Keep your eye on security opportunities
With annual revenues in excess of $2.5 billion, the electronic security industry is a growing and increasingly complex sector. As a result, the skills required by security technicians installing these systems need to constantly evolve to keep pace with technology.
Security systems can protect confidential business data, track unauthorised access to business-related information, and secure people and property when implemented correctly. They can be employed for the detection of intrusion, video surveillance and controlled access.
Video Surveillance Security (VSS) systems — the term now used instead of CCTV to reflect the rapid changes to the use of IP products and networks — are growing in use for both residential and commercial properties, with applications such as video monitoring from on site or from a control room.
In today’s rapidly changing environment, IP-based systems scale easily from one camera to thousands of cameras in increments of a single camera. This makes IP-based solutions ideal for expanding a system as the budget allows. With IP video surveillance, live and recorded video from the VSS can be set up for remote viewing via authorised desktop computers, laptops and smartphones.
These systems form a major part of security infrastructure, providing not only benefits for workplace health and safety, but security surveillance of assets including public areas. VSS also acts as a deterrent for antisocial behaviour.
IP cameras enable greater functionality than just a video image. Advanced software using video analytics digitises video from cameras to detect, recognise and analyse objects and events. Video analytics can identify a variety of different behaviours, actions and objects, such as:
- people loitering in a given area
- an object left behind
- illegal parking in a restricted area
- people gathering in a crowd
- people counting the number of people entering and leaving a building
- licence plate recognition
- facial recognition.
All of these elements serve up powerful systems that are much more than simply motion detection.
Businesses should have a policy in place to cover matters such as the responsibility of the systems and how they will interact with law enforcement agencies. There needs to be an evaluation process of the VSS to ensure that the systems are meeting the stated aims and objectives.
Also, businesses need to have a process in place to cover the management of staff and contractors who have access to the VSS in relation to viewing and controlling video information. The information recorded should be protected and managed in accordance with privacy laws. Retention of the video is typically 30 days and access to the video footage should be administered by authorised personnel only. Law enforcement agencies may need access to the images for investigation and detection of crimes committed.
The increasing adoption of security systems by government, business and residential sites has driven the growth of the electronic security market, with key problem areas including robbery, terrorist attacks, illegal activities, antisocial behaviour and public safety.
For electrical professionals, there is an opportunity to enter this market space and provide security services. But before doing so, they will need to:
- hold a current security licence in the state or territory in which they perform security activities;
- hold a current Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) Open Cabling Registration with the appropriate cabling competencies, such as structured, fibre and coaxial cabling.
Failure to do so will result in penalties and may compromise their insurance policy.
As electronic security systems become more complex and sophisticated, attracting and retaining suitably qualified and competent security technicians has never been more important. Technological developments such as the rollout of the National Broadband Network and the emergence of IP-based solutions are driving changes to the skill sets required by security technicians.
Regrettably, there are individuals installing security systems who do not possess the required skills and security licences, which not only places themselves at risk, but also their customers.
To address this issue, and the shortage of suitably trained security technicians capable of meeting future needs of the electronic security sector, the Australian Security Industry Association Ltd (ASIAL) is delivering the Security Technician Certification (STC) training program nationally in conjunction with Comtech Training.
The STC program is a national recognition program initiated by ASIAL to recognise technicians who have the relevant industry experience and training in the electronic security sector.
It incorporates three levels of recognition:
Level 1 — Certified Security Technician
This covers security fundamentals associated with the installation and maintenance of security equipment and cabling. It is designed for technicians who have at least 12 months’ field experience, a White Card and an Individual Security Licence.
Prerequisites: ACMA Open Registration; and structured, optical fibre and coaxial cabling endorsements.
- Installation Practices: Cabling standards, cabling practices.
- Intruder Alarm Systems: Cabling standards, basic electronics, static electricity, termination techniques, components, design principles, commissioning.
- CCTV Systems: Understanding resolutions and compression, understanding lighting for CCTV applications, CCTV components (cameras, lenses, housings, power), data storage, design.
- IP Networking for the Security Industry: What is a network?, IP addressing and subnet masks, port forwarding, design a network.
Level 2 — Advanced Security Technician
This is designed to formalise and expand on the existing knowledge that most experienced electronic security professionals already have. Completion of this course will ensure individuals have the required skill set and knowledge to work on more complex systems.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Level 1 — Certified Security Technician; Individual Security Licence; ACMA Open Registration; and structured, optical fibre and coaxial cabling endorsements.
- Advanced IP Networking: Setting up domain-based servers, care for computer hardware, design a commercial-based network.
- Wireless Networks: Build a wireless local area network, build an enterprise wireless network, commissioning.
- Introduction to Cyber Security: Assessing the risk, the anatomy of a cyber attack, hardware protection, software protection, policies.
- CCTV Advanced: Design a wide area data network, compression and storage calculators, design principles for commercial CCTV systems, design a network.
- Access Control Systems: Design, interconnecting protocols, network integration.
Level 3 — Master Security Technician
This qualification is based on demonstrated knowledge and experience and recognises industry participation and excellence.
Prerequisites: Completion of level 1 and level 2; an Individual Security Licence; ASIAL Individual Membership; and a minimum of 10 years’ proven industry experience.
The electronic security sector is at an exciting stage in its evolution as new and innovative solutions arrive on the market. To keep pace with the rapidly changing market, individuals and businesses operating in the security sector need to embrace new technologies and adopt a strong training and professional development mentality. In doing so, businesses will be better placed to attract and retain skilled employees and grow their market share. Those who don’t will be left behind their competitors.
For more information on the STC program, click here.
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