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Simplify The Complexity: Designing For The Future With The Power Of Choice

Kevin Marier of Milestone Systems discusses what differentiates the security solutions as the most valuable based on his experiences in IP video surveillance implementations

Written by Kevin Marier, Director of Large Account Business Development at Milestone Systems and published in Business Solutions Magazine.

Customers looking to invest in a network-based physical security system have many more options than the traditional analog world used to provide. My comprehensive experience with IP video surveillance implementations over the past decade has shown the solutions providing the most value are those based on true open platform architecture as they allow the greatest power of choice.

Cornerstone Values For Best Practice In Project Design

To put the power of choice in context, let’s consider it in relation to four “ability” words that act as IT platform cornerstones: scalability, extensibility, interoperability, and availability.

First, scalability. When designing a solution for a customer, it’s critical to consider the circumstances and conditions in which we are placing the solution. If a customer has both big and small sites, the power of choice gives him customizable options to fit each rather than forcing him to try to make a big solution work for a small site, or vice versa.

The second cornerstone in a security landscape is the ability to extend a platform in a way not initially anticipated by the customer, or extensibility. If you envision the customer’s needs as a road, extensibility is the part of the road that hasn’t been built yet. The customer knows he wants to get somewhere farther down the way, but the path is not yet fully paved or even visible right now.

Change The Conversation

Most systems integrators are trying to sell the end of a solution when customers really need them to sell the beginning. If the customer wants a system with 1,000 cameras, that requires scalability. However, the first deployment may only be 100 cameras.

An important message I want to convey to systems integrators is to change the context of the conversation. Too often we focus on the big potential of an opportunity but don’t invest in making that potential viable by taking concrete steps to lay the foundation properly. Throwing short, five-yard football passes one after another gets you down the field to the same goal line just like a longer, riskier “Hail Mary” pass; it may take a little longer, but the success rate is much higher.

Find The Right Platform, Fit For Purpose

The third cornerstone to consider in good project design is interoperability. This describes a system’s ability to operate predictably with another system or product. It touches on the differences between “integrated” and “interfacing,” which are different depths of operation. Both terms describe how a software solution will share data with other software or devices.

  • An interface refers to two programs or systems, which may have been developed by different sources, sharing information with each other.
  • An integration implies the products are working as one solution, interacting tightly (often called seamless in marketing speak).

Ensure The System Works

What should really be the focus is a system’s availability. The power of choice allows you to invest in the defined level of availability as relevant to each customer, which translates to measurable thresholds of uptime in the system. With the power of choice, we can give a quantitative availability percentage by designing the system to meet the required expectation.

In considering best practices for the network-based physical security industry, the power of choice is an important requirement that not only determines scalability, extensibility, interoperability and availability, but ultimately allows the customer to realize the potential of the opportunity.

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Read the full byline article to learn Milestone Systems' standpoint of what makes a security solution valuable.