Securing infrastructure with command and control

Deep integration enables identification and analysis of unusual behaviour.

With the challenges facing high-risk facilities becoming ever more complex, Chris Edwards of Siemens Building Technologies UK, examines how command and control can deliver a secure, safe and automated working environment.

The challenges facing high risk facilities are becoming ever more complex. Even low-level intrusions can cause nuisance, disruption, damage and loss of assets. At a higher level there is the risk of attack which could result in an interruption of vital services for extended periods, leading to the potential loss of reputation and public confidence. So, it’s worth examining how command and control can deliver a secure, safe and automated working environment.

The role of technology

The key purpose of every security system should be to deter, detect, delay and deny unauthorised intrusion and to communicate and control any security or hazardous incident. Centralised command and control platforms manage critical situations and enhance security and safety operations, whilst reducing risks. Operators are immediately prompted to take the correct action and the software will automatically set in motion a sequence of pre-agreed activities to ensure the right procedures are adhered to, as well as distributing essential information across multiple agencies. 

A typical project scope might encompass the integration of wide-area surveillance; automatic number plate recognition; perimeter and site intrusion protection; access control for people, contractors and vehicles; alarm management; video analytics; fire detection and extinguishing; phased evacuation systems; lone worker monitoring and asset tracking. 

  Integration of many disciplines provides centralised situational awareness.

This integration of many disciplines provides centralised situational awareness, improved information and intelligence, effective response to critical events and the proper co-ordination of resources. Security operatives are able to accelerate their response to alerts and manage risk before it escalates to a more serious incident. 

Incidents can emanate from multiple sources such as system analytics or intruder devices, and an automated workflow or rules engine will prioritise the importance of these and alert operators in a number of ways. Deep integration enables identification and analysis of unusual behaviour and anomalies to facilitate proactive, rather than reactive, decision-making. By combining a wide variety of building and infrastructure systems, and creating a logical sequence, it is possible to limit the escalation of damage. 

Alarm rules will also assist operatives in managing response times, actions and feedback.  Video can be combined from multiple cameras into one cohesive flow of evidence for analysis and importantly, a full audit of all activity can be generated automatically to provide a full incident report.

The centralisation of activities can also reduce cost and improve user efficiency as the command platform synchronises inputs from multiple disciplines, enabling operators to quickly master each situation, and to mitigate human error, decision-making is more automated and systematic.

Command and control improves the effectiveness of critical control room applications, including call handling, resource allocation and despatch. For many operations, time is critical and operatives need immediate and accurate information. The software delivers a decision management workflow that assigns priorities, determines activities and allows them to allocate the appropriate actions and resources. This high level of transparency, complete with detailed reporting and audit trails, provides vital information to senior management to enable a better understanding of their site operations, leading to future improvements and cost efficiencies.


High-level security solutions save lives, and protect organisations and reputations; furthermore they ensure business continuity across the UK’s vital services. Command and control assists by adopting a systematic approach; one that includes the development of a clear technological roadmap to drive a coherent, joined-up and long-term investment strategy that includes safety and security at its core. 

The improved assessment, management and transparency of safety and security disciplines and the protection of vital assets are provided through improved automated decision-making, more efficient workflow procedures and greater convergence of technologies. In line with the need for both the public and private sectors to lower costs, these software platforms enable superior operational performance, improved shared services, greater efficiencies and cost reductions, enhanced energy management, and a safer and more sustainable organisation. In short, improved protection of people, communities and assets.

Chris Edwards, is strategic account manager for Siemens Building Technologies UK.