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Showing results for tags 'Standards'.
Change is coming, like it or not... There is currently a movement by many businesses within our industry to get involved with much more than just 'vanilla' alarm installations. What does the near and distant future hold for those involved with service delivery, manufacturing, installation or the monitoring of such systems? Are we truly on the way to Security 2.0? It is a clichéd term, but we are currently on a one way street towards our industry either embracing other technologies and service offerings OR facing the very real prospect that our services will be provided by other industries in our place. They will not provide these at a standard which is anything close to our current quality and performance, yet with the apparent move towards an eventual privatisation of emergency response and with apathy from some key stakeholders towards resolving these issues we must accept that maybe the way we have always done things is not perhaps the only viable solution. Growing demands of the 'hyper-connected' generation... End users have been somewhat spoilt by an age of technology that has provided information at their fingertips. Interaction is available instantly, on-demand and in several different formats allowing end users to decide to use their laptop, phone or several other mediums to check their status and to provide a means for them to control. This has been also available in our industry in many ways with smart phone apps for control panels, CCTV systems and direct access to control their alarm monitoring. This is not going far enough though. This is control in a granular fashion with multiple applications and protocols being used and a 'clunky' approach to solving issues and having to cross reference several systems to get answers. The user experience (UX) needs to improve drastically if we are to keep up. Events such as CES2013 have highlighted the developments in white goods and home automation systems showcasing smart homes and their benefits. This has the potential to develop into an 'expectation' in new homes as clients look to a UX that matches the rapid pace of their changing demands. What, where and how.. So where do we fit into all this, considering there is already an established and rapidly growing industry providing home automation and AV solutions? As an industry we have previously provided 'system integration' which allowed end users to benefit from the best in class of each type of product whilst still allowing such systems to work together in what was a seamless manner offering a fantastic UX as far as the end user is concerned. This has always been a strength in our industry and one that we have shown great expertise in, though this has been supported by rigorous standards and protocols with flexibility and the enforcement of these among equipment manufacturers. If we are to provide the same level of interoperability with evolving markets and next generation products that are not yet available (Google Glass / iWatch / Etc...) then we need to begin to agree on how we are going to achieve this. One of the most critical points is to try and avoid the closed (proprietary) protocol approach and inflexible standards that have stifled our industry to date which have been a major part of our inability to move as quickly as the technology has. We should consider being less technology specific and aim to instead define in our standards a clear end goal and aspirational targets yet with scope for multiple methods of meeting these. Standards are by their nature outdated as soon as they are released. We should aim to find ways to improve engagement with their development and enforcement and look to other industries to ensure that we are delivering the best possible offering. Is the current system effective at delivering the intended aims such as protecting end users? One of the most crucial elements is to select the most appropriate 'eco-system' of a platform and protocol combination that will support developments and allow complete interoperability. Choosing a winner... In moving forwards there are currently several platforms to allow communication between our current systems and likely potential future developments. We already have some systems available to support building management and 'smart home' systems: X-10: Basic protocol which has been in use for a while. Uses home power network Z-Wave: Widely supported product range and was the first wireless protocol Modbus: Very basic wired serial connectivity Insteon: Enables wireless comms on X-10 format and improved UX ZigBee: Newer wireless technology but struggles if multiple manufacturers kit used Both Z-Wave and ZigBee have an alliance behind them to promote the benefits of the platform and to support uptake. In some cases a combination of these technologies can be used to acheive the end result. For example some Smart Meters use Modbus protocol to exchange data via an RS232 port but then Z-Wave or ZigBee or others, to then pass that information on outside the device. So how do we pick a winner from all of these standards and more? What benefit is there from all manufacturers and system integrators using the same languages? We can focus on patching and fixing multiple disperate protocols until we are blue in the face, or, we can all agree on an approach and then put that same energy into developing the possibilities that are enabled through the agreed technology. There may be countless disagreements at first, but if we can stand united as an industry then that would give us strength to tackle some of the more difficult challenges and showcase the potential of our place in this emergent market. We have in the past struggled to work collaboratively, but social media and changing attitudes now mean that we can have much more open and frank discussion and can see the immediate benefits of doing so. As an industry we have a lot to offer and we can create world class solutions when we work effectively. I am optimistic that we can all pick a winner and that we can all succeed. I would ask all readers to consider what they can do to work effectively with others to ensure that we provide a solution that puts us on the map as world leaders in innovation and effective collaboration. Legal Notice: All images and logos remain trademarks of their respective owners and are used in accordance with the fair use of a copyrighted work for purposes such as comment, criticism, news reporting, teaching or research.
Is an unregulated industry the future? Companies that operate outside the parameters of the BS & EN standards but attempt to offer services within its scope are on the increase...nothing new you say.... ...yes thats true, what is new though is that growing sympathy is swelling for the unregulated and possibly these companies are even seen as forward thinking by some rightly or wrongly, although this debate will certainly cause conflict it does raise an important issue of how and why these companies can offten operate and offer the same services as the regulated? ACPO are currently discussing the growing number of calls for LWD attendance without URNs. At the same time there are companies claiming ACPO support and guaranteed police response without demonstrating accreditation. Unregulated security companies are falsely advertising as "Police approved", "secured by design approved" and claiming adherance to BS and EN standards, interesting, what is to stop these companies from operating in this manner? I have spoken with various people within the industry and it is apparent that there is a lack of faith in the current mechanism to ensure that only accredited companies achieve a police response. This could potentialy erode the legitamacy of our trade. Has has there been a lack of collaboration between trade bodies and inspectorates? Is there a risk that more companies will move to this unregulated, less costly approach? Are industry trade bodies approaching this issue robustly enough? Has your business been affected by unregulated trade?
Bigger = Better? Many barriers currently exist for businesses which are planning to run their own Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). In the coming months we could potentially see some of those barriers crumble and a whole new way of doing business materialise. Winners & Losers Traditionally setting up an ARC from scratch has been an expensive and time consuming process, which can rely upon expertise in the field to implement and is surrounded by very little shared information or open resources (ARCs for Dummies is not out yet). Existing ARCs face to lose out if more competition enters the fray and yet at the same time suppliers could benefit if more new business is generated. Barriers So what exactly are the barriers to setting up a modern ARC? Building / Structure Buildings and structures must comply with specific requirements of the standards Equipment / Hardware In some cases specialist equipment may be required Communication Networks From voice communications to PSTN to IP via fibre links and all flavours in between AE Platforms Software packages used to monitor remote system Licensing / Accreditation Strict standards must be met in order to escalate calls to authorities Employees Skilled and capable staff are needed (You can automate some of this process but not all - yet Processes & Procedures You can have all of the above but without the correct procedures they will fall over Investment A large amount of money must be spent before you can earn a penny back If you think of any others please add them in a reply... What's so 'Super' about that?... These and I am sure other points which I have likely overlooked, all make that first step of implementing an ARC a tough proposal. Given an ever improving core broadband network, with rapidly reducing prices and a growth in 4G wireless IP communication, can we now consider another approach though? ARCs usually build in a certain amount of spare capacity at any given time; this is good practice and is recommended at all times. Could some of this spare capacity be utilised to allow an ARC to operate as a 'Super ARC' by receiving and processing signals on behalf of a client ARC and relaying these processed alarms and signals back to them for handling? Why even go to another ARC? Could suppliers of alarm handling software packages not offer their own hosted 'Super ARC' platform? Maybe signalling providers could operate their own Super ARC to encourage more startups or extend reach? Why would a user choose to go to an ARC outsourcing to a Super ARC? Well, maybe they prefer the personal service offered by the smaller ARC but want the assurance of the capacity of the larger ARC. This could give rise to a stepping stone approach to bringing an ARC online, streamlining costs whilst allowing processes and procedures to be ironed out. The current standards would not lend to such a proposal, however the incoming standards allow a much less restricted approach and this type of centralised cloud based processing of signals is going to become a reality in many industries. Current latency and bandwidth restrictions will simply not exist in the same way in future. Questions, questions... As usual we can end up with more questions than answers so I would like to ask you all to consider the following: 1. What problems would you foresee with such an approach? 2. Would you use an ARC which outsourced it's platform in this way? 3. Would you want to host services on behalf of a.n.other ARC? 4. What pros and cons do you see with this type of solution? 5. Is more ARCs a good thing or a bad thing? As always, please feel free to discuss, debate or disagree...