Worldwide Need for Security is Challenging Parking Operators
These days, a parking operator’s lot isn’t exactly an easy one, especially where hot-button issues like security are concerned. This is glaringly apparent in view of new emergency scenarios involving violent attacks targeted at public institutions such as airports, hospitals and universities.
Events like these are emphasizing the fact that, as potential targets, parking garages need to ramp up their security, as well. Fortunately, there are solutions. The latest intercom hub technologies, for example, help parking operators to cover the full range of operational security issues, from routine customer assistance to fully-fledged emergency and threat response. And yes, they even double as platforms for regular office and staff communication.
Managed parking today isn’t what it used to be only a decade ago. In addition to the dangers that operators have been faced with all along (e.g., fire hazards, gas leaks, and the like), new emergency scenarios have appeared as a result of a disconcerting upward trend in violent attacks like riots, terrorism or mass shooting incidents. Against this background, the issue of building security is coming to the fore in off-street parking.
ASBIS for parking means business
In an effort to combat the situation, legal regulations and standards, such as IEC 62820, are imposing a mounting set of responsibilities on parking operators and their security staff. Fortunately, however, help is on the way, and it comes in the form of IEC 62820 Part 2, specifying the technical requirements for the composition, function, performance and testing methods of Advanced Security Building Intercom Systems (ASBIS).
Working under the hood of an ASBIS is a supporting array of advanced features intended to make everyday communication and control tasks effortless for users and economically efficient for operators.
As such, an IEC 62820 conformant ASBIS serves multiple purposes. Built on top of a high-end communication system, it leverages technologies from intercom to building controls or public address and brings them together on a central control desk to meet latest security standards.
Already an increasingly common requirement in tender specifications for building facilities all over the world, the IEC 62820-2 standard describes the technical essentials on how to support Emergency Operation Plans (EOPs) with Intercom solutions for advanced security in off-street parking facilities.
Raising the standard
For example, the new IEC 62820-2 standard calls for a technical Risk Manager to determine the required security level. It also provides criteria for the technology to be implemented in order to address these requirements. The Risk Manager’s assessment determines how the technical equipment will support the parking operator in managing a dangerous situation or emergency.
Definitive requirements and protection goals must therefore be specified right at the beginning of each planning stage. Deciding early on which features are needed will help to limit the costs to what is technically necessary, and it will ensure that existing technical systems can be incorporated into future concepts. Once the technical equipment has been selected, it has to perfectly support all organizational processes.
Dealing with danger...
IEC 62820-2 compliant solutions, as seen at Intertraffic, ensure reliable communication across the entire parking security equipment to support a decisive, well informed response to emergency and danger situations around the clock. Usually, this involves a concerted use of strategically placed emergency call terminals in combination with motion or sound detectors, as well as integrated CCTV and building controls for things like sprinkler systems or shutter gates.
Coordinated centrally from a control room, the overall solutions are flexible enough to cope with moving threats such as active shooters that may shift their position. They do so by adjusting escape routes and evacuation measures in real-time to respond to a developing situation, triggering lockdown procedures, opening doors and exit gates, playing pre-recorded announcements over the PA system, and so on.
What makes it all possible is new fail-safe communication and security technology designed to help security staff to monitor and control everything from a central workstation with a streamlined user surface. As far as off-street parking security goes, the system covers the entire emergency reaction chain, from prevention and alarming, to situational awareness, and on to response and de-escalation.
...and mastering the mundane with cloud intelligence
As with any other equipment, an ASBIS, too, must earn its keep. Being there ‘just in case’ would be economically extravagant, if not downright inefficient, if the system would not also prove its worth in everyday communication. Here, as always, flexibility is the key to efficiency.
Working under the hood of an ASBIS is a supporting array of advanced features intended to make everyday communication and control tasks effortless for users and economically efficient for operators. One notable example is voice analysis, such as ‘Intelligent Voice Recognition’ (IVR). Technologies like these are being developed to pre-analyze a caller’s voice, for example to weed out prank calls, accidental calls, and other false alarms. It does this by employing artificial intelligence to learn to distinguish between the voice patterns in legitimate and fraudulent calls.
The same technology could prove useful in other areas, as well, such as authenticating staff acoustically. Another feature would be Dynamic Volume Control (DVC), which analyzes ambient noise to adjust the volume level of announcements to make them stand out for better clarity (something all of us who are familiar with drowned-out passenger announcements in busy train stations and airports will appreciate).
Additionally, the latest-generation models of emergency call points come with a touch screen, a sleek changeable user interface and amazing sound quality. Acting as communication points in a crisis situation, they might show an emergency layout with distress call buttons and evacuation messages. With the emergency over, however, they can switch to an ‘everyday mode’, sporting a layout with customer assistance call buttons and commercial messages. Where the handy double use for both emergency and everyday use is concerned, the calculation is simple: once invested, twice efficient.
In summary, when it comes to facing the parking industry’s evolving security and communication challenges, IEC 62820-2 compliant advanced security intercom solutions are setting the standard for keeping today’s parking facility safe and sound well into the future, giving patrons and operators a (parking) lot to look forward to.
Tony Babicz is Director of Sales – The Americas for Commend, Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org