Convergint gets SD into analytics

Sunday, October 1, 2006

SAN DIEGO--As evidenced by the burgeoning Security Network's efforts, this city is increasingly focused on securing its critical infrastructure. Convergint teamed with analytics manufacturer Cernium to secure a piece of that infrastructure when it designed and installed a surveillance system for a water pumping station here this summer.
Pieces of infrastructure where a little barbed wire used to be thought of as enough protection are now being rescrutinized, said Convergint vice president of business development Mike Mathis, who works from the Orange County office. "The terrorist threat is making people think about [critical infrastructure] more," he said.
"A lot of these stations are unmanned," Mathis noted, "and they have no desire to put security personnel out there." So, the surveillance has to be remote, but there's the challenge of moving all the video back to a central location, which can cause bandwidth issues. Plus, said Cernium president and chief executive officer Craig Chambers, "it doesn't matter how intently a guard looks at video, he's not going to see anything after a while," and far more than 99 percent of the time, nothing is going to be happening at a water pumping station.
Convergint specified Cernium's Perceptrak product, said Mathis, "so you've now got the computer making the decision" that something is happening, and guards are "only being fed information when there's something to look at."
Chambers called the San Diego installation, "one of a cluster of recent orders that are more focused on critical infrastructure," while traditionally Cernium has had success commercially with hospitals, campus environments, and cultural institutions. He credits his price point per channel for getting government types to turn to Cernium, which leads to more business.
"It's a much easier sell to ask someone to go over to another part of town and see a system doing what it's supposed to do," rather than sell from a demonstration in an office somewhere."
While Cernium's box works fast, he said, "it's not part of the rest of the system."
Mathis noted that he works hard with end users to manage expectations with video analytics, as there are a lot of promises being made by manufacturers in general, and that he takes his interaction with the end user very seriously.
It's possible this type of approach led Frost & Sullivan to award Convergint Technologies as the sole recipient of 2006's Customer Service Leadership Award. Convergint chief executive officer Dan Moceri called it "a good award, and we have worked hard to live up to it."