Integration—One Step at a Time

May 13, 2009

In a recent survey a broad cross-section of local, regional, national and global security dealers and integrators, of every size and shape rated the following statement–

“The integration of products is very challenging.”

Some 83.77 percent of you agreed that it’s challenging to very challenging; 29.14 percent said challenging; 27.15 percent said pretty challenging; and 27.48 percent felt it’s very challenging. Only 3.97 percent of you strongly disagree with this statement.

The “integration of products” covers everything from integrating the products in a camera system and/or an access and alarm system--making manufacturer A’s product work with manufacturer B and C and/or it could be integrating them together into one system or making multiple systems work together with other systems? The numbers listed above indicate that all of this is hard to do and one might assume from these results that integrating multiple systems into a single operating platform is hardest. Well it should be, technically speaking, as it is the most complicated.

If you‘re going to network one or more products together then call in the IT director and get out the encyclopedia of terms. Your first challenge will be looking up words fast enough to keep up. Secondly, even if you speak IT, there is the issue of network technology and standards constantly changing. Lots of IT folks struggle to keep up with what’s happening in their world as it changes as fast as ours. With any big system there are many people, products and agendas involved and not everyone knows who’s done what and when.

One big company I know installed a big security system and every week at the same time the system crashed from the day the security components were installed. Hours, weeks and millions were spent to fix it. Fingers pointed, tempers rose and finally a meeting was called with everyone involved and from the back of the room, up came a hand asking: “what time on what day does it crash? I wrote a software patch to run exactly at this time every week.”

This weekend I installed a wireless router and not without its challenges. After it was installed the computer couldn’t see it. So the router’s tech support person reinstalled it. When she couldn’t get it to work she tells me, ‘okay you’ll have to call your laptop manufacturer.’ The laptop manufacturer made me call the network provider and while on the line with the network provider, I stumbled across the solution all by my lonesome. It was as simple as putting a code in, which you’d have thought they’d all know to do!

We are all struggling with networking things as it’s the dilemma of this age. Today everyone’s skill sets are all over the place depending on a billion variables, not to mention our communications challenges. We have to persevere. In trying to integrate products and systems, we’ll all stumble but we learn. We have to, as tomorrow is not less technology, it is more, thank you Bill Gates. So take it one step at a time but keep stepping.

Carol Enman