One of the biggest trends in security over the past several years has been the evolution of cloud services. Managing and maintaining access control or video surveillance systems across an enterprise can prove to be a difficult challenge even for large, well-funded security departments. Cloud services not only allows organizations to reduce their infrastructure costs, but it also simplifies and streamlines the process of controlling these systems for the end user.
For the most part, cloud services are typically associated with video surveillance or access control systems. IPVideo Corporation is looking to change that. The company recently opened a new Global Fusion Center at the Bay Shore, N.Y. headquarters of one of its’ dealers, A+ Technology and Solutions, that leverages their C3 Fusion physical security information management (PSIM) platform. According to David Antar, president of IPVideo Corporation, the opening of this center will enable the company’s dealers to offer their clients PSIM as a cloud-based solution.
“(C3 Fusion) basically has the ability to tie in disparate sources of information into a common operating picture,” says Antar. “It can tie into VMS platforms, DVRs, IP cameras, access control systems, building management systems, GPS tracking, fire alarm systems, burglar alarm systems, and even AIS tracking of ships.”
Though many organizations could use the capabilities offered by C3 Fusion, Antar says that it is a “relatively expensive product” that many end users simply cannot afford. With the opening of the new Global Fusion Center, however, organizations will be able to get all of the benefits of this PSIM platform for a monthly fee. “We decided to offer it from our Global Fusion Center as a service,” Antar explained. “And we believe it is the first one like it in the country.”
Antar was quick to point out that the center, which is going to be initially staffed by six people, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is not like the typical burglar and fire central station with some video monitoring capabilities.
“This is a video-centric solution that goes way beyond potentially even physical security,” says Antar. “Some examples might be health monitoring of people’s video management platforms and door access systems. It might be that we’re providing virtual guard tours of a facility through the software. The big differentiator between this and many other systems is the case management system that’s built into the software. If an event happens, we have step-by-step instructions based on a protocol that was determined by the end user and we document and time stamp actions related to that.”
In addition, Antar says that they will be able to perform video verifications of panic alarms, as well as receive alerts from devices tied into building management systems. Antar says the company plans to expand to multiple locations as demand for the service increases to create additional redundancies. They also intend to hire off-duty police officers and/or retired police or military personnel to work as operators in this and other fusion centers due to their experience in emergency response.
With the opening of this first fusion center, Antar says the company has been primarily focused on the education market. According to Antar, the center will be used to provide visual verification of alarms in 22 buildings for the Eastern Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) in New York. The company is also in the process of conducting pilot programs with several other schools in the New York area.
Antar says that they also have a commercial customer with offices all over the world that wants to leverage this service and they are currently in talks about a potential security project along U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona. “Its’ applications are global and that’s why we call it the ‘Global Fusion Center,’” added Antar.
Though it still remains to be seen what kind of success IPVideo Corporation will reap from this endeavor, the idea of making PSIM available as an affordable, monthly service rather than a one-time, multi-million dollar investment would seem, at least on the surface, to hold a lot of potential for the industry. As Antar pointed out, one of the things that has held back widespread adoption of PSIM is how expensive the technology is combined with the resources that have to be devoted to monitoring it. Of course, there will always be organizations with the financial wherewithal to buy PSIM software outright, but this initiative could expand the technology to a wider range of customers.