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Integrated technologies enhance buildling security.

Advances in new security technologies are enabling facilities to implement more effective security strategies at a lower cost. These technologies allow building owners to take advantage of an integrated approach to security system design.

Integrated systems bring all building security data together into one place. This information can include who enters and exits a building and where that person enters and exits. So, if an incident occurs, an access card or visitor's badge linked to video can more easily be searched, because the video will be stamped with a special marker that serves as an alarm event flag.

This is accomplished through the use of modern digital video recorders (DVRs), which offer the benefit of instant random access compared with older analog time-lapse videocassette recorders (VCRs), which cannot be visually searched in fast-forward mode.

While the composition and scope of a building's security system will vary by building size, the number of tenants, and system components, an average system for a 50-story office building, for example, might include 80 video cameras, from 12 to 30 access controlled doors, optical and/or barrier turnstiles in the lobby, and tenant/employee access cards.

The integrated system might also include four or five DVRs, a personal computer with security software, a visitor badging system with a camera to capture a person's image, and a badge printer to allow for visitor access.

Trends in building security management include a tighter integration of the security equipment with access control devices, communications, such as an intercom system, and video surveillance. Another new development is the migration from analog video to Internet Protocol (IP) video.

The benefit of IP video is that it can take advantage of any existing Internet infrastructure, including local and wide area networks, simply by plugging into the network.

Video IP also allows for remote access via the Internet from anywhere in the world. Furthermore, it offers a higher resolution compared with analog video, enabling greater clarity and the ability to perform a digital zoom with IP cameras utilizing mega-pixels.

Megapixel resolution cameras and digital zoom capability can help better enhance the detail of interest in a wide field of view scene, from a person to a license plate.

IP video can be secured using encryption. Additional security can be provided using firewalls as a first line of defense, stand-alone security appliances, and an off-site backup system. Digital video easily downloads to an off-site backup server. Today's building security systems can also be enhanced using video analytics software, similar to what is being used by for U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Video analytics software employs video motion detection capabilities to analyze a video for any change in a picture that indicates movement where none should be occurring. In most cases, sophisticated algorithms allow it to distinguish between environmental conditions and movement from a human being.

This new generation of software also brings the picture up to a full screen view and can trigger the integrated access control/alarm monitoring system to flash an alarm or trigger an audio alert. So, if someone leaves a package outside a building, that might be a potential threat, such as bomb or other WMD device, in the lobby or exterior of a building, the software can recognize this event and signal the appropriate alarm. In fact, the software is so sophisticated that facial recognition is now available in some video security software. This enables a more sophisticated search process that can track an individual's movements from any time period established in the software's search parameters. Once a person has been identified (for example, an ex-employee), the software automatically notifies security personnel, in real-time that an unauthorized person is on the premises.

For building owners or managers of multiple properties, video analytics can reduce the amount of required guardforce manpower after normal business hours, by enabling the monitoring of activities from a central location. For owners wishing to engage the services of a third-party service provider, there are companies that can effectively monitor clients' properties from another remote location.

Looking ahead, future technology trends include an increase in the size of mega-pixel cameras for greater clarity and reliability, and video cameras that will feature improved wide dynamic range (WDR). WDR enables pictures, from the darkest spot to the brightest spot in a scene--such as a camera looking from inside to a door or window--to have a balanced light level, enabling a picture of a person in the field of view of the camera to not be obscured in silhouette.

Being aware of current technologies allows a building owner to make smart investments in security systems for his facility.

Owners must also establish building security procedures and implement effective training programs to ensure security personnel have the wherewithal to properly operate and maintain the security systems.

Between a state-of-the-art integrated security system and trained personnel, a building's security and integrity will be assured.



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Article Details
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Title Annotation:SECURITY: Protective Design & Construction
Author:Klibonoff, Seth
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 2, 2006
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