Today, the world is connected like never before. Your watch is connected to your phone, which is connected to your tablet and so on. As we’ve begun to embrace this ‘smart’ lifestyle, what we’re really embracing is the integration of systems.

Why do we connect our devices? The simplest answer is that it makes life easier. But, if that’s the case, why stop at our own personal devices? Connection, when applied to a business’ operations, is no different: it lowers effort and expedites decision making.

Integrating security systems

Systems integration takes the idea of connected devices and applies it to an enterprise

Systems integration takes the idea of connected devices and applies it to an enterprise, bringing disparate subcomponents into a single ecosystem. This could mean adding a new, overarching system to pull and collect data from existing subsystems, or adapting an existing system to serve as a data collection hub. Regardless of the method, the purpose is to create a single, unified view.

Ultimately, it’s about simplifying processes, gaining actionable insights into operations and facilitating efficient decision-making. Although integration is becoming the new norm in other areas of life, businesses often opt out of integrating security systems because of misconceptions about the time and resources required to successfully make the change. So, instead of a streamlined operation, the various security systems and devices are siloed, not communicating with each other and typically being run by different teams within an organisation.

Time-intensive process

When systems are not integrated, companies face a wide range of risks driven by a lack of transparency and information sharing, including actual loss of property or assets. For example, a team in charge of access control is alerted to a door being opened in the middle of the night but can’t see what exactly is taking place through video surveillance.

Without integrated systems they have no way of knowing if it was a burglar, an equipment malfunction or a gust of wind. Without integration between systems and teams, the ability to quickly put the right pieces in front of decision makers is missing. Instead, the team would have to go back and manually look for footage that corresponds with the time a door was open to figure out which door it was, who opened it and what happened after, which can be a time-intensive process.

Integrating access control and surveillance systems

Theft and vandalism occur quickly, meaning systems and users must work faster in order to prevent it

This slowed response time adds risk to the system. Theft and vandalism occur quickly, meaning systems and users must work faster in order to prevent it. Security systems can do more than communicate that theft or vandalism occurred. Properly integrated, these systems alert users of pre-incident indicators before an event happens or deter events altogether.

This gives teams and decision makers more time to make effective decisions. Integrating access control and surveillance systems allows for a more proactive approach. If a door is opened when it’s not supposed to be, an integrated system enables users to quickly see what door was opened, who opened it and make a quick decision. Integrated solutions are more effective, more efficient and help drive cost-saving decisions. Ideally, companies should establish integrated solutions from the start of operations. This allows companies to anticipate problems and adjust accordingly instead of reacting after an incident has occurred.

Security camera system

Although starting from the beginning is the best way to ensure comprehensive security, many companies have existing security systems, requiring integration and implementation to bring them together. Typically, companies with established security systems worry about the impact to infrastructure requirements.

Is additional infrastructure necessary? How and where should it be added? What financial or human resources are required? These concerns drive a mentality that the benefits gained from an integrated solution aren’t worth the costs of implementation. Thankfully, this is becoming less of a problem as security providers, like Twenty20™ Solutions, work to offer adaptable solutions. With flexible options, operators don’t worry about adding or replacing infrastructure to align with a provider’s model.

This allows users to monitor camera footage and gate traffic from one system

If a company has an existing security camera system, but identifies a need for access control, a modern integrated solution provider can supply the gates for access points and equip the gates and cameras with the technology to connect the two. This allows users to monitor camera footage and gate traffic from one system. This model also spares operators additional costs by using a sole vendor for supplemental needs.

Overall management of security

While a single, unified system is beneficial for cost saving, it can also help the overall management of security. The ability to view all operating systems in one dashboard allows security personnel to manage a site from any location, reducing the expense and effort required to manage a system. The mobile world today means security directors no longer need to be in a centralised operations center to see alerts and make decisions.

This simplifies processes by allowing users to quickly see an alert, pull up a camera, delete a user or check an access log from a phone. Modern networks are secure and accessible to those with permissions, without requiring those users to be physically present. Consolidating security systems is the first step companies can take toward streamlining work, information and costs. The next step is integrating all sites, both remote and on-grid.

Energy and communication technology

The integration of sites and systems turns mountains of data and information into actionable intelligence

Traditional methods demanded two systems: one for on-grid facilities and another for off-grid locations. With advancements in energy and communication technology, the need for multiple systems is gone. Data from remote sites can be safely and securely fed into an existing system. These remote locations may gather, distribute and manage data in a different manner than a connected system due to the cost of transmission via remote connections (i.e., cellular or satellite connection).

The end result, however, is a consistent and holistic view of operations for the decision maker. The integration of sites and systems turns mountains of data and information into actionable intelligence. With connected devices monitoring occurrences at individual sites, as well as events across locations, the data tells a story that is unhindered by operational silos or physical space.

Identifying patterns and trends

Instead of providing 10 hours-worth of footage that may or may not be relevant, system analytics can provide users with the specific set of information they need. Incidents once discarded as ‘one-off’ events can now be analysed and data-mapped to identify patterns and trends, directing future resources to the most critical areas first.

Consumers are increasingly expecting everything they need to be right where they need it – and businesses are right behind them. The current generation of security professionals are increasingly expecting the simplicity of their everyday personal tasks to be mirrored in enterprise systems, which means giving them the ability to see what matters in one place. A unified system can provide just that, a single view to help simplify processes, promote cost saving and accelerate decision making.