roads and more.
Van Page is the founder and president of CapSure Inc, creator of Visitor Management Software for residential communities, corporations and distribution channels; visit www.capsure.com.
Sensing Technologies in Smart Environments
By Nigel Elkan
Everywhere we look we are seeing "smart" buildings, "smart" cities or "smart" grids. But what does it really take to be defined as such?
Organizations have acquired a broad spectrum of sensing devices to collect information about what is happening in their physical world. These sensors and sensor subsystems include access control systems, intrusion detection systems, fire alarm systems, camera systems, door sensors, HVAC systems, panic systems, RFID and GPS tracking, and more. Today, each of these systems lives on, each within its own silo, relying upon the skill of the responder to somehow determine which of the alarms is real and which is false and then correlate the subset of available data to which he or she has access to attempt to determine or advise upon the most effective and appropriate response.
These systems need to work together. One approach may be to attempt to aggregate all of these data sources into a consolidated console. But that wouldn't be smart. Our problem is sensory overload. We have the data. We just don't know which is actionable and which is not. And even when we do recognize the actionable data it is exceedingly hard to gather the most critical information-across the combined systems-that would help ensure the most appropriate response.
So our first goal is to combine the information that is being acquired from the individual sensors into a real understanding of the situation. We need to work with the systems that we have today and the systems that will replace or complement these systems in the future. One future certainty is that the variety, ingenuity and sheer number of sensors that are available to connect to the network will continue its extraordinary growth. For example, RFIDs and GPS systems (including mobile phones and GPS tracking devices) have gone from the millions a few years ago to the billions today. Over the next decade, this will grow several orders of magnitude. Everything that currently has a network heartbeat will become a candidate for inclusion with an event-response based solution.
Sensing technologies enable us to monitor and respond to the condition, behavior and location and anomalies of key assets today. This will continue to evolve such that each of our people and physical assets can be recognized and supported whenever the need arises. We will be able to correlate and respond to any emerging situation and gain access to available corroborating data from correlated sensors to ensure the most appropriate and coordinated response.
Smart is event-based
Whether the issue is security and safety or environmental controls or logistics, these systems are sensing events and require an event-based middleware hub able to recognize and respond to these real-time events as they occur. The event-based middleware provides us with the opportunity to recognize and aggregate the event data from any of the underlying systems. However emerging situations are dynamic. Real-time event-based integration is inherently dynamic. Real-time correlation provides the ability to gain an immediate understanding of the whole situation and ensures that the response is appropriate to the action situation and not constrained by the initial assessment of the situation.
Nigel Elkan is the vice president of Business Development for Knowledge Vector International, LLC, headquartered near Research Triangle Park, N.C. Visit www.knowledgevector.com