Cloud-Hosted Security Gives Comfort & Convenience To Concerned Families
The Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan (RMHWM) in Grand Rapids has been serving families of children and youth requiring critical and essential medical care since 1990. The house can accommodate 17 families and offers compassionate support, respectful privacy, and a “home away from home” so families are able to be close to their ill children when they are needed most. A new, cloud-hosted access control and security solution lets parents focus on their child’s health while feeling safe and protected.
When RMHWM underwent a $1.2 million renovation, House Services Director Megan Priester knew it was the perfect time to consider the benefits of upgraded security for the facility. The access control system — a key card solution that required local programming at each individual door — had become cumbersome and hard to manage. It had recurrent failures, including one guest being locked inside their room.
“We always want to make sure we do everything we can to provide peace of mind to the families without additional worries,” Priester said.
Grand Rapids-based SecurAlarm Systems Inc., a PSA member and family-owned and -operated systems solution provider, was contacted by the facility to evaluate the existing system. SecurAlarm Account Executive Vincent Witt had family members who stayed at one of the facilities in Ann Arbor, Mich., so he was well-versed in the organization’s important messaging to the community. Witt realized that the house would be
able to benefit, especially with a renovation pending, from upgraded access control. And with a strong tie to the community, SecurAlarm wanted to help the facility move to comprehensive, cloud-hosted access control under a budget they could afford.
“Our team is incredibly passionate about protecting the people and businesses in our community,” said Brent Van Haren, president of SecurAlarm. “This is literally why we were founded, so it has been extremely satisfying to be able to assist RMHWM with technology that supports their mission of providing a home away from home to families of children receiving medical treatment,” he said.
SecurAlarm focuses on expert managed access control and security services. The company offers customers three ways to control access control solutions: completely client hosted and managed; client hosted and SecurAlarm managed; and fully SecurAlarm hosted and managed. Integral to the managed services approach deployed by SecurAlarm is the Keep by Feenics cloud-hosted Access Control as a Service (ACaaS) platform, which gives customers a variety of options in hosting and flexibility and ease of use in managing access credentials and permissions.
SecurAlarm consulted with RMHWM on the benefits of cloud hosting and in the end RMHWM opted for off-site servers under Keep by Feenics, provided by Amazon Web Services.
“The hotel-like locksets they had in use were causing a lot of headaches,” Witt said. “Programming changes and other management had to be performed by plugging into each unit at every door and it was time-consuming and unwieldy. We wanted to be able to have them move away from that,” he said. Witt added that the Keep by Feenics security management software platform would provide the flexibility and ease-of-use the organization needed for a more comfortable living environment, along with a comprehensive application that didn’t require physically maintaining servers and updating software.”
The new access control solution consists of 41 readers, including 17 Schlage AD-400 wireless locks, 24 hardwired Allegion aptiQ multi-technology readers and two Allegion aptiQ wearable wristband readers, which staff members use in lieu of lanyards. Residents are able to access two main doors in the facility as well as individual rooms with proximity cards.
SecurAlarm also installed 19 Axis Communications P and M Series networked cameras, Notifier by Honeywell combination smoke and heat detection and exacqVision video management system (VMS) from Exacq Technologies, part of the Security Products business unit of Tyco. Cameras, which record on motion, have the capability of integration through the VMS with Keep, which RMH is currently exploring for a future implementation.
“They love the fact that they never have to deal with software support agreements/updates and have full redundancy and disaster recovery,” Witt said. “If there are any software changes, they get those automatically and immediately.”
Feenics was also able to provide a cost reduction to RMHWM. “Both Feenics and Allegion wanted to help RMHWM update their system at an affordable price,” said Brian Matthews, director of sales for Feenics, Ottawa, Canada.
With no IT person and no one to maintain servers on staff, it was a perfect fit for SecurAlarm to introduce Keep to RMHWM. SecurAlarm hosts the service for the organization, which manages the application readily thanks to hands-on training provided by the company. “It’s easier for the non-profit to budget for and pay for a monthly service, rather than having to raise funds for a large capital expense,” Witt said.
Currently RMHWM has two staff members with full access to system programming, permissions and scheduling, assigning keys and access levels.
“We wanted a dynamic system we could use to track the families using the home to make sure they have everything they need,” Priester described. “We’ve had it up and running for several months now and absolutely love it. One of the biggest benefits is the way we can specifically control access for different groups and families through the user interface, rather than at the door. We want our families to be able to use the residence easily without any added stress. And if a staff member or someone gets locked out we can unlock the system remotely, from anywhere,” she said.
“The families using the home are experiencing major medical issues and the fact that staff can remotely control the system from any Internet connection brings a source of solace,” Witt added. Security is more than hardware. It’s a commitment to trust, safety and comfort. SecurAlarm provided these benefits and more in its specification at the RMHWM in Grand Rapids, Mich.
IDIS announced the donation and installation of a comprehensive video surveillance solution for the City of Coppell, Texas — home of the IDIS America regional headquarters — in support of the city’s soon-to-open new library, the Cozby Library and Community Commons. The IDIS donation comprised more than 15 cameras —including two 5MP Super Fisheye cameras, an IDIS 6232-PS-S network video recorder (NVR), and the IDIS Center and IDIS Mobile video management software (VMS) solutions.
Director of Library Services for the City of Coppell, Vicki Chiavetta is thrilled with the donation from IDIS. “Library security is essential to keeping our patrons and staff safe while at the library, and IDIS’s donation of a next-generation video surveillance solution to the Cozby Library and Community Commons was a generous show of neighborly engagement and support for which we are very grateful,” she said.
“When IDIS selected Coppell as the location of the regional headquarters for IDIS America, we did so for many reasons, including the storied quality of the community and people of the city,” said Andrew Myung, president of IDIS America. “As our own ties to the community have grown, we have sought the chance to ‘give back’ to a city that has welcomed us with open arms. We are pleased to have the opportunity to support the families of Coppell and the new city library with the donation of an IDIS video surveillance solution, in partnership with integrator Knight Security, knowing we are doing all we can to ensure the safety and security of our shared community.”
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Response Technologies Ltd. addressed safety concerns faced by one of the largest school districts geographically in the state of Washington — North Franklin School District. Through its 2016 School Emergency Safety Grant, Response Technologies awarded and installed a complete Centurion Elite Emergency Notification System district-wide, valued at approximately $20,000.
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3xLOGIC Inc. announced that Silktown roofing, Manchester, Conn., installed four 3xLOGIC VERA thermal cameras to combat thefts occurring in their expansive parking and storage lot.
The 3xLOGIC thermal cameras were installed in July by Sonitrol New England after a previous surveillance technology failed to curtail robberies of Silktown vehicle catalytic converters. Jim Erlandson, warehouse manager, oversaw the camera selection and installation.
“We’ve got most of the fenced-in area covered now, and the cameras are quite effective. I’ve run test ‘break-ins’ a few times to check the system, and on those occasions Sonitrol definitely gets the alarm right away.”
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Princeton Identity recently implemented an iris recognition system at Brevillier Village, a long-term care and independent residential/retirement facility in Erie, Pa., that will make access control procedures easier and more convenient for both residents and staff.
According to Jean LaFuria, vice president of residential services, Brevillier Village, there were problems on-site when residents had difficulty using the access control keypads to move about the facility. A variety of options were investigated, including larger keypads to increase visibility, but none were an ideal solution. “The easy-to-use iris recognition technology from Princeton Identity was the answer for our challenges,” she said.
The solution from Princeton Identity involved adding two of its IOM (Identity on the Move) walk-through identity systems and six IOM access control readers in the personal care building. IOM readers are installed on four sets of doors at two heights — a lower position for those in wheelchairs and a higher position for those who can stand or use crutches or a walker. Once enrolled, users simply glance at the iris reader without having to remove glasses or place their eyes close to the device.
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Boon Edam Inc. announced that Pensacola Christian College (PCC) installed 12 Boon Edam waist-high turnstiles to manage entry into two of its dining halls. PCC had turnstiles that were 20 years old and as Amy Glenn, chief communication officer, put it, “we had exhausted the life out of those units.” PCC was also having real problems getting replacement parts. “What brought us to Boon Edam was [their] willingness to work with us,” Glenn said.
Boon Edam turnstiles are installed in both the Four Winds and Varsity dining facilities. “We use the turnstiles not just for count, but also to determine eligibility,” Glenn added. “We live and die by our counts each day. As a large food service operation, the counts are vital in our estimating process for meal needs. Accurate counts save us money by reducing food waste, while still ensuring we meet demand,” Glenn concluded.
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The Gary Sinise Foundation’s Restoring Independence, Supporting Empowerment (R.I.S.E.) program designs and donates one-of-a-kind, specially adapted smart homes to severely wounded veterans and their families across the country. While on foot patrol on his third tour in 3rd Battalion 5th Marines in Afghanistan, Gunnery Sergeant Guillermo Tejada stepped on an improvised explosive device, losing both of his legs and severely damaging his hip cavities. After countless surgeries and intense rehabilitation, Tejada now lives as a double amputee in San Antonio, Texas.
The Gary Sinise Foundation turned to its team of dedicated partners, including connected home solutions provider Core Brands and Texas Hill Country smart home automation system design and integration company, Sterling Home Technologies, to create a user-friendly smart home connected by an ELAN Entertainment and Control System.
The ELAN system controls the Vantage Lighting system; two thermostats; six IP cameras for security; and Q Motion motorized window shades with the touch of a button. To operate the system, the family can use two ELAN gTP7 in-wall touch panels, two ELAN gHR200 remotes, or the ELAN app on their mobile devices. To protect the entire system from power mishaps, two Panamax MR4315-Pro power conditioners and a Furman F1500-UPS battery backup were installed.