Simplifying operation of integrated systems

Integration software can combine myriad surveillance, security and building system operations into one unified event management platform. The software creates an all-encompassing level of command-and-control functionality that serves as a dashboard to enable operators both to see the details of system operation quickly and to interact with various systems in real-time.

It’s a simple concept that has not been easy to achieve. Many systems today still operate separate and independent platforms, with the operator required to look back and forth among several screens or windows, which can be especially complex for systems involving multiple sites. Manufacturers have launched initiatives including open architecture, Internet protocol connectivity and software standards to empower integration software. For example, the Unicode format combines character sets from languages throughout the world, allowing software to be transported across multiple platforms and languages without re-engineering. Using XML-formatted text exchange of data, activated manually or automatically, components in various systems can share information easily, reducing costs and boosting efficiency. Integration software platforms use these elements to interface and communicate with component systems while providing the user a single, intuitive graphical interface using synoptic maps and icons.

Integration software like RISCO’s SynopSYS is designed for easy project implementation by system integrators and can be used in commercial and public buildings, complexes, campus environments and distributed organizations. The software can control multiple systems including security, access control, video surveillance systems, fire and safety systems in addition to building control systems such as HVAC and elevators. The Universal Plug & Play (UPnP) communication protocol is an XML-based standard that enables any UPnP device to be immediately integrated into the system. Open architecture also allows other devices to be integrated easily.

The system provides flexible system design for customized project implementation to combine discrete systems into a single event management platform. Device state logic and behavior allows the Integrator to control all aspects of the graphical map layout. Color, button sizes and map appearance can all be easily modified allowing full flexibility in tailoring a solution for requirements that may arise during product specification.

Integrators can use the SynopSYS Studio Module to design and build a project with a simple “drag-and-drop” toolbox. Any device can be dragged and dropped onto any map. The Server Module is a background service that handles communication among the hardware devices, the software modules and the database. A graphical system overview tree displays a representation of all field hardware, whether fire panels, intrusion detection devices, CCTV cameras, intercom systems or any other security or building management devices. The site administrator uses an Authorization Manager Module to define user roles and authority to perform actions, view maps or specific devices, add and modify user groups, add new users, etc. Video monitoring, recording and analysis are combined with event management among multiple systems such as intrusion, access control and fire alarms, providing not only real time visual verification, but the ability to log system events along with a video record of the events.

There are numerous advantages of broad-based integration of multiple systems. Something as simple as designating lights, power or HVAC systems to operate only when someone is in the building can lead to real cost savings and contribute to corporate “green” initiatives. Coordinating elevators with access control systems can improve security by limiting visitor access only to authorized floors. Pulling all the security-based information together so that personnel can operate more efficiently boosts their productivity and overall security. Integration software brings the elements together, using open architecture and industry standards, to turn what appears to be a complex system into something that is as simple to use as clicking on an icon.

Bob Barry is the vice president of Integration Sales for RISCO Group USA.