The Promise of Technology
Intelligent communication solutions are coming to retirement communities
- By Paul Rux
- April 14, 2020
Many campuses, corporations and retirement
homes competitively differentiate their offerings
around service and safety. Both aspects require
intelligent communications. Employees, visitors
and family members expect to be able to easily
locate and communicate with their hosts. That requires the ability to
hear, be heard and be understood under any condition, including
Ensuring efficient communication requires interoperability; in the
case of retirement homes, that means the integration of an easy to
scroll and use directory with an Intelligent Communication solution.
The devices within the solution can also be used to communicate if
there is an incident.
Integrators must weigh the promise of technology with the reality
of deploying, maintaining and managing the technology over time.
Their business model requires that they reduce the complexity of the
total cost of deployment and ownership for them and the customer.
Envision Technology Group, a systems integrator headquartered
in Overland Park, Kansas, immediately grasped this while benchmarking
intercom technologies. Envision is a recognized leader in
the design and installation of Structured Cabling Systems, design and
integration of Fire Alarm, Security, Intercom and AV Systems, paging
and sound masking systems, as well as CATV/MATV systems.
Their first insight from their evaluation of intercom vendors was
the wide disparity in the quality of the sound. Like many integrators,
they were not aware of this disparity. They also were increasingly aware of the end user’s need to manage the IT needs of their organization,
which can often feel burdensome to organizations.
Whether you have a full time IT staff or not, you still must budget,
train, manage and monitor the cyber defensibility, maintainability,
reliability and interoperability of your communication solution.
Manufacturers must reduce the complexity and cost of ownership by
reducing this complexity and driving a simple, safe and cost-effective
implementation. They also must easily integrate communication into
their existing business and security technology infrastructure.
Interoperability is foundational to making communication “intelligent”
because it offers a holistic approach to previous silos such as
access control, video surveillance and intrusion by activating voice
and audio into real time situational awareness, actionable response
and customer service.
Envision’s Joshua Dobnikar, security division manager, and his
team completed its evaluation and soon after engaged Liberty Home,
a retirement community in Kansas City. Envision had identified a
project they were currently working on and planned to specify a competitive
intercom system based on price. With the help of Tavares
Allen, their security project manager, the team collaborated on helping
the customer align their values, their business and their security
around intelligent communications.
Intelligent communication vendors should hide the complexity
behind intelligibility, interoperability, installation and service. One of
the benchmarks for an integrator like Envision is to evaluate where
the manufacturer’s capabilities and an end-user’s short- and longterm
requirements intersect. Envision represents competitive intercom
products, but none of them could match the simplicity, audio
clarity and maintainability of the manufacturer that Envision determined
would be the best for Liberty: Zenitel.
“What you think would be simple is often a burden to supporting
the customer,” Dobnikar said. “Change is a constant in every organization.
Retirement homes are no different. Residents move or leave,
and the station directory needs to be updated. We were blown away
by how easy it was to help our customer make changes in the directory
when and If needed. And the residents really love the audio
clarity; especially those who find it difficult to hear and be heard.”
Dobnikar is now expanding the intelligent communications influence
on their core business by sending more and more of his technicians
through Intelligent Communication training.
The unique digital transformation of moving intercom to intelligent
communications is a force multiplier for the security ecosystem
of end users, consultants, integrators and manufacturers. The transition
encourages a focus on business and security workflows and
highly differentiated outcomes based not only on technology, but also
how it is collaboratively understood, evaluated and applied. Knowledge
through benchmarking provides the context for creating an
evaluation scorecard containing the consultant’s and integrator’s
prospects and customers, which, in turn, provides a foundation of
trust on both sides.
This article originally appeared in the March April 2020 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.