Project Management

How to Keep Customers Happy When Overworked

An improving economy means more work for integrators, but do they have the time? As we start the year with high hopes and expectations, I wanted to bring up a topic that impacted many of us last year. Too much work and too few resources, including time and manpower, to complete that work. Sounds like […]

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Grossman Tells How to Get Going When the Going Gets Rough

SSI Bench Test products reviewer and well-known industry consultant addresses top integrator challenges. My April issue editorial discusses security integrators’ top 10 challenges as indicated inSSI’s annual Systems Integration Study. I consulted with a handful of trusted colleagues and contributors to the publication for ways integrators can best overcome these challenges, perhaps even turning them […]

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The Truth About License Plate Recognition Technology

After numerous questions about the merits and drawbacks of cameras designed to capture images of the license plates of vehicles entering and exiting a property, I wanted to put something together to clarify the two approaches to this application. These cameras are often referred to interchangeably as “license plate cameras” and “license plate readers”. In […]

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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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Protecting Your Video Surveillance From Leaks

While there are a number of opinions and methods as to the best ways to capture and manage video images for investigation and evidence, we tend to focus on the technical aspects. What’s the best resolution, frame rate, compression method, or retention time for a given application? How will we get images off of the […]

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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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Hacking Surveillance Cameras in Casinos

A high roller and his accomplice scammed a casino in Melbourne, Australia, by hacking into the surveillance system to cheat (and win) at a series of card games in his suite. The Herald Sun in Melbourne reported that the gambler was able to use information from security cameras about his opponent’s cards to scam the […]

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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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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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P/T/Z Control in an IP World

Based on some comments I have received from a surprising number of manufacturers, I’m going to write a “CCTV 101” type blog. It will be short and sweet, and if this is too basic for you, check back in a few days for a new entry. But when a question comes up as often as […]

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Objectionable Consultants

At ISC West, I had the honor of teaching a class on bright and early on April 6. Early in Las Vegas was at 11:15 a.m. The session, “Developing, Influencing and Responding to Request for Proposal’s (RFP’s)“, focused on practical, hands-on tips to make the whole RFP process work better for all involved. The class […]

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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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Shooting a Fly With a Shotgun

My previous blog entry, “To Bid or Not to Bid: That Is the Question,” received a number of comments, and I would like to take this opportunity to respond to another one of them here. I neglected to mention the last time around how much I (and other authors) appreciate your feedback. Writing, whether in […]

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How to Get Consultants to Provide Feedback on Lost Bids

My previous blog entry, “To Bid or Not to Bid: That Is the Question” received a number of comments, and I would like to take this opportunity to respond to one of them here. Please note that this comment is edited for brevity. You can read it by clicking on the hyperlinks. Loren Dupree wrote: “…I […]

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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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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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Integrators and IT: Keep Up or Get Kicked Out – Security Sales & Integration

As many of us have seen for some time, many types of electronic security systems are morphing into computer systems. Sure, it takes experience to know how and where to place cameras, monitor systems effectively, ensure smooth traffic flow for access control systems, and myriad other skills we’ve had to learn through the years. But […]

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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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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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Casino System Leaves Nothing to Chance – Security Sales & Integration

September 2007, By Robert Grossman – The video surveillance installation at Odawa Casino, located near the waters of Lake Michigan in Petoskey, Mich., was such a project. The design included two control rooms and auxiliary monitoring locations, encompassing a new casino, parking structure, special events area and a remote waste water treatment plant. All of it secured with full integration between video, access control and other gaming systems. While I’d like to say I was pleasantly surprised, all of us involved with this project genuinely knew it would succeed from the start.

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Sailing the Security Waters of Mystic Lake – Security Sales & Integration

March 2006, By Robert Grossman – An insider’s look at the installation of the Digital CCTV System installed at Mystic Lake Casino.

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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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