Planning and Budgeting

Do You Really Want to Use That Security Product?

We’ve recently started providing product reviews forSecurity Sales & Integration magazine and its website, www.securitysales.com. As we kick this off, and on an ongoing basis, we’re going to be looking for feedback on how these reviews meet your needs, where they come up short, and what you’d like to see covered. The genesis of SSI’s Bench Test […]

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Overpromising & Underdelivering: How Cutting-Edge Tech Is Often a Waste of Money

We are all familiar with the business mantra imploring you to “underpromise and overdeliver”. The concept is that by managing expectations in such a manner that you are positioned to exceed them, you stand a greater likelihood of leaving behind a happy customer. Or spouse, or child, or co-worker, as the concept really works anywhere […]

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Keep the Customer Satisfied

In an earlier posting (Manage Customer Expectations to Define Success) I knocked around the idea that properly setting expectations was a requirement for defining a project’s success. Some inferred that a successful project equated to a positive reference, which could in turn lead to more business. I want to explore that concept in greater detail […]

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Manage Customer Expectations to Define Success

I think that most of us agree that the success of a project, to a great extent, is defined by the level in which we meet the client’s expectations. Yes, I know that there are financial goals for a project as well, but if a project winds up not being as profitable as projected, it’s […]

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Some Corners a Security Installation Shouldn’t Cut

Security system installations are rarely done in a vacuum, although many integrators would tell you otherwise. Often the emphasis is on getting in and out quickly — after all, time is money, right? Unfortunately, as many learn the hard way, that axiom cuts both ways. Sure, it’s more profitable to complete a job quickly than […]

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Problems in Selecting Surveillance Monitors

The consumer market drives demands for 16:9 monitors, but there are still times when a 4:3 monitor is a better fit. As people get more acclimated to technology change in their personal life, it often spills over into their professional life. While this is generally a good thing, we’re seeing one area where the change […]

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Choosing an Integrator: Small vs. Large

At the end of a competitive bid process, our deliverable is a bid analysis report. We look at a number of factors, with the ultimate goal of making a vendor recommendation to our client. We’re often putting our own reputation on the line when we do this, as our client expects us to be responsible […]

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5 Uses of CCTV That Could Help You Get Budget Signoff

Maybe it’s because I still look at the money my clients spend as if it were my own. Or maybe I’m just cheap. Regardless, I have trouble getting past the bang-for-the-buck analysis when looking at the requirements of a particular project, and I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing. Modern electronic security systems come […]

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Keeping Surveillance Networks Secure

The bad guys aren’t supposed to be able to hack a video surveillance system, period. Recent headlines about a casino scam in Melbourne brought the consequences of an insecure security system front and center as scammers allegedly walked off with $32 million after using the casino’s surveillance system to cheat at cards. While we may never know […]

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6 Tips to Selecting the Right Security Camera

As we move toward more advanced video surveillance equipment, it’s often hard to resist finding high-tech solutions to low-tech problems. For example, if you can use image stabilization, why worry about camera vibration? While it’s true that modern cameras can often get you good images under lousy conditions, improving conditions usually improves the image quality dramatically. […]

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A Guide to Fiber-Optic Cable & Coxial Media Converters

One topic that generates a lot of discussion is the transition from analogue to IP cameras. On new construction, it’s rapidly becoming a moot point — there are so many advantages to IP, and the cost advantage of analogue is rapidly disappearing — but there are a lot of analogue systems out there that are aging […]

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The Security Buying Chain Explained

Chances are, if you’re involved in a security project, you are part of a team. And, like most teams, yours has its challenges. From people working at cross purposes, to folks who won’t listen — or won’t speak up — the roles and responsibilities of such a group can be difficult to navigate. Owner (or […]

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Back to the Basics of Camera Placement

As we move toward more advanced image acquisition equipment, it’s often hard to resist finding high-tech solutions to low-tech problems. For example, if you can use image stabilization, why worry about camera vibration? While it’s true that modern cameras can often get you good images under lousy conditions, improving conditions usually improves the image quality […]

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Passing the Pricing Smell Test

Sometimes things just don’t smell right. Even if you’re not an expert, there’s a dollar figure that will give you pause and make you double check pricing. If your hot water heater dies and the plumber tells you a new one is $700 installed, you might think that’s fair and give him the job. But […]

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How Integrators Can Handle the ‘Punch List Creep’

OK, I admit it; I like the title of this blog because the first thing that comes to mind is the nickname for the person doing a punch list on a project. As in, “You’d better get those things done before the punch list creep gets here.” Although, truth be told, I’m sure “creep” would […]

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Evaluating Security Product Substitutions for Installations

When specifying a project, the term “or approved equal” (OAE) comes up often. We frequently find it easier to describe a specific make and model than force the bidder to decide what we are looking for from a detailed list of specifications. Adding the term OAE lets the bidder know they are free to present […]

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How to Impress Clients During a Bad Installation Job

It seems to me that clients often measure the performance of an integrator by how well the company cleans up the metaphorical messes its made. I suspect that this is one, if not THE most important, factor when considering job performance and customer satisfaction. In fact, for many, this defines the actual quality of the […]

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The UPS and Downs of Camera Power Supplies

In an earlier blog, I mentioned that innovation seemed in short supply at ISC West this year. That’s not to say there wasn’t anything new, just that you had to dig further to find it. So, digging I went … Case in point was a new line of camera power supplies from Altronix that include […]

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Grade A Security for ‘Big D’ Complex

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and the sprawling Galleria Dallas shopping center and its new expansive security system live up to that claim. However, what looms largest was the tightly coordinated effort the security consultant, integrator and end user demonstrated to help maximize the facility’s safety. There is nothing average about Galleria Dallas. […]

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Handling Coax, UTP Cables During Installations

“There’s a lot of coaxial cable out there.” “The 100 meter limit for Ethernet over copper presents some installation challenges.” I think there are very few people involved in the installation of IP-based CCTV systems that would disagree with either of the above statements. In an upcoming study featured in SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION’s April […]

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To Bid or Not To Bid: That Is the Question – Security Sales & Integration

Part of the value we bring to the table as a consulting firm is the ability to secure our clients competitive bids on their project(s). Our goal is somewhat different than that of an integrator. We want an embarrassment of riches — so many qualified bidders and competitive bids that the owner has to scratch […]

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Maintenance and Repair Needs for a Digital System

As facilities have moved from their analog tape based systems to the digital world, many believed that the system maintenance aspects were gone. Sure, we were used to repairing or replacing VCR’s – there were tons of mechanical parts, tapes shed grime and particles into the units, and VCR’s were pretty cheaply made to begin […]

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Bigger Isn’t Always Better – Be Mindful of the Category Rating

More and more of our projects involve networked systems and associated devices, and that inevitably includes cabling. And, as the price differential between the various category-rated cables diminishes, we are finding the temptation to provide the highest level of category rating possible throughout projects, whether or not it makes sense. If CAT5 is good, and […]

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What Not to Recycle

Our last blog entry (“Recycling Is Green, But It Can Make You Some Green Too…“) reviewed the benefits of recycling in unexpected ways, telling a short case study involving the reuse of a console. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t explore the dark side of recycling. Some things should be destined for the landfill, […]

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Recycling Is Green, but It Can Make You Some Green Too…

Most of us are bombarded with constant reminders about the importance of recycling, and I can imagine anyone arguing with the overall concept. And, many of us take it further than bottles, cans and paper — where I live, anything even slightly useful that is placed out at the curb is “recycled” by a passerby […]

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The Update Treadmill – Security Sales & Integration

I’m a big fan of the consumer electronics blog Engadget. It publishes a number of news, tips, and rumors on consumer electronics equipment and software, and I have always found the consumer electronics field to be a good barometer for what we’ll be seeing in the commercial and industrial space. After all, it’s the economies […]

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Tips to Better Manage Project Scheduling – Security Sales & Integration

For many of us, the nature of our business is feast or famine. I have yet to meet a consultant, integrator, manufacturer, or other person in this industry (or any construction-related industry) that didn’t experience the peaks and valleys that can make your life (and your business) a roller coaster. Sure we’d all rather be […]

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Spending Too Much? Part 1 of Many – Security Sales & Integration

The topic of “overbuying” comes up so many times in our practice that I can’t limit this to just one blog entry — this could easily become a recurring theme. I’m not talking about paying too much, where the competitive process breaks down and the end user pays more than they should have (easily another […]

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Spelling Counts

We have spent a good portion of the past few days reviewing bid responses for a major CCTV project that our firm is handling. After a fairly detailed request for proposal (RFP) package, multiple walkthrough opportunities, and a comprehensive request for information (RFI) process, we thought that we would get a number of complete, professional, […]

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Manufacturer Viability: Is It An Issue? – Security Sales & Integration

Many security industry startups have been funded with venture capital and the next round of financing may not be available, given market conditions. Do the proper due diligence to ensure you don’t buy a system made by a company that won’t be around long enough to provide bug fixes and tech support.

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Upgrade or Replace? It Depends – Campus Safety Magazine

May/June 2008 by Robert Grossman – Campus officials face a common dilemma: Should they improve their current electronic security technology or adopt a completely new system? Those who do the proper footwork and planning will have the tools they need to choose the best course of action for their organizations.

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Consultants – Time to End the Confusion, Security Sales & Integration

March 2004 by Robert Grossman, Webster’s Dictionary defines a “consultant” as “a person who gives professional or expert advice.” But, with that definition, isn’t just about everyone a consultant?

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