Subscriber Discussion

Is This RFP Specification Realistic?

This is about specs from consultants that specify things that can not be done or the specs are so high that might not be useful or not worth the expense. I have a feeling that I stumbled upon such a project with very high-end specs and some of the things asked might not be possible. I am very interested to know if what is asked below (I include specs below in separate posts) is possible - please have in mind this is a huge project. So do you think any IPVM (I am guessing this is what they are looking for) is capable to do all this?

Disclainer: Our security division is fairly new but we have big experience in audio/video and automation in both resi and commercial environments. Of course we have not bidded on the two projects below since I do not think we are ready to tackle them but I would love to know if what is asked if possible

Please review this questionable spec (PDF).

It looks like they are copy/pasting many items from spec sheets and already know at least what cameras they want. A few discrepancies: The system shall provide digital video storage facilities to support 4 CIF, MPEG 4, at least 12.5 fps at full resolution for 16 hours per day for at least 20 days. All cameras shall be of high definition (HD) resolution and is to operate on an IP network using H.264 and JPEG compression and bandwidth (sic) throttling to efficiently manage bandwidth and storage requirements while delivering outstanding image quality. The cameras shall be day/night and utilise a 1/3" day/night CCD with progressive scan. Their resolution shall be 1280 X 720 pixels at 30 ips 16:9 image format or better. The cameras shall be directly controlled from the video management system with its software to support all camera functions.

- - So they want 720P cameras but only 4CIF recording? That seems a bit strange. The sensitivity of the cameras shall be such that they will produce a colour image with a minimum scene, illumination of 1 lux and a monochrome image when in the night mode with a minimum scene illumination of 0.4 lux. The cameras shall provide enhanced night viewing through the increase of the IR sensitivity by automatic switching from colour to monochrome operation in low-light applications. The IR filter shall be switched manually via the alarm input or remotely over the network.

- - I wonder how they came up with the 1 lux spec? Do they even know if they'll get usable color images at that light level? Unless otherwise specified 1/3” auto iris, varifocal length lenses with 3,5 – 8mm focal range at F1.4-360 iris range shall be provided, to the approval of the Engineer, to achieve adequate fields of view for all cameras at the locations shown approximately on the drawings. At maximum working distance an object 1.8m high shall give a monitor image not less than one-sixth screen height.

- - They're specifying camera location and lens focal length without knowing for certain they will get the image size they desire. Hmmmm!!!

These all seem like common mistakes but not particularly showstoppers (i.e., they are not asking for anything out of science fiction).


my main problem is the level of integration they are asking. I am not sure if any IPVM can do this or maybe only systems from one company like Honeywell or Bosch can do this. For example they ask for integration with the intruder alarm system and with the audio evacuation system through software and through an ip connection. I will try and concentrate all the integration requirements and post them separately.


It could be worse. My previous employer wanted me to specify and bid on the California 91 freeway camera system. The RFP drilled down to exact brands and models of everything, many of which I felt were questionable. Specifically, they specified a manufacturer (I think it was Everex) that built totally proprietary everything and even then, was in serious financial trouble.

I convinced my boss to pass on the project. The RFP was at least 200 pages and included all of the typical government BS.

10.01.2 The electronic security systems will include the following systems: CCTV Surveillance, Access Control and Addressable Door Monitoring, Guard Patrol, Doorphone Intercommunication, Integration of all Systems

10.01.7 The electronic security systems shall be interfaced with the Building Management System (BMS) which will be provided as part of the Mechanical Installations. This interfacing will provide facilities of specific control functions and communications to the specific system in an alarm situation. This interfacing shall use a proprietary industry-standard network of open architecture such as Lonworks or equivalent. The responsibility of the interface connections and all necessary communication gateways between electronic security systems and the BMS shall be wholly on the electronics system’s provider. The CCTV surveillance system shall be fully integrated with the Access Control System, and Alarm Door Monitoring System into card 10.03.8 The VOS shall be a map based CCTV management software. A map edition tool shall allow the user to create easily his own Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) from a wide variety of sources for screen maps (Autocad files Bitmap etc.).

10.03.9 In case that a camera video signal is lost, the VOS shall have the capability to alert the system’s administrator. The VOS shall receive all incoming events from the electronic security sys`tems (access control, burglar alarm devices such as motion detectors, magnetic contacts etc.) and shall take appropriate action based on user defined programmes. The VOS shall create an audit trail of events and user activities. The log file shall be editable and searched for specific events. The access control system shall be fully integrated with the CCTV Surveillance System and the Fire Alarm and the Voice Evacuation Systems into a central electronic security system The central equipment shall provide control, monitoring and programming facilities and they shall allow interactive control on a common platform with the Access Control, the CCTV Surveillance and the Fire Alarm and Voice Evacuation systems. Integration of systems (Access Control, CCTV, Burglar Alarm) shall be completely seamless and shall be done through direct software link and not through mechanical contacts or inputs / outputs.

10.05.11 Graphical user interface (GUI) The system shall support a graphics function, which shall display building layouts and representations. The system shall display the status of all points on the system (Access, CCTV, Burglar Alarm, Door Monitoring, etc.)

10.05.13 Central Buildiing Integration System (CBIS) The CBIS has an open architecture design. It supports industry standards for databases, networks, credential printers, video cameras, and more, such as OPC, AutoCAD, HTML, ASPX, and MS-SQL. No customized or proprietary PC software or hardware is required to operate the system. All subsystems, such as fire or intrusion panels, voice evacuation systems, or video devices are connected using the OPC interface standard. The CBIS monitors these interfaces. The monitoring signals malfunctions and operational availability of the connection to each subsystem in the CBIS user interface. The OPC server supports the import of existing subsystem configurations for direct use inside the CBIS configuration, avoiding double input of similar data. It is possible to use OPC servers (software drivers) running on any PC inside the corporate network. Re-installing OPC drivers on the CBIS computer shall be avoided. The system can perform a wide variety of security management and administrative functions as part of a total integrated package. These functions include the following: Central alarm management and monitoring, Intrusion detection and security management, Fire system and life safety management, Video management, Access control management, 3rd party system support, such as automation systems The CBIS must provide a real-time device overview of the entire system’s status. All connected subsystems are shown on a status tree, such as intrusion detection system (IDS), fire alarm system, video systems, access control hardware, and individual detectors, as well as internal items, such as server or operator status. A direct control into subsystems is possible by clicking on panel/detector address.

10.05.14 Subsytem’s Management The CBIS shall provide the advanced and seamless connection, monitoring and control of OPC-compliant intrusion detection systems and similar security systems, such as hold-up systems or perimeter fence control. It should support the standard detector types typically connected to those systems, such as:motion detectors, glass break sensors, seismic detectors, hold up buttons, magnetic contacts, Light barriers, RF barriers, Input contacts (2- and 4-state mode), relay outputs and so on The CBIS must allow authorized operators to arm or disarm existing areas/zones defined inside the Intrusion Detection System. The actual status of the areas/zones are shown real-time in the device overview. Any alarm/event coming from an Intruder Detection System’s detector, the Intruder Detection System’s itself, or from a similar system must be displayed real-time to all authorized operators on their dedicated workstations with all corresponding location maps, animated icons, and assigned alarm documents. Parallel alarms/events are stored in the CBIS event log. All operator actions on such an event are also stored in the event log for seamless reporting. The CBIS must be able to link directly to connected video systems. It displays live video from one or more dedicated cameras in the same user interface corresponding to the intrusion alarm/event. The CBIS also allows the automatic trigger of alarm archives in corresponding OPC compliant DVR systems. Links to such alarm archives are stored in the CBIS event log, and allow direct access to the archive in later reporting. The CBIS provides an advanced and seamless connection, monitoring and control of OPC compliant fire alarm systems. It supportsthe standard detector types typically connected to those systems. Seamless Integration with PA or Evacuation Management The CBIS must allow to trigger automatically announcements in a voice evacuation and p.a. system. With the CBIS timer functions, progressive evacuation scenarios must be definable.

9.21.1 The Fire Alarm System shall be integrated to the AVE system in such a way that upon activation of a Fire Alarm one-way supervised automatic voice alarm operations should be activated. Interface of the Fire Alarm to the AVE system shall be done through direct software link and not through mechanical contacts. This interface should be supervised.
9.21.2 The system should recognize on which zone fire alarm was activated and the appropriate emergency announcement sequence should be followed.
9.21.3 The integration of the Fire Alarm System with the AVE System shall be according to EN54.

This sounds like what I would consider to be (at least approaching) a PSIM.

...and I know this is stupid and small in relation to the entire data dump above, but it's what I noticed:

10.03.9 - "....The VOS shall create an audit trail of events and user activities. The log file shall be editable and searched for specific events."

why would you want to be able to edit this? Audit logs are the holy grail. If editable, they lose their value imo... :(

This is design build, and we will figure out the details thru addendums and the Job walk. Seen many like this in the past.

Not this Bad, but bad.

Hahaha great spot Marty. Has anyone noticed if they referenced the last customer/job that they copy/pasted this timeless classic from? Those are my favorites in RFPs.

So guys can any PSIM do all these?

I dunno about realistic, but it's pretty entertaining...

This is not an unusual set of RFP requirements for a large (>$1M) systems integration project. You would need to identify each of the external system vendors, hardware and software versions to be interfaced with (BMS, Fire etc) and then look for a suitable sensor integration platform (PSIM or high-end VMS), with perhaps some requirement for custom software integration. But nothing that appears unrealistic for an experienced integrator.

Step 1 is to verify this point: "The electronic security systems shall be interfaced with the Building Management System (BMS) which will be provided as part of the Mechanical Installations."

This implies to me that they already have a BMS in place. Who's BMS is this? What electronic security systems does this integrate?

Later, the spec mentions a "Central Building Integration System (CBIS)" I would want to know if this is the same thing as the BMS or something different?

I doubt you want a PSIM here. If they already have a BMS in place, determine what it is and what systems it integrate with. Design from there.

The Central Building Integration System implies BMS more than PSIM. I would be careful about pitching a PSIM in this context.

Also, this clause is a clue: "All subsystems, such as fire or intrusion panels, voice evacuation systems, or video devices are connected using the OPC interface standard."

I don't think PSIMs typically use OPC to connect to security systems like video. OPC comes from the building management / automation world.

Given the requirement for OPC and the term 'Building Integration System', this might be a spec written about Bosch's Building Integration System. See this diagram:

First, the specification is not for a CCTV system. it is named "Electronic Security Systems" It seems to me this specification is not for a system integrator but for a PSIM. I would not spend any time on this after reading the specification.

Marty Major is correct that this is a spec for a PSIM. And yes it is poorly written but not that all uncommon when a consultant pulls together multiple manufactureres specs into one (they didn't name any manufactueres). Yes it can be done and I would price it with explanations on the conflicts which are too many to list in a short time frame.
The Undisclosed Integrator should not attempt such a system as it is a very high end spec (he would probably loose his shirt on such a deal). I would guess that only about 2% of the security integrators in the USA understand such a system.
The only thing they missed was integration into a fire alarm and mass evacuation system! Realistic? That all depends on the facility.
Just my 2 cents.

The dome camera shall operate from Power-Over-Ethernet (POE) in accordance to IEEE 802.3 at class 4 for indoor applications

Class 4 indoor domes? Meat locker surveillance?

Sometimes, you just have to call the baby 'ugly'.