Electronic security industry finally starts to use automation
At last the security industry is starting to use automation to improve efficiency in ways that have been standard practice in the manufacturing and IT sectors for years. In an IT department for example, it would be unthinkable to manually collect the IP configuration from a set of workstations, or for a manufacturing plant to have human workers assembling microscopic electronics by hand. Of course, these jobs are automated, taking advantage of the efficiency, accuracy, and eventually the cost savings, that machines and computers can bring.
Yet until recently, automation has been absent from the electronic security industry. Technical drawings are routinely marked up by hand, with device counting and configuration manually processed – often inaccurately – into documentation. When you add costing into the equation it is easy to see how the final pricing for a given job can vary wildly between vendors. And it doesn’t stop there: when the documentation is processed into end-system programming – by hand – additional time is spent, not to mention the increased potential for error.
It’s a familiar problem for global businesses striving for consistency in their security systems, and until recently, there was no answer, other than to micro-manage vendors across regions, adding time that is uncosted and hard to come by.
Automation comes into use
Now though, we are finally seeing automation make its way into our industry. With automated generation of documentation and system programming, vendors are able to use their technical workforce more, concentrating on the challenging aspects of an installation rather than data entry tasks. Automation gives end users peace of mind that their defined “standard” is being adhered to regardless of geographical location, and improves the efficiency of vendors. Sophisticated automated systems bring enormous benefits and the entire supply chain. It’s been a long time coming, but now automation is here, it’s here to stay.
Patrick Biggin, Head of Research & Innovation, QCIC Group