According to Pryse, end users are looking for a vendor partner who can not only provide the affordable appropriate solutions initially but also provide prompt, necessary service response. “They are looking for a true partner who is genuinely interested in a long-term successful relationship. End users are also concerned with the proprietary nature of various products/systems and the fact that they often do not integrate with existing systems/products,” she added.
Integration between the physical and logical security systems is a high priority (especially for larger healthcare facilities) for visitor management, physical access, network access and human resource systems as well, Pryse said.
Integrators share their stories
Many systems integrators specialize in vertical markets, and the healthcare market is tops on their lists, along with education and government. And the work they do seems to run the gamut from new facilities to additional systems solutions for existing healthcare customers who are upgrading or adding to their current properties.
At D/A Central Inc., located in Oak Park, Mich., the 55-year-old company and Security-Net member tags some 25 percent of its business to healthcare, many return customers. Because many of the existing infrastructures of their healthcare providers are due for a technology upgrade, security solutions are topping the wish lists of these customers. Current President and Owner, P. David Shelton started with the company in 1971 and then acquired the growing business in 1984.
The company has been providing services to the medical market for 20-plus years and now, Terry Woycik, systems specialist who focuses on hospitals and healthcare, said many of their existing customers are at the point where they need to upgrade their safety and security.
“Hospitals in the past had been left alone so long that now they are doing security upgrades that include network cabling for their businesses,” he said, “often creating new video networks.” He added that the company’s preference is to have a separate dedicated network for surveillance and security, as it “reduces long-term complexity.”
Of course, according to Eric Stanton, D/A Central sales manager, more systems are IP based within the healthcare facility—from video to access control to panic buttons. “A big concern for hospitals is controlling movement within public areas and providing select access to others. Video is also being deployed more,” he said.
Stanton added that emergency rooms may have metal detectors but more often use video cameras for security. Access control is also used to create interiors that can be secured easily and from the general public or selectively add/deny access to certain personnel. “Hospitals want to know if they can lock down the facility, but it has to be compliant with fire and life safety codes.”
Lock downs may be critically important for emergency rooms and other volatile areas of a facility, and that’s where the issue of guns also comes in. Gang members or distraught family members may try to get retaliation for shootings—so this is an ongoing issue for the healthcare market.
For D/A Central, the proactive relationship building mantra stands strong. “Getting more business in the healthcare market is done by relationship building,” Stanton said. “We aren’t doing a lot of bid work—most of the work we get is because we are a pre-qualified vendor. We deal directly with the owner of the facility—which helps us bypass everyone else and provide the right solution. In the security industry you have to network. If you don’t you won’t go anywhere,” he said.
One of D/A Central’s customers is St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, a 537-bed teaching facility in Ypsilanti, Mich., which recently completed a $600,000 upgrade to its security system, including a new command center which receives feeds from some 280 cameras. D/A Central also handles most of the work for this particular healthcare provider throughout Michigan, according to Stanton.
According to Ron Poulin, owner of Daytona Broadband LLC in South Daytona, Fla., and a Mobotix reseller, all eyes seem to be on video for the healthcare market.
Video plays a critical security role
“End users are continuing to spend on both indoor and outdoor applications by extending video into new departments not already monitored,” Poulin said. “Also, they are adding coverage to parking areas in and around smaller campus buildings housing specialty healthcare services. Recently, most of our work has been in existing facilities rather than new construction,” he said.