The hard part is keeping your budget out in front of you. These solutions are not necessarily inexpensive on the up-front ... but that's not the problem. The long-term results of the whole scale culmination of processes into a single control point will pay for itself in a relatively short period of time ... three to five years. The accuracy and potential improvement of data collection and response is way ahead of that as far as pay backs go. However, the reason that I say to hold onto your budget is less complicated. Once you experience in first hand the overall potentials of these virtual solution systems, you will feel akin to the child left alone in the candy store. I want this or that feature: Can I have two of those, please? Do you have it in blue? But buyer beware of the toys. They can nickel and dime you to death. Granted, it is a very happy death, but broke is broke no matter the source.
So how do solution systems differ from your major DVRs, controllers and such? Simple, although these systems do offer recording capabilities, that is only a sideline of their actual design. What these systems really are is high-tech, high-speed computers. By investigating the various controls that you want to interface, the equally various communication protocols will be found. The solution folks will then investigate what the various protocols are and develop interpretive software to match or solve the language barrier. It would be the same as finding out that one of your systems spoke Russian while another spoke German and yet another spoke English. Your solutions group would design a translation program from existing or new technology that would speak a single language from the three.
So, you are in love with one particular access control system for all your needs. You already have a favorite DVR and you are using BigBucks Brand cameras. Will you have to change to a new access system? Drop the DVR? Move to a new cheap camera? No, probably not. You might have to contact a solution provider to keep all your friends together. Who knows, if you do it right, you might even add some of the neighboring technologies into your culmination process.
About the Author: Richard R. "Charlie" Pierce has been an active member of the security industry since 1974, and is currently working on a software-based tool for calculating security investments. He is the founder and past president of LRC Electronics Company, a full service warranty/non-warranty repair center for CCTV equipment. In 1985, Charlie founded LeapFrog Training & Consulting (Formally LTC Training Center), a full service training center specializing in live seminars, video-format certification training programs, plain language technical manuals and educational support on CCTV. He is an active member of: ASIS, ALAS, CANASA, NBFAA, NAAA and SIA. He is the recipient of numerous security industry awards, and is a regular contributor to Security Technology & Design magazine, SecurityInfoWatch.com and this website's Security Frontline e-newsletter. Contact him via LeapFrog Training & Consulting at www.ltctraingcntr.com.