By Linda K. Monroe
Assessing, then addressing, a building's vulnerabilities have become Priority
No. 1 for many facilities professionals. While a management team's first line
of defense should encompass the sharing of information within the corporate
culture, security-related product options have never been more prevalent. At
the recent American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) show, the talk among
attendees and exhibitors centered on the integration of security: access control,
closed-circuit television (CCTV), security personnel, and more.
CCTV technology - once simply used as a viewfinder in cases of intrusion and
theft - has moved ahead in leaps and bounds. "In the digital era, CCTV
is an important part of a larger system of safety, with access control, burglary,
and life safety systems all tied together," says Jim Sandy, general manager,
Visual Imaging Products and Security Systems, at Park Ridge, NJ-based Sony Broadcast
and Professional Co. (BPC).
Frank Abram, general manager at Panasonic Security and Digital Imaging Co.,
Secaucus, NJ, agrees. "Rather than looking at 'closed-circuit television,'
we now have 'network-circuit television.' As CCTV is being integrated with card
access, it has become a more important management tool. For example, at the
Dulles, VA facility of AOL, management is able to monitor all facilities in
the United States - and, very shortly, will be monitoring facilities around
the world - because CCTV and security-related systems are on the network. Such
technology is, literally, extra eyes for the security force and management organization.
In the not-too-distant future, the industry envisions a security network where
each CCTV camera and each cardreader are nothing but nodes on a network."
Although both agree that network-based CCTV applications require significant
amounts of bandwidth to ensure good, high-quality pictures, those issues are
being overcome with network improvements and enhancements. Concerns about compromising
building security, however, remain. Sandy notes, "The cost of network products
is declining, so we may see a push to [adopt] parallel networks: one for data
and one for security and safety."
In certain instances, declining prices in CCTV technology have resulted in
a shift in product selection, adds Sandy. "Some [building owners] are choosing
to put in multiple, inexpensive cameras to cover the same or larger field(s)
of view initially covered by a speed or pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) dome,
by definition, has a lot of moving parts that could be affected by part failure,"
Other relatively recent CCTV-related issues include:
An industry-wide shift from black and white to color recording, resulting
in better, more complete information to management.
Aesthetic improvements in styles and sizes of CCTV cameras to complement
today's high-performance (and highly competitive) building interiors.
Broader applications - namely data centers and educational facilities
- in which to monitor personnel and/or student access/location from a remote
or centralized site.
Emerging applications that involve wireless networking.
Improvements in integration capabilities and processes, according to Abram
and Sandy, should move CCTV in further directions. "CCTV, in and of itself,
is not the sole answer to everyone's security problems," says Abram. "But
coupled together with card access and other life safety equipment - integrated
into a single system - it can become a very valuable management tool. That's
what the industry is working towards."
Linda K. Monroe (Linda.Monroe@buildings.com)
is editorial director at Buildings magazine.