Forman: Our industry is increasingly deploying networked systems, which is a technology trend that is just now really taking hold and will continue to grow over the next several years. It has taken time, but the inherent benefits of networked systems have finally migrated to security applications as a result of technology influencers from both business- and consumer-driven technologies.
Initial network applications in the access control space were easiest and fastest to implement as bandwidth requirements for access data were not really an issue impacting network infrastructure – unlike bandwidth-hungry high-resolution streaming video. However, as a result of today’s improved video compression like MPEG-4 and now H.264 and vastly expanded bandwidth pipelines, the security industry is rapidly changing its mindset relative to IP video.
When evaluating the overall benefits of moving video from an analog to network platform, there are several attributes that immediately come to mind – with scalability, flexibility, high performance and cost-efficiency being those most commonly cited across industry lines.
One of the core technologies driving the networking trend is the ability to transmit video, control and data signals along with Power over Ethernet (PoE). Although every integrated video and security system is in some way unique, the ability to modify a system’s configuration along any point on the network by simply plugging in an edge device has tremendous advantages.
There have been issues with PoE delivery systems to date – perhaps the biggest being the lack of a viable solution designed to accommodate network IP video camera systems that are not PoE compliant. Two other significant PoE issues are the development of a PoE solution for power hungry PTZ cameras and for delivering reliable power over long distances.
Security Magazine: What do you see as the next industry product or technology trend?
Forman: Networked systems lend themselves to a whole new range of edge devices, middleware and management software to capitalize on the platform’s numerous operational benefits. Like in midspan PoE devices, we can expect to see new developments in network based products that further improve performance and efficiency. Megapixel cameras and IP management software are two good examples of categories that are specifically network related where the industry will continue to see new developments driving systems technology.
Security Magazine: How do you see PoE impacting future installations?
Forman: PoE is a core technology for networked security systems. With the ability to deliver power efficiently and pass data signals over extended distances using a single Ethernet cable, the ability to scale, alter and enhance these systems is now a reality. Additionally, the ability to centralize power and data distribution provides substantial cost-efficiency versus having to install dedicated power supplies at each edge device site – whether it is IP video or access control related.
Security Magazine: Many security executives have to tighten the budget and do more with less: Do you have any tips on defending ROI (return on investment) and/or the business case for security during tough economic times?
Forman: There are many business practices both from a technology and financial perspective that businesses can adopt to help make them more profitable during these tough economic times. When specifically addressing security, there are new products that can help provide more at lower costs. Each system requirement is different and integrating these technologies on a common platform can provide cost efficiencies.
PoE is definitely one solution that can help offset costs, which…represents a significant breakthrough, especially for those users who jumped on the IP video platform early with non-PoE compliant IP video cameras. Now they can centralize their power distribution for all their IP cameras – existing and new – and significantly reduce equipment and installation costs.
Security Magazine: Who is your best and brightest customer? What are they doing well?
Forman: Altronix works with top systems integrators and high-profile end-users around the world. We have customers in the Middle East, for example, that are leading the way in the deployment of networked systems for the financial industry.
We work with Fortune 500 companies that rely on consistent power to keep their systems up and running 24/7. And there are numerous other customers working on state-of-the-art, integrated mission-critical security solutions in areas ranging from government to gaming and education to healthcare.
The key to delivering and maintaining tight controls is proper system planning from end-to-end using equipment from proven suppliers who stand behind their products and provide best-in-breed support.