A COUPLE of years
ago you could have been excused for wondering whether a swing from
dialler-based monitoring services to IP comms might unhinge the monitoring
industry. Many worried that the dollar-a-day with rebates equation would be
overtaken by free comms running over the public Internet and serviced by a new
generation of ISP ‘backyarders’.

It’s now obvious
these fears were unfounded. Far from being weakened, providers are using the
power of IP communications to significantly enhance the services they can
provide their customers. Even more importantly, as Internet services and IP
communications improve, the products and services monitoring companies are able
to offer their customers is likely to be even further enhanced.  

A good example is
the Securitel replacement offered by AlarmLink. AlarmLink’s service uses
Emizon’s secure alarm transmission network in conjunction with Optus GPRS. The
cost for the transmission device is $129 and after this cost is dealt with the
weekly cost is a measly seven bucks fifty.

It’s a pretty
amazing deal considering the quality of the service provided, including dual
path reporting, no connection or third party network charges, C1-C5
certification, full redundancy and 5-year warranty.

As IP monitoring
services mature, you have to wonder about the potential of future offerings,
particularly as Australia’s National Broadband Network is installed over the
next few years. The big idea with the NBN is the establishment of an Open
Access Network delivering download speeds of 100Mbps to 90 per cent of homes
and businesses – that’s Fast Ethernet speed.

“Then there’s the
500-pound gorilla in the control room – remote video monitoring of the type
touted by Suretek and VideoControlRoom. You have to hand it to these pioneers –
and tip your cap to SNP whose unbroken involvement in remote monitoring dates
back to the IP pre-history of the late 1980s”

In larger centres
the NBN will be fibre-based while in regional areas wireless and satellite
technology will be employed. As has been widely reported, the NBN is
Australia’s largest ever infrastructure project, with a cost of $A43 billion.
The network rollout began in Tassie in July just gone with services set to kick
off same time next year.

So – what does
the NBN mean for monitoring companies, bureaus and customers? In essence it
means low-cost LAN-speed services to every business and household in Australia.
A key element of the network is going to be its ability to provide not only
voice and data services but also high definition video transmission, including
symmetric services – that means neat things like duplex video monitoring to
help points, as well as facilitating novel remote video storage solutions.

It’s pretty
obvious where clever monitoring providers are going to be positioning
themselves moving forward. The drive to wired and wireless IP monitoring
services continue at pace. This is a good thing. Dual path monitoring services
are superior to plain old telephone comms and they give sales people something
additional to sell.

Then there’s the
500-pound gorilla in the control room – remote video monitoring of the type
touted by Suretek and VideoControlRoom. You have to hand it to these pioneers –
and tip your cap to SNP whose unbroken involvement in remote monitoring
amazingly dates back to the IP pre-history of the late 1980s.

It’s an beyond
doubt that many video surveillance solutions go entirely unmonitored after
installation, and this is most particularly the case with high risk, small
businesses like service stations, convenience stores, bottle shops, newsagents
and local supermarkets and general stores. Along with these you can tag retail
outlets with any sort of cash turnover, as well as high risk sites like pubs
and clubs.

Dedicated
monitoring of cameras in real time – particularly those integrated with alarm
systems and access control systems and supported by capable video analysis
software would be ideal. It’s not far-fetched to envisage networked video
surveillance systems packaged with monitoring services and installed by alarm
techs.

The fundamentals
that allow this are well on their way. Low cost hardware, virtual plug and play,
IP-capable alarm panels, improved storage technologies for edge devices and of
course, the rollout of the NBN, which will facilitate unprecedented networking
opportunities for companies and sales teams clever enough to take advantage of
them.

“It’s an beyond
doubt that many video surveillance solutions go entirely unmonitored after
installation, and this is most particularly the case with high risk, small
businesses like service stations, convenience stores, bottle shops, newsagents
and local supermarkets and general stores”