The Making of a Network

Laptop and ‘ping' new tools of the trade

Just like that, many in the traditional burglar alarm business wake up and know something is different. They realize they are not just selling sensors, detectors, controls and devices. After they pinch themselves reality sets in. They aren't in the burglar alarm business anymore, but have migrated into the information technology (IT) space.

It may not be exactly how it happened for American Security Systems Inc. in Long Island City , N.Y. , but it's pretty close to what the real deal is in the industry today. Those companies that continue to focus on hardware only will find themselves left behind, missing a sizeable portion of the growing network and IP-based business.

American Security Systems, a 25+ year old alarm installation and monitoring firm, didn't want that to happen and as such it has been positioning itself for the future. It spent many years as a fire alarm company and access control provider and runs and maintains a UL Certified® and New York City Fire Department approved central station, monitoring for fire, burglary, hold-up, medical emergency and environmental conditions 24/7.

One of the most notable projects propelling them into the networking space is a highly recognizable one—the remodeling and retrofit of the historic landmark New York Times Building in Times Square, Manhattan . The building had been the headquarters of the nationally-known newspaper since 1913, but the company recently moved to a different location in the city.

Africa Israel Investments Ltd., known as AFIUSA, an international holding and investment company that specializes in real-estate development, bought the property located at 229 West 43rd Street and is refurbishing it to a luxury high rise office space as part of a $175 million renovation. American Security won the Request for Proposal and the contract for the comprehensive building security system. Their ability to build a dedicated security network—from scratch—was in large part a determining factor in being awarded the bid.


Dedicated network makes sense

Slated for completion this year, the leading edge project is designed as an enterprise class solution with the latest technology, including integration of access control, Internet protocol (IP) cameras with video analytics, Web-based visitor management and IP intercoms over a dedicated local area security network.

“This is a true deployment of seamless integration over a dedicated security network,” said Larry Dolin, president and chief executive officer of American Security Systems. “As our company continues to cultivate its networking capabilities we can effectively bridge the gap between our clients' security department and IT staff.” Dolin said American Security was chosen over five competing firms, based on their ability to value-engineer the project. The contract is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and one of the largest American Security has performed of late.

“This job is everything that the industry is abuzz about these days,” said Dave Baldo, project director. “We are building the entire security network infrastructure from scratch. We are responsible for the design and management of the network, including bandwidth calculations, transmission rates, network devices and IP address management. We designed the server farm for video management and storage, Web-based visitor enrollment and access control client workstations. It's quite comprehensive and includes intricate IP addressing procedures, beta testing of integrated systems and countless hours of pre-installation and bench testing prior to putting anything in the field,” Baldo added.

American Security continues to successfully migrate from the traditional burg and fire business to the world of IP cameras and now, networking. “We're in an IP world and this is the way things are headed,” commented Dolin. “We've also done a lot of access control and it was natural for us to run it on the network. Of course, when you put anything on the network, you will eat up bandwidth, and that's why we decided we would build a dedicated private network for security and IP from the ground up for the New York Times Building,” Dolin said.

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