Cisco updates physical security products, launches new network readiness service

Cisco IP CameraUpdates to existing Cisco Systems products, as well as a new network readiness assessment service, will boost the company’s presence in the physical security space while also making the integration and management of video surveillance systems easier.

Cisco announced yesterday at ISC West updates to its Cisco Physical Access Manager and to the Cisco IP Interoperability and Collaboration System (IPICS) that were designed to make it easier for customers (and partners, naturally) to make the transition to IP-based security systems. The overall Cisco physical security solution ties in IP cameras, video surveillance, access control, and notification and response at a time when the business interest in video is growing by leaps and bounds, said David Hsieh, vice president of marketing for emerging technologies at Cisco.

Cisco Physical Access Manager 1.3 has been updated to provide enhanced local survivability for network-based access control so that if a system fails, access control and operations will still be working properly. As Hsieh explained, natural disasters (a topic on everyone’s mind these days) can cause disruptions to infrastructure, and the updates to Cisco’s integrated security operations management application will ensure that the integrity of customers’ security infrastructure isn’t compromised even physical security is being disrupted.

“Essentially what we’ve done is enable high integrity, local survivability and integration with other video surveillance systems,” Hsieh said.

For survivability purposes, Cisco has enabled the physical access gateway to continue to function even when it loses connectivity to the physical infrastructure.

With IPICS, Cisco’s IP-based dispatch and incidence-response product, Cisco is building out its mobile capabilities. The operating system support has been expanded to include Windows 7, iOS4, as well as future planned support for Android and the company’s Cius tablet (which runs on Android). Additionally, IPICS now supports Cisco’s latest generation of routers, as well as all types of radios and future mobile and broadband networks.

“What this system does is it helps to use the power of the network to enable interoperability between different operating systems,” Hsieh said.

Cisco also unveiled the Cisco IPICS Video Dispatch Starter Kit, which was developed to be a turnkey package with all of the hardware and software required to turn the Cisco Video Surveillance system into a collaboration solution for real-time, two-way video sharing between mobile users and the operations centre.

With video becoming a more impactful part of the business environment (hey, you wanted your video phones; now you got ’em), the amount of traffic being generated is increasing rapidly. Hsieh said video currently represents more than 50 per cent of video traffic on the Internet, and it’s expected to grow to 90 per cent more in the next three years. That’s a lot of video, and business networks may not be up to spec for running that much video, which includes communciations, surveillance and security applications.

To help partners get their customers ready for video on the security side, Cisco is making a new network readiness service available. The Cisco IP Video Surveillance Network Readiness Service will help partners ensure their customers’ networks meet all the requirements for running high-quality IP video surveillance on the network prior to deployment of surveillance systems.

IP-based physical security places some hefty demands on the network, in part because security cameras need to be up and running 24/7, Hsieh said. Building the right network means taking into account redundancy, availability, scalability and bandwidth consumption. Simply put: It’s a challenge. The readiness service should help partners assess their customers’ networks much easier and quicker.