When preparing your initial security design for a client, how often can you enjoy the comfort of having the integration requirements stated up front?
The sad truth is that integration requirements are usually not known until the system is commissioned.
If the systems you design don’t support open data interchange standards, your client could soon be looking at additional costs.
Besides, your designs often need to be future-proof for at least a decade.
In today’s market, security system vendors are forced to deliver increasingly complicated devices and software.
Users frequently require security systems to integrate not just with building systems, but also with their internal systems.
Integration with lift systems and time and attendance systems is fast becoming a standard, while HR integration can greatly aid automation.
System integration can be used for:
- Process automation
- Safer and more efficient staff movement
- Intelligent office development
Access control system management staff are often heavily burdened with routine and repetitive tasks, such as changing access rights, blocking/unblocking users, registering guests or issuing replacement access cards.
Automating such tasks can greatly reduce administrative workloads. One way to automate these processes is to connect the access control and human resources (HR) systems.
With integration, new employees can be automatically added to the access control system, and terminated staff can be automatically blocked.
By correlating employee departments with the relevant access control rights, staff can be automatically granted the required privileges to move around the building.
Safer and more efficient staff movement
Ensuring effective staff movement inside the building can be a real challenge for building management personnel, especially during peak hours (start of work, lunchtime and end of work) and in bottleneck locations, such as entry gates and lift lobbies.
That’s why design integration between the access control and lift control systems is extremely important: this must support building security management while allowing fast and effective movement of people between the various zones and floors of a building.
When the two systems are integrated, the lift system can be notified of an employee’s expected target floor as soon as an access card is scanned at the entry gate.
Intelligent office development
Businesses looking to rent office space are increasingly demanding buildings with modern solutions for maximum convenience.
When access control and building management systems are integrated, lights can be turned on automatically, room temperature can be set depending on the person, and lights can be automatically turned off when everyone leaves a zone in a building.
Integration can also provide the basis for developing dedicated building management applications with functionality far beyond these simple examples.
To meet these expectations, vendors of access control and burglar and intruder detection systems provide interfaces that allow their products to interact with the environment.
- Integration using inputs/outputs
- Integration using vendor-supplied tools
- Integration using ODBC
- Integration using web services
Integration using inputs/outputs
This method has been in use since the very first security equipment appeared.
It is mostly used in simple installations where systems integration is limited to defined dependencies between system statuses.
It is also found in simple integrations of access control and lift systems. In more complex installations, using this method is not only difficult and troublesome but frequently impossible.
Integration using ODBC
To ensure data security, the system should allow customers to create a dedicated database user with access only to the relevant data.To help customers integrate systems with their applications and solutions, electronic security system vendors may provide direct access to the system database via an open API, such as ODBC (Open Database Connectivity). ODBC allows customers to retrieve any required data from the access control or burglar and intruder detection system by reading directly from the database.
While this interface allows easy data retrieval, issues arise when third-party applications need to add or update system data.
This requires detailed knowledge of the database structure, including relationships between tables and table fields. Performing database modifications without this information is extremely difficult and can result in database damage or loss of consistency.
Despite these limitations, ODBC is the most powerful method of retrieving data for reporting, statistics or feeding into third-party databases.
Integration using web services
Web services are one of the most convenient ways to access data in computer systems. Data is transmitted between systems over HTTP or HTTPS in XML-based data formats.
This interface is also the most secure from the standpoint of database consistency, as third-party systems may only perform precisely defined operations to which they have access. In effect, the interface acts as an intermediary to database access.
This greatly simplifies integration, since you don’t need to know the database structure to integrate with a system.
Third-party software can also update database content — for example for the access control system — much more easily than via ODBC.
Vendors of access control and burglar and intruder detection systems use open standards, including SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and RESTful APIs, to allow simple and effective data interchange.
By selecting security systems that allow your designs to support integration using open protocols, you can ensure your clients’ peace of mind.