Overall, technological advances and
industry trends have made security systems more affordable and longer-lasting.
But what can all of these advancements in
security do to further impact the bottom
line? Through greater oversight of operations and processes that are prone to inef-ficiencies, security systems provide the
opportunity to catch issues faster and put
contingency plans in place.
“A key area for cost savings in the facili-
ties world has been leveraging security
data to track space usage,” says Rachel
Turner, Vice President of Strategic
Business Development at RightCrowd, a
software company located in Seattle. “In
many large, global companies, the over-
head and cost of buildings can be up to
around 50%, so anything that can be done
With access control and video surveil-
lance working together, FMs now have
the ability to address issues immediately
from a single location. Many integrators
and manufacturers are centralizing secu-
rity functions into single programs, allow-
ing for alerts and alarms to appear on the
same screen as video surveillance.
When an alarm goes off for an HVAC
system, for example, the individual working with the security system can immediately respond to the alarm by checking
video surveillance of the affected area.
That individual can then assess the situation, deciding that it needs further attention or that it is merely a false alarm.
Depending on the volatility or importance
of various systems in a facility, an integrator can establish setpoints, thresholds and
other benchmarks to notify security personnel for further inspection.
“With our access control systems, there
are alarms and event triggers that we’ve
used to monitor freezers,” says Edmunds.
“One of our university clients has cryo-
genic freezers with alarms, which are tied
into the building automation system and
the access control system. They get alerts
when a freezer goes above or below a cer-
tain temperature threshold.”
Developing more effective contingency
plans is a key trend in security today. Soft-
ware programs that bring together various
components of security and other systems
in a facility allow users to create flow
charts that solve a given alert or situation.
Within the flow chart, an operator
can simply add the proper protocol and
instructions to fulfill it when a crisis
occurs. These contingency plans provide
faster responses with fewer mistakes and
can be completed by those who might not
have as much experience or knowledge of
certain areas of a building.
Other network-based systems can
instantly adjust access to various locations in a building to specific individuals.
Whether a building must be locked down
completely or access needs to be limited
to only certain personnel, it can be done
quickly and easily because the commands
can be programmed into the software.
Making the rest of a facility run efficiently is now one of the main goals in
security, and the human element – meaning that the people who need to make
decisions and respond to building issues
are doing it intelligently – is an important
part of that.
Much of the focus of security systems
– access control in particular – is how
buildings facilitate the movement of people. In the past, that has typically manifested in locks that simply allow or prohibit entry. But the movement of people
In all facets of facility management, there is a distinct trend of products using non-proprietary communication systems. With protocols like BACnet
allowing communication between products
of different brands, FMs can select the best
products for their facility without worrying
about compatibility issues.
“We are taking on an integration plat-
form with the advent of the Power over
Ethernet standards that are coming out,”
says Sean Ahrens,
Leader of Security
Design at JENSEN
HUGHES in Chi-
cago. “This affords
us to transmit both
signal and power
to equipment such as lighting or diffusers.
When we are combining that signal and
that data, we can do a lot more that we
In the security industry, the Open Net-
work Video Interface Forum (ONVIF)
emerged to promote open interfaces for
interoperability. In their mission, they out-
line three major goals:
■ Standardization of communication
between IP-based physical security
■ Interoperability regardless of brand
■ Openness to all companies and
Because of the inherent competition of
this non-proprietary approach, security
products are likely to be more future-proof
than in the past. Brent Edmunds, President
and Co-Founder of Stone Security in Salt
Lake City, notes that the future-proofing
involved in security brings “more equity
in the system because if you’re using non-proprietary hardware and software, the
manufacturers are required to keep you
happy, otherwise you could switch. So they
update, edit and produce many advancements to make their system better, and
that allows your system to improve over