S2 Pronto VR CCTV Access Control Appliance
by Security Electronics and Networks | @Articles Product Reviews | April 16, 2012, 7:00am AEST
I SAT down at Anixter a couple of weeks ago to get a look at S2’s new S2 Pronto VR IP Security Systems with no particular idea of what I was going to be hearing about. My sanguine attitude didn’t last long. S2’s VP of worldwide sales R. Todd Smith presented the system to a roomful of security integrators.
I sat in the meeting room for 5 minutes swigging my Coke Zero before it really hit me what it was Smith was talking about. At face value the new S2 VR Pronto does something any number of solutions on the market can do. It combines solid state door controllers and alarm input modules in the field with storage and management solutions on LANs and WANs.
Well, I thought to myself, polishing off my Coke. There’s nothing particularly new to see here. After a while, however, the fundamentals of what Smith was saying penetrated the cognitive blindspots of 2 decades working in the electronic security industry. I suddenly realized that SR has quietly developed the sort of solution I’ve been predicting for years – a network-based solution combining alarms, access control and video surveillance seamlessly – in a modern browser-based operating environment.
My epiphany came when I realised that S2 Pronto is not based on client-server architecture but a network appliance running a robust Ubuntu Linux operating system and it arrives in the box fully set up and ready to go. You define the parameter volumes but there’s no need to build a system from the ground up as you must do with some other systems.
As an appliance, or thin client, Pronto offers robust and reliable Internet access but it’s not a full-featured server demanding workstation client software. This means the system can be accessed anywhere in the world across the Internet from any Internet enabled device. It’s too easy.
The advantages of this architecture, aside from reliability and a compact footprint, include ease of setup – it takes just 5 minutes to scoot through the wizard-driven setup menu – and an integral browser interface supporting that integrates video, alarm events and access control throughout the entire system.
Before we go further it’s important to get a handle on the nature of the S2 range, which extends from the basic Pronto which carries access control into networked environments using network nodes and big brother, the Pronto VR, which incorporates video, all the way to Enterprise and Global solutions. These can handle tens of thousands of cameras and tens of thousands of doors in the same intuitive browser-based environment. So S2 has a massive range that goes from small to vast and is backward compatible for later integration.
A particular strength of the Pronto solutions are powerful browser-based interfaces that are graphical, intuitive and easy to drive. Wizards are a strength and all user and installer documentation is built in, with auto indexing. At all times, in any function, answers are close at hand.
Physically, Pronto is an enclosure that incorporates the Pronto network controller, an access control module and room in the box for another 3 modules. These latter can handle 2 full portals (that’s 2 readers, 4 inputs, 4 outputs), 8 outputs or 8 temperature points. If you need to expand you add additional nodes or micronodes to build a system with 32 readers, 128 inputs and 128 outputs. The S2 Pronto VR has an upgraded CPU and memory, with disk storage and adds a 19-inch rack mount enclosure.
Once the system is installed in the field and connected to appliance, it’s the browser-based management solution that’s really the star of the show and there’s no doubt this is a snazzy setup. Icons are bold, functions are simple and the general layout and feel of the system is up to the minute.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or migrating from another product S2’s data management tool handles loading from CSV files, with backup and maintenance handled automatically without user involvement. S2’s access control solution is flexible, too. You can create a database of cardholders, detailing credentials, access privileges and personal details and the system will then handle live access admin, monitoring and archiving as well as associating video with relevant access control events.
The database is SQL and access privileges are based on access levels specifying times and sites location is permitted. There no programmed access levels unless you want them. Instead you use a standard wizard to create access levels and assign users to them, though you can assign up to 32 access levels individually if you choose.
There’s full archiving of all events and instant access history reports. A card format wizard determines card format and facility code based on card read and door functions including lock and unlock are standard. Access control logs, alarm event monitoring and video surveillance are integrated throughout the system. If you’re looking at an event you click a video icon and view the video of the event.
Real time monitoring is available on the Landing Page, the Monitoring Desktop Page and any Widget Desktops added into the system. Video management is simple and powerful, with drag to re-size and popup video of alarms. You can easily combine scenes, alarm events and events monitors into Widget Desktop displays. Controlling cameras is handled by holding down mouse buttons to control a superimposed arrowhead which represents the direction of the camera view.
There’s also a Forensic Desktop feature that allows searching of stored video based on recorder parameters like date, time and camera. Alternatively it’s possible to search based on access control reader, alarm or a person’s name. Every search contains chronologically ordered thumbnails. You then save relevant video in the Forensic Case Library.
S2 Pronto and Pronto VR are well worth a look. With their network appliance-based architecture and browser-based software they represent the seamless future of networked electronic security solutions.
Distributing these products is a coup for Anixter, too. With its heavy hitting network infrastructure capability, it’s impossible not to think Anixter is S2’s perfect partner.