Archive for May, 2011

No Shortcuts, Please.

To the end user, and the customer who actually has to pay for the finished installation, exposed outdoor wire should be unacceptable.  By leaving this this wire exposed, the entire integrity of the system is compromised. It is open to degradation by rain, snow, or strong winds, or vandalism or tampering.

Exposed wire

This particular installation causes even more concern. This camera wire has been run underground to a post (which is no cheap feat). Was the wire directly buried, or was conduit used?  There was clearly a design reason for this camera on this post.  The end user must have felt there was a strong need to invest their dollars to capture this particular scene.  The extra cost of properly mounting conduit to hide the wire would probably less than 10% of the cost of running the wire from the building to the post.

This wire screams, "Please cut me!"

Quick math on the project would look like this:  Outdoor camera $350, wire $50, Labor $400, for another $45 a good installer would include flex conduit, junction box and couplings.  This would protect the wire from 1) weather 2) tampering.  To replace this wire if it were damaged would probably cost $450.  Would you spend $45 up front to protect a $800 install?

YUCK!

By taking a little extra time, putting a little extra care, and treating the customer how we would expect to be treated, USA Security puts in a professional finished product every time.  Why would you accept anything less than the cleanest, most professional installation?

Not only is this installation much cleaner, but we custom painted these houses for the customer. Yeah, we do that.

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No, No, We’ll Take Care of That for You

As I work with customers throughout the area, one consistent I tend to see, regardless of industry, is the internal management of an access control system.  Somewhere along the way, companies decided that the ongoing responsibilities of ensuring operation of their access control components should be divided into different departments.  Almost universally it breaks down like this:

  • Server / Workstation, software updates – IT
  • Database management – HR
  • Door control and Hardware functionality – Facilities and Maintenance

During the first 12-18 months there are typically no problems as the system is fresh in everyone’s mind.  What we usually see is a scenario like this:

The Access Control software is loaded on a local workstation in the HR managers office.  He never shuts it down or restarts it, because he thinks the card readers won’t work while its in restart (untrue).  Because the system doesn’t get restarted, it never gets its windows updates, nor does it allow the software to get updates.  One day employee Jane Doe’s card doesn’t work at a particular door. HR has to try and re enroll her card, followed by getting the maintenance manager to look at the card reader.  They end up having to call their installing company to come look at it.  Since neither the HR manager, nor the maintenance manager are Access Control experts, they can’t really describe whats going on, other than someone’s card isn’t working.

The installing company comes out, spends a little time on site and sees that the workstation needs the software updates, and that the access control workstation is also being used as another workstation and is siphoning resources.  The installing company installs the updates, and poof, like magic, everything works

The kicker: Along with the wasted time of the HR manager and the maintenance manager, here comes the bill from the security company.

A Better Way?

Enter hosted and managed access control. USA Security offers a revolutionary access control platform that streamlines the entire process.  Here are several advantages

  • No need to source an onsite PC / Server for access control software- its all web based
  • No need to purchase access control software
  • No need to have an HR or Ops manager heavily invested in how to add, delete, or change users
  • Ongoing maintenance upkeep is built into the monthly cost. No surprise bills.

With hosted and managed access control, you simply email us any changes you want made and if we get them by 2:00 that day, the change will be made that same day.  All your data is stored on our server, you can access your data over internet explorer from ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.

Let USA Security manage your access control for you, so you can concentrate on your business.

Dealers:

Looking to implement a hosted access control revenue stream to your business, but don’t want the hassle of server maintenance?  USA Security will wholesale our manged access control services as well.  Call or email today to find out more.

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Future Proofing Your Service Calls

Look at Edgar up on that Ladder

More often than not, left to their own decisions, customers will want to put exterior cameras on their roof for “maximum coverage.”  This really only is a good idea if you have a 2 story building or a 1 story building.  At USA Security, we typically recommend mounting your cameras 12-18 feet off the ground. In most drop ceiling environments, we will punch out above the first floor drop ceiling and below the base of the second floor. There are two main reasons for this

1) Camera Shot: your camera is only going to capture so many pixels, why do you want to waste your first few thousand pixels on empty space between the top of your building and the top of whatever you are looking at?  By lowering the camera, you get much closer to your object of interest and therefore a cleaner looking shot. Also, the higher your camera shot, the more blind space you have before the beginning of your scene (or you’re just getting a top down look).

2) Future Maintenance:  this may be of even more long-term concern to the end user.  If a camera is at ladder height, it can be easily fixed, replaced, repaired by one of our technicians.    If you cut out the need to rent an outdoor boom lift every time you have a camera concern, you will thousands of unnecessary  dollars in repairs over the life of a system. Given that these are electronics, and they are bound to have issues at some point of their lives, the end decision seems like a no brainer.

Get those cameras down, get the good shot, save your future self some money. Duh!

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Your DVR Records at What? I Get a Better Picture From my Phone.

I am amazed when I see analog cameras recording to DVRs, especially in high-security areas.  While many of today’s DVRs can record at 640 x 480 (230,400 pixels), most do not.  When trying to cover large areas of parking, lobbies, or production floors w/ single cameras the digitized, pixellated image of 640×480 is not that distinguishable from 320×240, so to quadruple the storage time on a box DVR, most integrators and end users will drop to the lowest image quality available.

This speaks to the end question, what are you expecting out of your video?   Considering the new TV standard is 1080p (most HD broadcast are still in 720p), why would you allow yourself to install anything less?  My wife has a basic Samsung  flip phone (archaic in the ever evolving phone technology) that was given to her for free by T-Mobile for renewing her contract.  That phone has a 1.3 megapixel camera.  The camera that came on her phone is 18x stronger than the average analog camera recording in the field. iPhones have 5.0MP cameras, the new DROID phones from HTC have 8.0MP cameras.  We are walking around with cameras in our phones that are superior to 99% of the surveillance cameras deployed in the marketplace.

USA Security has achieved BEAUTIFUL forensic camera shots using Avigilon’s 5.0MPHD camera.  The bang for the buck in unparalleled.  When looking for a camera system for your business; whether it’s for protection, security, productivity, or any other reason, why settle for any thing less than the best? Look at it another way, you are going to pay a technician the same amount of money to run a line out for a camera and mount and install that camera whether its a $250 box camera or a $950 5.0MPHD camera, why not maximize that value?

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