This month Simon Banks talks to Tim Northwood, General Manager at Inner Range Europe Limited, a world leader in the design and manufacture of state of the art access control and security solutions.
As alarm systems advance, do you ever see a concept where the alarm is completely in the Cloud with a Smartphone as the keypad?
Partially Cloud based solutions and Cloud based alarm monitoring is already widely accepted and used in our market. Manufacturers of alarm products also now offer secure Cloud connectivity and Apps which give the user the ability to control their system and receive notifications for alarms/events. At present, there is still the need to have hardware on site but no need to have any user interface for this, just a web enabled device. Most sites have access to broadband and only connection to a router is required. Taking this further to being completely in the Cloud is not that big a step. For example, if there were wireless devices on site reporting to wireless gateways (preferably able to support a mesh type network) a connection could go to the premises’ broadband router and out to the secure Cloud based control software.
What challenges do we face in making Cloud control panels a reality?
The first challenge might be to convince installers that this is the way to go. In my experience, installers can be understandably cautious when moving to new products and will choose familiarity over fad. Additionally, if these systems need to be graded, the European Standards would need to be reviewed. Their basis on traditional hardware control panels would present a number of issues; back up battery or power for example.
Do you think alarm systems and other verticals such as Home Automation have converged at the pace predicted?
To put it bluntly – no. We see a lot of alarm system Apps and interfaces that offer the user basic functionality e.g. the ability to turn things like lights or heating on and off but this isn’t the true use of ‘real’ Automation. Systems that use logic and gather feedback to tailor services to an individual’s needs are where we need to be for full Automation and convergence.
Have you seen evidence of other vertical markets moving into the traditional intruder alarms sector?
I can’t say I have seen much of this at all in the intruder alarm sector. A few networking hardware businesses have entered the enterprise access control markets, but not with any degree of success. Should the concept of the alarm being completely in the Cloud take off, I suspect a number of Home Automation manufacturers would enter the intruder alarms sector as they already have easily transferable technology ready to deploy.
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