Real Life Stories of Integration Success

Solving the confusion that lack of integration can provide, via well-thought integration plans

The organization's security standards are constantly reviewed and updated by its corporate security and office managers. The integration vendor team is kept updated on any changes. The company carefully considers any changes in equipment, not rushing to buy every time a new product is introduced. It always strives for cutting-edge products but insists that they be proven before making them a part of the plan.

Case 2: A major financial services provider with more than 50 company offices worldwide.
This provider decided to create a centralized, integrated security system, noting that most of its offices had independent security systems. Realizing the improvements in safety and convenience and reductions in cost that could come from a networked system, the organization set about linking access and video surveillance systems in its numerous national and international offices. In less than three years, the job was completed.

The company leveraged money it had already spent on security hardware to keep safety high while squeezing some costs out of the operations. Those offices that already had systems were connected onto the company's wide-area network, and plans were made to buy equipment for the offices without systems.

Again, a security systems integrator made the job easier. The integrator worked with the organization to create the network design that now serves as a standard for all its corporate offices. The integrator provided expertise and guidance on selecting the best proven technologies while ensuring that the plan fit within the company's budget. They analyzed ways to leverage existing technology and suggested enhancements to the system where appropriate. The integrator handled U.S. installations, upgrades and other associated tasks to ensure a smooth, uniform process and equipment standardization. In other countries, they worked closely with international systems integrators, making sure that the job met plan specifics and kept to high quality standards.

Once the project was completed, the company had a fully integrated system featuring updated technologies and a centralized monitoring system. The company operates redundant command centers in New York and in London that monitor both the access and video surveillance systems from throughout the world 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All activities from the access system are recorded on a backup server in the New York command center and then archived to DAT for about a year. When specific, pre-defined alarm conditions are met, both access information and video images are automatically brought up on monitors for review in New York.

Overall, there are more than 1,600 readers on the system. The access system has the flexibility to limit access by time and location, depending upon the employee. The security system also includes about 1,800 security cameras, dozens of monitors and 80 digital video recorders that allow the company's security officers to monitor events in company offices around the world. Each DVR has its own IP address on the network so that corporate security can access the video worldwide. But to save bandwidth, video is only transmitted upon demand.

In today's changing security landscape, where risks are greater and potential losses staggering, organizations with multiple offices should consider a systems integration project. A well-planned integrated system can help preserve a company's assets, minimize risk exposure and create a safer environment. These security benefits, along with increased convenience and cost savings, make it well worth the effort.

Raymond Dean is president and founder of PEI Systems Inc., a 29-year-old New York City-based security integration firm. Mr. Dean has served as secretary, vice chairman and chairman of the New York City chapter of ASIS International. He is also a founding member of SecurityNet, a group of independent security system integrators chartered in 1991 to provide globally integrated security solutions and services to the corporate marketplace.

Jack Morris is the founder, president and chairman of the board of VTI Security Integrators. VTI, founded 23 years ago, has several major security accounts in the financial and insurance market. For the past 10 years, VTI has been a member of SecurityNet.