Just until recently basic integration on a small and medium objects covered only security systems protecting against fire and intruders. These days, for energy saving purposes and to facilitate the management, building automation and measuring devices are being included as well. When expanding their security and automation systems on an object, investors are more and more willing to combine them into one system instead of building two separated systems. This way they are looking for economizing and increasing functionality.



There are few solutions on a market, delivering all security systems, as well as full automation. It is a good way to ensure a functional, high-quality product. This kind of solution is popular on very large objects, where unit cost of the system is relatively small and guarantees a smooth running. On a smaller objects, investors are more likely to introduce solutions that are independent from the producers of security systems and automation devices. This results from the necessity to adjust particular elements to the object. Not always all the best solutions are offered by one producer, which leads investors to look for integration system offered by an independent company, to cover all devices used at their object. Larger number of medium-sized objects and the possibility to incorporate more economic solutions is the precise reason why this article will analyze integration solutions offered by independent producers.

In case of security systems and automation integration, the easiest way is to built it with the integration software. It ensures flexibility, easy configuration and it also allows to generate visualization for all systems. Aside from supporting the devices of various producers, the software is also expected to work on multiple stations. Multi-station system is based on SQL database, which allows to build an informatics system of a client-server structure. The database server is a SQL database and the client is the integration software. Multi-station system based on a client-server structure facilitate configuration process (we are able to define the structure of the whole system from one computer) – thanks to this solution there is no need to conduct a separate configuration for each station. Integration server is one of the workstations with the integration software installed. This station is responsible for communicating with other devices and sending data to other workstations. Server receives commands, such as alarm zone activation or alarm cancellation from the center. Generally SQL database server, integration server and visualization can be located on one computer.

Integration software visualization offers the possibility to present the state of the devices in the form of a graphic icons placed on graphic backing, which can be, for example, architectural plan of an object. Icon change is dynamic and represents the current state of the device. Visualization covers the device, its input and output, as well as a logical components essential to a proper operation, such as alarm groups or fire groups. Typically, visualization consists of numerous plans, displayed according to the needs. On each floor plan there are icons of detectors, outputs or groups placed in accordance with their real physical location. It allows to precisely locate the danger and monitor it in case it spreads. Supporting mechanisms, useful in a danger situation, are: automatic display of a danger zone, which is used mostly on small objects, and a mechanism that leads from a general to more detailed plan, which is most helpful on large and more complex objects, when you need to locate the danger. In the case of the second option, it is essential to make sure that every graphic backing contains appropriate buttons representing buildings and tiers, and that it flashes in the situation of danger detected in the relative part on an object. This solution makes it easier to move around the object and to locate the most serious threat. A fire in a room full of people is more urgent than a fire in an empty storage house. The mechanism which leads from a general to a particular plan is preferable for the military objects. It is not rare to use both systems at the same time, in order to increase the efficiency of visualization. Apart from graphic presentation, there are also event logs informing about all events occurring on site. It is important to register the time when the event occurred, the time when it was logged, detailed description which allows to precisely locate the device, and finally, the type of the device. Naturally, logs should update automatically, without any human intervention.

To meet all expectations of a client regarding integration system, besides device support and visualization, integration software has to offer the possibility to establish connections between particular systems. Creation of those connections is mostly based on scripts, giving a high level of flexibility needed. Many producers offer complex script languages (ORCAview system: GCL+, Continuum: Plain English, InPro BMS: Lua Script). Those scripts can be activated in a specified intervals. Furthermore, they can be activated as a reaction for the event or an action performed by the user.

The script may contain an analysis of a current state and establish a reaction to given state through commands and steering. An important quality of scripts is a possibility to adjust software functionality to the needs, without a software designer intervention. Without those tools it would be difficult to achieve a desired effectiveness: especially in the case of automation systems.

Within the category of security systems installed at the object fall: Intruder and Hold Up Alarm Systems (I&HAS), Access Control Systems (ACS), Fire Alarm Systems (FAS) and Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV).

Building automation consists of: utilities consumption measuring systems, heater, ventilation and AC control (HVAC), light control and control of other functions of the building.

In case of I&HAS, input (alarm line) and alarm groups states are most frequently visualized. Also, if necessary, the state of outputs can be visualized. Software has to control those elements. For inputs there is an optional bypass installed. Alarm zones shall be armed, disarmed or deleted – it will cancel the alarm without disarming the alarm zone.

Regarding ACS, the door state is most frequently presented, with an additional option of controlling, blocking and opening the door remotely. In FAS visualization includes fire elements (sensors, manual call points), inputs and outputs. Alarm group state is less frequent in this case. FAC control often comes down to confirming and canceling the alarms on a Fire Alarm Control Panel. CCTV is supported by the integration systems in two ways. First, by controlling matrix switcher, most commonly realized through RS232 Interface. It allows to control both the preview displayed on the monitors connected to matrix switcher, and dome camera. This type of CCTV integration is used exclusively with analogue television. It allows to display the view on the monitors with no compromise on the image quality. The other way to support CCTV is video-streaming from a logger or directly from IP cameras. This way we can display image directly in the integration software and control dome cameras. However, it results with lower quality, but at the same time it ensures high flexibility of network presentation.

Measuring systems visualization, both utilities and environmental parameters, presents current values and – optionally – indicates when thresholds are exceeded. In this case the steering is limited to an optional adjustment of measuring system set point.

With HVAC systems current set points are visualized along with measurements, for example, temperature or ventilation parameters. This system allows to control temperature in the rooms, as well as ventilation intensity. Regarding light systems, a current state is presented, both particular sections and lightning scenario. Similarly, steering covers sections and different scenarios.

System integration steering is a reaction for actions of software operators. It uses schedules automatically or is a result of a script. Software should offer a possibility to manage access control to the steering of particular elements – both security system and automation. It is important that only authorized persons had access to steering. Possibility to control particular integrated systems and to establish connections between them is the basic of a simple and functional management system. It significantly facilitates object management and decreases maintenance costs.

Using those systems simultaneously has economic advantages, as you can give up some functions, such as data coming from reed switch connected to ACS, which can be used in automation. If there is no automation devices in the room, but instead there is a I&HAS module with unused inputs, we can use those inputs to connect flood sensors, because any information about the flood will be passed to the automation system anyway. This approach allows us to optimize the number of sensors, devices used to run the sensors, and wiring, and at the same time we can boost the functionality and efficiency of particular systems.

One of the most common ways to economize maintenance through system integration is to decrease heating temperature or to limit ventilation in the rooms where I&HAS is armed, therefore, nobody's there. Complete shut down of heating, AC and ventilation can be done after opening the window or detecting fire.

Knowing in which rooms the system is armed will also allow us to turn off the proper lights or switch to a minimum illumination. In a similar way we can use the data from ACS, unless it's unilateral. Access Control System analyze the people flow in the building and if there is no people moving around, it turns off the main lightning and activates a minimum illumination. As you can see, integrating security systems and building automation can bring significant savings in the matter of heating, air condition, ventilation and light. You can expand this economic solution even further if you cut off the water supply in the armed parts of the building. This way you eliminate the possibility of running water coming from a sink or a broken toilet.

Besides visualization and steering, graphs are also a very important component. Graphs register current values in order to analyze and present them later on. Graphs can be registered periodically (according to set out intervals) or respond to specific adjustments. Graphs can help you to estimate payments charged for utilities or to analyze (and – as a result – cut down) the costs of maintenance.

As you can see, by integrating security systems with building automation, you can increase functionality and efficiency and, at the same time, limit the implementation costs and the costs of further operation. 

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