As we approach the 2010 ISC West Annual Show and Conference in Las Vegas, here is a trend that we can all understand and apply to improve security while reducing operational costs. And the trend is one that is happening every day in our lives. It is video applied for situational awareness resulting in event prevention. Video married with connectivity has created a new communication form. But the magic is that instead of posting video as an archive, analytics will provide verification and alert officers regarding the appropriate action required to respond to an event.

Indeed, we are close to attaching the video archive versus a text document to substantiate an investigative report. While archiving is currently 99.9 percent of video applications, we are moving toward live video use as an awareness and prevention tool. Leading security organizations have the potential to gain situational awareness through video communication in a more effective and efficient manner than voice or text. And distributed video to an officer's handheld, police and/or fire station brings the essential information and the critical element of speed to the equation. Add analytics to alert us to activity and improved situational awareness, and a new solution is available that brings together a long-term investment in video, access controls, officer training and best public/private projects.

Think about the possibilities. Video Alarms are real and becoming more economically viable with each technology turn. Best of all, they are focused on preventing an upcoming or occurring event, driving the value of your investment exponentially skyward.

As you know, the tragedies at Columbine and Virginia Tech were in part due to no situational awareness for the responding officers. In both cases, police entered the facilities after the shooters had taken their own lives and the shooting had stopped. While it is impossible to fully understand what impact a video alarm system implementation might have had in saving lives, such a system could only have helped authorities.

Enhanced Video Alarms bring greater value to the industry as Law Enforcement delivers higher priority response to video alarms. The Boston Police Department recently created a new dispatch code for video alarms, just under a crime-in-progress. Police respond faster to a video alarm and this means more apprehensions and a more secure community. This is something that we can sell.

One recent example has been tied to copper wire theft. As documented in recent case studies in this magazine, ATT suffered more than $2 million in copper wire theft. They added a cordless PIR detector with a camera. Once the motion occurred the monitor in the central station alerted the officer to “LOOK” and the officer was able to “VERIFY” an intrusion and dispatch officers, who also have the opportunity to see live video using mobile devices. The same video was distributed to both private officers and local police who converged to arrest the intruders before more damage could be inflicted on these expensive building management systems (Please see “Can Copper Theft Be Prevented?” at

Enhanced Video Alarm Systems offer near immediate resolution to the threat and indicates the appropriate response or lack there of. While connecting the dots seems simple, in many cases your system integration partner, monitoring company (or department), IT department and mobile device provider need to be brought together for maximum effect. A shining example is Sunoco’s A+ Stores application led by Bob Moraca. Sunoco’s EOC includes a retail intervention system featuring electronic first responders who can observe in store activity and intervene. More than 10,000 retail employees are trained on the systems and the use of remote panic pendants. The electronic first responder system enables corporate security officers to come on over the audio system and announce their presence. It also enables preventative response through enhanced situational awareness.

At the upcoming ISC West Show, leading technology companies will demonstrate the integration of video, analytics and communication that result in priority response, situational awareness and greater security. And that can be directly tied to the bottom line for improved performance.