Technology at work: Integrating Whole-Club Security and Home Control
"They get more elaborate each time we do them," admitted Craig Snair, president of CS Security & Sound, Palm Desert, Calif., referring to the gated communities and country clubs that are typical in the Palm Springs, Calif., area.
More than 100 such communities are in the area, and residential systems integrator CS Security & Sound has specialized in these communities, along with more commercial and residential work since Snair arrived in the area in 1990.
Large security companies often are not interested in gated communities and country clubs, because many have their own central stations and the opportunity for recurring revenue is not available.
"There's still a lot of profit to be made on the installations," Snair asserted. "We also have maintenance agreements after the job is done with the higher-end clubs. It takes 10 percent of installation cost annually to maintain one of these systems properly."
CS Security & Sound installs commercial security and fire alarm systems, CCTV, access control and residential security, audio, video and computer networking.
The company's latest project, Toscana Country Club in Indian Wells, Calif., is one of less than a dozen that combine elaborate perimeter security systems with structured wiring standard in the homes, which range in price from nearly $900,000 to more than $2 million.
Still in its early stages, the project is scheduled for completion in five to seven years. Already, approximately 20 of the new single-family homes are occupied with a total of 600 homes planned for the project.
Security around the perimeter of the club is provided by a backbone of 48-strand fiber-optic cable and 100-pair copper wire. The copper wire around the perimeter and up to the club houses in the center of the development provides alarm initiation for 81 photoelectric beams. The fiber-optic is for 13 Pelco pan-tilt-zoom surveillance cameras and the development company's Internet, internal e-mail and VoIP telephones.
Each of two entry gates at the north and the south of the club has from four to six cameras on the entry and exit lanes to record vehicles. The pro shop has - and locker rooms under construction will have - internal CCTV, each on its own Dedicated Micros DVR and also on the club's network, so the security director or other authorized personnel can view them.
Toscana's command center, which is temporarily headquartered in the gate house, monitors the CCTV and has one or two officers stationed 24/7 with two to four patrol vehicles.
Each gate has an automatic vehicle I.D. system that operates with a transponder similar to those used on toll roads. The system announces each homeowner's name as the vehicle with the appropriate transponder approaches.
This enables the guard to know that the person is authorized to enter or leave. The CCTV system records the license plate of each vehicle entering and exiting and associates the video file of the license plate with the data file from the transponder. The software for the system is from Safe House Systems and the hardware from Sirit.
This job is so complicated that it is treated as two separate ones, indicated Gary Hall, vice president of CS. "We have one project manager with a crew that handles the actual facilities and perimeter security, and a separate project manager with seven installers who handle the wiring of the houses," Hall revealed. "We have 10 employees on the property every single day."
Each home comes with an Open House structured wiring system from Channel Plus that has two multimedia ports (two Cat 5s and two RG-6s) in each room of the house. The capacity for lighting and environmental control also is included.
Broadband is provided through the telephone company's DSL connections that come through the fiber-optic wire to each house or through the local cable company. Residential phones are not VoIP yet.
The security system is hardwired. Wireless Internet access is provided in most homes. Among the nine model homes at Toscana are many different options for home theaters, whole house audio, HVAC and lighting control.
Hall estimated that approximately 80 percent of the homeowners at Toscana upgrade with audio/video options. "Even the basic wiring for this project is profitable," he insisted. "We're not wiring anything for $100 - there's no need to."