Video in Focus: Integrating Integrators From Start To Finish

August 1, 2006
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Thinking of upgrading security video or bringing in a new system? Going to work with an integrator on the project? Just like any relationship, comfort is a significant factor. Take the time to meet with prospective companies to get a better feel for who they are and how you interact with them. The more you can count on communicating clearly, which is a critical factor on any project.

Starting the process

The initial phase of the project should start with a review of the site. If the installation involves new construction, you should review the architect's plans and site renderings with the systems integrator to determine key areas for coverage and protection. And by weighing your security expectations relative to your actual budget, the systems integrator will have a much clearer idea as to the parameters they need to work within.

Design/spec stage

During the next phase of the process, the systems integrator will actually begin designing the system.

Once all parties agree on a design concept, the system integrator will proceed to specify the equipment in the installation – piece by piece. This is one of the most critical stages of the process since it dictates the performance, user-friendliness and the ultimate capabilities of your system. Similar systems with different components perform quite differently, so attention to the smallest of details can help you avert big problems down the line. But nothing is written in stone. If you are working with a large facility or new construction, you should anticipate changes along the way. There are always unforeseen obstructions or last minute areas of concern that arise. It’s simply the nature of this process. The more detailed the equipment lists and the more accurate the information provided, the fewer changes you may be faced with later on.

Installation

Once the final specifications and equipment lists have been agreed to, the systems integrator should consult with any contractors that may be involved in renovations or new construction to review the security system installation. There needs to be a great deal of coordination between these parties to assure that crew schedules are coordinated to specific timetables. Although there is great likelihood that timetables will vary throughout the course of a project, they will help keep everyone on track with deadlines for specific phases of the installation. Communication and coordination are key factors during the installation phase.

Once your new system is commissioned it should be tailored to your specific application and expectations. The only way to assure this is to have your security staff become familiar with every aspect of the system’s capabilities, as well as your facility and surrounding property.

Last but not least is service. In most cases, service is provided for limited terms after an installation is completed by the systems integrator and to some degree by manufacturers. However, long-term service should be planned at the on-set of your project to assure that your system stays up and running 24/7. Ask your systems integrator for a service program proposal in your initial discussions.

SIDEBAR: The Process At A Glance

  • Determine coverage requirements / “zones of protection”
  • Assess situations / location
  • Discuss budget
  • Evaluate specific needs / expectations
  • Review proposals and design parameters with SI or review and bid on proposal from consultant / design firm
  • Discuss / review short term and long term system objectives
  • Review additional system parameters – networking, satellite systems
  • Evaluate systems equipment and manufacturer recommendations
  • Review and approve final system specs
  • Enter installation phase; address concerns for new construction or rebuilds and need to work around
  • Commission the system – debug and get systems on-line
  • Staff training
  • System service and support

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