Going the Distance

Perimeter security & critical infastructure—a dynamic duo

Still, much of the distribution of the stimulus funding is in the process and according to HBE’s Jim Henry, the perspective of how the rest of that funding is going to be distributed should be clearer by the spring.

Integrators face the challenges

But it is not just up to the president to try and improve the country’s critical infrastructure. For security systems integrators, the road ahead can be either positive or negative, depending on each company’s outlook as to what is going on in the economy and how they prepare for that.

“I think the greatest challenge is going to be tracking that money, being in the right place at the right time and positioning yourself for that,” continued Henry. “The implementation quite honestly is less of a challenge than navigating through the complexities of the procurement process and being proactive to win those contracts.”

Many changes we are experiencing in the security industry today—the continued convergence between IT and IP; the increasing developments in compression technology in video surveillance and video analytics; and even the continuously increasing presence of security of data across wireless mesh networks in secured environments—will continue to challenge the job of the systems integrator and their task of providing integrated solutions.

“I think systems integrators have become more aware of the vast amount of technology that they’re able to apply to a solution, more so than previously,” said Ed Troha, managing director of Global Marketing, Object Video. “Systems integrators of years past would often times incorporate hardware and some software and lots of analog-type devices. Now, IT and software and IP play a much greater role and it requires them to become more IT-savvy to be able to remain competitive.”

With water and power being two very basic but essential necessities of critical infrastructure, some security providers see sabotage as a real threat, with people’s lives and health being at risk.

“A primary concern to utility sites is physical attack on their facilities that would inflict damage to vital infrastructure and potentially after the power and water delivery or public and environmental health and safety,” explained Maira Zanrosso, director of Marketing, Southwest Microwave, Tempe, Ariz. “For water utilities, these acts can threaten raw water supply water treatment plants and storage or distribution facilities.”

Yet for the systems integrator, there is still a lot of trial and error as challenges in critical infrastructure environments become demanding the more extreme an environment or situation can be.

“Unlike traditional, commercial industrial protection strategies, you’re dealing with pushing a perimeter that goes far outside of the physical building itself,” explained Bob Ryan, ASG Security. “There’s a lot of open area, a lot of spaces, there are very indefinite physical security boundaries and that is where protection gets very difficult.”

What’s new with perimeter

The perimeter security market is growing, according to DHS, and that growth offers many opportunities for niche security vendors and integrators. According to market research firm Frost & Sullivan, the main boost in airport security will come from networking. A greater number of airports are switching to digital networks, making it necessary to network all security solutions to the main command and control and communications center.

It is clear that perimeter security is an essential part of certain areas of critical infrastructure and in moving with the speed of technology, solutions providers and integrators have to tune into what it is that there end-user is really asking for.

According to Andy Teich, president of FLIR Systems, Electron Multiplied Charged Coupled Device (EMCCD) low-light color technology, implemented on two of FLIR’s new cameras debuted at ASIS, is a new technology that the industry will be seeing more of in the security sector because of its capability. “Really, it’s the only technology in the world that provides color low-light imaging and it’s in an extreme low-light scenario.”