Aussie installers need to
get used to the idea of IP-based alarm systems. It’s true there is a
little bit of time to go in some areas, but as the NBN carves through
the Australian comms-scape things are going to change fast.
IT has taken perhaps 15 years for wide area IP connectivity to
become central to business operations but today loss of IP networks
means business grinds to a halt. The centrality of digital
communications, its ubiquitousness and the certain disconnection of old
comms paths guarantees us an IP future.
are multiple considerations here and it's quite possible that like the
CCTV industry the alarms industry will see an extended period of
hybridisation, with new installations being full digital and older ones
jumping onto networks using some form of encoding.
either case IP alarm monitoring is not a choice, it's inevitable.
Telcos want to see the back of analogue and the reason for this is lack
of bandwidth. Digital comms which can be compressed and rebuilt and
readily pumped about through 1GB Cat-6, fibre, or 3G and 4G wireless
links, is more compact. This is an important consideration.
know that we pay for our IP connectivity on the basis of bandwidth. And
the more bandwidth telcos can squeeze into their infrastructure, the
greater their RMR. It's a simple and powerful business imperative.
Regardless of any disadvantages, digital will win because it makes
suppliers more money.
often hear about the disadvantages of IP – the terror of lost links and
the idea of all those black hatters out there, just gagging to chop
their way into our domestic alarm systems. But there are plenty of
advantages and perhaps the greatest of these are the most fundamental.
signals are a direct connection, an oscillating waveform. Whether it's
DTMF or some other option, you need a direct path between transmitter
and receiver in real time. Ok, you can split analogue signals and rout
them through different exchanges but it's complicated and more
comparison, IP signals are essentially digital packets of information.
If you've been reading SE&N for a while you'll know these little
data packets come replete with a header that allows them to find their
way through circuitous networks. A bit like the DNA of a cell, these
packets contain instructions on how to rebuild the message when it
arrives at the monitoring centre – this gives packet switching a
flexibility you never get with analogue.
this with modern self healing networks and you get a solution that
ensures packets that get lost or encounter a blockage are almost always
going to find their way to the receiver and when they do, the message
will be able to be reconstructed perfectly. This makes digital signals
very, very robust.
the biggest advantages – the ones we've been harping on about at
SE&N for years now – are the fact that digital opens up
communications in a way that allows security systems to be smarter, more
powerful, and more intuitive than they ever have before.
a start digital comms are duplex and that means direct connection with
the front door on a mobile device or workstation anywhere on earth via
simple browser interface. And this 2-way communication need not just be
voice, it can be video as well, or any sort of event reporting data or
output instruction a manufacturer devises. It's silly to say there's no
end to it, but there's a lot of scope for new stuff.
are other potential advantages, too. Some a little frightening, I grant
you. Typical alarm systems and CCTV systems demand star configs of
copper cable to get aboard control LANs. But in a full digital
environment, a device might port to a switch, or it might access the
network over WiFi. This latter is the big one in my opinion. WiFi based
cameras and sensors are a sure thing at some layer of our market.
many installers the entire concept of IP is too much to bear. But once
you're across the fundamentals of IP, installation is immeasurably
simpler. Everything is uniform, everything is more predictable, every
system and in some cases, every device can be interrogated as part of
automated maintenance procedures. Firmware upgrades can be automatic or
propagated across whole networks of devices.
such a system needs to be managed and it’s unlikely IT departments are
going to want responsibility for physical security in commercial
environments, while in domestic environments, true IT capability is
usually in short supply.
standardization of monitoring comms with IP industry standards draws a
long bow in the short term. When you consider the plethora of
proprietary standards that govern the functionality of security systems,
the idea of bringing them all together in a single communications
protocol is daunting. I think it will be a process that will take
decades. Solid state security systems are profoundly reliable and as we
all know, few organisations will pull functioning systems out just for
the hell of it in these competitive times.
we are going see then is a process which includes the introduction of
full IP security systems which will be installed moving forward. Behind
these new systems will remain a vast installed base of legacy equipment
that we are going to need to bring online using whichever method works
best for our clients.
is easier than it appears and it's going to be a profitable process.
There are a number of devices on the market that are dedicated to the
process of bringing alarm systems online. In fact it's very fair to say
this part of the market is maturing and will continue to mature over the
next couple of years.
there's a challenge to bringing the installed base online, it's
selecting an encoding solution that's able to handle a wide range of
DTMF signals from multiple alarm manufacturers. As we know, most
installers stay with the same alarm manufacturer for long periods of
time but for companies that specialise in bringing systems online, a
polyglot encoding solution will be needed.
installers, choosing the right product will include other
considerations. The RMR model in video surveillance runs all the way to
the top so you need to select carefully and be sure your needs and your
client’s needs are best served by the technology and the manufacturer
no doubt this hybrid period will bring plenty of opportunity and it
depends on the sales capability of installers as to whether users to
pull out existing systems and upgrade to 21st century digital technology
or choose to drive hybrids.
state security systems are profoundly reliable and as we all know, few
organisations will pull functioning systems out just for the hell of it
in these competitive times”