Trickle Down Effect

   Loss of vital company data…not having a proper backup system…unexpected server and software application failures. No business looks forward to dealing with problems with data storage, but it happens sooner or later to everyone.

   For the central station and monitoring center, keeping systems up and running and as efficient as possible is critical. With large-scale data centers, the processes and technologies used to manage information, data and overall space must continue to improve to keep pace with storage demands. For central stations, consistent operation and the ability to get signals, alerts and supervisory alarms in all kinds of conditions relies heavily on processing power and storage requirements, software functions and capabilities and integration with different alarm protocols. Central stations have become mini data centers and have seen many technological advances, from alert messaging and remote monitoring on handheld devices to video verification and other new technologies that speed information from alarm to user.

 

Remote control

   Remote monitoring and credential verification continues to emerge strong as end-users look for ways to bridge accountability data with tracking and entrance/egress functions of access control. These robust and rugged devices run on software and coupled with encryption and credential verification programs integrate with access control to help eliminate false identification and unauthorized access.

   “In the event of an emergency, such as a fire at a port, emergency responders need to be validated,” said Todd Freyman, vice president and general manager of Physical Access Products, CoreStreet, Cambridge, Mass. “The central station or central command could view these responders being scanned while the information is being relayed back from a head-end system. Integrating with access control, the software system gets the privileges that have been enrolled into the system. It also gets privileged information on card holders from agencies like the TSA and FEMA.”

   An obvious goal of the central station is to ensure assistance to the safety of their clients and customers.

   “Co-location equipment centers whereby the central station need not worry about maintenance and repairs by having to house its electronics has come about from lower cost bandwidth,” said Jim McMullen, president, C.O.P.S. Monitoring, Williamstown, N.J.

   In addition, McMullen said he sees the tie in between IT and security becoming stronger. For central stations and data centers, the involvement of IT may be necessary, whether implementing IT skills in the everyday applications of data management or hiring IT professionals to be a part of the team.

   “I see our IT department growing as everything we use in our day-to-day lives has a connection to the IT department via IP networks,” said McMullen. “Over the past few years, our IT department has doubled in size and we see it continuing to grow in the future.”

   With remote monitoring capabilities that central stations are able to provide, doing so would be virtually impossible without automation software, according to Lee Evans, senior systems administrator, EMERgency24, a Chicago-based nationwide contract central station.

   “Central stations are now able to provide a level of service that would be virtually impossible without automation software,” Evans said. ”One of the primary benefits of the alarm industry becoming more advanced is that technology will continue to play a role in increasing the level of service provided by central stations while decreasing some of its legacy costs.”

   The most recent innovation in data centers is virtualization, continued Evans. “Let’s say you have five under-utilized servers performing various roles for your organization. Virtualization lets you consolidate those five servers into a single server and still maintain the individual server roles. Virtualization is doing more with less.”

 

SIDEBAR1

 

Gartner on the Market

   IT research guru firm Gartner Inc. highlighted top 10 technologies and trends that will be strategic for most organizations in 2009. Those include:

   Virtualization–For server, storage and client devices it eliminates duplicate copies of data on the real storage devices while maintaining the illusion to the accessing systems that the files are as originally stored decreasing the cost of storage devices.

   Cloud Computing–Cloud computing is a style of computing that characterizes a model in which providers deliver a variety of IT-enabled capabilities to consumers.

   Servers–Beyond Blades–Servers are evolving beyond the blade server stage that exists today. This evolution will simplify the provisioning of capacity to meet growing needs

   Web-Oriented Architectures–The Internet continues as arguably the best example of an agile, interoperable and scalable service-oriented environment in existence.

   Enterprise Mashups–Enterprises are now investigating taking mashups from cool Web hobby to enterprise-class systems to augment their models for delivering and managing applications.

   Specialized Systems–Appliances have been used to accomplish IT purposes, but only with a few classes of function have appliances prevailed. Heterogeneous systems are an emerging trend in high-performance computing.

   Social Software and Social Networking–Social software includes a broad range of technologies, such as social networking, social collaboration, social media and social validation.

   Unified Communications–During the next five years, the number of different communications vendors with which a typical organization works with will be reduced by at least 50 percent. This change is driven by increases in the capability of application servers and the general shift of communications applications to common off-the-shelf server and operating systems.

   Business Intelligence–BI can have a direct positive impact on a company’s business performance, dramatically improving its ability to accomplish its mission by making smarter decisions at every level of the business from corporate strategy to operational processes.

   Green IT–Shifting to more efficient products and approaches can allow for more equipment to fit within an energy footprint, or to fit into a previously filled center.

Source: Gartner, Stamford, Conn.

 

SIDEBAR2

 

Integrated Accounting Solutions

Automation software can provide some killer solutions for dealers, according to Cliff Dice, chief executive officer and owner of Dice Corp., Bay City, Mich. “Unfortunately, a lot of dealers are still operating on paper or entering data multiple times. As a result they may not be billing efficiently. In this economy, we especially have to help the dealers succeed,” he said.

 

Doyle Security Systems, Rochester, N.Y., recently installed for one of its clients, accounting software that integrates directly into its central station operations. Developed by Dice Corp., “this provides the dealer with an integrated accounting and management system to run and grow their business and have it tied to the contract central station so data entry is not an issue,” Dice said.

 

“Providing management systems to our dealers helps them to be more efficient and successful,” said Randy Harradine, MIS director, Doyle Security. Systems that are automated can send an e-mail of a low battery or need for maintenance as well as many other functions and alerts.

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