Commercial applications share many similarities – they have multiple access points, times when the buildings are open and closed, people who need to be protected, and some level of risk day and night.
Despite the similarities, there are also many differences depending on the type of application. For example, retailers, banks, schools and office buildings all share a need to secure their facilities, but their specific pain points and risks differ. Integrators should build trust with customers by showing them you understand their needs and have the right-fit solution to improve their security and facility control.
The vertical market-specific examples the follow all use the intrusion system as the heart of a commercial solution that increases security and makes systems easier to use. They demonstrate some of the many ways that integrators can sell customized solutions that address common needs in different vertical markets. By speaking the customer's language and knowing the challenges, dealers and integrators can deliver solutions that bring additional value to the customer, while driving increased revenue for their own businesses.
While a standard intrusion system in a retail store protects the premises when the store is closed, more advanced capabilities can help to protect interior areas, even when the store is open.
For example, help customers ensure that jewelry cabinets, gun or ammunition storage, or other high-value merchandise is protected – even when the intrusion system is disarmed – by adding a contact on the cabinet or case. The contact will enable the intrusion system to monitor how long that case has been open. Delaying the reaction of the point for a specified time – such as one minute – enables store personnel to be alerted to an abnormal condition via a text message or chime that reminds them to close and secure the case or cabinet before a report is sent to the monitoring station.
This same capability can apply to protecting schedule II narcotics in a retail store's pharmacy area, ensure a loading dock or cash room door is not left open, or alert to a perimeter door that is propped open.
In grocery or big-box stores, monitoring critical systems unrelated to security – such as refrigerated cases and freezers – adds significant value for a customer. If the temperature in a case rises above a certain threshold for longer than a pre-defined time, the retailer must dispose of the food, resulting in significant loss. The intrusion panel can connect to the systems that monitor temperature and provide a report, send a text, or play a chime to alert store personnel if action is needed to maintain the integrity of the stock, prevent spoilage and reduce loss.
For electronics stores, tightly-controlled stock such as mobile phones and tablets are often stored in a secured cage off the retail floor. Systems that combine intrusion and access control with disarm authority can help these customers protect that merchandise. For example, the system can limit access to ensure a manager is present before the cage can be opened. While employees may have the authority to unlock and disarm the store, the cage remains secured until a manager presents his or her token.
These system features provide added security and convenience for retailers – helping them go about the daily business of serving customers without burdening them with extra requirements for maintaining security.
The system can also extend beyond security to improve health and safety. For example, by integrating the intrusion control panel with IP cameras equipped with built-in video analytics, the cameras can trigger the panel to send a notification to store personnel if an object, such as a pallet of merchandise, is blocking an emergency exit. This improves safety for customers and employees.
Most banks have areas – such as an ATM service room – that should only have temporary access. By programming the area to re-arm automatically after a pre-defined time, the room is never left unsecured for a lengthy period, even if an employee servicing the ATM forgets to re-arm it. This feature can also secure vault rooms.
Vaults and other high-security areas within a bank may also require two people to enter their passcodes before disarming. Two-person disarm provides added protection. After the first passcode is entered, the system will prompt for a second code.
The intrusion system can also help to protect the branch manager if he or she is alone when opening the branch. By programming the system to require a passcode to be entered twice within a specified time period, banks have an added layer of security. The manager enters a passcode upon arriving, inspects the facility, and then enters the passcode again to disarm the system. If the manager does not enter the passcode twice within the pre-determined time, the control panel will generate a duress event to the monitoring center. With this feature, the branch manager has peace of mind that if an ambush attack occurs, a signal will be sent.
In addition, bank branches often use a secret signal to inform employees that it is safe to enter the branch. This signal may be opening a specific blind or turning on a specific light. The intrusion system can be programmed to automate this when disarmed by controlling other equipment or appliances.
In schools, not every perimeter door has access control or an electronic lock – some are simply controlled with a traditional lock and key. These points can be monitored even when the security system is disarmed. If the door is propped open, the system can send an alert via text to the maintenance manager or principal to prompt them to close the door, ensuring a safer environment.
Technicians can also program the system to function differently if it is armed vs. disarmed. For example, if an emergency door is used when the system is armed, an alarm is sent to the monitoring center. If the system is disarmed, a local alarm, such as a noise or siren, can alert the user. This ensures people within the building know that someone has used the door without resulting in a police dispatch. For added convenience, enable authorized staff to silence the siren using a wireless key fob instead of at the keypad to reduce unnecessary distractions for students in classrooms.
Controlling areas within the facility enables certain locations in the school – such as the gymnasium or auditorium – to remain disarmed while the rest of the building is secure. This provides flexibility to accommodate special evening or weekend sporting or performance events or even community meetings. Customizable functions can enable easy arming for these events with a single action or by presenting access credentials.
Limit access to sensitive areas of an office building, such as an IT room, using intrusion technology integrated with video and access control. These technologies combine to provide enhanced security and can even protect the individual hardware racks inside the room.
For example, each server rack can have its own access reader, keypad and camera. This can keep unauthorized individuals from accessing the equipment and restrict authorized people to scheduled days and times, limiting after-hour access to pre-determined times for maintenance or upgrades. Using a keypad and a reader on the racks also enables the use of dual authentication, so the individual must present something he or she has (credential) along with something he or she knows (a PIN) for even greater security. Adding the IP camera ensures that any attempts to open the racks by unauthorized individuals will trigger a text or email alert with a video snapshot to the facility manager.
The scheduling capabilities of the panel can also control the reaction of IP cameras integrated with the intrusion system, depending on time of day. For example, a person approaching the exterior of the building during the day when the system is disarmed will not trigger a camera action. However, when the system is armed at night, motion detected by the camera can fault a point on the control panel. This can prompt the panel to send an alarm verification event to the monitoring center, trigger a light to turn on or a message to play over a loudspeaker, while sending a video snapshot to the facility manager.
Tom Mechler (firstname.lastname@example.org is regional marketing manager for Bosch Security and Safety Systems. He has more than 32 years of industry experience. Request more info about Bosch at www.securityinfowatch.com/10213805.