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Four tips to buy the right integrated security solution
To meet a user’s specific needs, a truly integrated security solution must include video surveillance and other security systems on a single platform. Although this is a high criteria for any system designer to meet, it is now becoming increasingly possible. Integration solutions require a commitment and expertise on the part of systems integrators as well as security product manufacturers.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing an integrated security solution:

Interoperability: do the different components of the security system “play well with others?”

An important aspect of compatibility is compliance with industry standards and open architecture. For example, is the manufacturer involved in promoting standardisation of communication among IP-based physical security devices and interoperability? Open Network Video Interface (ONVIF) standards ensure interoperability in system-wide solutions. Companies like Samsung are actively working with organisations such as ONVIF to promote industry standardisation. Components in a system should use the same standard protocol.

Collaboration: have all the manufacturers in the solution collaborated with one another?

When choosing a video management system, always confirm that the software supplier supports the specific component brands slated for the job. Confirm that manufacturers of various system components have worked together to do all the integration “heavy lifting” before combining the components into a system design. Check manufacturers' websites to confirm compatibility.

Technical support: do manufacturers support the systems integrator?

The systems integrator is the end-user's point of contact for technical support. However, manufacturers should be available to back them up as needed. Security cameras and other system components should be protected by warranty.

Make sure that each system component effectively plays its integral role to the overall system. The resulting solution will work as expected while leveraging the full benefits of each component's product features.

Costs: what are the hidden and maintenance costs?

Maintenance costs related to a video surveillance system can be cut down drastically with high quality equipment. Another ongoing cost is licensing fees charged by some suppliers. Look out for suppliers who may not charging license fees for hardware or software solutions.

Delivering cost-effective security solutions

As open systems become more the norm than the exception, the level of integration between video, access, alarm and other fire/safety systems will continue to increase. And these complex security systems will continue to offer even greater functionality and become more user-intuitive. The most important thing to remember is that integrated security systems are not about technology, but how technology can deliver new and better solutions.