Cisco refreshes physical security product line

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Cisco refreshes physical security product line

Cisco has unveiled a series of enhancements to several Cisco physical security products designed to help customers transition to IP-based safety and security systems. The changes were announced last week, as part of the Cisco Smart+Connected Communities initiative, at ISC West in Las Vegas.

Three major changes were announced, upgrades to Cisco Physical Access Manager and to the Cisco IP Interoperability and Collaboration System (IPICS), as well as a new Network Readiness Assessment service for IP Video Surveillance focused on Cisco channel partners.

The Cisco Physical Access Manager is Cisco's application for managing integrated security operations on an IP network. It integrates hardware such as door readers, locks and biometric devices on campus environments and office buildings, providing a platform for integration with other IT systems, and links the use of video surveillance cameras as a component of physical access control

"There are a new set of capabilities in Physical Access Manager which enable high integrity and local survivability," said David Hsieh, vice president of emerging technologies marketing at Cisco. This gives the system a much higher likelihood of survival and continued operation in the event of a disaster. If a system fails, Hsieh said access identity and operations still function effectively. For example, an improved fault tolerant anti-passback feature will work even in the event of a network outage to help ensure that premises maintain a high degree of security under uncertain conditions.

"We've also increased High Availability with edge-based services being extended to the gateway, Hsieh said.

Cisco IPICS, Cisco's complete IP-based dispatch and incidence-response solution is having its mobile operating system support expanded, to provide a broader range of public safety personnel with continuous, real-time communication as well as streaming video. IPICS now includes expanded operating system support for Windows 7, as well as for iOS 4 devices, including the iPhone 4 and iPad 2. Support for Android will be coming soon, Hsieh said. The latest generation of routers, including the Cisco Integrated Services Router G2 and router media service gateway, are now supported, as well as all types of radios and future mobile and broadband networks, including narrowband and 4G / Long-Term Evolution (LTE).

"Today you have much more rich media interacting on the site of an accident, with first responders and others at the scene of an incident," Hsieh said. "We now support all Apple mobile devices here, and soon Android. We will fully operate from a voice and video perspective."

Buy Cisco also announced the Cisco IPICS Video Dispatch Starter Kit, a turn-key package that contains all the hardware and software necessary to transform the Cisco Video Surveillance system into a collaboration solution enabling dynamic real-time two-way video sharing between the operations center and mobile users.

Cisco also announced a new Network Readiness Assessment service for IP Video Surveillance to be used prior to video deployments. It makes training, knowledge and tools available to Cisco Authorized Technology Provider (ATP) Partners to analyze, inventory and assess customer networks, to ensure the quality of experience of the video surveillance deployment.

"Businesses have to think about the management of video traffic, because it's over half of network traffic now, and we expect it will be over 90% within 3 years," Hsieh said. "They need to architect a network for video that carries a little data and a little voice." He said the new service will assist partners to build the right kind of network, that meets these modern demands.

Hsieh said that while the new offerings will assist both traditional IP-focused resellers and security-focused partners both, the security-focused ones really stand to gain.

"A lot of the tools we are announcing today will help both partners, but especially the more traditional security and safety partners who know more about camera placement," he said. "Those partners are benefiting even more from these tools, the ones who don't know as much about the network."