Three years later, video certification debuts

Monday, March 1, 2004

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - There are certification programs for fire systems, low voltage electronics and audio systems. But until now, the industry has never had a certification program specific to the CCTV and camera market.

In April at the ISC West Show in Las Vegas, the National Institute for Certification and Engineering Technologies launches its video security systems certification program, its first that is specific to the security industry. NICET plans to begin testing for the certification in June.

The program is a culmination of three years of work after the Security Industry Association suggested the idea to NICET, an independent organization that has put together certification in the engineering and electronics field for years.

“SIA determined that certification was a good way to deal with the problem of poor installation work going on,” said Brian Gifford, manager of certification development for NICET.

What SIA heard were complaints from manufacturers about poor camera installation work and the need for a program that recognizes installer’s or integrator’s capabilities. Other groups, such as PSA Security Network and the National Systems Contractors Association, have also provided financial support for the initiative.

Gifford said a committee made up systems integrators, manufacturers and consultants worked on the certification program for years. What they came up with is one program designed specifically for installers of video security systems and another for designers.

The installer certification program has four levels of competency, while designers will have a two-tier program. People from either group who complete the highest ranking of certification will be able to take a test for a fifth level of competency.

Overall, the program is broken down by type of systems, with increasing levels of complexity. The first level is an entry or helper level, the second involves installing a basic convenience store camera system, the third involves interfacing a camera with other systems and longer cable runs, and the last is a PC-based system.

Jim Byerley, owner of Byerley Electronics in Gresham, Ore., was a member on the board that came up with the video system

certification program. He sees the need for such a program to help ensure that people installing cameras have the right skill set.

“There are no controls, no accountability” said Byerley. “With the more sophisticated equipment that’s coming out, it’s more and more important that we control who installs what kind of equipment.”

Gifford said it will take time for the video security system certification program to take hold, but expects it will take off a little faster than the fire certification program, which took a few years for people to embrace. Today, that program is now up to 10,000 certifications.

“It’s going to legitimize the companies that actually make the installations,” said Byerley. “It’s going to make it more professional and it’s going to make the quality that we see out there increase.”