Securely United: IP Video and IT Convergence
Email, texting, and even photography are indispensable components of smart phones. Home refrigerators now house HDTVs. GPS devices are integrated into automobiles and golf carts. Virtually everything about our personal and professional lives is tied to a network. So is it any wonder that IP video and IT have also converged?
Leveraging the present. Preparing for the future.
The security industry is, by nature, conservative. This may be attributable, in large part, to the conservative nature and size of the key industries served: financial, healthcare, transportation and government. These industries have not always been early adopters. But spurred by the events of 9/11, and the power and accessibility of the Internet and virtual networks, the convergence of video surveillance and the IT infrastructure is accelerating.
No question, companies are still highly invested in analog video. And rightly so. It has taken years – and tremendous capital investment – to build up analog surveillance systems. They will not go away tomorrow. But the migration is on. Some companies are moving from analog to hybrid systems, just as TV manufacturers went from analog to HD-Ready televisions. Other forward-looking companies are making the move directly to IP video.
Convergence of teams as well as technology
The move to IP video demands the attention of IT departments. They are being asked to work with integrators and their own security departments to leverage the robust security applications IP offers. The most successful IP video implementations are distinguished by the following practices:
- IT is brought into the mix early, so the Department can anticipate any issues that may arise and be recognized as a valued part of the team.
- The exact roles of the integrator, IT and Security Departments are defined from the beginning of the project.
- The integrator provides pre- and post installation support, thereby demonstrating its expertise and commitment to the project and the customer.
The network is the network is the network
Of course, if the network infrastructure is built to anticipate future needs, the company is way ahead of the curve. This kind of thinking will have a significant impact on a company’s return on its technology infrastructure and total cost of ownership. Fact is, IP security devices do not require a dedicated network. They should be accommodated just like any other appliance on the network - just another switch to be turned on when needed.
A case for compliance, cooperation and business value
One of the most compelling instances of IP video and IT convergence is Tyco’s partnership with a major North American hydroelectric utility. New regulations, established to protect a major power grid, required improved security and monitoring between two major power plants, a transformer station, backup sites and numerous remote sites.
Leveraging the utility’s existing IT infrastructure, Tyco provided a unified platform that accommodated various types of connections, including the existing WAN, dial-up and WIFI infrastructure, depending on what was available at each site.
Tyco designed and specified the entire project – from network configurations to hardware to service level agreements (SLAs). The company also prescribed guidelines that helped the utility establish priorities for each site.
Tyco supplied the expertise on the initial programming at the two primary sites and continues to assign its technologists to the utility’s other sites as they come online. This helps ensure that each site is properly integrated into the system and employees are quickly brought up to speed. Under Tyco’s supervision, the utility uses its own engineers and technologists to install the cabling and equipment that, in most cases, are provided by Tyco.
Speaking of convergence, Tyco continues to provide managed video services, including remote system administration, remote IP video monitoring, remote alarm monitoring, image retrieval, as well as remote access control. As sites are added, a bigger picture is revealed. Events can be viewed and evaluated, and appropriate action can be taken anywhere, anytime.
In keeping with “the network is the network is the network” theme, this major utility is also using its upgraded security infrastructure to run operation functions. For instance, meters installed on residential and commercial properties feed energy usage and billing information back to appropriate departments.
This massive and complex project is a model of convergence, cooperation and compliance. It is a snapshot of present and a roadmap to the future. The bottom line: companies that anticipate the value of the convergence of IP video surveillance, alarm monitoring, access control and the network infrastructure will be better positioned to profit from this powerful business asset.