Security Integration Complexity, Simplified

The ICT industry has had a major influence on physical security systems and integration, now is the time to make the next step and simplify a complex scenario. How can physical security take more from the success of the ICT model to improve system integration?
Over the last 10-years we have seen that the ICT sector has played an increasingly significant role in the physical security sector. ICT involvement and influence has introduced possibilities for significant benefits for end-users and also for installers, designers and other stakeholders. The expectation now is for better integrated security systems to improve management efficiency and drive business value.
An obvious benefit from ICT is the utilisation of the network that reduces the need for dedicated security infrastructure and the resulting savings from installation, support and future flexibility.  Security manufacturers launched IP (or IP enabled) solutions, so that devices, and their control systems, can communicate with each other across the network and rarely these days would a new security solution exist without the need for IP. But does this alone improve systems integration?
The challenge is to provide a truly integrated security solution and meet expectations to  improve operational efficiency, provide management information and add value to the business, while considering costs and future-proofing for the inevitable changes that will occur. But this remains complex since the physical security industry is overloaded with diverse hardware technology; each security solution (cameras, intrusion, access, etc) still requires dedicated controller hardware and host system.  Highly skilled, specialist security integrators have flourished and security integration management software may even be deployed to make sense of this complexity...but it still remains.
Perhaps a change of security system architecture based on an accepted ICT concept could make it possible to simplify integration, future-proof  and better meet business expectations?
The personal computer concept of a generic hardware device and operating system able to run multiple software applications has stood the test of time. Faster processors and cheaper memory are enabling us to achieve ever more from with our hardware and as software is developed independently it is unrestricted by hardware development. This model is replicated on (and has made possible) laptops, tablets and smart phones which have all improved our user experience.  In our everyday lives ICT defines expectations for control, connectivity, integration and availability and we buy our software applications without concern for how we will integrate them, or if compatible, with our operating devices.
By comparing these diagrams we consider an alternative approach based on a concept of generic hardware and separate software that simplifies physical security integration.

On the left schematic, we look simply at how most current security systems are deployed, consisting of sensor devices (cameras, readers, inputs, etc) dependent on dedicated hardware (panel or controller) which is in turn connected to their respective dedicated host server system, directly or via the network. System integration is achieved at the server level making it complex and specialised. There are multiple interfaces, protocols, databases, operating systems and updates to be managed. And what about the future? How is new technology change managed and how responsive to client driven adaptations is this legacy scenario? How does one ‘system silo’ affect the functional capability of another?
On the right schematic we see an obviously simplified scenario. The Security Controller is a generic hardware device – fast processor, large memory, able to run multiple software applications. From this single controller it is possible to manage multiple physical security solutions such as cameras, intrusion, and access control etc, either connected directly or by ‘peer to peer’ network communication. Configuration of the software to manage and integrate the security systems is now at controller level. By creating integration in this way we remove the complexity of inter-host integration, multiple databases, driver updates and multiple system event time stamps. Future change, updates and adaptations can be made simple by re-configuration and new sensors and devices can be added and integrated easily.
The security host environment is now only single server architecture with a single database which can be designed to fit with the ICT department’s standard managed environment. Deployment and lifetime support costs are reduced compared to multiple servers and information can be accessed and updated from a single database.
The result – integration complexity made simple.
Nedap NV manufacturers the advanced security management system – AEOS. Based in the UK, Netherlands and Worldwide, Nedap has been in business for 80-years with over 30 years of security experience, specialising in electronics and RFID. Nedap solutions are used in diverse sectors to protect some of the world’s most well known organisations.
For a hardback copy of Nedap’s Security Management Business Journal which contains whitepapers on a range of current security management challenges and ideas or for more information about this article email –

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