Playing it Safe
BY Mitalee Kurdekar
Even though safety & security systems were traditionally viewed as costs, rather than necessities, in today’s environment, aspects of safety & security have gained tremendous importance. The increase in personal risks from adverse forces all around is making users opt for devices and solutions ranging from burglary- and fire-resistant systems to surveillance and access-control systems. However, high-price and initial capital outlay remains a major hindrance in developing economies like India, where the assessment of associated risks does not get a proper value-tag to justify the amount spent on such systems. Despite this, and given the benefits involved, we find that there has been a gradual shift in mindset, both for end-users and real estate developers, alike.
In fact, over the past few years, real estate developers have begun to look at safety & security concerns from an end-user perspective, in turn ensuring that their needs are addressed with the use of advanced technologies and the latest solutions that are available in the market. This has led to a heartening competition among innovators and therefore developers, with each party trying to outdo their competition in winning over customers. In addition, present day devices that are employed for personal safety and overall security are starting to be connected through Internet-based solutions, providing a completely new dimension to the subject of safety & security.
The Path to Smart
Safety & security devices are getting smarter by the day. One notices new developments finding their way into the marketplace at regular intervals. In addition to ensuring the personal safety of the end-user by monitoring the impact of adverse forces, whether natural or otherwise, such devices can now also be connected wirelessly to the Internet to send out emergency communication that alerts users of any risks or untoward events. As we have seen with many other technological developments in the recent past, safety & security devices and solutions will no longer be just a series of associated hardware and software, but rather turn into a connected network with Internet-based solutions on the anvil. In fact, they are now being offered as an integrated solution or one service by domain specialists, who not only free the end-user of the tasks of maintaining complex systems, but keep the solution up-to-date and secure from external attacks.
In addition to these integrated solutions offered as a ‘complete service package’, a new trend is now emerging wherein security solutions are using analytics to build added intelligence. Modern security cameras and other devices capture the data or footage using high resolution quality. The information thus captured is then evaluated and analysed, so that an informed decision can be made on how best to respond to the captured events. Latest advancements in camera technologies like thermal imaging and low-light capabilities have addressed these additional security needs. On their part, customers are now rapidly adopting such technologies.
Goonpreet Singh, senior manager, marketing, domestic switchgear, Havells India, points to this change in customer mindset when he says, “We have observed that safety and security are the key ingredients for most real estate projects. Today, most developers are providing CCTV coverage in sensitive areas like the children’s playground, lobby, parking lot etc. Also, at multiple levels, door phone security is becoming a must and a key trend in modern projects.”
Manishi Sengar, business head, automation & control, Havells India, explains that improved privacy is an important business requirement for their customers. “The solution to stop unwanted intrusion is surveillance and door security, which have become key business needs,” he adds.
Kishor Mane, project manager, Sumer Group, echoes a similar point of view as a customer, professing that, “Security protocols have seen a transformation over the years. Gone are the days when safety and security products were used by a select few developers. Today, due to the increase in demand for a safe & sound environment at construction sites, increasing theft in societies along with stringent government regulations, it has become mandatory for all developers to give due importance to safety & security measures.”
Mehernosh Pithawalla, associate VP and global head, marketing, sales & innovation, Godrej security solutions division, Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co., offers: “Security products are not perceived as luxury items anymore – they have become a necessity and this is evident from the way real estate has started adapting and implementing new technology-based solutions to secure and safeguard their premises. Today, developers are not banking on just traditional methods, but are moving towards technology-based automated solutions like automated boom barriers, tripod turnstile, and flap barriers to help secure their premises in a better way, and have smoother and safer traffic movement.”
It is the changing expectations from end-users that is driving this phenomenon, suggests Jayant Gosavi, senior VP, operations, Gera Developments. He states that, “Safety & security expectations from customers are increasing and, in accordance with them, we are providing solutions like gas leak detectors, intrusion alarms, CCTV systems, access control, boom barriers, etc.”
Sharad Yadav, GM, buildings, Honeywell Home and Building Technologies, India, agrees. He highlights Honeywell’s strategy in this context, saying, “Honeywell understands the challenges, essential core processes and environments of our customers. Decades of experience across a wide variety of critical systems and infrastructures, combined with core competencies in process control, high-end security and engineering, give us a unique insight into creating and deploying security and protection solutions even in the most critical operational environments.” He adds that Honeywell has the widest security and fire portfolio of products and solutions to meet the safety, security, and fire protection needs of its customers, worldwide.
Integration as a Differentiator
Industry insiders agree that such systems are fast becoming a trend, whereby real estate developers as also end-users prefer to deal with established vendors who can offer expertise in providing the best possible solutions, while also going on to maintain them via after sales service for their lifetime, along with upgrading the products as and when a new development comes to market.
Pithawalla confirms this: “Godrej strongly believes and promotes integrated solution offerings, which provide the customers the benefit of a One Stop Shop (single window) for their security-related needs. Godrej has developed a software platform called IQVISION – an open platform software. The software acts as a common platform, allowing users to monitor IP Cameras, control and manage bollards, remotely monitor the under vehicle scanning system, integrate the fire alarm signal with access control & IP cameras etc. The software platform can integrate even third party devices having application programming interface (API).”
Yadav proclaims, “Recent trends indicate a shift towards IP-based surveillance systems, used increasingly in different verticals across the private and public sector. Honeywell’s redefined IP Video portfolio features a simplified user interface with full integration to recording devices with new technology that makes checking the status of the system faster and easier. Designed to meet customer’s security needs, Honeywell equIP cameras, including vandal proof outdoor cameras, provide enterprise grade security, while Performance series cameras provide cost effective value for small- and medium-sized sites. Honeywell MAXPRO Cloud Alarm Monitor is the perfect solution to today’s surveillance issues related to remote monitoring across multiple sites.”
Explaining Havells’ contribution, Senger says, “Our comprehensive Smart Home solution features add-on Safety and Security. The customers using this solution have the choice to add-on an IP camera, IP door phone and intrusion control as an integral part, to make the home a secure place. This is in addition to other comfort, convenience and connectivity features.”
Vipul Shah, MD, Parinee Group, believes that these integrated solutions make great sense. “We do prefer to outsource these services to vendors, who offer such integrated solutions,” he confesses.
The Wadhwa Group also follows a similar model. Stressing on a collaborative approach, Girish Shah, director, The Wadhwa Group, explains, “We provide our specific inputs and requirements site-wise for the vendor to design solutions for the project. It assists with manual intervention and can be very specific, and helps us to reduce cost in unnecessary manpower expenses.”
Vijay Pawar, founder and director, Mirador Dwellers, stresses on the importance of quality. He says, “We believe in working with vendors who consider quality as the most important parameter over anything else. Some factors we take into consideration when dealing with safety & security solutions’ vendors are the durability and strength of the product; and the benefits we look to reap are through the sustainability that these products come with.”
Change is Here to Stay
However, sustainability is difficult to achieve with products that become obsolete, rather quickly. Pithawalla points out, “Product obsolescence is very fast in the security industry. Products need to be continuously upgraded to meet changing security needs. All our security devices are Internet of Things (IoT) enabled. IoT allows products to be monitored or controlled remotely, across an existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems.” He further adds that Godrej has developed Internet Protocol (IP) CCTV systems with advanced analytics that include facial detection systems.
Honeywell extensively uses Internet-based technologies in the development of their new safety & security products. Yadav says, “IoT and increasing dependence on connected solutions is shifting the market focus towards convergence of platforms with IP technology, backed by open platform and video analytics integration. IoT is driving the need for edge-based devices’ interconnectedness to central intelligence/analytics hub.”
Senger confirms that Havells are also strongly leveraging IoT platforms in the making of new products. It is easy to see that safety & security are important considerations in the real estate market and the industry has truly evolved with fascinating options on offer, today.