9 months ago



INTEGRATION CCTV integration is currently in its infancy – the industry is only just starting to move away from its insular approach. Nevertheless, the technology does exist (from previous page) very different regulation and hardware – it’s hard to integrate your fire detection system with your CCTV loop if they run off different cabling and voltages, or, more importantly, if the regulator has different requirements for each. Whereas there’s a sure end to a security event, with a fire, the situation can continue for hours or even days and develop into a much more serious disaster. As a result, health and safety regulations have traditionally treated the systems that monitor these events differently, making it hard for companies to understand the benefits of system integration. Thus, it’s never been more important to explore the possibilities of integration. Peter Lackey continues: “Although the number of fire-related deaths in commercial buildings has been decreasing on average over the last several decades, insurance claims are at almost £1.6m per day – and rising. These difficulties are made worse by increasing numbers of large open area buildings – often with little or no fire compartmentation – and worsening arson figures. Some modern buildings are designed with large internal atria, which make detection and containment of fire more challenging for the fire alarm design engineer. There has also been an upturn in crime related arson, with fire used as a means to destroy evidence that would be discovered through any subsequent forensic investigation. Here, integrated video surveillance equipment can be used to record evidence while also confirming the presence of fire.” Where should security professionals start? CCTV integration is currently in its infancy – the industry is only just starting to move away from its insular approach. Nevertheless, the technology does exist: the big players in the market have begun to launch graphical front-end systems capable of handling the extra inputs and making the system more user-friendly for optimum speed and efficiency. This technology is likely to be adopted first by large facilities management companies overseeing high-budget buildings, such as in the City of London. But as with all innovations, once the concept has become accepted it will begin to filter down through the industry, from upmarket new builds to facility redesigns, and ultimately to widespread usage. “With older fire systems, building managers have to contend with differences in voltage and cabling, making it impossible to simply patch cameras into the existing circuits,” reveals Peter. “Countering this problem requires an interfacing system. Companies should overlay a separate camera system to mirror the existing fire system, connecting the two networks through controllers in the central control room. In this situation, the central user interface is key – it’s important to have an intuitive platform to work over. “The ideal situation following integration is that the new system acts as a labour-saving device, making it easier for safety and security staff to do their jobs. What it shouldn’t do is make it harder to decipher multiple sensory inputs.” A future for integration Companies involved in new builds and total system overhauls have a unique opportunity to put integration at the heart of any safety and security project, installing connecting systems from the beginning, bolting CCTV onto fire safety systems. This can be done with analogue equipment, but an increasing number of providers are moving towards high-definition, IP-enabled cameras. The arrival of internet of things (IoT) devices means that it is not long before everything from cameras and detectors to doorways and stairwells will contain IP-enabled sensors, feeding back important and essential information to the central control room. This way, teams can be more confident about providing effective coverage for the whole site, with automated assistance to speed up their response times. In the fire safety industry, where the stakes are so high, it’s vital that security teams take full advantage of the new capabilities on offer in order to maximise the chances of successful responses. “Where fire and security are concerned, the right choice of equipment can provide peace of mind – by using CCTV integration on sites, security professionals can leave work knowing that their site and its workers will be safe,” concludes Peter Lackey. “To prevent false alarms and ultimately save lives, it’s high time CCTV integration became a reality.” 30

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