Perhaps it was the most educational poker tournament ever created – more than 100 architects and engineers participated in an innovative, creative and dynamic program that integrated best-of-breed technologies together for a video management system “bake-off” in Santa Monica, Calif. Sponsored by Axis Communications, Chelmsford, Mass., and its technology and application development partners, attendees from leading consulting organizations squared off in a competitive poker tournament that pitted eight different video management systems against one another.
It was highlighted by Mike Kuhn’s presentation (vice president of business development at Convergint Technologies, Schaumburg, Ill.), as he discussed the best and worst experiences in working with consultants on security projects from the systems integrator/installer viewpoint. The key to success, Kuhn said, was getting off to a good start with communication and collaboration.
“There are many components to a successful outcome, but it really comes down to teamwork and understanding. IP is the technology engine driving security projects today,” Kuhn said.
This interactive event enabled these leading security consultants to experience, explore and analyze the different video management solutions in fun, real-world applications. The feedback among attendees was very positive as they pointed to the value of keeping current with new technology and recognized that IP solutions were increasingly important in their consulting expertise and proposals.
“This is a good use of my time, which is very limited,” said Henry Homrighaus Jr. of Professional Security Consulting in San Antonio, Texas. “The value is in seeing the new technology in an application. I can see who is moving to H.264 among both my peers and the vendors. The heads-up comparison of MPEG4 and H.264 performance is very valuable. Plus the poker tournament is a fun and effective way to view the physical layout and see different video management systems perform.”
The ballroom was transformed into a poker room as Axis and its application development and technology partners built an eight-table casino to host the two-day poker tournament (see “Axis A&E Poker Tournament Partners” on next page). This enabled the A&E community to enjoy themselves, compete and directly touch, compare and score different video management systems.
The instructions to the attendees were straightforward: This casino has decided to buy Axis cameras and has hired you to select the best video management system from among these eight solutions.
Tom Galvin, president of NetVideo Consulting, Corvallis, Ore., was enlisted to create an evaluation form that encompassed the key evaluation criteria including:
Live video monitoring to follow a person in the casino, HDTV/megapixel camera evaluation using one camera to create multiple views of the cards, Sabotage to identify camera tampering/set off tampering alarms, Video forensics to find a thief through search and playback, Event detection and management during a real-time alarm, Architecture, scale and redundancy of the software system, Video storage options and management, Overall integration capabilities with access controls, point of sale and video analytics.
IP-based security solutions are now more widely accepted and quickly becoming the standard within the industry. It seems almost daily that another manufacturer releases a new IP-based product. Given this shift towards IP, the detail needed in a written specification by a consultant has increased tremendously. There are plenty of traditional systems integrators â€” many of them with little to no experience â€” who are being asked to install and service IP systems.
One client I recently worked with made an attempt four years ago to install an IP camera and recording solution. When I arrived to survey the site, the equipment was just sitting idle in the racks. Was the integrator not qualified to do the job, or were they missing a well-written specification needed to be successful on the project?
Both the terminology and technology has changed from the days of analog, along with the knowledge needed to design, install and support these systems. Performance-based specifications can work as long as you have someone knowledgeable who understands the requirements and exactly what an integrator installed.
So what are the basic questions that have to be asked when writing a specification for an IP-based solution? By asking the following questions upfront, consultants will save integrators and owners time, money and aggravation: