Ask the Expert: Milestone Systems

Henrik Pedersen, Business Development Manager of Milestone Systems, explains how the Smart Buildings concept is creating an opportunity for video management systems

Written by Henrik Pedersen, Business Development Manager of Milestone Systems and published in Security Buyer Magazine.

The world of construction is heading for continued growth in many economic hotspots around the world in 2016. London, for example, has been experiencing an unprecedented boom in the building of commercial office space and this is now spreading to other major UK cities such as Birmingham and Manchester. There is simultaneously an evolution occurring globally in the way we design and create our buildings. Worldwide, the trend is to create buildings with the final user-occupants top of mind from day one.

So systems that control buildings should instead enable users to control them. And building firms should be more focused on supplying value added services associated with the smooth running of a building rather than just putting up a building and walking away. The idea of ‘Building as a Service’ is even coming through into public discourse.

Coincidentally, smart technology being specified in a new commercial building project makes all this possible. New buildings are built with multiple sensors everywhere from IP cameras, to fire and smoke detectors, thermostatic controllers, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) control systems, biometric readers for access control and much more besides. All these IP devices are also getting more intelligent.

IP video management systems (VMS) such as Milestone XProtect are now capable of turning images from the front of a car, as it enters a building’s underground car park, into a number plate which can then be checked against an database of authorised license plates. Once a match is established, the car park barrier can be automatically lifted. By contrast, an image or video stream of an unauthorised vehicle can be sent automatically to a remote security manager’s mobile device and they can make a decision whether to release the barrier, or not, having established the credentials of a visitor through the video and had a short conversation.

Video management systems such as XProtect, can act as an intelligence centre or visualisation hub where alerts are verified alongside any visual evidence that the buildings’ sensors can provide. Is the increase in heat in that server room actually because a server is running abnormally hot (which is often a precursor to HDD failure) for example? Or worse, is there a small fire underway which needs immediate attention? This intelligence can be gleaned by marrying a temperature threshold alert with a real-time video image. Based on a verified level of threat, the right person can be sent to deal with the problem.

So it is possible to see video management systems sitting right at the centre integrated with BMS’ and taking in and making sense of data coming in from multiple smart sensors, creating intelligence out of data from multiple integrated IP devices.

In this vision, XProtect can be used to not only enable more comprehensive building security, but also more intelligent and responsive building management, as well as building services optimisation. Now that is a vision that is worth pursuing as it offers much greater control for buildings’ users. It is also food for thought for architects, designers, construction firms, BMS providers, building services providers and facilities managers alike.

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Read the full byline article about Milestone Systems' take on Smart Buildings.