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Security On the Minds of AV Pros and Clients

Aug 11, 2005 8:00 AM

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Security may have become an obsession since September 2001, but it has also become even more of a bread-and-butter business for pro AV. Clients are not only building more dedicated security and surveillance systems, but they are also thinking about security when doing all sorts of other things.

Security can have a range of levels. For individual users, a heightened security-consciousness may mean buying LCD displays with narrower angles of view instead of the wider viewing angles touted so strongly by manufacturers in the past.

For organizations, video surveillance is increasingly prominent, often fostered by the advent of high-quality digital video using MPEG formats. These formats have made it easier to handle multiple video feeds through simple cabling and to integrate video signal distribution more closely into organizations’ networks. The result has been a proliferation of new video signal processing and display wall control products.

George Douglas, senior vice president of SPL Integrated Solutions in Columbia, Md., notes security concerns in AV installs don’t stop with surveillance, access control, and similar high-level worries—these concerns extend into some pretty mundane areas.

“The problems also exist at a ‘local’ level as well as the terrorist situations,” Douglas says. “Disgruntled employees shooting their bosses have prompted a higher level of security awareness at most business levels and certainly at plant locations.”

Douglas says SPL itself doesn’t install security systems, but the company has nevertheless seen a heightened awareness of security among its clients.

“We have certainly seen an increase in the amount of cameras, door locks, entry tracking, and computer software geared towards higher security,” he says. “This concern surged in the aftermath of 9/11, but I do not think it will subside anytime in the future. The market may become saturated possibly, but security is here to stay.”

A long list of AV industry mainstays, including Audio Visual Innovations, ActiveLight, Extron Electronics, Crestron, Jupiter Systems, Clarity Visual Systems, Zandar Technologies, and others are all signed up to showcase products and services at the 2005 Government Video & Technology Expo in Washington, D.C.

Before that, the electronic security industry will gather in New York in late August for the International Security Conference (ISC East).

“It is clear that proprietary wiring for security systems is giving way to IP-based communication networks,” according the description of a conference session on IP-based security systems.

Another speaker is Brian Apgar, vice president and CTO of Broadware Technologies, who will focus on building scalable video surveillance systems. Broadware’s specialty is IP-based digital video, and the company notes that surveillance systems have left behind their old role as simple theft-protection tools and become “enterprise-class IT applications” that can also help improve processes and monitor productivity.

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