Security Systems News

March 2011

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18 MARKET TRENDS MARCH 2011 SECURITY SYSTEMS NEWS When should you do wireless, and what kind? L By Matt Wickenheiser inking a hospital to its remote parking lot a mile away via video surveillance and a call station would have been simple, except for the swamp sitting between them. And, said David “JR” Dalby, vice president of operations and director of sales at Minneapolis- based Trans-Alarm Inc., Minnesota is the “land of liberals,” so there was no way his firm could run any kind of wire through the wetlands. “You can’t touch it,” said Dalby. “Wireless was the absolute only application.” Security experts say wireless technology is becoming more and more commonplace in the field, as customers and integrators use it to overcome obstacles quickly. Increased security and data transmission throughput have made adoption that much easier. And the explosion of wireless tech in everyday life has made the solution more front-of-mind, in general. “At the end of the day, wireless comes into play when there are issues of timing,” said Glenn de Gruy, vice president of sales and business development at Ascendance Wireless. “Or when there’s cost limitations—the cost to dig up streets and run fiber.” There are different wireless architectures to consider, depending on the application. In the case of the hospital and parking lot, Trans-Alarm ran the most common type of architecture, a basic point-to-point wireless setup. Dalby said his firm also has bid on another POWER project at that same hospital that would utilize a mesh architecture to put video in its patrol car. “We haven’t sold it yet, but the quote is out there,” said Dalby. Manufacturers and integrators say there are certain applications, certain conditions that call for either a mesh architecture or a point-to-point (or point-to-multipoint) architecture. PLUG-IN Integrators like Dalby are looking at devel- oping expertise in both—and so is at least one manufacturer. Fluidmesh Networks, an early leader in mesh technology, is moving toward a hybrid model, offering combinations of mesh, multi- point and point-to-point, said Cosimo Malesci, co-founder and vice president of channel sales and marketing. “The truth is, mesh is only good for some applications. Sometimes it is overkill,” said Malesci. “And in terms of cost, it could drive the system up.” So where do you use mesh, and where do READY & SECURE Closed IPTV combines open standard IP protocols with patent pending innovation to provide simple to install, safe and secure IP video solutions whether deployed in a standalone system, or across both new and existing network infrastructures. The Layer 3 Enhanced CCTV Switch provides greater security for less confi guration effort than a conventional managed switch. See for yourself. Book your demo today. you use a point-based topography? Point-to-point is considered a simple, line- of-sight setup. In a typical scenario, there will be a main building with cameras in a park- ing lot on a pole, with a very focused signal between the head-end and the cameras. “I don’t want to send it everywhere,” said Mark Cederloff, president and CEO of Ascendance. “When we match the appropri- ate antenna to the application, you have less chance for interference.” Ten years ago, Dalby was doing some microwave wireless work at power plants, and it was a challenge to tune the antennas and get the system to work, he said. Today’s products are much easier to use, he said. “You buy it, you put it up and you’re good to go,” he said. “This Buck Rogers stuff is here. And it works.” Point-to-multipoint adds a flexible configuration to point-to-point, said Cederloff. It’s essentially adding nodes onto a point-to-point, allowing the line-of-sight to be extended around physical obstacles. These more traditional architectures are appropriate in most security systems, where mobility isn’t a requirement. “In most surveillance applications, there isn’t a mobile piece—the cameras are bolted to the walls, the DVRs are in a physical location, access control as well,” said Cederloff. If you need wireless as you move through a wide area, mesh equals mobility. Mesh architectures are generally seen in municipal-level deployments—when a city’s police department wants on-the-street wireless access for their officers as they drive in patrol cars, for example. While point-to-point’s line-of-sight require- ment often demands a tall building or tower as part of the architecture, mesh brings you down on the street level, in the urban canyons, lamppost to lamppost, said Ksenia Coffman, Call for Prompt, Personal Service! 800-354-3863 Account & Business Acquisitions Rory Russell, AFS, closes transaction in Tulsa, OK with TnT Security Steve Brody of Standard Security Systems — Plano, TX Spencer McDonald of P.A.C. Systems, Inc. — Arlington, TX Kelly Gill of Abbott Security & Fire — Dallas, TX senior marketing manager at Firetide. The easiest way to picture a mesh topogra- phy is as a net covering an area. The points of intersection in the net are wireless nodes, and the entire area is blanketed and overlapped by them. “The beauty of mesh is obviously in the fact David Dalby that it’s a self-healing type of architecture, and it tends to eliminate the one point of failure we’ve faced in our industry,” said Seth Ferrier, customer account manager with AlphaCorp Security in West Valley City, Utah. Noted Coffman, “Mesh is the architecture that gives you redundancy.” She suggested integrators looking to deploy a mesh system in an area first have a professional site survey done by engineers who look at the radio frequency (RF) environment of the area, measure throughputs on the links and create a roadmap for the deployment. Failure to do so could get expensive, said Coffman. With more limited throughput, spectrum is a precious commodity, said Coffman. Integrators must work with clients to figure out “what is nice to have, what’s a must have.” The system requirements are born from that, determining where you deploy cameras, where the monitoring will be, where the nodes will go, she said. Coffman and Fluidmesh’s Malesci said they’re seeing a lot of interest in real-time video surveillance off moving vehicles—most notably, trains. Coffman said her firm is working on two overseas projects. One is in Seoul, South Korea, where mesh nodes are being deployed along train tunnels and in trains, so operators can monitor what’s happening in the stations. That interest grew after arsonists started a deadly fire on a train at the station, she said. Malesci said Fluidmesh is seeing similar interest for train applications, as well as for industrial sites. In related trends, Malesci said his company is starting to price jobs based on bandwidth needed, rather than hardware. “It allows you to introduce wireless for a low cost,” said Malesci. “And you can upgrade if you need to.” Ascendance is tweaking its next-genera- tion products to be more in-tune with video demands, said Cederloff. In particular, the technology will address issues with buffering of video, he said. When data is lost in trans- mission, rather than ask for a resend of all the data, new algorithms will pinpoint what is needed and only ask for that data, he said. De Gruy said the company is also seeing more and more communications integrators moving into the physical security space, seeking to bring voice and data transmission onto the wireless networks established by the security departments. Similarly, in a trend seen in other areas of the security business, integrators are deal- ing more and more with IT experts at client sites—particularly on wireless rollouts, said Dalby, of Trans-Alarm. “What I’ve seen is we’re selling to the IT See us at ISC West Booth 22024 © Copyright AD Group 12/01/11 group now rather than the security group,” said Dalby. “Where security people are kind of old school—they want wire—the IT group are more progressive, more under- standing of wifi and the security of a wifi network.” SSN

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