The security industry has seen a trend of shifting away from integrated solutions to technology purchased on the internet in a ‘build your own’ style. This opens the door to information security breaches, as this equipment is not always reliable and often does not meet performance requirements. In this blog, Simon Gunton, who has been working on solutions for security companies for many years, discusses the benefits of critical communications for the security industry.
One of the primary concerns of the security industry is information security. Decision makers need to think about the potential backdoors in IT infrastructure that hackers can exploit. This challenge is made worse by the drive to use more commoditized technology such as mobile phones, tablets, etc.
The problem with these ‘build your own’ solutions is that they are vulnerable to information security breaches, and potentially do not meet legislative restrictions such as GDPR. This is why the use of these types of consumer products and related apps needs to be considered very carefully.
How can critical communications help solve these problems?
The primary focus at Tait is communications, whether it be voice or data. Our technology equips users with devices that can operate on the move while providing greater levels of security. This starts with encrypted communications, so others can’t listen in.
Our Tait TeamPTT app, which operates on both IOS and Android, provides a single platform for security personnel to communicate with each other, either individually or in groups. They can send instant push-to-talk voice comms, text messages and photos within the app, which are stored centrally for easy retrieval. GPS data allows users to see the location of each team member within the same application.
The application’s back-end can be set up in the cloud or on your own network, giving you the flexibility to operate the application the way you prefer.
Why is LMR appropriate for the security industry?
Land Mobile Radio (LMR) is foundational to security operations and is iconic to both security personnel and members of the public. When someone needs help or wants to make security staff aware of a situation, the tell-tale portable radio helps security staff stand out and lets them speak to their wider team instantly.
- Although radio might be considered dated to some, the speed and reliability with which you can communicate still beats cellular, hands down.
- LMR can work anywhere and at any time, unlike cellular that can fail due to network capacity or disaster situations.
- LMR allows users to communicate in areas where cellular coverage isn’t possible such as remote locations, in basements, etc.
- LMR Push-To-Talk helps many people to communicate quickly and easily, which is really useful in coordinating complex tasks, or when dealing with rapidly changing situations.
These are just a few of the reasons why LMR is still relevant to the security industry and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Why is DMR Tier 3 so suitable for security providers?
Most people aren’t aware that there are different standards and levels of radio systems on the market. The radios you buy in an electronics store are very different from those supplied through security integrators and radio specialists. DMR is an internationally recognized open standard, supported by many radio manufacturers. DMR Tier 3 is the most feature rich, suitable for very large and complex projects.
This is now changing thanks to advancing technology. What were once very large and expensive systems have now been miniaturized and simplified to become a viable option for many different applications.
The biggest issues users have with radio systems are:
- they can’t use the radio system when channels are in use
- they are unable to call specific people about very high security matters as everyone else is listening
- it’s difficult to use the radio system in an emergency because lower priority users can’t be cleared off the system.
With DMR Tier 3, these issues are resolved. Trunking capability can automatically allocate radios to channels so there is less congestion. It also allows the creation of different talk groups so different groups can talk without interfering with one another, and features like Priority Interrupt allow users to clear down the radio system and use it specifically for emergency situations.
Why is integration between different systems essential?
Integration between different communication networks and security systems is really important for a number of reasons:
- Risk reduction
- Incident prevention
- Speed of response
Integration relates to how different sub-systems communicate with one another. The greater the depth of integration, the greater the improvements to risk reduction, incident prevention and response times.
What are some of the ways security providers are integrating radio in their communications?
Security communications use a number of different types of voice comms systems:
- Telephone Landline
- Mobile Telephone
- Public Address
- Land Mobile Radio
All of the above have one thing in common, which is an IP backbone that allows them to integrate at various levels of complexity.
Integrations like this mean that staff with a radio could make an announcement over the Public Address system, for example. This could be hugely helpful in a shopping center when a child is missing, or in an industrial environment to inform staff of an incident. If the radio system was integrated with the telephone network, staff with a radio could make and receive phone calls on their radios in areas where phone coverage wasn’t possible.
There is also the data aspect to consider, which would include GPS location data, Lone Worker and panic alarms supplied from the radio system. This data could then be captured by other systems, such as CCTV, PCIMS & BMS, for example.
To learn more about how Tait can design an integrated solution, get in touch.
Tait TeamPTT connects radio, cellular and WiFi networks so that users on any of these networks can talk to each other. Users can choose from a range of devices, so they’ll be already familiar with their communication tool – learn more