Some jobs must be approached with a total system solution. By breaking it down into separate parts, the client would have a shopping list to compare on price alone. By keeping our proposal as a system solution, the client would have less a chance to shop it among the community of lockshops...
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The alarm dealer ignored my suggestions and submitted separate quotes for the video and then for the intercom. Just those numbers were enough to scare the committee.
Their initial motivation was a warning from the fire marshal regarding the stairwell doors. The fact that they had 40 little kids in their care, and there had been some disturbing reports of domestic disputes in some of the families, also became important to the committee.
The dealer never got a chance to establish a budget figure from the client, offer a total system solution, or even offer some creative financing options with them. Instead the end-user went out shopping for a few panic bars.
But in the process of researching this project, I went to alternate sources for the camera system and the panic bars and other items. Instead of a name brand for the video and access, I instead chose products from a smaller company, who by virtue of its technology and customer service, is making a name for itself, only in a lower price range, thereby making it possible for the small dealer to compete.
Although there is a lot of buzz regarding IP cameras and digital technology, you need to be selective, since IP is not always the best solution.
IP refers to Internet Protocol. Internet protocol is the encoding used for network communications. Networks are used in homes and businesses. Networks communicate with remote locations and other resources over the Internet. Virtually ever camera on the market today utilize digital electronics to capture the image, and either analog (coax); IP (Cat5), or UTP (untwisted pair) to transmit the image to the monitor, recorder or elsewhere.
In many cases, such as where there is no existing network, or over short runs, using IP offers no advantage over the other technologies. Digital signal processing, that is the transmission and recording of the video, does offer significant advantages over analog in many cases, but not all.
In some situations, you will encounter major resistance from in house IT if you attempt to connect cameras to their network. Most IT folks spend their waking hours trying to keep the network working and defending it against attacks. They have enough problems patching and plugging and keeping up with technologies without you.
However, if the client wishes to view camera and be able to retrieve video remotely, they might not have a choice. Additionally, because of the fact that IP and DSP (Digital Signal Processing) enable the customer to use his existing computer hardware and resources, it may be preferred. Once again, be aware that your clients might be very knowledgeable about digital technologies, but only need you to install the cameras and pull wire.
With respect the exit devices for the project, I at first thought of using some high-end electrically actuated devices, but then I took a deep breath and a step back. Although a budget number was never declared, I realized that the price differences between the best, and something more economical, and controlling them with rim mount electric strikes was substantial. I selected my door hardware with this in mind.
Of course the project never happened because the client felt they couldn’t afford it. In my opinion, they couldn’t afford NOT to protect the children. There had been threats made. The news is full of horror stories about school attacks and enhanced security is an excellent marketing tool if they are soliciting children to attend their preschool.
A little creative financing would perhaps have enabled the committee to do the right thing. Let’s say the whole system would cost $10,000. They already had 40 children attending. Over the course of five years, it would have cost them a dollar a child per week to substantially improve the safety of their kids.