What’s the Buzz for 2009?

Critical sectors carve out convergence

Building Bridges
Avocado Security, Fairfax, Va., feels it has come up with a solution—the software-as-a-service provider has developed an application program interface or API that represents the “true convergence of security and IT,” said Kevin Shahbazi, chief executive officer (CEO). “This is how you build the bridge.”
Shahbazi said the challenge in integration has been that there are “islands of information and no one product talks to another and this has become a huge bottleneck to convergence.” He believes the solution is in the software the company has developed that is in essence a process to automate all the functions of business intelligence a customer wants into meaningful data.
The Avocado platform is embedded with numerous APIs to communicate with all these proprietary and legacy video surveillance security products. The software is agnostic to the type of camera, DVR or other device, Shahbazi added. “Using existing cameras, we convert security images to graphs, charts and meaningful business intelligence metrics,” he said.

The Role of Wireless in Response
Wireless and mesh networks are clearly playing an important role in the development of early warning response services. Broadband wireless and its routing reliability has increased significantly, further propelling its use at the central station, according to Paul Gassett, director of Worldwide Marketing Communications, Azalea Networks, Milpitas, Calif.
“It is now possible to monitor with accuracy, reliability and consistency, places previously ‘out of bounds’ when it came to video surveillance due to challenges in running fiber to the camera as well as video quality,” Gassett said. Azalea Network’s solution includes patented video packet transmission technology and jitter-free video quality with minimum frame loss, another critical requirement for wireless video surveillance applications in the central station.

Trend Watch: Centralized Back Up
Central stations are moving to smaller localized Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) solutions for system redundancy. If the only UPS is a large central one, a failure will take down the entire security system. With the expansion of security systems to include applications such as access control, perimeter detection, cargo container X-ray and remote security we have seen the need for UPS products installed near the security system. These UPS products may need to be ruggedized to operate in harsh outdoor environments and start with a plastic, composite, aluminum, steel or even stainless steel outdoor rated (NEMA 3R) enclosure. The UPS should be able to operate in -40 to +40 degrees and be tough enough to operate in dusty environments and withstand shocks and vibrations. The batteries, to operate effectively in cold temperatures, need heater mats and possible balancers to monitor and regulate the strength of each cell. Expect the future to bring easier system integration--surveillance cameras with connections and cables designed to receive power from a UPS; compact solutions; advanced communications such as WiFi; new battery technologies like lithium-ion; and renewable energy power sources such as solar.
– Audey Korpus, marketing manager, Alpha Technologies Ltd., Burnaby, Can.

Alarms Ring Truer
SD&I went to the Security Industry Alarm Coalition’s, Stan Martin, executive director, for  an update on alarm response.
Q. What’s the current state of the industry regarding false alarms, alarm response and verified response? 
A. “Unnecessary alarm dispatches continue their downward trend. We have seen a nearly 70 percent reduction in the alarm dispatch rate. Where we once saw an average of three dispatches per system per year, overall we are now at less than one dispatch per system per year (for residential, once every four years).  This is an incredible reduction given the fact that alarm installations more than doubled from about 18 million to over 38 million!
Q. What do you think the future of central station monitoring service holds?
A. “We will continue to see alternative means of verification pick up in acceptance. There is a lot of energy around video verification and though we do not believe it should be mandated for a police dispatch we do believe the technology is well suited to help cops catch bad guys. SIAC will pursue an ordinance option that may allow police to upgrade the alarm response priority if criminal activity is determined from video, an enticing option for all parties.”