Are Integrators at Fault for Wireless Video Surveillance Problems?

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jan 25, 2010

A common theme from manufacturers of emerging physical security technology is problems caused by security integrators. Firetide presents a very interesting case where an integrator was at fault for problems with a wireless video surveillance system. Here is a key excerpt:

"Per our suggestion they switched over to directional antennas. However, they cheapened out and purchased [non-Firetide approved antennas]. As a courtesy (because I live in the area) I went on site to see why they were still having problems. They had panel antennas at the poles but were trying to use 120 degree sector antennas to pick up multiple poles. I recommended purchasing more wireless mesh nodes but that was rejected. So they only other option was to use splitters to multiple panels which they accepted.  But because they did not want to spend the money or take the time to purchase LMR400 cable, they terminated some RG59 cable and it worked.

On the one hand, I am sympathetic to Firetide's conclusion that "much depends on correct installation and proper selection and placement of antennas." On the other, manufacturers are mostly stuck with the integrators available - good, bad or otherwise.

Interestingly, I have heard the same form of critique from the video analytic vendors who often blame the performance of integrators for false alarm issues.

We think the best way for manufacturers to resolve these problems is to:

  • Make products easier to use - by simplifying software configuration or providing kits that eliminate setup complexity. 
  • Provide easier to access in-depth training and education, preferably through on-line videos. We are blown away how hard it is to get even user manual for some products. For instance, Firetide has no user manuals available on-line nor any training. Like many manufacturers, their material is limited to high level marketing/propaganda. I am sure partners can get access to more details but why make it hard for techs to get this - especially when they may be on the road or be checking during hours when Firetide is closed or when the people in their office are unavailable.

While we think some integrators cause problems, we think its imprudent and counter-productive to focus the fault on them.

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