30 Years of Product Development

Intrusion–From Bell-Box to IP
Veteran security dealers recall the days of a piercing shrill or alert from a loud noisemaker as a burglar broke into a home or business. Security dealers have literally watched intrusion technology grow up over the past few decades according to key security professionals from Honeywell.

“Some of us remember when a security system consisted of a simple relay in a bell box with a barrel key switch next to the front door,” said Jonathan Klinger, Dave Combes and Michael Linebarger, security professionals in Honeywell’s security and communications division, Melville, N.Y. “There were no zoned control panels and there was only one loop series circuit connected to every surface mount door contact, foil, wood dowel grids for sky lights, trip wires, pet mats and many other devices that have been erased by time.”

According to these security veterans, the industry would eventually realize technology development and add other types of communicators such as coded-shared circuits, multiplex, proprietary radio and digital dialer communicators. “Even though several types of communicators existed, many systems did not communicate to a monitoring location due to the high cost of dedicated phone lines,” said the group. “Soon the tape dialer, and later the digital dialer allowed the business or home owner to send signals over their existing phone lines.”

Moving forward to today, the security industry manufacturers have improved vastly on the performance and functionality of intrusion systems.

“The development of security panels with the ability to add an Ethernet network interface card to their control panels allows the panel to communicate its signals through the LAN and Internet to a monitoring facility,” explained the group. “Today, almost every security manufacturer produces network-compatible intrusion, video and access products. As the world moves to IP-based communications, POTS lines are beginning to disappear, obliging installers to rely on wireless networking technologies.”

As end-user familiarity with PC and cellular phone-based entertainment and social networking services such as iTunes, YouTube and Facebook grows, security systems will expand beyond the provision of alarm signaling.

Access Control–More than Unlocking Doors
Maturing through the decades from early card readers, access control now provides many more answers to users than a simple opening and closing of restricted areas. Growing from a combination of locks and pin codes, today’s systems provide gate-keeping capabilities and a window into who’s going where and why.

“When the 1970s dawned with three early card and reader technologies in play, magnetic stripe, barium ferrite and Hollerith (a pattern of punched holes), access control systems depended on a single intelligent controller to manage all the doors and miscellaneous inputs on the entire system,” said Bill Richardson, technical training manager, HID Global, Irvine, Calif. “Card and reader failure was common.”

It was during this decade that Schlage Electronics introduced proximity to the market and as the decade came to a close Wiegand technology by Sensor Engineering was responsible for bringing more reliable options to the card and reader market.

With superior card technologies taking the forefront, the 1980s saw major advancements in the controller universe, according to Richardson. Smaller capacity intelligent controllers began to appear handling two to eight readers on each controller. The industry began witnessing host software on mini-computers and later PCs networked the controllers into a cohesive system. More change would come later as wireless systems were just on the horizon.

Access control systems allowed users to make more educated decisions by understanding the relationship which now existed between technology and the perception of threats. The new millennium gave users the ability to analyze data through a variety of systems integrated with access control enabling enforcement through automation.

Fire–Monitoring, Alerts and Dispatching
The industry has witnessed the concept of monitoring alarm devices from a dispatch station evolving from a simple mechanical device to sophisticated software systems, according to Lisa Korklan, director of Marketing, Keltron Corporation, Waltham, Mass.

The 1980s will be known as the age of microprocessor and digital data receiving and monitoring,” Korklan said. “The need for more accurate dispatch information led to the creation of modules that monitored one or two alarm zones. A municipality would have a bank of these modules that were monitored by receivers that displayed and printed addressable information,” Korklan explained.

Many advancements developed on fire protection for documents in the form of safes. “Over the last several decades we have seen the increase in accuracy in both metal forming and the formulation and curing of insulating materials,” said Van Carlisle, CEO, FireKing Security Group, New Albany, Ind. “With the expansion of computer media each desktop in addition to paper records needs safeguarding. As a result, higher rated units to survive severe exposures are now available.”