The Promise of Technology

The Promise of Technology

Intelligent communication solutions are coming to retirement communities

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 emergencies.

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 Today.

About the Author

Paul Rux is the sales and support manager for the South Central Region and Mexico for Zenitel.


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