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How to modernise physical security systems

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Peter Stutz, Portfolio Manager: Security at Jasco Enterprise
Peter Stutz, Portfolio Manager: Security at Jasco Enterprise.

Many commercial facilities in South African have a number of different security solutions in place. As technologies continue to advance and prices drop, the enormous benefits they bring are making it a risky proposition not to upgrade to digital, analytics and open systems, and integrate these disparate systems for better control.

At present, many organisations still make use of stand-alone analogue solutions, sweating their investments by doing piecemeal integrations (e.g., integrating surveillance and access control solutions) and upgrades to address changing risk profiles. Often, security still falls outside of Information Technology with budgets and management usually being separate. These tactics start to look less attractive, however, as technology advances begin to fundamentally change the way security solutions can be applied, reaching into new segments of the business to add value.

Future tech wave

In five years’ time, security solutions as we know them will have converged with IT infrastructure, enterprise applications and external systems (e.g., IoT) to deliver way more than perimeter surveillance, authentication and protection of assets and people. Intelligent algorithms and analytics in CCTV and surveillance systems can, for example, be used within retail and service segments. They can assist companies to better understand how to optimise traffic, store layout and merchandising, and even prompt staff placement, shifting staff dynamically to improve management of service segments. This is only the beginning.

Consider the potential of tying together a personal cloud with a building system that reaches into enterprise systems. This could create a reality in which an individual, on authentication at the entrance of a building, becomes the catalyst for a whole series of automated events that link together the individual, people within the facility and the functional spaces within the building to drive efficiencies and productivity to a new level. For example, as a visitor enters a building to attend a meeting, all attendees are alerted, boardroom sensors are activated and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) are adjusted, catering requirements are communicated, and personal diaries are updated with attendee information.

Other advancements, once the networks are in place, will include rapid automated deployment of security and devices on networks. Instead of manual system integration, system advances will allow for auto provisioning using specific policies for deployment of devices such as cameras, and their integration into larger systems.

Moving forward

The first step toward modern systems is migrating to IP-based infrastructure and wireless technologies. This provides the organisation with greater flexibility. With the addition of advanced features, traditional challenges can be alleviated. Introducing intelligence and analytics provides better ways to analyse inputs at national operations centres, and offers new ways to present alerting and notification, improving compliance.

As security solutions and features begin to add value to the business on more fronts than just protecting assets and people, the business case for implementation and for converging business, IT and security budgets will begin to make sense. However, with multiple systems to integrate, it’s critical that organisations select a system integrator with a keen understanding of the security challenges integration presents.

If organisations are to integrate HVAC, enterprise and security systems and devices, as well as the new hosted applications with their ‘built-in’ APIs that are emerging, an integration layer is required. Many organisations are currently grappling with this challenge. It needs to be done correctly, with consideration for future impacts.

Think ahead

As organisations begin to migrate to IP and advanced solutions, their first, most urgent task will be to think ahead. To activate the benefits of technology advances, they need to be asking questions like:

  • What do we want to be monitoring?
  • How do we want to control information?
  • Can we outsource physical management?
  • What can we feed into our building management system?

This is an important part of the journey to digitisation which drives competitiveness and security within a digital environment. The investment is essential but, with some innovation and ingenuity, the returns can be exponential.


By Peter Stutz, Portfolio Manager: Security at Jasco Enterprise

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