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Integrated monitoring - Bold Gemini
The monitoring sector is no stranger to technical innovation with new security solutions continuously appearing on the scene.
For example, the very latest DVR may be evaluated by a user on the basis of its image quality and onsite recording capabilities. However, different measures need to be applied if the product is to be used for remote alarm monitoring. For remote monitoring, image quality is less important than ensuring incidents are reliably and accurately communicated to the receiving centre.
There is no single or ‘best’ way to provide a monitoring service. Broadly, there are two choices. One is to use the control software provided by the product manufacturer – with the advantage that it will probably be low cost or even free and should almost certainly work reliably with the product supplied.
The other possibility for handling a range of different products is to consider a platform solution.
THE PLATFORM SOLUTION APPROACH
The platform software developer works in partnership with a multitude of manufacturers, enabling the control room to need only one software solution to monitor all their systems. These include fire, intruder and panic alarms, as well as CCTV, audio, lone worker and access control. To accommodate the ever-changing product environment, new integration modules are constantly added, usually in response to user demand. Further advantages offered by the platform approach is that only one database is needed in addition to only one common user interface, one set of servers (minimising energy and space requirements)
INTEGRATED VISUAL PROTECTION
This is the type of monitoring solution used in the accredited alarm receiving centre, Integrated Visual Protection. From their National Security Inspectorate (NSI) GOLD accredited BS5979 Cat II Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) in South East London, Integrated Visual Protection (IVP) provides Closed Circuit Television Monitoring, and Alarm and Fire Monitoring.
Operations Director, Piers Brown, commented, “Providing a range of integrated security and safety monitoring solutions/services is a complex undertaking requiring careful planning and implementation. At IVP, we have a very exacting requirement. The issue that usually arises from providing such bespoke services is that each solution needs its own management software/hardware, which is seldom cost effective. This also raises other concerns including accommodating, different equipment, power, user training, support, audit and reporting.
To this end we took the decision to review a number of management platforms that can possibly handle those alarm and CCTV systems commonly used in Alarm Receiving Centres and the industry.”
THE RIGHT TOOLS FOR THE JOB
Piers continued, “It was important to us however that not only did the platform support those products we use, but that the quality of the integration met our requirements. This, especially so, given the absence of industry protocols in some of these areas, for example, there is no standard for CCTV alarm signalling. This means that the quality and functionality of interfaces varies significantly from one supplier causing problems for some ARCs and their monitored customers."
BOLD GEMINI INTEGRATED MONITORING SOFTWARE
Gemini software has been developed by Bold for the UK integrated security monitoring market over the last 8 years, and is now used in over 170 control rooms. Gemini’
Using the Gemini platform enables the user to rationalise hardware, dispensing with the need for a server for each application. This reduces the need for technical support for each machine, and the time and cost of maintaining multiple operating systems. Multiple points of failure and power consumption are minimised, therefore reducing the company’s carbon footprint, in addition to the amount of space needed in the equipment room. All this adds up to operational efficiency and provides significant cost savings.
Having now had the opportunity to use the Gemini monitoring solution for some time, IVP are delighted with the performance of the product as well as the excellent 24/7 support provided by the UK technical team. Piers comments, ”We feel that our original decision to choose Bold Gemini has been more than justified and are confident that it will remain the vanguard in this sector”.
Remote monitoring spans a wide range of security products, IT, mobile and fixed data networks, software applications, high volume contacts and processes, and numerous other elements, not to mention the human factor.
The job of the platform supplier and the user is to work together to leverage all these aspects to maximise the quality and performance of the service provided. This requires a sound operational strategy and effective organisational approach as well as the right security products managed by a software platform that has been carefully thought through, meticulously designed and is comprehensively supported.
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