Integrating Access and Security: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

When nothing (bad) happens, is it the result of an effective security program or divine providence? Don’t answer that!

When the weather is clear, security is measured solely by its expense, lost time, and the inconvenience it causes. Even in the role of the undernourished stepchild, security is still expected to provide professional personnel and asset protection, loss prevention, reduction and management of risk. In the building arena, security received its first real boost with the implementation of Crime Prevention Through Engineering and Design (CPTED).

Security metric analysis and benchmarking have now given security the quantifiable measurement tools it needs to cross the threshold of corporate credibility and be added to the value-added services and cost effectiveness offered especially, as security components provide vital data to the BMS network — to the extent that security can now begin to justify its cost per square foot.

GOOD: Security is a major business opportunity. The products and integration tools are here. Vykon Enterprise Security and Honeywell WEB-AX Security, with Dedicated Micros, AXIS, Milestone, and others provide cameras, DVRs/NVRs, drivers, technical support, and guidance. The marketing collateral and website support are impressive. Integrated video analytics, left behind technology, and trip wire counting — as well as Threat Level Management (TLM) have introduced new standards in the enterprise security world.

Bundling security delivers this golden sequence: A card swiped at the exterior reader begins with video verification, then disarming the system at the intrusion detection keypad, enabling the elevator, changing zone status to occupied HVAC and lighting, energy monitoring, and tenant billing, all shared as data across the network.

GREAT: Technical and Marketing support from people like Honeywell’s Roger Rebennack, who’s passion and dedication is opening up the world of access and security to building automation controls contractors and redefining how owners and engineers view “single seat” control and systems integration. These efforts should not go unrecognized or unappreciated.

BAD: The Doomsday Approach is not a good marketing strategy, though security has always been evaluated and managed by hindsight, where no news is good news. Security has a long sell-cycle and the momentum is easily lost. You can’t wait for a fully funded project, so you must take the modular approach that invites and risks individual component pricing versus an integrated system. Are we getting the same prices on ancillary items, like security cameras, as Security only companies? Does it really matter, given that we as the Systems integrators, hold the knowledge and the Building Automation Controls front end? I for one am hoping for better prices, but I want to know what you are seeing. Please let me know your experiences pricing these other items, in comments.

UGLY: Access control, CCTV, and the security industry in general are years behind HVAC regarding integration with proprietary systems. Integration into most of the existing systems ranges from difficult to nada, though the hardware is usually reusable. There are still issues within our own nest of products, and you will no doubt get your share of bruises as you sort out the best locksmith and sources for the little parts and pieces.

HVAC professionals are earning a suffix stripe to the end of their HVAC moniker. The term will become HVAC-I, to represent all the integrations done under the canopy of HVAC. Learning and selling security will require money, time, and energy to educate yourself on a whole new set of codes and regulations, but the HAVC professional needs to claim security as part of its integration package. In time, your customers will expect it. The longer you wait, the steeper the slope! As I see it, security is a concept by which we measure our fear, and every layer of security we have around us, is a good layer.

I am curious, how many of us are talking to Owners about integrating Access and Security and including Access and Security in our proposals? If you are an HVAC systems integrator that has embraced security as part of your product offering, raise your hand in comments! Many would say that only a large Branch operation has the technical abilities to integrate Access and Security. What say you, fellow independent contractors? Does a Owner need to go to the Branch for this type of work or do we have the right stuff?

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4 Responses

  1. Good : Business is good
    Bad: I am having to work harder for the same amount
    Ugly: If the Johnson Branches are bulling independent contractors out of jobs, well that is just plain Texas Ugly

  2. Good: I am healthy and have a great family
    Bad: I want to make more money
    Ugly: The pimple on my a–

    Clint, I am liking your blogs, don’t back down, your opinions are appreciated

  3. Thank you for your insight, I some thing we can work on as an A/E firm while spcifying controls and security systems.

  4. Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Nonetheless, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back often!

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