NY security firms keeping up with latest systems

Anthony Gramazio remembers the days of grainy black and white security cameras and VHS tapes when he first started working in the security business.

Two decades later, security has gotten a lot more complex - and expensive.

"Whoever says crime doesn't pay isn't talking to us," said Gramazio, of Middletown-based security company Electronic Eyes.

In addition to various types of security video surveillance, corporate office security can involve access control, biometrics, infrared systems and tracking devices - but much of corporate office security involves access control, Gramazio said.

At Merritt 7 corporate park in Norwalk, Conn., tenants have 24-hour,7-day a week access to their building as long as they have their access card - which creates the need for around-the-clock security.

"The systems on the building are such that nobody's going to get in," said John Crosby, president and CEO of Albert D. Phelps, Inc., the company that owns the building.

In addition to a security guard in each of the six buildings, there is a security supervisor who oversees the security system.

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, gates were put up at every street entrance and lower level garages to the buildings and an emergency switch at every guard desk to shut off the central fan system in case of a biochemical incident.

Soon, they will be installing flat panel TV screens in all the lobbies to post emergency announcements.

Security cameras, which are installedon every entrance to the buildings and from the street, are converting to a new system.

"Keeping on top of current technology is key for building owners and managers to meet the needs of the industry and our clients," Crosby said:

Gramazio agrees; he goes to security shows and takes classes to make sure he's always familiar with the latest technology.

Advanced forms of security include biometrics, which takes thumb print scans and can be combined with voice recognition for tight security.

Gramazio said some large corporations track their merchandise - if a laptop leaves the perimeter, an audible tone is set off and the item is tracked.

A similar system is used in pediatric wards and on construction sites, Gramazio said.

Video from security cameras can also be viewed live via the Internet.

Paul Durante, chief operating officer of Select Telecom in Valhalla, said his company installs IP-based cameras, mostly in schools, which allow the user to see what's going on from their home computer.

Durante said the cameras have become very popular in the past few years.

"Everywhere you go, you're being recorded somewhere," Durante said. "Some of the cameras can even record voice, so not only do you have to watch what you're doing but you have to watch what you're saying now."

Gramazio points out that a security system is only as good as the people who install it, and users need to be educated on their security system in order for it to be effective.

"We try to educate the consumer as much as possible," Gramazio said. "The name of the game is just to protect what's yours from vandalism and theft."