None of us can predict the future, especially when it comes to business. But it’s beneficial – and sometimes even fun – to consider what the central station of the future might look like.
Though most within the physical security industry agree that the central station is moving toward becoming multi-functional and capable of doing more than monitor alarms, the possibilities are endless. There are a few qualities that the central station of the future is likely to have, though, based on current trends and technological innovation.
Adapt and Scale
Adaptability and scalability will be required in this new central station. A system’s ability to adapt to new technologies, to integrate with other systems and expand exponentially in size will be key features. Incompatibility, proprietary brands and hardware limitations can no longer be the gates that stifle a system’s potential. Use of multiple profiles, receivers with increased capacities, and easy adaptability to new technologies will keep your central station nimble and dynamic.
You Will Still Need People
The central station of the future will likely still require an operator to make judgment calls to determine what computerized systems cannot. In order to do this efficiently, operators will need to have access to video from locations where an alarm is happening in order to make well-informed decisions. Instead of operators sorting through huge lists of events, they will use visual verification to view an image from the site and to make a determination by looking at a screen shot, which accelerates the handling of such events.
Central stations will likely have a smaller physical footprint in the future. At present, central stations must purchase additional components that often require extra space in the receiver room in order to achieve redundancy. The central station of the future will likely be smaller, but also will support a greater number of monitored accounts.
More Proactive, Less Reactive
When the functionality of a security system can literally save lives, downtime is more than an inconvenience. Therefore, a service agreement will be an important component for the central station of the future. As systems become more automated, it’s critical that downtime be minimal. Manufacturers will package service agreements with their central station products to ensure continuity and functionality. Components will also be “hot swappable“, meaning parts can be replaced without shutting down a system and without having to reconfigure the settings for the replaced part.
Clearly, the central station of the future puts power in the hands of the user with larger and more powerful receivers, the ability to create groupings and with the ability to move accounts using profile features. The flexibility provided by this future station moves away from a proprietary model to a more integrated approach, establishing an infrastructure for future growth and changes in technology.