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Keeping your employees and customers safe is essential for any business. Fire safety is a crucial aspect of this responsibility, and understanding the regulations can be complex. This article provides an overview of essential U.S. and Illinois, particularly Chicago, commercial fire safety regulations to ensure your business creates a safe environment in case of fire.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Codes

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets commonly used fire safety standards in the U.S. Here are some key NFPA codes for businesses:

NFPA Code Description
NFPA 101 Life Safety Code Outlines fire safety requirements for building construction, operation, and maintenance.
NFPA 10 Covers what fire extinguishers your business needs and how to maintain them, including inspection, testing, and maintenance of portable fire extinguishers.
NFPA 25 Focuses on the installation, inspection, testing, and maintenance of automatic sprinkler systems.
NFPA 70 (National Electrical Code) Establishes safety standards for electrical installations and equipment to minimize electrical fire hazards.
NFPA 72 Covers fire alarm system requirements, including smoke detectors, fire alarms, and notification appliances.
NFPA 96 Sets standards for ventilation and fire protection systems in restaurants with cooking operations.
NFPA 17A Sets guidelines for the installation, inspection, and maintenance of wet chemical extinguishing systems for restaurant cooking surfaces.

Illinois and Chicago Fire Safety Regulations

Business owners in Illinois and Chicago must adhere to strict fire safety regulations. While the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes provide overarching guidelines, Illinois – and Chicago in particular – have supplementary codes to ensure maximum safety. Understanding these regulations is vital for any business operating in this region.

Important Resources

For the most current local fire regulations, business owners should always consult with:

Illinois Life Safety Code

The state of Illinois adopted the 2015 edition of the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code, with modifications enforced by the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal. This update significantly emphasizes the importance of fire sprinkler systems in commercial buildings.

Illinois Fire Prevention and Safety

Specific regulations may apply to existing high-rise buildings and assembly occupancies (such as restaurants, theaters, or retail stores). These buildings might need to comply with stricter sprinkler system requirements outlined in the 2000 edition of NFPA 101.

Chicago Fire Prevention Code

Chicago adds an additional layer of fire safety regulations. The Chicago Fire Prevention Code provides detailed information on essential construction elements:

  • Fire-restrictive requirements;
  • Specifications for exterior walls;
  • Regulations regarding openings and sloping walls.

Fire Prevention: Your First Line of Defense

Understanding and complying with local fire codes is crucial. However, there are proactive fire safety measures that every business, regardless of location, should implement. Here's a breakdown of the essentials:

Fire Prevention: Your First Line of Defense

Prevention Is Key

  • Fire Alarms: Install and regularly test a reliable fire alarm system.
  • Electrical Safety: Maintain your electrical systems in good condition to reduce fire risks.
  • Flammable Storage: Store flammable materials in designated, safe areas according to regulations.
  • Staff Training: Educate your staff on fire prevention, extinguisher use, and safe evacuation procedures.
  • Regular Inspections: Conduct thorough inspections to identify and remove potential fire hazards.

Clear Paths to Safety

  • Exit Markings: Ensure all fire exits are clearly marked with illuminated signs and completely free from obstructions.

Tools for Emergencies

  • Fire Extinguishers: Install the correct type and quantity of fire extinguishers, based on workplace hazards, and ensure they're easily accessible. Provide staff with training on proper use according to NFPA 10 guidelines.

A Plan for Evacuation

  • Evacuation Plan: Create a detailed evacuation plan. This should include escape routes, meeting points outside the building, and protocols for helping individuals who may need assistance.
  • Evacuation Drills: Conduct regular evacuation drills to familiarize staff with safe and efficient procedures.

Additional Considerations

  • Consider a Sprinkler System: If your budget and building allow, a sprinkler system can provide extra protection.
  • Regular Reviews: Revisit your fire safety plan and equipment regularly to ensure everything remains up-to-date and functional.

Enhanced Fire Safety Through Security System Integration

As a security system design and integration company, we understand the crucial link between a robust security system and comprehensive fire safety protocols. Here's how we can optimize your fire preparedness:

  • Early Fire Detection: We install and integrate state-of-the-art fire alarm systems and smoke detectors, providing early warnings to allow for swift action in the event of a fire.
  • Integrated Systems for Rapid Response: By integrating your fire detection systems with your existing security system, we can create a centralized response hub. This means faster alerts, and potentially even automated actions like unlocking emergency exits.
  • Security System Integration: We're not just about installation; we can assist with the entire design process of your fire safety system, ensuring the best protection for your facility.

Compliance: Your Key to Protection

Adhering to commercial building fire codes is a fundamental responsibility for the safety of your employees, customers, and assets. Partnering with fire protection and security system experts streamlines compliance and ensures you're always prepared.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets workplace fire protection and prevention standards. Non-compliance can have serious consequences:

Consequence Description
Orders to Correct Authorities will mandate that you address fire safety violations within a set timeframe. Failure to comply could lead to further penalties.
Substantial Fines Penalties can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, based on the severity of the violations.
Potential Business Closure In extreme cases, your business operations may be suspended until fire safety compliance is achieved.
Legal Liability Code violations leading to a fire could result in criminal charges being filed against the building owner or business operator.

The Advantages of a Robust Fire Protection Plan

Going beyond mere compliance with fire codes provides a multitude of benefits for any business:

  • Prevention Is Key: Proactive fire prevention strategies and meticulous equipment maintenance significantly reduce the likelihood of a fire breaking out.
  • Swift Response: Early fire detection and a well-rehearsed response plan enable a faster response from both your employees and emergency services, minimizing damage.
  • Safe and Efficient Evacuation: Clearly defined evacuation routes and regular drills ensure everyone can exit the building quickly and safely during an emergency.
  • Potential Insurance Savings: Insurance providers may offer reduced premiums to businesses with a proven dedication to fire safety.

The Sobering Cost of Fires

To understand the true impact, here are some eye-opening statistics:

Statistic Info
Financial Impact The NFPA estimates that fires in office and store properties in 2020 caused a staggering $932 million in direct property damage across the U.S.
Disturbing Frequency The U.S. Fire Administration reports that over 16,500 office and store fires occurred in 2020 alone.
Injuries OSHA data indicates that over 5,000 individuals suffer injuries from workplace fires each year.
Common Causes Leading culprits behind workplace fires include faulty cooking equipment, electrical malfunctions, and the improper storage of flammable materials.
Sprinkler Systems The NFPA emphasizes that properly installed and maintained sprinkler systems can control or even extinguish most fires at the very early stages. This dramatically reduces the risk of both property damage and injury.


Don't treat fire safety as a mere formality. By proactively understanding regulations, prioritizing prevention, and investing in robust protection systems, you safeguard your employees, customers, and the future of your business.

Partnering with Forbel streamlines this process. We offer comprehensive fire protection solutions and tailored expertise and help you achieve peace of mind. Explore our business solutions and contact us today to fortify your safety and security.

Fire Safety Regulations for Businesses

Fire Safety Regulations for Businesses

This guide from Forbel reveals the essential steps for testing your commercial fire alarm system to ensure maximum protection.

In 2022, the 140,000 non-residential structure fires caused an estimated 150 civilian fire deaths, 1,400 civilian injuries, and $4.0 billion in direct property damage. In Chicago, the statistics are grim in both residential and commercial fires.

Don't let your business premises become another fire statistic. A well-maintained and regularly tested commercial fire alarm system is a crucial line of defense and a cornerstone of effective fire prevention for commercial buildings.

Beyond its life-saving capabilities, a robust fire alarm network safeguards your business from costly damage and ensures compliance with strict fire safety regulations – including the U.S. General Services Administration's specific requirements for fire alarm systems.

However, navigating the complexities of testing your fire protection equipment can be challenging. This comprehensive guide provides a clear roadmap for commercial fire alarm testing, frequency, and maintenance.

Why Should You Frequently Test Commercial Fire Alarms?

Beyond the tragic human cost, a silent alarm can be a disaster for your business. From expensive property damage to potential legal ramifications and insurance complications, the financial repercussions can be crippling.

Commercial buildings, often characterized by multiple occupants, intricate layouts, and the presence of flammable materials, inherently face an elevated risk of fire incidents.

Top 5 Causes of Commercial Building Fires

As advanced as technology has become, it isn’t always reliable. This means that these routine tests are imperative to ensure the flawless functionality of all fire safety equipment.

In the case of smoke alarms, many rely on battery power, underscoring the critical need to regularly inspect and replace batteries as required. Whether your commercial property is an office space or a bustling logistics hub, these tests stand as a matter of life and death, especially because smoke detectors last for a limited time.

How Often Should You Test Your Fire Detection System?

To ensure compliance, reference standard 1910.164 regarding fire detection system standards. Commercial properties should prioritize weekly testing of fire alarms and smoke detectors.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the minimum requirement is once a month. Batteries should be replaced every 6 months and test logs must be kept to ensure fire alarm testing is performed regularly.

Here's a detailed schedule for optimal fire alarm upkeep:

Inspection What Should Be Done
Weekly Visual Inspections
  • Control Panel: Check functionality, including alarm signals, fuses, connected systems, and lights.
  • Power Supply: Ensure your main power source for the fire alarm is stable and sufficient.
  • Trouble Signals: Address any logged issues or alarms from the control panel quickly.
Monthly Functionality Tests
  • Batteries: Test voltage levels and replace any weak batteries.
  • Signal Transmission (DACR): Verify that the system can send alarm notifications to the appropriate authorities.
  • CO2 Detectors (If Applicable): Perform functional checks based on manufacturer guidelines or local codes.
Quarterly Inspections
  • Heat Detectors: Test for proper sensitivity to smoke or simulated heat.
  • Alarms: Check that both audible and visual alarms are working throughout the building.
  • Waterflow Devices: Inspect for any blockages or leaks in connected devices.

If one smoke detector emits strange beeps, or in the event of false alarms, all fire safety equipment must be tested at that time. This is to make sure that all safety regulations are followed, and that the equipment is up to date.

Commercial properties should appoint a designated, trained employee to ensure accurate and timely maintenance of fire alarm and smoke detector logs.

How to Test Commercial Fire Alarms and Smoke Detectors: A Step-by-Step Guide

There are key steps to take when testing a commercial fire alarm/smoke detector. Regardless of whether this is the weekly, monthly, bi-yearly, or yearly test, it’s important to log all the information into a fire alarm test log.


It’s recommended to perform an annual fire drill, especially for bigger companies, at which the employees should not be notified. However, a fire alarm notification is necessary for the weekly, monthly, and bi-yearly tests to avoid creating panic or a chaotic state among the employees. When the tests are being performed, it’s important to notify your security system company to avoid triggering false alarms.

How Long Do Fire Alarm Inspection and Test Take?

To set employee expectations, it's important to discuss the typical duration of fire alarm inspections and tests. Providing an estimated time frame helps employees prepare and helps them plan accordingly.


During these fire alarm tests, employees need to be spread throughout the entire building, from end to end. This is to make sure that in the event of a fire, you will hear the alarm, no matter where you are on the premises.


Testing your fire alarms requires precision and attention to detail.

Follow these steps to conduct a successful test:

  • Start by verifying that all necessary preparations are in place for the test.
  • Walk through the building and methodically activate the fire alarm system at each designated manual call point location. Once a pull station is activated, the alarm should sound loudly and clearly throughout the entire building. Verify that both the audible alarms and any visual strobe lights (if present) are functioning as intended in all areas of the building. After confirming the alarm's functionality, return to the fire alarm control panel – the central hub of the system. This panel is typically located in a secure area, often near a main building entrance. Follow the designated reset procedure (which may involve a specific button or a series of steps) to silence the alarm and re-arm the system for future alerts.
  • Next, focus on testing the smoke detectors – a vital part of your fire alarm system. Most modern smoke detectors feature a built-in test button. Press and hold this button for approximately 5 seconds to initiate a test cycle.
  • If the smoke detector is functioning properly and the batteries are still fresh, a loud and piercing sound should emanate. This indicates that the detector is in good working condition.
  • If the sound is weak or no siren is heard, it’s important to replace the batteries immediately. Malfunctioning smoke detectors can compromise the safety of your building and its occupants.
  • Record the date, time, and any observed issues in a dedicated fire alarm test log for future reference.

As mentioned above, it’s important that a trained individual is responsible for performing the fire alarm tests within a company and that they keep detailed test logs.

Fire Alarm Inspection Checklist

Fire Alarm Acceptance Checklist

Make sure your building is protected with this downloadable fire alarm inspection checklist.

Minimize downtime and maximize occupant safety with our meticulous fire alarm inspection checklist guide. Designed for busy building managers, this tool simplifies routine fire alarm systems inspection to make sure your system is ready in the face of an emergency.

Smoke Detector Maintenance Tips

It isn't just enough to routinely test your commercial fire alarm, it's crucial to maintain it so that it works more efficiently. That helps you avoid false alarms and it can save lives.


Regular cleaning of smoke detectors is essential. Commercial smoke detectors should be cleaned at least once a month. When cleaning, focus on clearing air vents to ensure unobstructed detection of smoke and carbon monoxide. Avoid submerging detectors in water or using chemical cleaners; a simple microfiber cloth for external cleaning is sufficient.


To maintain functionality, replace smoke detector batteries every six months. Make sure that fresh batteries are inserted, as expired ones may compromise safety. Always test the smoke detector after installing new batteries to verify proper operation.

Battery Replacement


Smoke detectors have a lifespan of approximately 10 years, but they may require replacement sooner as per the manufacturer's instructions. In commercial settings, liability considerations make timely replacement crucial. After a decade, dust, debris, and general wear and tear can impair a detector's performance. Replacing aging detectors reduces the risk of false alarms and ensures reliable fire detection.


Regularly inspect smoke detectors for physical damage, obstructions, or signs of tampering. Make sure that nothing blocks their view, and maintain clear access to vents and sensors.

The Bottom Line

In the face of devastating potential losses from fire, a meticulously tested and maintained fire alarm system stands as your commercial building's first line of defense. Regularly adhering to recommended testing schedules and procedures isn't simply a regulatory requirement; it's a life-saving investment.

Committing to responsible fire alarm maintenance and testing doesn't end with the initial installation. Vigilant upkeep ensures ongoing protection for your employees, tenants, and your valuable property.

Don't wait for a tragedy to strike. Prioritize fire safety today and create a secure environment where everyone can work and thrive with peace of mind. Explore Forbel's security solutions – reliable fire alarm systems that could save lives. Contact us today.

How to Test a Fire Alarm in Your Commercial Building

How to Test a Fire Alarm in Your Commercial Building

Learn about commercial fire alarm testing. Discover how to test fire alarm systems in commercial buildings to stay compliant and protect your property.

In today's world, the unexpected is the only constant. From natural disasters to unforeseen security breaches, businesses face many risks that can disrupt operations and pose serious threats to physical assets and employee safety.

Integrating comprehensive emergency planning and fire alarm systems into your business operations isn’t just a precaution; it's a critical strategy to ensure resilience and continuity when disaster strikes.

Working with an experienced team like ours at Forbel is essential to keeping your business safe and prepared for emergencies. Here’s what you need to know about this important topic.

Understanding the Basics of Emergency Planning for Businesses

Emergency planning starts with understanding your business’ needs and vulnerabilities. This process involves developing emergency procedures that are robust, scalable, and adaptable to various situations. Emergency preparedness is about more than just having a plan on paper; it's about creating a culture of safety and responsiveness throughout your organization. This means you need effective evacuation procedures and a well-thought-out emergency plan so that when emergencies occur, your business is ready to act quickly.

Key Components of an Effective Emergency Plan

Key Components of an Effective Emergency Plan

At the heart of any effective emergency plan are several key components:

  • Key Personnel: Designating individuals with specific responsibilities during an emergency is crucial. These roles range from incident commanders who manage the response efforts to safety officers who make sure evacuation procedures are followed.
  • Emergency Exits: A clear understanding and marking of emergency exits are vital. These paths should be free of obstructions and well-lit to facilitate a quick and orderly evacuation.
  • Fire Department: Collaboration with local emergency services, including the fire department, is essential. This ensures that your plans align with those of first responders, who play a critical role during fire incidents.
  • Incident Commander: The appointment of an incident commander who takes charge during an emergency is crucial for coordinating efforts and making important decisions.

Crafting Your Emergency Response Plan: A Guide for Small Businesses

Small businesses, in particular, may feel overwhelmed with emergency planning. However, crafting an emergency response plan is about addressing a few key areas:

  • Identify Areas: Start by identifying areas within your business that are most vulnerable to disasters. These could be areas with critical infrastructure, high occupancy, or valuable assets.
  • Potential Hazards: Recognizing potential hazards, from natural disasters to chemical spills, is a step towards mitigating their impact. If you understand these risks, you’ll be able to develop specific emergency procedures tailored to each potential event.
  • Assembly Points: Establishing predetermined assembly points outside the business premises helps employees know where to gather for headcounts and further instructions once they’ve safely evacuated.

By addressing these foundational elements, small businesses can develop an emergency response plan that not only safeguards their operations but also significantly enhances the safety and security of their employees.

Identifying Potential Risks and Hazards

Identifying Potential Risks and Hazards

A cornerstone of effective emergency planning is the identification of potential risks and hazards that could impact your business. The more proactive you are, the better you’ll be able to assess the likelihood and impact of various events:

  • Natural Disasters: Depending on your geographic location, your business could be susceptible to floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, or tornadoes. Understanding these risks is essential for crafting specific response strategies.
  • Chemical Spills: For businesses that handle hazardous materials, chemical spills can pose significant health and safety risks. Preparing for such incidents involves specialized training and equipment.
  • Power Outages: Often overlooked, power outages can cripple business operations, especially for companies reliant on digital infrastructure. Backup power solutions and contingency plans are critical.
  • Break-ins: Security breaches can lead to loss of property and compromise sensitive information. A comprehensive security system can deter and respond to such incidents.

Assigning Roles and Responsibilities

A well-defined chain of command and clear assignment of roles and responsibilities are pivotal during an emergency. This structure helps guarantee that the actions are coordinated and effective:

  • Key Personnel: Identifying individuals within your organization who will take charge in various emergency scenarios is important. These roles could include safety coordinators, communication officers, and medical assistants.
  • Incident Commander: This role is responsible for overseeing the emergency response, making critical decisions, and serving as the liaison with external emergency services.
  • Specific Roles: Depending on the nature of the emergency, you may need to assign specific tasks such as managing evacuation routes, performing headcounts, or administering first aid.
  • One or More People Responsible: Each critical role needs to be backed up by at least one other person so that your response capabilities aren’t compromised if a key individual is missing.

Integrating Fire Alarm Systems into Your Emergency Preparedness

Integrating advanced fire alarm systems into your emergency preparedness plan is a non-negotiable aspect of safeguarding your business:

  • Sprinkler Systems: Automatic sprinkler systems can control, and often extinguish, fires before they spread, minimizing damage and risk to life.
  • Alarm Systems: Modern alarm systems, beyond detecting smoke and fire, can also interface with other building management systems to initiate lockdowns, turn off HVAC systems to prevent smoke spread, and more.
  • Security System: A comprehensive security system, including CCTV, access control, and intrusion detection, complements your fire alarm system by providing early detection of break-ins and facilitating secure evacuation.

Importance of Alarm Systems and Other Emergency Procedures

Beyond installing alarm systems, you’ll also need to incorporate other emergency procedures and tools into your plan for a well-rounded response:

  • Public Address Systems: Essential for communicating real-time information and instructions to employees and visitors during an emergency.
  • First Aid Kits: Easily accessible first aid kits equipped for a variety of potential injuries can make a significant difference in the immediate aftermath of an incident.
  • Other Emergency Procedures: Depending on your business's specific risks, additional procedures might include lockdown protocols, hazardous material containment, and emergency contact notification systems.

Training Employees and Conducting Drills

Training Employees and Conducting Drills

The final piece of the emergency preparedness puzzle is making sure that your employees have the proper training and that you conduct regular drills:

  • Appropriate Training: Employees should receive training on the emergency plan, including recognition of alarms, knowledge of evacuation routes, and the use of emergency equipment.
  • Emergency Evacuation Plans: Clearly documented and easily accessible evacuation plans are crucial. Employees should know their nearest exits, assembly points, and roles during an evacuation.
  • Conducting Drills: Regular drills ensure that employees are familiar with evacuation procedures and can respond appropriately during an actual emergency. Drills should simulate various scenarios to prepare employees for different types of emergencies.

By addressing these areas, businesses can create a comprehensive emergency preparedness strategy that reduces the impact of unforeseen events and improves safety and the workplace.

Legal and Regulatory Considerations for Emergency Planning

Adhering to legal and regulatory considerations is important in emergency planning. This includes compliance with Homeland Security directives, local building codes, and safety regulations. Ensuring compliance not only keeps your business operations legal but also significantly enhances the safety and security of your employees and premises.

Future Trends in Emergency Preparedness and Fire Safety

Future Trends in Emergency Preparedness and Fire Safety

Our team at Forbel knows that the field of emergency preparedness is constantly evolving, with technological advancements and next-generation fire alarm systems leading the way. It’s important to stay on top of these trends and innovations in security are crucial for businesses that want to improve their emergency response strategies and safeguard their employees and assets against future risks.

Conclusion: The Imperative of Being Prepared

In the face of uncertainty, the safety and security of a business and its workforce hinge on the degree of emergency preparedness. Comprehensive emergency planning, rigorous training, and incorporating sophisticated fire alarm systems are integral in modern organizational safety protocols. These measures aren’t just strategies; they’re indispensable practices that protect both tangible and human assets against unforeseen events.

Adopting a proactive approach to emergency readiness ensures that businesses can navigate the challenges posed by unexpected emergencies, safeguarding the well-being of employees and securing the operational continuity of the company. In this journey towards enhanced safety and preparedness, Forbel is known to be a trusted partner who offers cutting-edge solutions tailored to meet your business’ unique needs.

To see how we can strengthen your business against emergencies and to learn more about our comprehensive safety solutions, contact us today. Together, we can create a safer, more resilient future for your business so that when the unexpected occurs, you are ready.

Emergency Planning and Fire Alarm Systems: Preparing Your Business for the Unexpected

Emergency Planning and Fire Alarm Systems: Preparing Your Business for the Unexpected

Discover essential strategies for emergency preparedness and fire safety. Ensure your business is ready for any unexpected event.

As time goes on, emerging technology continues to improve. Voice evacuation systems represent a significant leap forward in the field of fire safety and emergency preparedness within commercial environments. These sophisticated systems go beyond the capabilities of traditional fire alarm systems by offering clear, audible instructions to guide building occupants during an evacuation.

This advancement in technology is crucial, especially in complex and large-scale buildings, where quick and organized evacuation can save lives and minimize chaos.

Traditionally, fire alarm systems relied on loud sirens and flashing lights to alert occupants of an emergency. While effective in drawing attention, these methods didn’t provide specific instructions which led to confusion and panic. The evolution of voice evacuation systems has addressed this gap by incorporating spoken messages that can direct occupants safely out of the building, improving fire safety protocols with advanced emergency communication strategies.

Our team at Forbel will delve into this topic and provide you with the information you need to know.

Advancement in Fire Alarm Technology

Advancement in Fire Alarm Technology

The shift from traditional fire alarm systems to modern voice evacuation systems is a pivotal development in building safety technology. Unlike their predecessors, voice evacuation systems offer a dual function: alerting occupants that there’s a hazard while simultaneously providing them with clear instructions on how to respond. This advancement helps produce a more effective evacuation process and significantly reduces the risk of injury (or worse) during emergencies.

The importance of fire detection and smoke detectors cannot be overstated in the context of early warning systems. These devices are critical for the initial detection of fire, allowing voice evacuation systems to promptly inform and direct building occupants. The technology integrates these elements to transform emergency communication from a generic alarm to a guided evacuation process. As a result, everyone involved achieves a higher level of safety.

Key Components of Voice Evacuation Systems

The effectiveness of voice evacuation systems lies in their key components, which work together to ensure a smooth and orderly evacuation:

  • Pre-Recorded Messages: Essential for delivering consistent and calm instructions across various emergency scenarios. These messages are designed to guide occupants with clear directions, helping to alleviate panic and confusion.
  • Clear Communication and Spoken Instructions: The backbone of any effective evacuation. By providing specific guidance, such as which exits to use, voice evacuation systems make emergency responses that much faster and ensure they’re carried out swiftly and safely.
  • Integration with Building Management Systems: To achieve a comprehensive safety approach, voice evacuation systems are often integrated with other building management systems. This synergy allows for a coordinated response to emergencies, where every aspect of the building's safety measures works together to protect occupants and property.

The Benefits of Voice Evacuation Systems

The Benefits of Voice Evacuation Systems

Still not convinced? Adopting voice evacuation systems in commercial settings offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Enhancing Overall Safety and Protecting Property: By offering a more controlled and informed evacuation process, these systems safeguard human lives and help minimize property damage by ensuring that areas are promptly and efficiently cleared.
  • Reducing False Alarms and Improving Response Times: The specificity of voice messages helps to avoid the complacency often associated with false alarms, guaranteeing that every alert is taken seriously. Clear instructions can also significantly improve response times, as occupants understand exactly what action to take.
  • Mass Notification Capabilities: Beyond fire emergencies, voice evacuation systems can be used for a range of threats, including chemical spills and security breaches. This versatility makes them an invaluable component of any commercial building's emergency response plan and offers one solution that addresses multiple safety concerns.

Commercial buildings can integrate voice evacuation systems to significantly enhance their fire safety measures and emergency preparedness. This technology not only improves the efficiency of evacuations but also plays an essential role in protecting lives and property, marking a new era in commercial building safety.

Voice Evacuation Systems and Building Safety Standards

It’s clear that voice evacuation systems aren’t only a technological advancement but also a critical component in meeting contemporary building safety standards and codes. These systems are designed to ensure compliance with rigorous regulations that mandate clear paths of effective emergency communication methods in commercial buildings. Facilities can incorporate voice evacuation technology to adhere to these standards, which are increasingly recognizing the importance of audible instructions to help occupants respond to emergencies.

In the context of high-rise buildings and large facilities, the role of voice evacuation systems becomes even more pronounced. The complexity of these structures, coupled with the high number of occupants, requires a sophisticated approach to emergency evacuations. Voice evacuation systems provide a solution by delivering targeted messages that can guide individuals through the safest exit routes, significantly reducing the risk of congestion and guaranteeing a faster, more organized evacuation process.

Implementation and Integration in Modern Buildings

The successful implementation of voice evacuation systems in modern buildings hinges on seamless integration with existing security and fire alarm infrastructures. This integration ensures that, in the event of an emergency, the voice evacuation system activates simultaneously with fire alarms and other security measures, providing immediate, coordinated instructions to building occupants.

The system is adaptable and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of various facilities, whether they be educational institutions, healthcare facilities, or commercial complexes. This customization ensures that messages are relevant to the building's layout and the nature of its occupancy to make the evacuation process that much more efficient.

The Importance of Informing and Training Building Occupants

The Importance of Informing and Training Building Occupants

Voice evacuation systems are only helpful if the employees and occupants have the right training. Clear strategies for employee and occupant notification during emergencies are essential. These might include regular announcements, digital signage, and other communication tools that complement the voice evacuation system. It’s also important to conduct regular drills and training sessions to familiarize occupants with evacuation procedures.

These drills help occupants understand how to respond when they hear evacuation instructions which reduces panic and confusion during emergencies. This proactive approach prepares individuals for different types of emergency scenarios and reinforces how important it is to follow the instructions that the voice evacuation system provides.

Through rigorous implementation, integration, and occupant training, voice evacuation systems become a cornerstone of building safety and ensure that commercial facilities are equipped to protect occupants in emergency situations. These systems represent the next generation of fire safety technology, offering clarity, compliance, and coordination that significantly enhance the emergency preparedness of buildings and their inhabitants.

Case Studies and Real-World Applications

But how effective are these voice evacuation systems? Numerous case studies across multifaceted environments have demonstrated their value in real-world applications. For instance, in high-rise buildings where traditional evacuation methods could lead to bottlenecks and confusion, voice evacuation systems have been instrumental in guiding occupants through predetermined safe routes, significantly minimizing evacuation times and potential injuries.

In schools and hospitals, environments that require a nuanced approach to emergency evacuation due to the presence of young, elderly, or mobility-impaired individuals, voice evacuation systems have provided clear, calm instructions, ensuring that all occupants, regardless of their physical condition, can evacuate safely and efficiently.

These systems have been crucial during emergencies like fires, chemical spills, and even security threats which demonstrates their versatility and capability to adapt to various situations, ultimately safeguarding lives and property.

Future Trends in Fire Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Future Trends in Fire Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Looking ahead, the evolution of voice evacuation systems promises even greater advancements in fire safety and emergency preparedness. The next generation of these systems is expected to feature enhanced intelligibility, greater integration with smart building technologies, and more personalized evacuation instructions.

Advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning could enable systems to analyze the specific conditions of an emergency in real-time, offering dynamic evacuation routes optimized for safety based on the current situation, such as the location of a fire or the density of occupants.

Furthermore, adaptability will be important in ensuring these systems are prepared for future challenges, including emerging security threats and evolving emergency scenarios. The ability to update and modify evacuation messages quickly and efficiently will be essential in responding to unforeseen situations, maintaining the relevance and effectiveness of voice evacuation systems in improving building safety.

Conclusion: The Essential Role of Voice Evacuation Systems in Commercial Safety

Voice evacuation systems have become an indispensable component of modern fire safety and emergency preparedness strategies. These systems provide clear, audible instructions in the event of an emergency, playing a crucial role in enhancing the safety and overall well-being of building occupants.

Adopting advanced fire alarm technology, including voice evacuation systems, isn’t just a regulatory compliance issue but a moral staple for the safety of all individuals within a commercial facility.

As we move forward, voice evacuation systems will undoubtedly continue to improve and create safer, more resilient environments. Whether in the face of fire, natural disasters, or security threats, the importance of clear communication during emergencies cannot be overstated. Voice evacuation systems represent a critical step forward in our collective effort to protect lives and property, reaffirming the essential role of innovative fire alarm technology in commercial safety.

For those looking to enhance their building's safety systems with the latest in fire alarm and voice evacuation technology, Forbel offers cutting-edge solutions tailored to meet your specific needs. We’re passionate about helping businesses and homes improve their fire and security solutions. To learn more about how we can help safeguard your property and occupants, contact us today.

Voice Evacuation Systems: Enhancing Safety in Commercial Fire Alarms

Voice Evacuation Systems: Enhancing Safety in Commercial Fire Alarms

Looking for ways to enhance safety in your commercial fire alarms? Learn about a special layer of security - Voice Evacuation Systems - from our article.

Smoke detectors are critical safety tools that serve as the first line of defense in the event of a fire, offering a crucial early warning that can save lives and protect property. Despite how important they are, these devices aren’t infallible; they require regular maintenance and eventual replacement to function effectively.

Understanding the maintenance needs and lifespan of your smoke detectors is vital for ensuring they operate optimally when you need them most. Our experts at Forbel have put together this guide to provide essential tips for maintaining your smoke detectors, helping you to safeguard your apartments or commercial space against the threat of fire. By staying informed and proactive, you can ensure your environment remains safe and secure.

How Long Do Smoke Detectors Last?

How Long Do Smoke Detectors Last?

Your trusty smoke detector plays a crucial role in safeguarding your home and alerting you to potential fire hazards. But like any device, they don't last forever. The lifespan of a smoke detector varies depending on its type, but generally falls within the 8-10 year range according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Here's a breakdown of how long different types of smoke detectors typically last:

Type of Smoke Detector Lifespan Battery Replacement Special Notes
9-volt battery smoke detectors 8-10 years Annually
Lithium battery smoke detectors 8-10 years Not required (sealed batteries)
Hardwired alarms 8-10 years Not applicable Professional replacement required
Smoke detectors with CO detectors 5-7 years Replace earlier due to CO detection decline

More on the four types of fire detectors here

When It's Time to Replace Your Smoke Alarm

Here's when it's time to ditch that outdated detector and prioritize safety:

  • Age: The biggest giveaway is simply age. Most smoke alarms, regardless of type, need replacement after 10 years. Check the back for a manufacturing date to track its lifespan.
  • Chirping: An incessant chirping, even after fresh batteries, often indicates an internal malfunction. Don't wait for silence, replace it immediately.
  • Test Failure: Monthly fire alarm testing is crucial. Use a smoke detector tester or ignite a controlled puff of smoke near the unit (never open flames!). If it remains silent, replace it.
  • Yellowing: While not a sole indicator, yellowing over time can suggest accumulated dust or smoke exposure, impacting its sensitivity. Play it safe and replace it.
  • False Alarms: Frequent, unexplained triggers point to sensor issues. Don't ignore them, replace the alarm before a real fire goes undetected.
  • Recalled Models: Check online or contact the manufacturer. If your model is part of a safety recall, replace it instantly. Don't gamble with faulty components.

Remember, a working smoke alarm is your first line of defense against fire. Replace yours promptly when any of these red flags appear, and don't forget to test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries as recommended. Early detection can save lives!

How to Test Your Smoke Detector

Testing your smoke detector regularly is important to ensure it's functioning properly and is ready to alert you in case of fire. Here's a short step-by-step guide:

  • Inform everyone in your home: Let them know you're testing the smoke detectors to avoid unnecessary alarms.

Using the Test Button:

  1. Locate the test button: It's usually on the front or side of the detector.
  2. Press and hold the button: Do this for at least 5 seconds.
  3. Listen for the alarm: A loud, continuous beeping sound should activate. This confirms the detector's circuitry, horn, and battery are working.
  4. Release the button: The alarm should stop immediately.

Alternatively, you can use a smoke detector tester:

  1. Purchase a smoke detector tester: These can be found at most hardware stores.
  2. Follow the manufacturer's instructions: They typically involve spraying a small amount of test aerosol toward the detector's sensor opening.
  3. Observe the alarm: It should sound within 20-30 seconds, indicating proper functionality.

Expert Tips:

  • If you don't hear the alarm during either test, replace the batteries first. If it still doesn't work, replace the detector.
  • Test all smoke detectors in your home, including those in basements and bedrooms.
  • Make testing a monthly habit, ideally near the start of a new month.
  • Never use open flames to test smoke detectors, as this can be dangerous.

How to Maintain a Smoke Detector to Prolong Its Lifespan

How to Maintain a Smoke Detector to Prolong Its Lifespan

Maintaining smoke detectors is crucial for ensuring they function properly and provide timely warnings in case of fire. Here are some essential tips for smoke detector maintenance:

  1. Test Regularly: Test your smoke detectors at least once a month by pressing the test button to ensure they are working.
  2. Replace Batteries: Change the batteries at least once a year, or whenever the low battery signal chirps, to keep the detector powered. Some models come with a 10-year battery, which means you'll replace the entire unit when the battery runs out.
  3. Clean Detectors: Dust and debris can prevent smoke detectors from working efficiently. Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to gently clean the outside of the detector every six months. Avoid using water or cleaning agents.
  4. Check Installation Date: Most smoke detectors have a lifespan of about 10 years. Check the manufacture date on the back of the unit and replace any detector that’s 10 years old or older.
  5. Avoid Painting: Never paint over smoke detectors, as paint can clog the sensor chambers and prevent the detector from sensing smoke.
  6. Replace After Activation: If a smoke detector goes off due to an actual fire, consider replacing it to ensure it's fully functional for future incidents.
  7. Heed False Alarms: If a smoke detector frequently gives false alarms, don't just remove the batteries or disconnect it. First, try moving it to a different location. If false alarms continue, replace the unit.
  8. Keep Spares: Keep spare batteries and a backup smoke detector on hand, so you can swiftly address any issues that arise during maintenance checks.

Regular maintenance of smoke detectors is a simple yet effective way to enhance your safety measures against fires, protecting lives and property.

The Bottom Line

The lifespan and maintenance of smoke detectors are fundamental to ensuring the safety of both residential and commercial spaces. With a general expectancy of 8-10 years, these devices demand regular checks, timely battery replacements, and eventual substitution to maintain their efficacy.

The importance of these practices cannot be overstated; they are simple yet critical measures that can significantly impact the well-being of occupants by providing an early warning in the event of a fire.

If you're unsure about the condition of your detectors or need assistance with maintenance or replacement, don't hesitate to reach out for professional advice. At Forbel, keeping everyone safe is our top priority, so contact us for support in maintaining your fire safety measures.

How Long Do Smoke Detectors Last Before They Stop Protecting You?

How Long Do Smoke Detectors Last Before They Stop Protecting You?

Discover the lifespan of smoke detectors and when to replace them for optimal safety. Learn vital tips in our guide.

In a bustling commercial building, the risk of fire is always around the corner. Understanding the common culprits behind commercial fires is crucial for safeguarding your property and occupants. From heating mishaps to electrical malfunctions, each potential hazard requires attention.

Beyond mere awareness is the potential to be proactive. Join Forbel as we delve into the habits essential for building fire prevention in commercial spaces. In today's post, we’ll share some of the most important fire safety tips that you can implement right away. So, without any further ado, let's figure out how you can ensure fire safety for your commercial building.

What Causes a Fire in a Commercial Building?

There are many reasons why fire can break inside a commercial building. Let's talk about some of the most common causes of fire.

What Causes a Fire In a Commercial Building?
  • Heating Equipment: Commercial buildings have furnaces, radiators, and boilers that can often lead to situations where the building becomes overheated. This can cause fire, mostly in industrial properties.
  • Smoking: We’ve seen many cases where the fire was the result of careless smoking or not disposing of the smoking materials properly, a topic we’ll explore later.
  • Cooking: If your commercial building has a pantry or a kitchen, there can be chances where flammable materials like oil and grease can catch fire.
  • Arson: Arson is a fire that has been intentionally started by a person, often, but not always, using highly flammable substances. These deliberate fires can cause harm to the people inside the building or to the building itself. A good security system is the best safeguard against arsonists.
  • Electrical Equipment: If you have installed low-quality electrical equipment that has become overloaded, you stand a high chance of fire breaking out in your building.

10 Fire Prevention Tips for Commercial Buildings

10 Fire Prevention Tips for Commercial Buildings

1. Promote Fire Prevention and Safety Training Among Staff

Training staff on workplace fire prevention and safety measures is essential. Encourage a culture of safety where employees feel responsible for not only their safety but also that of their colleagues:

  • Comprehensive Training: Conduct regular training sessions to educate employees about fire risks and the correct use of fire extinguishers, as well as the importance of maintaining clear evacuation routes.
  • Regular Refreshers: Provide regular refresher training to ensure knowledge retention and address any changes in policies or procedures.
  • Hands-on Experience: Integrate hands-on practice sessions into training that allows staff to familiarize themselves with fire extinguisher operation and evacuation routes.
  • Clear Communication: Clearly communicate fire safety expectations and responsibilities to all staff, emphasizing their role in creating a safe workplace environment.

2. Establish Clear Emergency Evacuation Routes

Clear and accessible emergency evacuation routes are vital for ensuring the safety of occupants in the event of a fire. These routes should be:

  • Clearly Marked: Clearly mark all emergency exits with illuminated signage visible even during power outages. Conduct regular checks to ensure signage is unobstructed and in good condition.
  • Maintain Accessibility: Ensure all evacuation routes are free of clutter, tripping hazards, and obstructions. Regularly inspect and maintain doors and exit hardware for functionality.
  • Practice Drills: Conduct regular fire drills to familiarize occupants with evacuation routes, procedures, and designated assembly points.
  • Accountability: Implement a system for ensuring everyone safely evacuates during drills and emergencies.

3. Install the Latest Fire Detection System

Another great tip that we have for you is upgrading the fire detection system in your commercial building. As fire detection technologies keep on evolving, it’s important that you install the latest fire detection systems so that there’s no loss of life or property. Most of these fire detection systems have become so sensitive to smoke that they go off even when there’s a small amount of it in the air.

If your building has such a high-quality detection system, you can be certain that inhabitants will go through the fire drill and escape any damage. The smoke sensitive sensors are often connected to the local fire department which gets notified as soon as the fire safety alarms at your building go off. However, check the sensors periodically to replace any faulty equipment.

4. Implement Fire-Extinguishing System

Implement Fire-Extinguishing System

Many times you’ll see a small fire in the building that can be easily put out. While we don't recommend you take matters into your own hands, you can always train people to use fire extinguishers to manage small fires.

Modern-day commercial buildings have fire extinguishing systems in the form of sprinklers that sprinkle water in case the fire detection system detects smoke. We highly recommend you rely on fire sprinklers instead of fire extinguishers because the latter has to be operated manually and you might miss the target due to lack of training. The former, however, can be placed strategically in the building to ensure every fire outbreak can be professionally managed.

5. Create Dedicated Smoking Zones

Ensure a smoke-free environment for your employees by creating smoking zones inside the commercial building. These are essentially dedicated areas where people can smoke. Smoking outside the smoking zones should be strictly prohibited because there’s a risk of a fire outbreak in case the cigarettes aren’t disposed of properly.

This doesn't mean that the smoking zones shouldn't be monitored; if they’re not monitored carefully, they can start a fire. You can even have a no-smoke policy for everyone inside a commercial building. In case you create a smoking zone in the building, make sure your employees understand the importance of disposing of the smoking material properly.

6. Keep an Eye on Electrical Wiring in Circuits

The most common reason why fire starts in any commercial building is due to faulty wiring. You should make sure that your office's electrical wiring and circuit are installed properly. When it comes to electrical wiring, we highly recommend you deploy a well-planned wiring system that takes fire hazards into account.

But, installing proper electrical wiring isn’t it. Be sure to periodically check all the electrical sockets, cords, and wires to ensure the electrical equipment you’re using is performing at its best.

7. Implement Effective Storage Practices

Implement Effective Storage Practices

To mitigate fire risks in commercial buildings, it's imperative to adhere to effective storage rules:

  • Minimize Clutter: Eliminate unnecessary flammables like paper, cardboard, and textiles. Organize remaining items in sturdy, closed containers, off the floor, and away from heat sources.
  • Designated Areas: Store flammable liquids and materials in designated, well-ventilated zones, using proper safety cans and spill containment measures. Shelving units should be stable and secure, with heavy items on lower shelves to prevent toppling.
  • Label Clearly: Clearly label all stored materials, including hazard warnings and contents descriptions, for easy identification and proper handling.
  • Regular Assessments: Conduct regular inspections of storage areas, addressing any clutter build-up, damaged containers, or potential hazards promptly.

8. Dispose of Combustible Waste

Combustible waste, such as paper, cardboard, and wood scraps can significantly increase the fire load within a commercial building. Be sure to implement a rigorous disposal program:

  • Frequent Disposal: Establish routine waste disposal schedules to prevent the accumulation of combustible materials like paper, food scraps, and packaging.
  • Designated Receptacles: Implement separate, fire-resistant bins for combustible waste that’s located away from flammable materials and ignition sources.
  • Emptying Procedures: Ensure prompt emptying of waste bins and regular cleaning of collection areas to minimize fire risk.
  • Training and Signage: Train staff on proper waste disposal procedures and clearly mark locations of designated waste receptacles with the right signage.

9. Implement Fire Safety Protocols in Kitchens

Kitchens within commercial buildings pose a high risk for fires due to the combination of cooking equipment, open flames, and flammable oils. Be sure to establish strict fire safety rules to mitigate these risks. These rules should include:

  • Never Leave Cooking Unattended: Always stay in the kitchen while cooking, especially when using high heat or oil.
  • Keep Flammable Materials Away from Heat Sources: Store towels, paper products, and cooking utensils away from stoves and ovens.
  • Clean Grease Traps and Filters Regularly: Built-up grease is a major fire hazard, so clean grease traps and filters according to manufacturer recommendations.
  • Have a Fire Extinguisher Readily Available: Choose the appropriate type of extinguisher for your kitchen and ensure everyone knows how to use it.
  • Train Staff on Proper Procedures: Educate staff on safe cooking practices, fire extinguisher use, and evacuation procedures.
  • Maintain Ventilation Systems: Regularly clean and inspect hood filters and exhaust fans to ensure proper ventilation and prevent grease buildup.
  • Dispose of Hot Liquids and Grease Safely: Never pour hot grease down the drain or trash; let it cool first and dispose of it in a sealed container.

10. Choose a Competent Fire Warden

Choose a Competent Fire Warden

We highly recommend you dedicate a resource to take responsibility for fire safety. You can appoint a fire warden that’ll make sure that all fire safety guidelines are followed in the commercial building. Fire wardens are highly trained professionals who know what to do when there’s a fire in a building. They periodically carry out fire risk assessments to ensure that all fire safety equipment and systems are in their prime.

How to Create Habits for Building Fire Prevention in Commercial Buildings

Creating habits for building fire prevention in a commercial setting involves fostering a culture of safety and awareness among all employees.

Habit 1: Become a Fire Safety Observer: During your daily routine, incorporate quick visual scans for potential hazards. Look for:

  • Electrical Issues: Damaged cords, overloaded outlets, or faulty equipment.
  • Flammable Materials: Improperly stored combustibles, discarded smoking materials, or unattended heat sources.
  • Blocked Exits: Cluttered pathways, malfunctioning doors, or obstructed signage.

Habit 2: Be a Proactive Reporter: Don't ignore potential hazards. Immediately report any concerns to designated personnel, like building management or fire wardens. This allows for prompt action and prevents small issues from escalating.

Habit 3: Stay Informed and Engaged: Actively participate in fire safety training and information sessions. Be aware of evacuation procedures, extinguisher locations, and any updates to building safety protocols. Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge with colleagues and encourage open discussions about fire safety.

Habit 4: Embrace Responsible Practices: Integrate fire safety into your daily actions. Here are some steps to take:

  • Dispose of Waste Properly: Use designated bins and avoid accumulating combustible materials.
  • Manage Electrical Usage: Avoid overloading outlets, use extension cords cautiously, and report damaged equipment.
  • Handle Flammables Carefully: Never leave cooking unattended, store flammable liquids securely, and dispose of cigarette butts responsibly.

Habit 5: Cultivate a Safety-First Mindset: Share the responsibility for fire prevention and celebrate and encourage safe behavior among colleagues. By working together, you can create a culture of safety and vigilance within your commercial building.

Wrapping Up

True fire safety goes beyond individual actions; it requires fostering a culture of awareness and vigilance among all occupants.

Fire prevention is an ongoing process, not a one-time fix. By prioritizing proactive measures and cultivating a culture of safety, you can ensure the well-being of your employees, protect your property, and minimize the risk of fire's devastating impact.

Have further questions or need assistance? Reach out to us at Forbel to learn more about safeguarding your commercial property. We’ve been serving the Chicago metropolitan area for the past decade, and we're eager to support your fire safety efforts.

10 Fire Prevention Tips for Commercial Buildings

10 Fire Prevention Tips for Commercial Buildings

Discover crucial fire safety regulations for your commercial building. Master these fire safety tips for optimal protection and peace of mind!

Forbel is your trusted security system designer and Chicago commercial fire system installers, helping you to prevent damage to occupants, goods, and property. Our guide will teach you how commercial fire systems work and their main components, and how to choose the right commercial fire alarm system for your business.

What Is a Commercial Fire Alarm System?

A fire system is a network of components that work together to detect the presence of smoke, fire, or carbon monoxide fire and alert all people inside the building of the potential danger.

They are typically connected to a control panel or networked to other fire alarm systems and are designed to notify building occupants of a fire through audible and visual alarms. Fire alarms may also be connected to other fire protection equipment, such as sprinklers, and may be monitored by a central station or a remote monitoring service.

The number and type of devices included in the system are determined by the size of the building and local building codes. Fire alarm installations can only be carried out by approved companies.

What Are the Main Components of Commercial Fire Alarm Systems?

Fire alarm system components are interdependent and collaborate to ensure an efficient and effective operation. They generally consist of the following components:

Fire Alarm Control Panel

commercial fire alarm system

The control panel is the brain. Also called a FACU, it receives input from all the devices connected to it and processes the data to alert occupants in the event of a fire.

Its main functions consist of:

  • Collecting data from different devices connected to it.
  • Monitoring the state of each area in the building.
  • Activating alerting devices and notifications in case of an emergency.
  • Shutting down elevators.
  • Notifying the monitoring station and the proper authorities of an incident.

Smoke Detectors

A smoke detector alerts occupants to the dangers of a potential fire, allowing them to evacuate the building.

There are three types used in commercial fire alarm systems:

  • Ionization smoke detectors are susceptible to smaller particles of smoke.
  • Optical smoke detectors or photoelectric smoke detectors are fast-acting in their detection and sensitive to larger smoke particles in the air.
  • Dual-sensor smoke detectors are a combination of both the above sensors.

CO Detectors

A CO detector is a device that alerts occupants if the air in the building contains dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide (CO). This is especially important for those who work in buildings with gas, oil heating systems, boilers, water heaters, or near parking garages, as they are the most at risk of CO poisoning. Symptoms of CO poisoning can range from mild headaches to death(!), so having a CO detector is essential to protect employees from harm.

Pull Stations

Most people are familiar with the iconic pull station, the primary type of manually operated fire alarm. Every building requires pull stations — large properties need several. A pull station's location must be easily accessible without any obstructions so that when someone pulls the lever, it can signal the fire control panel and the fire department.


business fire alarm systems

A fire strobe alarm is essential for alerting people with hearing disabilities in an emergency. This type of alarm uses synchronized flashes of light to signal an evacuation. Horn strobes are a powerful combination of audible and visual alerts to ensure that all occupants can safely vacate the premises.

Additionally, fire alarm horns come in various sizes and colors and provide further benefits in the case of an emergency. They emit a synchronized sound with 1.5-second pauses to ensure that occupants know the danger.

Voice Evacuation Systems

A voice evacuation system is a PA system that broadcasts clear instructions to help guide people to safety during a fire or other hazardous situation. The benefits of having a voice evacuation system on hand include the following:

  • Providing clear instructions to limit panic.
  • Improved evacuation control, such as phase-out, local only, or floor-by-floor.
  • Highlighting the seriousness of the situation, as people may not take an alarm or malfunction seriously.

Water Sensors/Water Flow Switches

Water sensors are essential to a fire alarm system as they can detect water in areas that shouldn't be present and alert the system. Furthermore, specific water sensors can be programmed to shut off the water supply in case of a leak, thus preventing large-scale flooding. On the other hand, a water flow switch detects water movement in pipes, alerting the fire alarm system to activate sprinkler systems.

Heat Detectors

A heat detector senses heat and alerts occupants of a potential fire before it becomes life-threatening. There are two kinds of heat detectors: rate-of-rise thermal detectors, which measure the temperature change, and fixed temperature heat detectors, which issue alerts when the temperature rises above a certain level.

In contrast to other fire alarm system sensors, which rely on multiple factors, thermistors (temperature sensors) rely solely on heat to detect a potential fire. They can see a sudden change in the temperature of a room.

How Do Commercial Fire Alarm Systems Work?

how do commercial fire alarm systems work

Fire alarms are vital for commercial buildings. Here's a step-by-step of how commercial fire alarm systems work:

Step 1: Fire Alarm Is Triggered

When a fire alarm system is activated, it is impossible to ignore. A loud siren warns everyone in and around the premises of the potential danger. The alarm can be triggered by smoke or fire, but it can also be set off manually by someone in the building with the pull of a red lever.

Step 2: An Alarm Is Sent

Once the fire alarm is triggered, it will automatically alert the authorities by sending an SOS message through a telephone line or mobile network, depending on your setup. This is when fire drills are activated — establishing an established exit strategy is essential.

Step 3: Authorities Are Notified

When the monitoring center receives a distress message, they will quickly dispatch the necessary resources — police, ambulance, and fire department — to your location.

Step 4: The Customer Is Notified

Once the appropriate authorities have been dispatched, the monitoring center will notify you of the situation regardless of whether you are present:

  • If there is phone line monitoring: Fire alarm systems have traditionally worked with a POTS, a plain old telephone. This phone line must be strictly reserved for the fire alarm system and not be shared under any circumstances. This mandate comes directly from the NFPA 72, published by the National Fire Protection Association every three years, to aid in the safe and uniform installation of fire alarms in the United States. Phone line monitorings are secure and stable because a copper line sends messages and signals to the fire alarm monitoring company.
  • If there is cellular monitoring: Due to advances in technology and the widespread use of wireless networks, fire alarm systems can now transmit distress signals via a cellular tower. As a result, cellular monitoring is becoming the preferred choice for commercial establishments.

6 Things to Consider When Choosing Business Fire Alarm Systems

Fire alarm system components

All businesses, regardless of size, must have a reliable and comprehensive fire alarm system. Neglecting to do so can have disastrous consequences. Investing in a fire alarm system is essential for employees, customers, and property safety.

1. Types of Buildings that Need a Fire Alarm System

Commercial Office Buildings

A top-of-the-line fire alarm system is essential for commercial office buildings due to the high number of people occupying the space and the level of foot traffic they experience. This system is critical to the functioning of these types of facilities.

Apartment Buildings

Apartment buildings should not overlook the importance of having a commercial fire alarm system, as they are crucial to the residents' safety and the neighborhood's well-being. Without it, a catastrophic fire could cause significant damage to people's lives.

Industrial Facilities

An industrial facility must have a fire alarm system due to the potential dangers posed by machinery, hazardous materials, and combustible items stored in the building. The presence of flammable items creates an even greater need for a commercial fire alarm system to ensure the safety of the building and its occupants.

Logistics Hubs

The significance of having a fire alarm system in logistic hubs, which store many goods for distribution, cannot be emphasized enough. Should a fire occur, it could have far-reaching implications on the local supply chain.

2. Type of Fire Alarm System for Your Business

fire alarm system for commercial property

Choosing the right fire alarm system for your commercial property is essential to ensure that it is reliable and will safeguard your building from fire. Various types of commercial fire alarm systems are available, including:

Conventional Fire Alarm System

This is a more straightforward system; it will notify occupants of a fire without revealing the precise location of the fire. A traditional fire alarm system comprises separate detection points linked to a control unit. This wired system is cost-effective, yet installation is more complicated due to the wiring.

Addressable Fire Alarm System

This fire alarm system offers customization and flexibility thanks to its monitoring options. It is made up of many separate devices connected to a control panel. Not only does it alert you to the presence of a fire, but its self-monitoring and diagnostic capabilities can also alert you to any component malfunctions. Furthermore, this system's upgrades and maintenance are more cost-effective than a conventional fire alarm system in the long run.

Hybrid Fire Alarm System

A hybrid fire alarm system is a great choice for commercial properties because it blends the features of a traditional wired fire alarm system and an addressable fire alarm system. Hybrid fire alarm systems are often used for retrofitting facilities and properties that add an addition to their building.

3. Total Budget for Commercial Fire Alarm System

design commercial fire alarm system

The price of commercial fire alarms depends on the type of system, the size of the building, and how complex the system needs to be. When deciding how much money to set aside for a commercial fire alarm system, consider the cost of installation and monitoring, which also depend on the type of system.

4. Installation Deadline

The best time to install a commercial fire alarm system is when a business is being constructed or during the planning stage. At Forbel Alarms, we make it easy for our clients and provide the most practical terms, even if you're well-established and just redoing your system.

5. Local Codes and Regulations

When installing or upgrading a commercial fire alarm system, it is essential to adhere to the local codes and regulations such as Chicago fire detection requirements. Each area has different requirements for fire alarm systems, which go beyond the placement of fire extinguishers. To ensure that the system meets the requirements, please refer to the fire detection requirements for your city.

6. Architectural Drawings of the Building

A commercial fire alarm system is critical when constructing a new or remodeled structure. Suppose you are a contractor or business owner and possess your commercial facility's architectural drawings and schematics. In that case, your building will meet the necessary code requirements much sooner. These documents are beneficial during the design of the fire alarm system, allowing you to select the most appropriate method for your property.

Forbel Is Your Reliable Commercial Fire Alarm System Installer in Chicago to Commercial Fire Alarm Systems: The Bottom Line

Forbel Is Your Reliable Commercial Fire Alarm System Installer

As we have outlined in this article, designing the perfect commercial fire alarm system requires a lot of thought and planning. You'll need security system design consultants to help you design and integrate your whole security system. Forbel works in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana. Don't settle for less than the best when protecting your employees and property. There is no time to waste, contact us for your fire alarm installation.

Commercial Fire Alarm System: A Complete Guide for Business Owners

Commercial Fire Alarm System: A Complete Guide for Business Owners

A commercial fire alarm system is important for any business. Read on to learn what fire alarm system you should choose for your commercial property!

When it comes to the best safety and security solutions, it's all about prevention. Avoiding any damage to property and ensuring the safety of people on-site involves a reliable security system, and a fire alarm system is an essential part of every security network. No matter the location, scale, or use of the property, a top-notch fire alarm system will help keep employees and the property free from harm.

As you look for the best option for your location, understanding the difference between addressable and conventional fire alarm system options is a must to equip your space with the best technology. To help you make the right choice, our team at Forbel is breaking down the basics of the different fire alarm systems to guide your selection.

What Is a Conventional Fire Alarm System?

So, what is a conventional fire alarm system? A conventional fire alarm system relies on one or more circuits that are connected to sensors to signify a fire. With this system, each device has its own wire, which is then linked to the control panel. Due to the multiple connections from each device to the control panel, setting up a conventional alarm system is a bit more intricate of a process.

How Does a Conventional Fire Alarm System Work?

As explained previously, a conventional fire alarm system is a fire alarm choice in which each device is connected to the control panel by its own wire. With this system, devices are zoned, signaling the general location of fire from the device to the control panel. This can make pinpointing the exact location of a fire challenge, but it does provide a general idea of where it is to help guide you.

Pros and Cons of Conventional Fire Alarm Systems

While conventional fire alarm systems can be tricky to install, there are some key benefits to this alarm choice versus other fire safety systems. This may not be the most commonly chosen alarm system these days, but it is a tried-and-true option that suits a number of smaller locations. Many opt for this conventional fire alarm system because there are many pros.

Pros and Cons of Conventional Fire Alarm Systems

What Is an Addressable Fire Alarm System?

An addressable fire alarm system involves devices each connected to their own address. Unlike a conventional alarm system that relies on zones, addressable systems detect a fire which then shows up on the main control panel, sharing exactly what device detected it. This helps quickly extinguish a fire as you know immediately where it's located.

How Does an Addressable Fire Alarm System Work?

How does an addressable fire alarm system work exactly? Good question. Since each device or module is connected to the fire panel by its own wire, the system is able to use a binary code to send digital signals that share exactly where a fire is detected.

Unlike conventional systems, an addressable fire alarm system is incredibly scalable, making it the ideal solution for larger buildings or campuses. This is due to the fact that they can provide more specific information, making quickly finding a fire in a large location easier, ultimately minimizing potential damage.

Pros and Cons of Addressable Fire Alarm Systems

Addressable systems use a loop configuration that has all of the information from the various alarms. The panel assigns each device a specific code or number referred to as a device address, meaning you're able to determine exactly from where the fire is coming. As an overview, we've outlined some pros and cons of addressable fire alarm systems that can help you make your decision between the two options.

Pros and Cons of Addressable Fire Alarm Systems

Conventional vs. Addressable Fire Alarm Systems: What Is the Difference?

1. Wiring

One major way that conventional systems differ from addressable fire alarm systems is the wiring. Conventional systems have zones on them that act as radial circuits and each device has a different wire for connection. In an addressable system, the control panels communicate with several devices located in the field. Put another way, in an addressable system, there is less wiring; one wire connects all of the devices to the control panel. This means that addressable alarm systems use less wiring compared with conventional fire alarms as each has its own unique address and individual notification devices.

2. Location

With this basic difference, there are also different locations that can utilize each system. Typically, for a larger location, an addressable system is best. This is because it can provide that specific direction of where a fire has been detected, taking the guesswork out - an essential perk when working with a large location where a fire may not be immediately clear. In fact, addressable alarm systems allow you to set a specific address on the field device which is usually a three-digit number. This makes for easy identification when it comes to locating the fire and alerts you of the type of device that triggered the alarm. As you can imagine, this offers several advantages such as cutting down on the response time from the fire department and the customer. It also allows for devices that are programmed individually to give you information on what alarm went off.

In a conventional system, multiple devices are linked to the same zone which means smoke detectors in multiple locations could be tied to the same area. This makes it more difficult to pinpoint the exact location of the emergency, rather, it only lets you know what zone it's occurring in. This means that fire safety specialists will have to walk around the zone to determine the specific location of the problem.

3. Cost

However, these systems also differ in price. A conventional system might be less expensive as a whole but the cost of installation is usually higher. This is due to the extensive wiring involved in this system.

Addressable fire alarm system options are often more expensive than their conventional counterparts in terms of functionality. In many cases, the specific information the addressable system can share makes it well worth the cost. However, even though the up-front price for addressable fire alarm systems is higher, they cost less to install. An addressable system is also less likely to trigger false alarms which can be costly mistakes.

4. Functionality

Another difference between these two systems is how they function. Conventional fire alarm systems use analog technology and they are hardware-based. There are various zones that make up part of the larger control panel that relies on individual circuits for communication. This means that how much information the panel can receive is limited by how many devices it supports.

Addressable fire alarm systems, on the other hand, rely on communication that's transferred to the main control panel as binary code. This information is communicated through combinations of ones and zeros that are computed by “mini computers.” These systems provide the exact location of fire in the building.

5. Possibility of False Alarms

As we touched on above, false alarms can be expensive for fire departments and first responders as they utilize fuel, resources, time, and the potential for an injury to develop in the process. In a conventional system, it is always picking up dust and contaminants that can trigger these alarms when there isn't a real issue. Unfortunately, there is no way to determine if the conventional system is going off due to a real issue or because of a mishap until the first responders have arrived.

Addressable systems offer more reliability when it comes to false alarms because they can send the critical information directly to the control panel, helping to save time locating the fire in the building. The alarm panel is constantly monitoring the sensitivity level of the detectors to make sure devices aren't triggered accidentally.

6. Safety Considerations

Addressable systems offer a higher level of safety and security as they're able to specifically locate where the threat is. They work to combine notifications, trouble, and supervisory signals to vocalize instructions to building occupants in the case of a fire. Fewer false alarms also help to notify occupants that the issue is real and requires immediate action.

7. Reliability


As we've mentioned, addressable systems are seen as more reliable due to how it's wired; both ends of the connect to the control panel so even if one becomes damaged, the other can still be effective in reaching the control panel. On the other hand, conventional systems won't operate properly if a wire becomes damaged or severed.

8. Scalability

Another main difference between these two systems is how scalable they are. Addressable systems offer a significant amount of flexibility compared with their counterparts. Regardless of how many devices there are, an addressable system can handle it. Even if you need several hundred devices, an addressable system can handle this.

If you're looking for professional advice between the two systems and which one you should choose, it's clear by now that an addressable system offers additional benefits that conventional systems simply cannot offer. However, small buildings and those with restricted budgets might not be able to afford this type of system. Rest assured that our team is here to help you find the perfect solution.

Addressable vs. Conventional Fire Alarm Systems: A Comparison

Type of Fire Alarm Systems/Factors Addressable Fire Alarm System Conventional Fire Alarm System
Wiring Less wiring as one wire connects all circuits Radial circuits, each device has its own wire
Location Detection Specific location information is given to quickly spot the problem Multiple units linked to the same zone, more difficult to detect the problem
Cost More expensive as a whole, lower installation cost Less expensive as a whole, higher installation cost
Functionality Can quickly address and pinpoint a fire Only points out the zone of issue
False Alarms Closely monitors which reduces the risk of false alarm Always picking up dust and contaminants, higher chances of a false alarm
Safety Considerations Higher level of safety and communication due to both ends of the wire connecting the system Won't operate properly if a wire is damaged
Reliability Overall seen as a more reliable Can be troublesome if a wire is damaged
Scalability More scalability can handle many devices Not seen as a scalable solution

The Bottom Line

The decision between addressable and conventional fire alarm systems is pivotal in shaping the safety infrastructure of any property. Addressable fire alarm systems offer precise location, which is ideal for large or complex areas. Conversely, conventional systems, with their zone-based identification, might be more cost-effective for smaller settings despite their limitations.

At Forbel, we leverage our extensive expertise to bring you fire alarm solutions tailored to your and your property’s unique needs and constraints.

We understand the critical role of a fire alarm system in preventing damage and ensuring the safety of occupants, which is why we offer our security system design services across the Chicagoland area. Trust in our experience and commitment to safety as we help you create a protected and secure environment for all.

What’s the Difference Between Addressable and Conventional Fire Alarm Systems?

What’s the Difference Between Addressable and Conventional Fire Alarm Systems?

Unsure about addressable vs conventional fire alarms? Get expert advice to find the perfect system for your building's needs.

Fire alarms are designed to make loud sounds when in alert mode, however, when a fire alarm is beeping or chirping incessantly, there can be a serious underlying issue. This may be connected to the system's sensor fire alarm panel.

Commercial fire alarm systems are much more complex than residential alarms, therefore for commercial properties, it’s highly recommended to contact a professional fire alarm service to check your building's alarm system and smoke detectors.

The reasons for the annoying beeping and chirping may be more serious than simply a battery charge issue, for commercial fire alarms, there should be consideration of either upgrading it or an entire fire alarm system retrofit.

Step-by-Step Guide to Stop a Smoke Alarm from Beeping

How to stop a beeping fire alarm

Step 1: Check the Battery

The most common cause of beeping noises in commercial fire alarms and smoke detectors is low battery power. Regularly check and replace the batteries in your alarms to prevent this issue. Ensure new batteries are properly installed in battery-operated units.

Step 2: Clean the Detector

Accumulation of dust particles and dirt in the sensor chamber can trigger false alarms or cause your smoke detector to beep. Use compressed air to carefully clean the detectors to ensure they remain sensitive and functional.

Step 3: Reset Your Alarm System

For hardwired alarm systems, a reset might be necessary following a power outage or system malfunction. Safely turn off the power source from your business’s electrical panel, wait a few minutes, and then restore the power to reset the system.

Step 4: Check for Environmental Factors

Environmental factors, such as high humidity or significant temperature changes, can cause alarms to beep unexpectedly. Ensure that smoke detectors are placed in optimal locations within your business premises, away from areas with fluctuating temperatures or excessive moisture.

Step 5: Contact Professionals

If you encounter persistent issues with your system, or if you suspect a detector is malfunctioning, it’s advisable to consult professionals. They can conduct a comprehensive assessment to determine if your system requires a battery backup, a new battery installation, or a complete system overhaul.

While these steps address common issues effectively, they are just the start. For more complex situations, continue reading to gain a comprehensive understanding of your commercial fire alarm system and learn when professional intervention is necessary.

Fire Alarm vs. Smoke Detector vs. Fire Alarm Panel Beeping

There is a distinct difference between a smoke detector beeping or a fire alarm autocall — the malfunction is connected to the type of alarm or where the problem originates from to identify the issue.

  • A FIRE ALARM: A system that uses different devices to detect fire and alert occupants or first responders. It also can act to control or stop the fire.
  • A SMOKE DETECTOR: A smoke detector detects fires by using sensor technologies to identify small particles in the air, once they are discovered the alarm will sound.
  • THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO: A smoke detector will detect the smoke while a fire alarm will act, and a fire alarm system will have a smoke detector as one of its crucial components.
  • A FIRE ALARM PANEL: A fire alarm control panel is the component of a fire alarm system that will control notification in the event of a fire by using sensors placed throughout the commercial property.

Related article: Different types of fire alarm systems and their detectors

Why Is My Fire Alarm Beeping?

Most commonly, a fire alarm will emit beeping sounds if the battery is low, however, it’s important to know that many other issues can be connected to the annoying beeping sounds. Troubleshooting the issues must be a priority for commercial building managers.

Common Causes of Fire Alarm Beeping and Solutions

Low Battery Issues:

  • The primary reason for beeping in fire alarms and smoke detectors is often a low battery.
  • Regularly changing batteries in all devices simultaneously prevent this issue from recurring.

Alarm Malfunctions:

  • Alarms may malfunction and sound off unexpectedly, disrupting operations and posing safety risks.
  • Addressing this promptly is vital, and for commercial buildings, we recommend seeking professional assistance.

Wireless Interference:

  • Modern fire alarm systems, often wireless or with wireless capabilities, can experience interference from other nearby alarms.

Battery Connection Problems:

  • Irregular chirping without consistent intervals may suggest a loose battery, particularly in hardwired alarms.
  • Ensuring a secure connection can resolve this issue.

End-of-Life Indicators:

  • Inconsistent chirping might signal that an alarm is nearing the end of its useful life, increasing the risk of malfunctions.
  • Prompt replacement of these alarms is crucial for maintaining safety.

Dirty Sensors:

  • Accumulated dirt or dust in the sensor can lead to beeping or chirping sounds.
  • Regular cleaning of the sensor can prevent this problem.

Related article: 7 fire safety tips for commercial buildings

There are many other reasons not mentioned here above that could be the origins of the unnecessary beeping. It’s always best to consult with a professional to ensure the safety of your commercial property.

smoke detectors beeping


Your Alarm Isn't Installed in the Right Place

While it's important to have fire alarms throughout the commercial property to ensure the safety and security of your space, installing them in the right spots is essential. Keep in mind when installing alarms that they must be at least 3 meters from cooking appliances. Remember - doing your due diligence and following installation instructions is key to reaping the benefits of fire alarms.

Battery Peg or Pull-Tab Is Impacting the Alarm

Wondering, “why does my fire alarm keep beeping?” It may be due to the peg or pull tab. When you change the batteries on your alarm, you may simultaneously have adjusted the peg or pull tab. Typically, when removing a battery, the security peg will be pulled out. If it's not pushed back in after replacing the battery, this may cause the alarm to chirp and beep. Similarly, with a pull tab, if you didn't remove the pull tab upon installation, it will beep to alert you to do so.

Battery Isn't Installed Right

If your alarm is improperly installed, it may result in a beeping or chirping sound. This is a way to notify you that the alarm isn't working as it should due to its improper application. For your safety and security, make sure all your alarms are properly installed to ensure that they are functioning to the best of their ability.

Battery Drawer Might Be Open

One of the simplest answers to why fire alarms chirp is that the battery drawer was left open. It's necessary to change the batteries on fire alarms to make sure they are up and running at all times, but it's also key that it's properly installed in the slot and the drawer is shut. This will protect the battery, and your alarm will let you know that it's not with that unwanted chirping and beeping we know all too well.

The Temperature Is Disturbing the Fire Alarm

Fire alarms, at their core function, are in place to detect when temperature drastically rises. For this reason, when there are large fluctuations in the temperature or humidity, this may cause the alarm to sound, even though there’s no fire.

This often happens when the alarm gets too cold, such as in unheated rooms or basements. Or, on the other hand, if it's in a steamy room. To avoid this, keep the fire alarm near doorways so that they experience airflow and better detect when there is actual danger and not just an unthreatening temperature change.

smoke alarm is beeping

Alarm Errors Can Be the Problem

With more high-tech, smart smoke detectors, the alarm system actually saves errors in the processor. Sounds fine, right? While this helps the alarm adapt, the errors can actually build up, causing the alarm to go off. Wondering how to get a fire alarm to stop beeping in this case? Restarting the alarm is a quick, simple fix!

Check Your Electrical Breaker Line

So, have you checked all the other options for why your alarm is beeping and it's still going off? It may be time to check your electrical breaker line. Look for a “smoke alarm” label on your breaker, turn it off, and then turn it back on after a few minutes. Did the alarm stop? You've solved the issue! If you want to be sure the beeping is handled, you can head back over to your alarm and hit the test button. If it sounds off briefly and then stops, it's up and running as it should.

Related Article: Integrating fire alarm systems with other security measures

Why Is My Fire Alarm Panel Beeping?

Everyone can recognize the sound a fire alarm system makes when in Alarm Condition — it is loud and obnoxious to save lives. However, it can get a bit troubling when the fire alarm panel starts beeping. When the control panel of the fire alarm beeps it tries to send us a message, a notification that something in the system is not operating properly.

Two types of beeps could be emitted by a fire alarm panel, either Trouble Condition or Supervisory Condition. The different beeps of both these conditions are uniform noises through most models of fire alarms on the market today.


A trouble condition happens when the alarm system discovers an issue with the equipment. It is important to address this problem right away because this could cause the problematic devices to fail in the event of a fire.

Examples of Trouble Condition:

  • Low batteries
  • Power outage or other electrical disturbance
  • Dirty smoke detectors
  • Faulty, cut, broken circuit wires
  • Missing devices


Supervisory conditions happen when a supervisory device goes into alarm mode. A supervisory device can have an impact on the system's operations in the event of an emergency but is not part of the fire alarm that dispatches emergency vehicles such as fire trucks to the building.

Examples of Supervisory Conditions:

  • The water flow in the sprinkler pipe causes an alarm. Closing the water valve causes a supervisory condition because the valve is not fully open.
  • The outputs from other systems like Door Holder Power Supplies.
  • Duct smoke detectors are a supervisory, not an actual alarm as office smoke detectors. Dirty detectors can trigger a supervisory condition.
  • Monitor Modules that are connected to other devices such as Fire Pumps.

Related Article: What’s the difference between addressable and conventional fire alarm systems?

How to Reset Fire Alarm System at Your Business

When there’s constant beeping, it can become increasingly annoying, which is why it's key to know how to reset a fire alarm system at your commercial property. It’s essential to understand how to turn off the fire alarm in a commercial building: Modern fire alarms typically come equipped with 3 buttons on the device: Silence, trouble silence, and acknowledge; these will temporarily stop the beeping. To stop the noise from reoccurring in the case of a trouble condition, the issue must be resolved.

In the event of a supervisory condition then the system must be restored to its normal condition. It’s important to reset a fire alarm panel for the latter condition. If the beeping returns once everything has been reset, it means that the issue wasn’t corrected.

Related Article: How to test the fire alarm in your commercial building

How Often Should I Change Batteries in the Alarms at My Business?

While we’re on the topic of how to stop a fire alarm from beeping, let's refresh the battery life of your alarm. With old batteries being the primary culprit for a sounding fire alarm, knowing when to replace yours is key to not only preventing that unwanted sound but also keeping you and your home safe from the threat of a fire. The basic rule of thumb is to replace smoke alarm batteries at least once a year and replace the alarm itself every 10 years. It's an easy task and one you should stay on top of for your own safety.

I Replaced the Batteries but My Smoke Detector Beeps Anyway

First, ensure the battery is properly installed and the battery replacement is done correctly. If the problem continues, the entire unit might need a replacement, especially if the smoke alarm beeping continues.

Related Article: How to change smoke alarm batteries: step-by-step guide

why is my smoke detector beeping

Reboot Hardwired Smoke Alarms

Unlike the typical stand-alone fire or smoke alarm, hardwired smoke alarms may not always reset after the batteries are replaced. These types of fire or smoke alarms that are connected to electricity may require that you fully disconnect the power inside your house to stop the beeping and chirping of the alarm.

The best way to troubleshoot smoke detectors that are wired is by flipping the switch off at the circuit breaker that feeds electricity to that area. With a partner, make sure the LED light is off and that the beeping stopped. Wait a few minutes before switching the breaker back on. Once that’s done, you can test your alarm.

Related Article: Fire security: how long do smoke detectors last?

Contact a Professional

For the safety and security of every commercial property, fire alarms are a must. It’s critical to hire or consult with a professional who can fix the problem and retrofit not just your fire alarm but your entire security system at your commercial property.

Whether you operate a warehouse, store, or multifamily complex, we’re here to help. We can handle engineering and consulting on any complex security system, Forbel alarms are your experts. Simply contact us to get started!

How to Stop Fire Alarm from Beeping at Your Business

How to Stop Fire Alarm from Beeping at Your Business

What’s the key to how to stop a fire alarm from chirping? With our simple fixes and tips, you can finally quiet your alarm for a peaceful yet protected home.

As a business owner, it’s important that you choose a fire alarm system that’s perfectly suited to your needs. When choosing a new system, you’ll need to be mindful of the size of your property and consider how it works and how it can best protect your assets.

But how many types of fire alarms are there? Our team at Forbel is sharing all the types of fire alarm systems, so you understand your options to make the best choice for you. Let's dive in!

The Four Types of Fire Detectors

The Four Types of Fire Detectors

Did you know there's more than one type of fire alarm? Typically divided into four main categories - ionization, photoelectric, heat, and combined ionization/photoelectric - each one detects fires differently.

Below, we’re sharing some key insights into each of the four types of fire alarm detector options. Check it out!


Ionization smoke detectors rely on a constant electrical current. This current runs between two electrically charged plates within the device and is only disrupted when smoke enters. When this happens, it triggers an alarm signal to signal a fire. Typically, this fire alarm is touted for detecting fast-burning fires fast.


Photoelectric smoke detectors operate similarly to ionization detectors, however, instead of electricity, they rely on a laser beam. This light is scattered when it encounters smoke, signaling the alarm to sound. This is an incredibly reliable fire alarm that works well with small fires.


Heat detectors signal an alarm when they sense a change in air temperature due to flames. However, since it's temperature-reliant, these alarms do experience false alarms due to humidity or steam. For this reason, these are most often relied upon in storage facilities or warehouses.

Combined Ionization and Photoelectric

A go-to in the industry, a hybrid of ionization and the photoelectric detector is often deemed the best option on the market. With both an electrical current and a light beam, this device is one of the fastest you can get, detecting smoke rapidly to sound a warning alarm.

Fire Alarm System Categories: Automatic vs. Manual Fire Alarm Systems

Fire alarm systems can be categorized into two types of commercial fire alarm systems:

  • Manual Fire Alarm System: This is a fire alarm system that is manned and operated 24/7 by a person and the alerts will be made manually at the pull station.
  • Automatic Fire Alarm System: Its definition is a fire alarm system that gets automatically triggered by fire or smoke.

The difference between them is clear. One relies on human supervision while the other does not.

Types of Fire Alarm Systems

Types of Fire Alarm Systems

Now that we know the different fire alarm detectors, it's time to break down the types of fire alarm systems. From wireless systems to conventional fire alarms, there's one to best suit everyone's space. Here are the key differences to help with your search.

Two-Wire Fire Alarm Systems

A two-wire fire alarm is founded on the standard conventional system, however, it utilizes a two-wire system. With this structure, the call points, detectors, and alarm devices are wired to two zone cables, going back to the fire alarm control panel. This two-wire system allows for increased flexibility that also has additional benefits like detector recognition and isolation.

Typically used in smaller spaces, this system is fast to detect smoke and cheaper to install, however, it costs more upfront.

Wireless Fire Alarm Systems

Wireless Fire Alarm Systems

With a wireless system, you'll have a fire alarm without cables connecting the detection device to the fire alarm panel. This system relies on multi-frequency links for heightened functionality, maintaining signal strength for constant protection. This system may be more expensive to purchase, but it's more flexible and quicker to install. Plus, it doesn't have all the cabling of a wired system, making it great for properties that don't allow wiring.

Conventional Fire Alarm Systems

What is a conventional fire alarm system? It is a type of fire alarm system whose devices and panels are hardwired individually to the fire alarm control panel.

A conventional fire alarm system is a 4-wire system that is frequently used in smaller properties. This system divides space into different detection zones, with each wired to a dedicated circuit in a control unit. This allows for multiple detectors in each zone, and in the case fire is detected, the panel shows what zone the signal was triggered within. However, since it shares a zone, the location has to be checked out in person to find the specific location of the fire, which is the reason why it's best for smaller spaces.

This is one of the most affordable alarm systems and one many shops and restaurants choose to rely on.

Analogue-Addressable Fire Alarm Systems

Analogue-Addressable Fire Alarm Systems

The definition of an addressable fire alarm system is an intelligent system whose components are connected to each other and the control unit. An addressable fire alarm system allows you to set manual and automatic alarms in distinct parts of the building.

Unlike conventional systems that share a detected fire based on the zone, analog-addressable systems actually signal the specific detector that sensed smoke. Due to the specificity of this system, it's a reliable choice for large, commercial properties that need more specific identification of a fire that may not be readily visible or quick to locate within a zone.

Additionally, this system doesn't require as much cabling as a conventional one, and each detector has its own unique address to signal directly where a fire, heat, or smoke has been found.

Hybrid Fire Alarms

Hybrid fire alarm systems are the perfect combination because they allow the hardwired and wireless detection systems to work in harmony to create a more customized and efficient whole. In other words, if something damages the wires of the conventional system the addressable system can come in as a reliable backup.

Aspirating Smoke Detection Systems

One of the more sensitive fire detection options you can choose from, an aspirating system can pick up on extremely small fires much quicker than other systems. It does so with a fan that pulls in air from the building, which then passes through a pipe system, and a detector that checks for any signs of potential smoke particles.

While it's highly sensitive and reliable, this system is both expensive to install and keep up with. However, they’re great in cases where you need the earliest warning of smoke or fire.

What Type of Fire Alarm Do I Need?

What Type of Fire Alarm Do I Need?

Wondering, “What type of fire alarm do I need?”

Fire alarms aren't one size fits all, and the best one for your needs depends largely on the size of your space, the cabling capabilities, and your unique needs or industry. What is the best type of fire alarm for a commercial property will be very different from that of a small store. With larger spaces, a system like the analog-addressable one is best to show exactly where a fire is so you aren't searching high and low across a vast building to put it out. However, this specificity isn't needed in a small boutique where a conventional system will be perfectly fine. There are several points to keep in mind:

  1. Types of Buildings that Need a Fire Alarm System;
  2. Type of Fire Alarm System for Your Business;
  3. Total Budget for Commercial Fire Alarm System;
  4. Installation Deadline;
  5. Local Codes and Regulations;
  6. Architectural Drawings of the Building.

Before purchasing an alarm, we recommend doing your research and analyzing your space. Our comprehensive guide on commercial fire alarms can help you to make a decision, but the best option will be to consult with security professionals. Trust us - they know best.


Knowing the types of fire alarm systems is great when looking to equip your space with a new alarm network. With every home, store, and warehouse needing these trusty devices to protect both the property and the people within it, it's well worth it to do a bit of research. If you’re unsure which type of commercial fire alarm system is right for your business, Forbel is here to help. Contact us at 847-595-1900 today to find your new system and experts to handle fire alarm installation!

Different Types of Fire Alarm Systems and Their Detectors

Different Types of Fire Alarm Systems and Their Detectors

Fire alarms are a key security system to prevent fire damage. Learn about different types of fire alarm systems and 4 types of fire detectors from this article!

In the complex ecosystem of commercial security, fire alarm systems play a pivotal role as they’re the first line of defense against fire threats. These systems, when integrated with other security measures like CCTV and access control, create a synergistic effect to improve overall security.

The integration of fire alarm systems with technologies like CCTV, access control, and intrusion detection creates a synergistic effect that bolsters overall security and emergency response. This holistic approach to security not only maximizes safety but also streamlines management and response protocols, making it an essential strategy for any modern commercial establishment. In case you’re new to fire alarm systems, we recommend reading our complete guidance on commercial fire alarm systems first.

The Need for Fire Alarms Integration in Modern Security

In today's rapidly evolving security landscape, the need for integrated systems in commercial properties has never been more pronounced. The traditional approach of isolated security systems is giving way to a more interconnected framework. Integration is the key to not only enhancing security measures but also to offering a unified response to various threats. While a standalone fire alarm system is essential, it can only signal the presence of fire.

When integrated with other security technologies, the capabilities extend far beyond mere fire detection. It becomes part of a comprehensive security system that can intelligently respond to emergencies, coordinate evacuation procedures, and provide real-time data to first responders.

This integrated approach aligns with modern business's need for a security system that’s both dynamic and adaptable, capable of addressing a multitude of security concerns in a streamlined manner. For more technical details about the fire alarm working process in commercial buildings, you can read our dedicated article.

Benefits of Integrating Fire Alarm Systems with Other Security Technologies

In addition to increased fire safety and early warning capabilities, integrating fire alarm systems with other security technologies such as video surveillance, access control, and intruder alarm systems offers numerous other benefits:

Benefits of Integrating Fire Alarm Systems with Other Security Technologies

Enhanced Safety and Security

Integrated systems provide an all-in-one solution with smoke alarms and smoke detectors that offer early fire detection to significantly enhance safety. For instance, in the event of a fire, CCTV cameras offer real-time monitoring to guide emergency responses while access control systems can manage evacuation routes efficiently.

Improved Response Time

When fire alarms are linked to other systems, alerts can be quickly communicated, leading to a faster response from emergency services. This immediate action can be critical in minimizing damage and ensuring safety.

Centralized Control and Management

With integration, security personnel can monitor and manage all systems from a single point. This centralization simplifies operations, especially in large or complex commercial settings.


Over time, integrated systems can lead to cost savings. They reduce the need for multiple overlapping tools and streamline maintenance and monitoring efforts.

Regulatory Compliance

Integrated systems help ensure that businesses comply with various safety and security regulations. In turn, this reduces the risk of penalties and fines.

Check out our article on 7 safety tips in commercial buildings just to be aware of how safe your facility is.

Key Security Systems for Integration with a Fire Alarm System

Key Security Systems for Integration with a Fire Alarm System

Integrating fire alarm systems with other key security technologies can significantly enhance the safety and responsiveness of a commercial security system. Here's how the integration with CCTV surveillance, access control systems, and intrusion detection can create a stronger and more responsive security infrastructure.

CCTV Surveillance

Integrating fire alarm systems with CCTV surveillance enhances the capacity for immediate visual assessment during emergencies. In the event of a fire, CCTV cameras can provide real-time footage to first responders and security personnel to help them quickly assess the situation's severity and pinpoint the fire's location.

This visual assistance is invaluable in effectively guiding emergency services and ensuring a targeted response. Additionally, CCTV footage can later serve as an important tool for post-incident analysis, helping unveil the fire's cause and improving future safety measures.

Access Control Systems

When fire alarms are integrated with access control systems, the combined setup can manage evacuation and restrict access during a fire incident. Once a fire is detected, access control systems can automatically unlock doors to help with a fast and safe evacuation. On the opposite note, they can also prevent entry into affected areas to prevent individuals from accidentally walking into dangerous zones. This integration ensures that evacuation routes are efficiently managed, and emergency protocols are automatically activated. As a result, all occupants in the building will be safer.

Intrusion Detection Systems

The integration of intrusion detection systems with fire alarms can create a cohesive response to various emergencies, including unauthorized access and fire outbreaks. Intrusion systems can detect unusual activities that might signal an emergency, such as forced entry or movement in restricted areas, and trigger the fire alarm system for a quick alert.

This combined response enhances the security against intrusions and ensures that any related fire incidents are immediately brought to attention. This allows for a rapid and coordinated response from security teams and emergency services.

Other Building Systems Integration

Other Building Systems Integration

In the realm of building security and safety, the integration of fire alarm systems with HVAC systems stands out for its critical role in emergencies. When a fire alarm is triggered, it's not just about alerting the occupants or the fire department; it's also about controlling the building's environment to prevent the spread of fire and smoke.

HVAC System Control

Once a fire is detected, the control panel of the integrated system can automatically adjust the HVAC operations. This may include shutting down air conditioning to prevent smoke spread or modifying air flows to create safe zones.

Smoke Management

Did you know that smoke can be as dangerous as the flames? This makes smoke management a key component of fire safety. Integrated systems can control air vents and dampers and direct smoke away from escape routes and occupied areas.

Enhanced Evacuation

By controlling the HVAC system during a fire, it’s easier to optimize pathways for safe evacuation. This is especially crucial in large buildings where navigating through smoke can be disorienting and dangerous.

Integrating fire alarms with HVAC systems goes beyond conventional fire response strategies. It uses technology to create a safer environment during one of the most hazardous situations a building can face.

Advanced Integration Techniques

In the sophisticated landscape of fire alarm systems, two primary types stand out: conventional and addressable systems. Each has its unique characteristics, and integrating them requires a blend of technical expertise and strategic planning.

Conventional Fire Alarm Systems:

In a conventional fire alarm system, each zone or area of the building is wired to the fire alarm control panel. While cost-effective, these systems offer less precision in identifying the exact fire’s location.

Addressable Fire Alarm Systems

Addressable fire alarm systems offer specific information about individual detectors, providing a high degree of precision and rapid response capabilities. Their integration allows for detailed monitoring and faster pinpointing of fire locations. For a deeper dive, you can follow our article about the difference between addressable and conventional fire alarm systems.

Seamless Integration for Enhanced Safety

The key to integrating these systems lies in ensuring that both can communicate effectively to provide comprehensive coverage and layered protection. This can involve using advanced control panels that can interpret signals from both types of systems and initiate appropriate responses.

The combination of broad coverage of conventional systems with the precision of addressable systems helps buildings achieve a more robust fire safety infrastructure that maximizes protection and minimizes risks.

Implementing an Integrated Security System

Implementing an Integrated Security System

As you can tell, the process of integrating a fire alarm system with other security measures is a critical undertaking that requires careful planning and execution. Our team has outlined the essential steps and considerations for implementing an integrated security system in a commercial setting:

1. Assessment and Planning:

  • Begin with a thorough assessment of your current security infrastructure. Identify the key areas that need improvement and determine how the fire alarm system can be integrated with existing security measures like CCTV, access control, and intrusion detection systems.
  • Develop a detailed plan outlining the integration process that includes technical specifications, a timeline, and an outline of the desired outcomes.

2. Choosing the Right Technology:

  • Select the appropriate technologies that are compatible with each other. Consider factors like scalability, ease of use, and future-proofing. The chosen systems should be able to communicate effectively and work in unison.

3. Professional Consultation:

  • Consult with security professionals who specialize in integrated systems. Their expertise is invaluable in ensuring that the integration meets your specific security needs and complies with industry standards and regulations.

4. System Integration and Installation:

  • Professional installation is crucial. Certified technicians can ensure that the integration is seamless and that all components of the system function together as they should.
  • Pay special attention to the integration points where the fire alarm system interacts with other security systems. Proper configuration here is key to ensuring an effective and coordinated response during emergencies.

5. Testing and Training:

  • Once installed, conduct comprehensive testing to ensure all systems are functioning as expected in an integrated environment.
  • Provide training to your security personnel and relevant staff members. They should be familiar with the operation of the integrated system and understand the protocols for emergencies.

6. Ongoing Maintenance and Support:

  • Set up a schedule for regular maintenance and system updates. This is important for the longevity and efficacy of your integrated security system.
  • Ensure that you have access to ongoing support from your security solutions provider for any issues or upgrades that may arise in the future.

Implementing an integrated security system is a significant step towards enhancing the safety and security of your commercial property. It's a complex process that benefits greatly from professional expertise, both in the planning and execution stages. When properly integrated, these systems can provide a robust security solution and offer peace of mind and a safer environment for your business.

Case Studies: Successful Integration Examples

It’s easiest for us to demonstrate the power of integrated security systems through real-world examples. These real-life case studies from our team at Forbel Alarms showcase how tailored fire alarm and security system integrations can significantly enhance business safety and operational efficiency.

Fire Alarm System for Car Repair Shop in Schiller Park, IL: Forbel Alarms overcame a challenging situation by installing a compliant, cost-effective fire alarm and suppression system for a car repair shop in Elk Grove Village, IL. The solution not only met local safety codes but also helped the business operate without interruptions. Read more about this project.

Integrated Security System for a Trucking Company in Chicago: Facing the need for a comprehensive security strategy, a Chicago trucking company turned to Forbel Alarms. We successfully implemented an integrated system across a 128,000 sq ft facility, encompassing HD cameras, access control, and more, driving the company's secure growth. Discover the full story.

Overcoming Challenges in Fire Alarm Systems Integration

While integrating fire alarm systems with other security measures offers significant benefits, there are still challenges to navigate through for the implementation to be successful:

Compatibility Issues:

  • Challenge: Different systems, particularly from various manufacturers, may have compatibility issues that impact communication and functionality.
  • Solution: Engage with experienced security integrators who can recommend compatible and flexible solutions to make sure that these diverse systems interact smoothly.

Cost Considerations:

  • Challenge: The financial investment for integrating various systems can be significant, especially for larger or more complex properties.
  • Solution: Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to understand the long-term savings and ROI. Choose scalable solutions that allow gradual integration and align with budget constraints and growth plans.

Managing False Alarms:

  • Challenge: False alarms in integrated systems can cause disruption and potentially lead to occupant complacency.
  • Solution: Utilize advanced sensor technology and intelligent algorithms to accurately distinguish between false triggers and actual threats to minimize the occurrence of false alarms.

Carbon Monoxide Detection:

Carbon Monoxide Detection:
  • Challenge: Ensuring the detection of carbon monoxide, a silent but deadly threat, within the integrated fire alarm system.
  • Solution: Incorporate CO detectors that can trigger the fire alarm system and alert occupants and activate necessary response measures, like ventilation systems, to mitigate risks.

Synchronized Response:

  • Challenge: Achieving a harmonious response from all integrated system components during an emergency is critical.
  • Solution: Regular testing and maintenance are essential to ensure that fire detection, alarms, and response mechanisms like HVAC and access control systems work together during critical situations.

By addressing these challenges head-on, integrated fire alarm systems can achieve a balance of reliability and effectiveness. As a result, both the occupants and the property will have better safety.

Technical and Compliance Deep Dive

When integrating fire alarm systems with other security technologies in a commercial setting, it’s crucial to understand and adhere to technical standards and compliance regulations. This section delves into key compliance aspects, particularly focusing on standards set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

1. NFPA 72 Compliance:

  • NFPA 72, the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, provides guidelines for installing, testing and maintaining fire alarm systems. When integrating a fire alarm with other security systems, the integration must adhere to NFPA 72 standards. This includes requirements for system installation, performance, and reliability.

2. Ensuring System Priority:

  • In an integrated environment, the fire alarm system must take precedence over other building systems. This ensures that in the event of a fire, life safety systems remain fully operational and aren’t hindered by the functioning of other integrated systems.

3. Interface and Integration Protocols:

  • The interface between the fire alarm system and other building systems needs careful planning. This involves specifying the correct hardware and software that can communicate across different platforms while maintaining the integrity and reliability of the fire alarm system.

4. Barrier Gateways and Transport Equipment:

  • When sharing communication paths with other systems, the use of listed barrier gateways is needed to maintain system segregation and integrity. Similarly, any transport equipment like servers and routers must be listed for fire alarm service to make sure they’re compliant and reliable.

Financial Considerations and ROI

Financial Considerations and ROI

Investing in an integrated fire alarm and security system requires understanding the financial implications and recognizing the potential for a strong return on investment (ROI).

1. Cost Analysis:

  • The initial cost of integrating fire alarm systems with other security measures can vary. Factors influencing cost include the scale of integration, the types of systems involved, and the level of customization required. We encourage you to get detailed quotes and cost analyses from security system providers.

2. Long-Term Savings:

  • While the upfront investment might be significant, integrated systems often lead to long-term savings. They can reduce the need for multiple standalone systems, lower insurance premiums due to enhanced security measures, and decrease maintenance costs through unified system management.

3. ROI Factors:

  • ROI from integrated security systems isn’t just monetary. It also includes improved safety and security, better compliance with regulatory standards, and enhanced operational efficiency. These factors contribute to a more secure and efficiently run business, which can be financially beneficial over time.

4. Budgeting for Various Business Sizes:

  • Solutions can be tailored to fit different business sizes and budgets. Smaller businesses might opt for basic integration, while larger enterprises could invest in more comprehensive, advanced systems.

Approximate Costs for Integrated Fire Alarm Systems

Approximate Costs for Integrated Fire Alarm Systems

Key Influencing Factors:

  • Building Layout: The complexity and size of the facility can affect wiring and installation processes.
  • System Complexity: More advanced systems require more intricate installation and configuration.
  • System Customization: Tailored solutions to meet specific business needs can add to the cost.
  • Software Integration: Integrating different systems (especially if they’re from various vendors) into a seamless network.
  • Advanced Technology: Usage of cutting-edge technology, IoT integration, AI-based analytics, etc.
  • Multi-Zone Systems: Larger areas may require segmented systems for efficient monitoring and control.


  1. The prices are indicative and can vary significantly based on location, specific requirements, current market rates, and other unforeseen factors during installation.
  2. Regular maintenance and potential upgrades haven’t been factored into these costs but are essential considerations for long-term budgeting.
  3. You can get more accurate information from our special article about commercial fire alarm system costs.

Staying Ahead with Advanced Security Integration

Staying Ahead with Advanced Security Integration

In a world where security technology is constantly evolving, staying ahead is key. Continuous adaptation and upgrading of integrated systems ensure that your security measures remain effective and up-to-date with the latest technology. In addition, regular assessments and consultations with security experts can help identify areas for improvement to make sure that your security infrastructure is robust, adaptable, and future-proof.


Integrating fire alarm systems with other security measures is more than a trend; it's a necessity in today's complex security environment. This type of all-encompassing integration significantly enhances safety, ensures compliance with various regulations, and offers peace of mind for business owners and property managers. This is a proactive approach to commercial security to safeguard against a range of threats.

Ready to elevate your property's security with an integrated fire alarm system? Contact Forbel Alarms for expert advice and customized solutions tailored to your unique needs. Our team is dedicated to providing advanced, integrated security systems that protect your business and ensure a safe environment.

Enhancing Commercial Security Through Integrated Fire Alarm Systems

Enhancing Commercial Security Through Integrated Fire Alarm Systems

Explore the benefits and strategies for integrating fire alarm systems with other security measures in commercial buildings.

Physical security risk assessment is a vital process for organizations to proactively identify and address potential security threats. Businesses can develop tailored strategies to mitigate risks by carefully evaluating vulnerabilities and assessing hazards. As a result, their assets, employees, and operations are protected.

In this blog post, our experts at Forbel will discuss the significance of conducting a thorough physical security risk assessment and how it can help organizations enhance their overall security position. From identifying potential weaknesses to implementing effective security measures, discover how a comprehensive security risk assessment can play an important role in keeping your company safe.

What Is a Physical Security Assessment?

A physical security assessment is a comprehensive evaluation of an organization's physical security measures and infrastructure. It involves identifying potential vulnerabilities and threats to a building. Typically, the assessment includes a thorough examination of the site's layout, access control systems, surveillance cameras, alarm systems, and other security features that might be present.

A skilled security professional conducts the assessment and analyzes existing security measures, policies, and procedures. The goal is to identify weaknesses in the security infrastructure and recommend improvements to improve protection against unauthorized access, theft, vandalism, or other security risks. The goal of the assessment is to help businesses establish a solid foundation for effective security protocols and keep their premises and assets safe.

Who Needs Physical Security Risk Assessments?

Physical security risk assessments are important for a wide range of entities and organizations.

  • Commercial property owners benefit from these assessments to ensure the safety and protection of their premises, inventory, and employees.
  • Logistics and distribution facilities can pinpoint vulnerabilities in their supply chain and implement appropriate security measures.
  • Medical facilities including hospitals and clinics require thorough assessments to keep sensitive patient information safe and maintain a secure environment.
  • Multifamily complexes such as apartment buildings and condominiums can assess the effectiveness of their security systems to ensure the safety and peace of mind of residents.

The security risk assessment process helps organizations evaluate their current security policies and identify areas for improvement. As a result, they can enhance their overall security protocols and mitigate potential risks.

Benefits of Physical Security Risk Assessments

Physical security risk assessments provide many crucial benefits that underscore their importance.

Improving Business Resilience and Risk Management

A security risk assessment identifies all your critical assets, vulnerabilities, and business controls. These assessments allow organizations like yours to better understand their vulnerabilities and develop strategies to minimize risks. In addition, the detailed risk assessment reports provide valuable insights into areas of concern and help businesses implement the right security measures. Being proactive helps improve business resilience and risk management, ultimately ensuring the safety and protection of assets, employees, and operations.

Understanding of Risk

Physical security risk assessments are crucial for developing an accurate understanding of the risks that a facility faces. A detailed evaluation of assets, threats, and associated vulnerabilities is a way for a company to quantify risk exposure. Businesses can use these data-driven insights to determine which areas are most susceptible to breaches, theft, or acts of violence. In return, security leaders can implement appropriate controls, enforce policies, allocate resources, and address pressing vulnerabilities.

Vulnerability Identification and Remediation

Another benefit of physical security risk assessments is their ability to identify vulnerabilities and drive solutions. By conducting these assessments, organizations can evaluate their existing security policies and systems to determine how effective they are in minimizing threats. These assessments allow for the identification of potential threats and vulnerabilities and help organizations develop targeted risk strategies. This allows businesses to enhance their overall physical security and reduce their exposure to potential security breaches.

Cost Mitigation

Organizations are also able to identify vulnerabilities and implement the right solutions in a cost-effective manner. Rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach, an in-depth risk assessment pinpoints specific facility weaknesses, high-value targets, and security gaps. Rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach, companies can be specific based on their site needs. This precise risk analysis leads to more efficient spending as it reveals the ideal technologies and level of protection required for each company.

Regulatory Compliance

Conducting a security risk assessment is key to maintaining compliance with industry regulations. A comprehensive evaluation helps find gaps in meeting required security controls, protocols, and best practices. The assessment helps flag areas that need to improve to meet legal obligations, certification standards, and insurance policies. By determining specific vulnerabilities and deficiencies, a security risk assessment acts as a roadmap to address issues and demonstrate adherence.

Informed Decision Making

Physical security risk assessments provide decision-makers with data-driven insights that help them strategically allocate resources to safeguard critical company assets. A risk analysis quantifies the potential impacts of various threats, allowing the leader and the company to take preventative measures accordingly. Risk assessments give security managers the information they need to make smart investments in capabilities that offer the best protection.

5 Steps to a Complete Physical Risk Security Assessment

5 Steps to a Complete Physical Risk Security Assessment

As you can see, there are many benefits to security risk assessment for your company. But what steps can you take to do so? We've outlined five key steps to help you achieve optimal results.

#1: Inspect Your Facilities and Sites

The first step is to inspect your facilities and sites to evaluate your existing physical security controls such as access control systems, surveillance cameras, and security personnel presence. This step includes identifying any potential vulnerabilities or weaknesses in the physical infrastructure and assessing potential risks. This thorough inspection gives you a comprehensive understanding of the security measures in place and determines areas that need improvement to mitigate risks.

#2: Identify Your Risk Factors

The next step in conducting a thorough physical security risk assessment is to identify your risk factors. You'll need to carefully evaluate your business operations and identify vulnerabilities that could pose a risk to your physical security. This can include aspects such as access points, employee practices, and database management systems. This allows you to prioritize risk factors and develop tailored strategies to mitigate the risks and enhance your overall physical security measures. This initial step helps lay the foundation for the most effective physical security risk assessment process.

#3: Audit Your Physical Security Systems

The next step in a comprehensive security risk assessment is auditing existing physical security systems and technology infrastructure. Documenting current access control measures, surveillance systems, protective barriers, and other protections provides a baseline understanding of vulnerabilities. Evaluating system performance, maintenance practices, policies, and monitoring capabilities reveals where upgrades or added safeguards may be needed. Auditing strengths and weaknesses in existing security measures enable accurate identification of gaps that may lead to threats. This data informs strategies to harden infrastructure through risk assessment.

#4: Review Your Operating Procedures

Conducting a technical and procedural review is the next important step in a physical security risk assessment. You'll need to examine operational policies, access protocols, sensitive data handling, compliance practices, and emergency response plans to uncover security vulnerabilities. Analyzing these procedures helps diagnose where human error, miscommunication, or lack of oversight may create opportunities for breach or theft. Be sure to document strengths and weaknesses in protocols and processes to pinpoint risks and identify areas that need to be revised.

#5: Assess Physical Security Risks

Finally, you'll want to find specific physical security risks to determine your organization’s vulnerabilities. This involves examining the site layout, access points, storage of sensitive assets, and potential for natural disasters or attacks. Quantifying the likelihood and potential impact of identified threats informs strategic security efforts and risk mitigation. Recognizing risks helps improve physical protection like barriers, lighting, alarms, and guards. Having a detailed risk identification analysis can help you maximize your security against plausible events that may compromise critical facilities and assets.

Strengthen Your Security with a Professional Physical Security Risk Assessment From Forbel

As we've covered in depth, physical security risk assessments are a critical step in safeguarding your organization against potential threats. By identifying vulnerabilities and evaluating risks, you can make informed decisions to strengthen your security measures.

However, conducting a thorough assessment requires expertise and experience that people on your team might not have. That's where our experts at Forbel come in. As a trusted provider of turnkey security solutions, we specialize in conducting in-depth security system assessments.

Our team of experts will assess your current security infrastructure, identify potential risks, and provide tailored recommendations to enhance your security measures. We encourage you to take the proactive step towards protecting your organization by contacting Forbel today for a professional security assessment. You'll get peace of mind knowing that your security is in capable hands.

Physical Security Risk Assessment for Your Organization in 5 Steps

Physical Security Risk Assessment for Your Organization in 5 Steps

Discover the importance of physical security risk assessment in identifying potential risks. Strengthen your organization's security posture with this expert guide.

Why are security cameras so low quality? There are many causes for poor video quality on CCTV cameras, including their purpose and what's done to the footage.

Our team at Forbel is using this post to explain the poor video quality on CCTV- keep reading to learn more.

It can be surprising and maybe even shocking that in the 21st century, we're surrounded by cameras everywhere, whether they be phone cameras, digital or CCTV cameras. However, these cameras often don't produce clear images or surveillance footage. Technology has advanced over two decades to bring us a wide range of cameras with digital zoom and night vision, but the quality of the image resolution is still so poor that often we can barely discern what's happening in the footage we're observing.

Security Cameras vs. Modern Cameras

Security Cameras vs. Modern Cameras

It's important to note that CCTV cameras and phone cameras (i.e., modern cameras) don't have the same purpose. They're designed in different ways to capture different scenarios.

For example, a phone camera or the like was designed to focus on image resolution and footage quality of a specific target. Like any photo camera, the purpose is to lock on the target and shoot a specific image.

CCTV cameras, however, are specialized cameras. They're more advanced in many ways because they need to capture movement or poorly lit areas within the camera's reach. A CCTV camera system is also not designed to photograph a still but rather capture everything indiscriminately in its range. This explains the grainy quality for its purpose is not to capture a perfectly styled image.

CCTV cameras record everyone equally while modern phone cameras only record what they're focused on.

When Are Security Cameras Used?

CCTV cameras aren't meant to focus on any person or event, meaning they're not there to stalk anyone. Surveillance cameras are placed to keep the property and the people in their view safe. These cameras are meant more for investigation after a criminal event rather than catching someone in the act. The simple fact of having a security system in place can deter and prevent crime. The placement of surveillance cameras also hints at their purpose, and the greater their range, the grainier the security camera video picture will be.

What Are the Limiting Factors of CCTV?

There are many limitations when it comes to CCTV cameras, but not having a surveillance system can prevent crimes. But the question remains: Why are most security cameras so bad? They're there as a preventive tool, but not all security cameras capture quality recordings.



CCTV cameras compress your files which means the codec will take “empty” frames that may be unnecessary. Many surveillance cameras do this automatically, but newer CCTV cameras allow you to set your level of compression according to your needs.


It's important to protect the surveillance camera from the weather, but at the same time, you'll need to make sure that it's visible. For better resolution, it's advised not to point the camera towards the light source. It's also recommended to install the camera at around 9 feet from the ground.


A camera system ranges in cost depending on its purpose and use. The average price for surveillance cameras is between $100-600 dollars, and the specific price depends on the purpose and every business or person's needs.

High-definition cameras, especially 4K security cameras, are still more expensive than traditional analog or low-resolution digital cameras. They also require more storage space to hold the massive video files they produce. For large businesses or public security systems with dozens or hundreds of cameras, the additional costs of high-resolution cameras and storage capacity can be significant.


The lenses used in most CCTV cameras are also low quality, which contributes to poorer image quality. Security camera lenses can vary between 2.8mm to 50mm depending on their usage. On average, a standard security camera lens will be 8mm.

Inexpensive security cameras typically have basic fixed-focus or varifocal lenses with limited optical capabilities. They tend to produce soft, distorted images, especially around the edges of the frame. The limited zoom capabilities of these lenses also reduce the flexibility of the camera positioning since they can’t zoom in on distant objects or wide shots.


High-definition footage requires the transmission and recording of much more data, which can tax available network and storage bandwidth. This is especially true for systems that stream live video over a network or the internet. Low-resolution footage has more modest bandwidth needs, so it's easier to manage.

The most popular open format for CCTV cameras is the AVI file kind. Many manufacturers use their version of the AVI file, a non-standard version, and their codecs. DVR is also an option but isn't frequently used because it's not as flexible as AVI files.


CCTV footage is cropped to shift the focus from unwanted videos and turn them into more relevant clips. Cropping is moving, removing, and adjusting certain clips to fit your desired dimensions or focus on certain areas you want to home in on. There are often undesired distractions on video footage that can be confusing and irrelevant.


For most basic security camera needs, low-resolution footage is considered "good enough" to capture activity and identify potential security events or issues. Higher resolution on a surveillance video doesn't necessarily provide dramatically better capabilities for typical security and surveillance purposes. In many cases, organizations don't feel compelled to pay for more advanced cameras.


As you can see, there are many causes for poor quality CCTV footage due to its purpose, and what is done to the video footage can affect its quality. The placement of the camera plays a great role in this. In addition, the quality of the lens and what the files go through will also yield a grainy image. With all of this in mind, when purchasing a surveillance camera, it's important to understand that the quality of the video is less important than the footage itself, and the range of the footage is useful. The ability to capture camera footage is primarily used as a deterrent.

Are you in need of the right camera for your property? Contact us at Forbel to learn more about security cameras for your property!



There are many causes for poor quality CCTV cameras due to its purpose and what is done to the footage. Learn why security cameras are of poor quality in this post!

In our ever-growing, technologically advanced world, access control systems are essential for the safety of hospitals. Let's find out why and how!

Hospitals and healthcare facilities are unique when it comes to security. These types of buildings need to be able to control access to certain areas for various reasons.

There are sensitive areas that must be restricted to prevent the spreading of contagious diseases, tracking, and theft prevention when it comes to babies, equipment, and drugs, and the protection of patients that are left vulnerable.

For the most comprehensive healthcare security solutions, you must turn to professionals.

Defining Access Control Systems for Hospital Security

Access control systems for hospital security refer to a network of integrated tools designed to secure and monitor the restricted areas of a healthcare facility. They include physical building access control systems, such as locks and entry barriers, and electronic methods, such as CCTV surveillance and multi-factor authentication systems.

The goal is to protect people, property, and hospital records from unauthorized intrusion, vandalism, and theft. A hospital can maintain a secure environment by restricting access to certain areas and controlling the movement of people and property. This allows for more efficient management and greater peace of mind for the hospital staff, patients, and visitors.

Key Card Entry Systems

Advanced Electronic Access Control Solutions for Hospitals

Hospitals rely heavily on stringent security policies because of the different areas in these healthcare facilities.

Access controls have evolved greatly, from security teams checking name tags to computerized security systems and access control methods that grant certain staff members access to restricted areas.

A medical facility security system is incomplete without the correct access-control reader to protect sensitive areas such as intensive care units, maternity wards, emergency departments, and pharmacies.

To adequately secure a healthcare facility, it is essential that the advanced electronic access control system matches the security system section by section since every hospital department has special security requirements; this is an important point to consider when building a hospital security system.

Since hospitals are multi-department facilities, with the bigger hospitals even having off-site campus locations, a controlled system with enhanced security features, such as limiting access to certain areas, is critical to ensure only the right healthcare professionals can enter.

However, these electronic access control systems must allow authorized personnel secure access to move freely from department to department and campus to campus whilst also considering staff and volunteers in the process.

— Key Card Entry Systems

Key card readers are a great way to control access to restricted areas and allow staff, patients, and visitors to roam within the confines granted to them with the specific key card. Access key cards are an inexpensive and convenient way to control areas within a hospital. Swipe card access is an invaluable tool for healthcare facilities and is commonly used in hospitals worldwide.

— Keypad Readers with Passcodes

Keypad hospital access control systems can be helpful in hospital areas such as break rooms or janitorial storage facilities. However, they pose a severe risk if used in sensitive hospital areas.

Passcodes can be easily shared; therefore, this is not a good solution for a high-risk area that can invite criminal activities, such as hospital wards, pharmaceutical storage cabinets, and any department that mustn’t allow free access to potential threats.

— Biometric Access Control

Biometric access control uses iris or fingerprint reading technologies to grant authorized personnel access to highly sensitive areas such as medical research labs, surgery rooms, and storage rooms that house sensitive equipment and supplies.

However, an issue can arise during a crisis or an emergency where the person with the security clearance is not there to open the door or is incapacitated.

healthcare access control

— Combined Security Systems

Combined security centralizes and integrates access control, video surveillance, alarm systems, and more, creating a safer and more secure environment for patients, staff, and any assets.

It enables improved monitoring, quicker incident response, and more cost-efficient operations. This helps decrease and manage security resource allotment, optimizing a healthcare organization’s overall security.

Consolidating multiple security components into one solution, combined security systems provide maximum coverage while significantly lowering equipment, maintenance, and other associated costs.

With this system, healthcare organizations can positively impact the safety of patients, staff, assets, and overall security with minimal resource allocation and cost.

— Cloud-based Access Control Systems

Access-controlled installation for hospitals can solve an ever-growing and timely problem.

Cloud-based off-site access control management can help hospital administrators find the right combination and integrate the appropriate access control solution for each hospital's department, wing, or campus.

With the rise of the Internet of Things, cloud-based technology is a tool that can serve hospitals and healthcare facilities to enhance, upgrade and maintain the highest level of service for staff, patients, and visitors alike.

What Are the Average Implementation Costs for Various Types of Access Control Systems?

Hospitals have long faced the challenge of efficiently and securely controlling access to their buildings, medical records, and other sensitive resources and areas.

The table below offers valuable information to assist hospitals in choosing the best access control systems for their needs. From budgeting and resource allocation to optimizing security, a comparative overview enables hospitals to allocate resources better and optimize their security infrastructure.

By picking the right system and understanding the average implementation costs, hospitals can improve the security and safety of their facilities while protecting staff, patients, and visitors.

Access Control System Hardware Cost (Average) Software Cost (Average) Installation Cost (Average) Maintenance Cost (Annual Average) Recurring Fees (Annual Average)
Key Card Entry Systems $1,500 - $3,000 $500 - $1,000 $500 - $1,000 $300 - $600 $100 - $300
Keypad Readers with Passcodes $500 - $1,000 $200 - $500 $300 - $800 $200 - $400 $50 - $100
Biometric Access Control $2,000 - $4,000 $1,000 - $2,000 $800 - $1,500 $400 - $800 $100 - $500
Combined Security Systems $3,000 - $6,000 $1,500 - $3,000 $1,000 - $2,000 $500 - $1,000 $200 - $400
Cloud-based Access Control Systems $2,500 - $5,000 $1,000 - $2,500 $800 - $1,500 $400 - $800 $100 - $300

Key Components of an Effective Access Control System for Hospitals

As mentioned, many hospital access control systems are suitable for a medical facility setting. Overall, an effective access control system should provide:

  • Secure physical access: Installing locks and other security hardware, such as video surveillance and auto-locking doors, ensures that only admitted patients and those with proper authorization can enter the premises.  
  • Controlled access to confidential patient data: Access should be limited to authorized personnel only, and access levels should be set so that personnel can only access the specific information they require to do their job.  
  • Limited access to hazardous materials: Access to hazardous materials, biological waste, and medication should be limited to personnel with the necessary training and authorization, and logs should be kept to track who accesses these materials.  
  • Proper authentication of personnel: Access cards, pin codes, and other means of identification ensure that only those with the necessary authorization can access the premises and confidential patient data.

Benefits of Security Systems for Healthcare Facilities

1. Enhanced Security with Hospital Access Control Systems

Access control systems can track the movement of staff, patients, and visitors throughout the hospital. This allows only authorized personnel to access restricted areas, ensuring that sensitive areas are kept locked and secure.

In addition, they provide a stricter level of control over who can access sensitive patient information, with the ability to assign different levels of access to other users. The added security and controlled access keep hospitals safe from possible thefts and break-ins while ensuring that confidential patient information is never available to unauthorized individuals.

Combined with other security measures, hospital access control systems vastly improve hospital security.

2. Real-Time Monitoring and Surveillance with Access Control Systems

Access control systems rely heavily on cybersecurity, cryptographic authentication, and biometric facial or fingerprint recognition to identify individuals and restrict access. The systems can also be integrated with video surveillance, which helps security personnel get real-time alerts when potential security breaches are detected.

In addition to the peace of mind they afford, hospital access control systems also provide detailed records and data logging of events, providing greater oversight of access to premises by understanding who has accessed a restricted area and when.

implementing access control

3. Streamlined Data Collection with Access Control Systems

For starters, having all the access information collected in one location makes it easier to monitor in real-time and access and report on in the future. With access control systems, hospitals can benefit from improved accuracy of information, as data is inputted into one repository and can be quickly and easily updated and distributed.

Furthermore, healthcare access control systems enable hospitals to easily integrate information with other hospital systems, like HR and patient management systems, to create a more comprehensive view of operations.

This unified system has various purposes, from monitoring hospital staff movement to scheduling patient appointments and tracking equipment. Access control systems give healthcare organizations an easy and effective tool for managing information and streamlining data collection.

4. Improved Safety Measures with Access Control Systems in Hospitals

These systems track users who gain access to the facility, with cards or codes used to allow access at different levels. By limiting individual entries, access control systems can restrict access to sensitive areas within a hospital, allowing only those with the appropriate clearance to gain access.

Real-time alerts can be sent to security personnel when the system detects an unauthorized attempt at entry, enabling a quick and effective response. This is especially important in operating theaters and patient rooms, which require a high level of security.

5. Effective Alarm Systems for Hospital Security with Access Control Systems

Access control alarm systems in hospitals have become increasingly common to open and close access points such as doors, elevators, and hallways. Hospitals can configure the access control system to send notifications through multiple channels, set up geographical scanning zones, or utilize two-factor authentication to grant door access.

Tailored security solutions help hospitals anticipate and guard against potential threats, allowing staff to respond quickly and confidently. This enables healthcare organizations to create comprehensive security solutions that address their unique and ever-evolving security needs.

6. The Value of Upgrades for Hospital Access Control Systems

Modern healthcare access control systems are designed to provide robust security solutions that take advantage of advanced technologies.

Hospitals must keep access control systems up-to-date to comply with healthcare regulations and protect staff, patients, and information from security breaches. Upgrading these systems also helps to reduce potential penalties imposed by authorities for non-compliance.

With up-to-date hospital access control systems, hospitals can take advantage of features that enable higher security and better protection for staff and data.

Considerations When Implementing Access Control Systems

Biometric Access Control

1. Understanding Your Hospital's Security Requirements

Security requirements in a hospital can vary based on the size, services, and scope of the hospital, but the basic provisions remain the same:

  • Access control: Establishing proper healthcare access control systems to ensure that only authorized personnel are allowed into the facility and locking all entrances and exits.  
  • Surveillance systems: Establishing reliable surveillance systems such as cameras and alarm systems to protect patients, visitors, and staff.
  • IT security: IT security measures include strong password encryption and firewalls to protect sensitive data.  
  • Physical security: Installing security devices such as locks, doors, windows, guards, and gates to monitor and protect both people and equipment.  
  • Training and education: Educating staff and volunteers on security threats and procedures and providing them with the opportunity to practice relevant security drills.  
  • Monitoring systems: Alarm systems linked to a monitoring system, such as a central alarm station, can alert staff to security threats.

2. Identifying Security Threats in Hospitals

Hospitals should also be aware of physical threats such as theft or vandalism of equipment or stolen laboratory specimens. Access control systems can help provide protection against these healthcare threats by managing, tracking, and monitoring who enters and exits the facility.

Such systems provide an audit trail of events, such as changes in user privileges or access to confidential information. By implementing access control systems, hospitals can prevent unwanted persons from entering restricted areas, such as confidential patient records, medical laboratories, or surgery rooms.

Finally, providing secure access control reduces the time it takes to identify and contain a breach should one occur.

3. Assessing the Effectiveness of Current Hospital Security Measures

As leading security planners and system installers, we recommend the following when reviewing security systems:

  • Conduct a risk assessment: Consider physical security, network and data security, personnel issues, and any other sites criminals could target.
  • Identify weak spots: Look for any weak spots in the hospital’s security measures, such as doors that don’t lock properly, inadequate training for security personnel, or cameras that don’t provide the coverage needed.
  • Test existing security measures: Gather data on the effectiveness of the hospital’s security measures, such as incident reports, surveys of staff and visitors, and security footage.
  • Review incident reports: Look for patterns that can be used to identify areas that need further attention.  
  • Evaluate new measures: When new security measures are introduced, compare the results to older systems to determine which is most effective.  
  • Update policies and procedures: Update security policies and procedures as needed to ensure they are up-to-date and relevant to current threats.
  • Educate staff: Ensure that all staff are informed of the security measures in place and their responsibilities for helping keep the hospital secure. Provide regular security drills, training, and updates.

Enhance Your Security with a Hospital Access Control System Integration by Forbel Alarms

Hospitals should prioritize security to protect patients and staff. An effective healthcare access control system can achieve this by controlling who has access to certain areas.

Forbel Alarms offers real-time tracking and monitoring capabilities to help protect healthcare organizations and facilities from potential security threats. Hospitals can benefit from enhanced security, improved visibility, and better environmental control by integrating an access control system.

Contact Forbel Alarms today to explore your options and improve your hospital security.

Hospital Access Control Systems: Keeping Your Facility Safe

Hospital Access Control Systems: Keeping Your Facility Safe

In our ever-growing technologically advanced world, access control systems are essential for the safety of hospitals. Let's find out why and how!

In today's world, security is an ongoing concern for commercial establishments. Ensuring the safety of assets, employees, and operations is paramount. Commercial security camera systems play an integral role in providing this sense of security. At Forbel, we work with business owners, managers, and decision-makers to help them make the right decision on the best commercial security cameras to suit their commercial needs. We encourage you to use the navigation to get to the most interesting section of this blog.

The Importance of Business Security Camera Systems

Security cameras are no longer just about surveillance. They're a business necessity, providing real-time monitoring, deterring crime, gathering evidence, and enhancing overall safety. They've grown from being a luxury to an essential component of business security infrastructure.

Understanding Key Terminology in Commercial Security Systems

To fully understand the concept of commercial security systems, you need to first understand some key terms. Many people confuse security-related terms, which leads to misunderstandings and conflicts with potential providers of commercial security services and equipment. Here's a quick glossary of terms:

— Commercial Security Cameras

These are individual cameras designed to record video in a commercial setting. They can vary in type, functionality, and quality.

— Security Camera Systems

A security camera system refers to a group of security cameras connected, often through a central monitoring system. This can include a mixture of different camera types and features. It often involves some sort of recording device, such as a DVR or NVR, as well as a display for viewing the footage.

— Video Surveillance

Video surveillance generally refers to the ongoing process of using security cameras (either individually or as part of a larger system) to monitor a location. This could involve real-time monitoring or recording footage for later review and provide many benefits for businesses that implement it.


CCTV stands for Closed-Circuit Television. It's a system where the video is recorded, but the signal isn't publicly broadcast. Instead, it's sent to a specific place, often a set of monitors.

Understanding these terms can help you make informed decisions about commercial security camera systems and allows you to better assess what your business needs.


Components and Options of a Security Camera System

A complete security camera system is more than just cameras. It has several components working together to provide comprehensive surveillance. Here's a rundown of these key elements and the options available:

— Security Cameras

At the heart of any security system, security cameras capture video footage of your premises. Options include analog, IP, wireless, PTZ, and fisheye cameras. The choice depends on factors like your budget, the size of the area to be monitored, and the surveillance needs of your business. To better understand the difference between cameras you can also read our article about analog CCTV cameras vs. IP cameras.

— Recording Device

Camera footage is stored on a recording device like a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) or NVR (Network Video Recorder). DVRs are used with analog cameras, while NVRs work with IP cameras. The right choice depends on the type of cameras you're using and the amount of storage needed. You can read more about this topic here.

— Monitor

Monitors allow you to view live or recorded footage from security cameras. Modern systems often allow remote viewing through apps or software on smartphones or computers, providing flexibility and constant access to your surveillance feed.

— Cabling and Connectors

These are essential for transmitting the video feed and power to the cameras and recording devices. In wireless systems, these are minimized but still necessary for power (unless battery-operated). Systems using IP cameras might leverage Power over Ethernet (PoE) for efficient cabling.

— Additional Sensors and Detectors

Many advanced systems include additional security devices like motion detectors, door/window sensors, or alarm systems. These elements add another layer of security and can be integrated with the camera system for enhanced surveillance.

You'll need to understand these components so you can tailor a security camera system that effectively meets your business's security needs.

security system components

Navigating Your Options: Wired vs. Wireless Cameras

Choosing between wired and wireless cameras for your commercial security system is a pivotal decision. Both have their strengths and are optimal for different situations. Understanding the features and differences can help you make the best choice.

— Wired Security Cameras

Wired cameras, as the name implies, are connected to the recording device and power supply via cables. These are usually a go-to choice for businesses seeking a more permanent solution.


  • More reliable, as they aren't affected by signal interference
  • Better suited for larger premises with multiple cameras
  • Often offer higher video quality

Industries Benefiting Most: Manufacturing facilities, shopping malls, large offices, etc., with more extensive premises and the need for a large number of high-quality cameras.

— Wireless Security Cameras

Wireless security cameras, on the other hand, transmit video signals wirelessly over WiFi. These systems are typically easier to install and offer greater flexibility in terms of placement.


  • Easier and quicker installation process
  • More flexibility in camera placement
  • Often easier to integrate with other smart devices

Industries Benefiting Most: Small businesses, restaurants, retail shops, etc., where the flexibility of placement and easy installation are priorities.

The choice between wired and wireless cameras largely depends on your business's needs and the layout of your premises. For a more detailed assessment and professional advice, feel free to contact us.

Different Types of Commercial Security Cameras

Commercial security camera systems come in various forms, each offering unique benefits tailored to various business needs.

— Analog Cameras

Analog cameras are the classic choice, transmitting video data over a coaxial cable to a DVR system. Despite not having the high-resolution quality of some modern systems, they're a cost-effective solution and attractive for budget-conscious businesses.

— IP Cameras

Internet Protocol (IP) cameras represent a step forward in camera technology. They send and receive data via the internet and provide superior image quality and smarter analytics. While they may come with a higher price tag, the enhanced security features often justify the investment. Learn more about IP cameras and how they work.

ip camera

— Wireless Cameras

Wireless cameras are known for their ease of installation and flexibility. They transmit audio and video signals wirelessly and offer more freedom in terms of camera placement. However, signal strength and security are factors to consider when opting for wireless solutions.

— PTZ Cameras

PTZ cameras stand for Pan-Tilt-Zoom and they offer the ultimate control. Capable of covering large areas and zooming in on specific details, PTZ cameras are ideal for large commercial premises that require constant monitoring.

— Fisheye Cameras

Fisheye cameras have a wide, panoramic view and are another excellent choice for commercial security systems. These cameras capture a 180° or 360° field of view, making them perfect for monitoring large areas like warehouses, retail stores, or lobbies. Despite the image distortion common with fisheye lenses, many modern systems come equipped with de-warping software to produce a more traditional, flat image. The combination of expansive coverage and image clarity can significantly enhance your business's surveillance capabilities. You can learn more about fisheye cameras here.

Each type of commercial security camera system—be it dome, bullet, PTZ, or IP—offers unique benefits to suit your business. To delve deeper into these and other building security camera system types for commercial properties, visit our comprehensive guide.

Understanding Video Surveillance Storage

Storage is a key component of any commercial security camera system as it determines how much video footage can be saved and for what duration. Here are the main aspects you should consider when it comes to your commercial video surveillance systems and storage:

— On-Premises vs. Cloud Storage

There are two primary options for storing your surveillance footage: on-premises and cloud storage.

• On-Premises Storage

This type of storage involves storing your footage locally, typically on a DVR or NVR. The capacity depends on the size of the hard drive(s) within these devices. This method offers faster access times as you're not dependent on an internet connection. However, it may require more physical space and be susceptible to damage or theft.

• Cloud Storage

On the other hand, cloud storage involves storing your footage remotely on servers provided by a third-party service. The footage is uploaded over the internet, which can be accessed from anywhere at any time. This provides excellent flexibility and scalability, but it relies on a stable internet connection and may incur ongoing costs based on storage size and duration.

— Storage Capacity and Duration

The amount of storage you'll need depends on several factors including the number of cameras, the resolution at which you're recording, the amount of activity each camera sees, and how long you want to retain the footage. High-resolution footage takes up more space, as does recording continuously compared to a motion-activated recording.

— Data Compression and Bandwidth

Data compression can significantly reduce the storage size of video files without significantly compromising quality. H.264 and H.265 are popular video compression standards that can help maximize your storage. However, keep in mind that compressed video files require more bandwidth when viewed live or played back.

It's important that you understand your storage needs and options so you have reliable access to your surveillance footage when needed. If you have any questions or need help determining the best storage solution for your business, feel free to contact us.

Video Surveillance Storage

Unlocking Potential with Video Analytics

Video analytics is a powerful component that enhances the capability of a commercial security system. It uses advanced algorithms to analyze video feeds and turn raw data into useful insights. Here are some reasons why incorporating video analytics can supercharge your security measures:

— Automated Surveillance

Video analytics can automatically detect suspicious activities, reducing the need for continuous human monitoring. This can save time and resources while ensuring round-the-clock surveillance on your property.

— Enhanced Incident Response

If you can immediately identify potential security threats, you can take action faster. Video analytics allows for quicker response times. This could make all the difference in preventing a security breach or minimizing damage.

— Intelligent Insights

Beyond security, video analytics can provide valuable business insights. For instance, footfall analytics can help retail stores understand customer behavior, improve layout, and increase sales.

— Reduced False Alarms

False alarms can be frustrating and a waste of resources. Video analytics can help minimize false alarms by distinguishing between genuine threats and harmless movements.

Adding video analytics to your commercial security business video surveillance system not only boosts security but also adds a layer of business intelligence that can drive operational efficiency and profitability. To learn more about how video analytics can revolutionize your security business surveillance system, get in touch with our team at Forbel!

Commercial vs. Residential Security Cameras and Systems

Commercial security cameras and residential security cameras share the goal of providing safety and security, but the scope and requirements of these systems can significantly differ.

Commercial security cameras

— Commercial Security Cameras and Systems

Commercial security cameras and systems are designed to handle a broader range of surveillance and, as a result, are often more advanced and robust. They're built to handle larger premises like office buildings, warehouses, retail stores, and more. Commercial surveillance cameras and systems also typically have features like high-resolution cameras, night vision, motion detection, and even AI capabilities for recognizing faces or suspicious behavior. Additionally, they're designed to withstand continuous operation and often come with more extensive support and warranties to give you peace of mind.

— Residential Security Cameras and Systems

On the other hand, residential systems are typically designed to cater to homes and small properties. They are usually less complex and more user-friendly, often offering DIY installation options. They can still offer features like high-definition recording, night vision, and motion detection, but on a smaller scale than commercial systems.

— Using Residential Systems in a Commercial Setting

As for using residential systems in a commercial setting to save money, it can be done, but it comes with pros and cons.


  • Cost-Effective: Residential systems tend to be less expensive than commercial ones.
  • Ease of Use: These systems are generally user-friendly, with easy installation and operation.


  • Limited Coverage: Residential systems may not cover as large an area as commercial systems.
  • Less Robust: They may not offer the same level of robustness or advanced features provided by commercial systems.
  • Reduced Lifespan: Residential cameras aren't designed for constant use, which is often required in a commercial environment.

In conclusion, while it might seem financially advantageous to install a residential system in a commercial setting, it might not meet your business requirements. It's always recommended to assess the security needs thoroughly before making a decision to ensure that the security system can adequately safeguard your property, assets, and people involved.

Key Features to Look For in Business Security Cameras

— Camera Resolution

A higher resolution camera will provide a sharper image, which can be crucial in identifying faces or license plates.

— Field of View

A camera's field of view determines the area that the camera can cover. A wider field of view means more coverage, but often at the expense of detail in the image.

— Night Vision

Night vision is important for around-the-clock business surveillance systems. Ensure the system provides clear images even in low-light conditions.

Business Security Cameras

— Motion Detection

Motion detection features can alert you to any unusual activity, providing real-time information and saving storage space by recording only when motion is detected. We've covered this topic in full in our motion detection guide for property owners.

Tailoring Commercial Security Camera Systems for Different Industries

Every industry has unique security needs based on the nature of their operations, the assets they possess, the threats they face, and the regulations they must adhere to. Below, we've highlighted a few examples of how different industries might approach their security systems:

— Retail Industry

In the retail sector, the primary focus is usually on preventing theft and ensuring customer and staff safety. These systems often require high-resolution cameras to capture clear images that can identify individuals and actions. Cameras are typically placed at entrances, exits, and over cash registers.

— Manufacturing Industry

Manufacturing facilities often have wired security camera systems that focus on monitoring production processes and preventing unauthorized access to restricted areas. Systems should be durable, able to withstand harsh conditions, and provide coverage of large areas. Find out more on industrial security on our dedicated page.

— Hospitality Industry

Hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality businesses focus on securing their guests and their belongings while also protecting their property. Discreet cameras that blend with decor are often a good choice. Key locations for security cameras for business can include reception areas, entrances, and hallways.

— Healthcare Industry

Hospitals and healthcare facilities have unique security needs, including patient safety, protection of drugs and medical equipment, and monitoring restricted areas. Security systems in healthcare must also often comply with specific privacy laws and regulations. You can learn more about hospital security on our separate page.

— Education Sector

Schools and universities need security systems to ensure the safety of students and staff and to protect property. Wide-angle cameras covering large outdoor spaces like playgrounds or sports fields can be useful, as well as cameras monitoring entrances and exits. You can dive deeper into school security cameras and their advantages here or visit our dedicated page on school security and learn about what Forbel can do for you.

camera systems for different industries

— Multi-Family Complexes and Condos

Security in multi-family complexes and condos extends beyond protecting property—it's about ensuring the safety and peace of mind of residents. Tailoring a security camera system to these environments requires careful planning to cover common areas like lobbies, hallways, parking lots, and leisure facilities. You can also opt for integrated access control systems for an additional layer of security. For more insights into securing multi-family complexes and condos, visit our dedicated page.

— Warehouses and Logistics Centers

Warehouses and logistics centers often house valuable inventory and equipment, making them prime targets for theft. A robust security camera system can deter criminal activity in these large areas, monitor operations, and provide evidence in case of incidents. For more information on protecting your warehouse or logistics center, check out our specialized section.

— Offices

While offices might not hold physical goods like a warehouse, they're repositories of sensitive information and expensive equipment. A well-designed security camera system can help prevent unauthorized access, protect assets, and even enhance productivity. Find out more about securing your office space on our focused page.

Each industry requires a customized approach to security that takes into account its unique needs and challenges. It's essential to work with a security professional who can help design a system that best fits your industry's requirements.

Reasons to Install Commercial Security Camera Systems: A Closer Look

Whether your business operates in a small office or a sprawling warehouse, security should never be taken lightly. Here's why investing in a commercial security camera system is a must:

— Deter Criminal Activity

The presence of business security cameras can deter potential criminals. The risk of being caught on camera is a significant deterrent for thieves and vandals.

— Collect Evidence

In case of a dispute or crime, having video footage can provide valuable evidence. This can assist in investigations and can be used in court if necessary.

why install security camera

— Enhance Operational Efficiency

Beyond security, using camera systems for business can also help business owners monitor employee productivity and streamline operations.

— Lower Insurance Costs

Insurance providers often offer reduced premiums to businesses that have a robust security system in place, as it reduces the likelihood of claims.

— Peace of Mind

Perhaps most importantly, a well-equipped security camera system gives business owners, employees, and customers peace of mind, knowing that safety is a priority.

— Stay Alerted

One of the key advantages of modern commercial security camera systems is their ability to send instant alerts. If the system detects any suspicious activity, it can notify you immediately and help you take action right away.

— Improve Staff Development

Business security cameras aren't just for preventing crime. They can also serve as useful tools for staff training and development. By reviewing footage, managers can identify best practices, areas for improvement, and ensure that staff is adhering to protocols.

— Access Remote Surveillance

With internet-connected systems, remote video monitoring is possible. This feature allows you to monitor your business from anywhere, at any time, adding an extra layer of convenience and peace of mind.

Installation of Commercial Security Camera Systems: Professional or DIY?

By now, it's clear that installing a commercial security camera system involves more than just mounting cameras. It's a process that requires careful planning, technical knowledge, and a keen understanding of your premises. There are two common routes you can take: professional installation or do-it-yourself (DIY) installation.

security camera diy intallation

— Professional Installation

For complex systems or large premises, professional installation is often the best choice to ensure proper set up. Professionals can assess your site, design an effective system layout, and ensure optimal camera placement for the best coverage. They also have the expertise to handle technical challenges that may arise during the installation process. Professional installation ensures that your system isn't only installed correctly but also tailored to meet the specific security needs of your business. If you're considering professional installation, you can visit our video surveillance page to learn more about our services.

— DIY Installation

If you have a smaller system or are looking to save on installation costs, DIY installation can be an option. However, this process requires a solid understanding of both the technology and your security needs. Here's a brief overview of the steps involved in a DIY installation:

  1. Plan Your System: Decide on the number and type of cameras you need and where they should be placed for optimal coverage.
  2. Install Cameras: Follow the manufacturer's instructions to mount your cameras. You may need to drill holes and run wiring if you're using a wired system.
  3. Set Up the System: Connect your cameras to the DVR or NVR system and your monitor. Again, follow the manufacturer's guidelines to ensure everything is connected correctly.
  4. Test Your System: Ensure all cameras are working and providing good coverage. Adjust the camera angles as needed.

While it may seem like a way to save money, DIY installation can present challenges, particularly with larger or more complex systems. It may also result in sub-optimal camera placement, which can leave gaps in your surveillance.

Ultimately, the choice between professional and DIY installation depends on your needs and circumstances. However, given the technical challenges and the importance of effective surveillance, professional installation is typically the most reliable choice.

Whether you opt for a professional installation or decide to go the DIY route, remember that a well-installed security camera system is a valuable investment in the security of your business.

For expert advice and professional installation services, get in touch with us at Forbel.

Addressing Commercial Security Concerns with Comprehensive Solutions

Businesses often encounter various challenges when attempting to secure their premises. Let's discuss some of these common concerns and how something like a turnkey solution can effectively address them:

— Problem: Uncertain About Where to Start

Solution: With our expert site assessment, we help businesses identify their specific security needs. Our team will visit your premises, analyze its layout and potential vulnerabilities, and provide personalized recommendations.

— Problem: Need a Tailor-Made Design but Lack Expertise

Solution: Our professional design & engineering services come into play here. We design security systems, create CAD blueprints, and tailor the solutions to your specific requirements, ensuring optimal coverage and functionality.

— Problem: Overwhelmed with Product Choices

Solution: As official distributors of many renowned security equipment brands, we can guide you in choosing the best equipment for your business. We can save you the time and hassle of product research and comparison.

common security system concerns

— Problem: Worried About the Complexity of Installation

Solution: Our team takes care of the entire installation process, whether it's a single security system or a complex integration of different systems. We ensure every component is installed correctly for reliable operation.

— Problem: Unsure if the Installed System Operates Correctly

Solution: We offer a comprehensive commissioning service. We thoroughly check and test every part of the system to ensure everything works as it should, giving you peace of mind.

Don't let these security challenges hold your business back. At Forbel, our comprehensive, turnkey solutions are designed to address your concerns and provide you with a robust, reliable security system. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help safeguard your business.

Ensuring Peak Performance: Maintaining Your Commercial Security Camera System

Just like any other piece of technology, commercial security systems require regular maintenance to ensure they're functioning optimally. Regular maintenance not only prolongs the lifespan of your business security camera system but also guarantees consistent performance, ensuring your premises always remain protected.

— Regular Inspections

The first step to effective maintenance is conducting regular inspections. This involves checking all camera units, cables, storage devices, and other hardware components to ensure they're in good working condition. During these inspections, pay attention to any signs of wear and tear, loose connections, or physical damage.

— System Updates

Your security camera system software should be kept up-to-date. Manufacturers often release updates that fix bugs, enhance performance, or add new features. Regularly updating your system ensures it's equipped with the latest security features and functions smoothly.

— Cleaning the Cameras

Physical cleaning is a crucial yet often overlooked part of maintenance. Dust and debris can accumulate on the camera lenses over time, hampering image clarity. Regularly cleaning the camera lenses can help maintain high image quality.

— Checking the Storage

Regularly checking the storage of your system ensures it's functioning correctly and has enough space to store new footage. If you overlook this aspect, it could mean important footage is not stored or is automatically overwritten.

security camera maintinance

— Professional Maintenance

While routine checks can be performed by you or your team, it's ideal to have professional maintenance annually. Professionals have the expertise to thoroughly inspect and service your system, addressing any potential issues that may have been overlooked.

Maintaining your commercial security camera system is a small investment of time that ensures your system stays reliable in the long term.

Strategizing Camera Placement for Optimum Security

The placement of business security cameras can significantly influence their effectiveness. Strategically positioning your indoor or outdoor business security cameras ensures comprehensive coverage of your premises and maximizes their deterrent effect. Here are some general guidelines to consider when planning camera placement:

— Entrances and Exits

These areas are key points of access and should be the first to be covered by your camera system. This includes both the main entrances and any back doors or side doors your property may have.

— Windows

Windows, especially those at ground level, are common points of unauthorized access. Having cameras pointed at these potential entry points can improve your security.

— Parking Lots

Parking lots can be hotspots for theft and vandalism. Ensuring these areas are well-covered by your camera system helps protect your employees' and visitors' vehicles.

— Reception Area and Main Hallways

In office buildings, cameras in reception areas and main hallways can help monitor traffic and ensure no unauthorized individuals access your property.

— Critical Assets

Any area housing critical assets, be it sensitive documents, high-value inventory, or crucial equipment, should be under constant surveillance.

Remember that every property is unique, and the right camera placement can vary. Make sure to conduct a thorough site assessment to identify all potential vulnerabilities and blind spots.

For a more detailed discussion on camera placement strategies, you can refer to our comprehensive guide, "9 Best Places to Install Your Security Cameras". If you need professional advice on optimal camera placement for your specific premises, feel free to contact us.

security camera placement

Understanding the Costs of Commercial Security Camera Systems

Investing in a commercial security camera system is a significant business decision, and understanding the associated costs is crucial. Here are some of the key cost factors:

  1. Size of the Premises: Larger premises require more cameras for full coverage, which increases the total cost.
  2. Type of Cameras: Different camera types come with varying price points. Higher-end cameras with advanced features like high-resolution recording or AI capabilities tend to cost more.
  3. System Complexity: More complex systems, like those integrating different types of cameras or those that include additional features like motion detection or facial recognition, usually come with a higher price tag.
  4. Installation and Maintenance: These services are typically charged separately from the hardware and can vary based on the system's complexity.

While these costs might seem high initially, it's important to view a commercial security camera system as an investment. A high-quality, well-designed surveillance system can provide invaluable peace of mind, deter crime, lower insurance costs, and even improve business operations.

Our team at Forbel knows the importance of balancing cost and quality. That's why Forbel strives to offer competitive pricing and transparent quotes for our comprehensive security solutions. For more information about our pricing, contact us today.

Overcoming Challenges: Potential Drawbacks of Commercial Security Camera Systems and Their Solutions

While commercial security camera systems are invaluable assets for businesses, they come with certain challenges. Understanding these potential drawbacks and how to overcome them can help you make the most out of your security system.

— Privacy Concerns

Balancing security and privacy can be difficult. Cameras, while essential for security, shouldn't infringe on the personal privacy of employees, customers, or visitors. Ensure that cameras are only installed in public areas and not in places where individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy, like restrooms or changing rooms. Communicate the purpose and locations of cameras to all stakeholders, fostering transparency and trust.

— Cost Considerations

The initial cost of a quality security system can be high, especially for small to medium-sized businesses. However, it's important to consider this an investment in the safety and security of your business. Potential loss due to theft or vandalism, not to mention the peace of mind that comes with enhanced security, often outweighs the initial cost. Explore various financing options and consider the possibility of starting with a basic system. As your budget allows, you can continue to expand.

— Technical Difficulties

Like any technology, security cameras can experience technical issues, from connectivity problems to hardware failures. Regular maintenance and system updates can help prevent these problems. If you're not technically savvy, working with a professional security provider can ensure your system is always in top working condition. They can provide you with regular maintenance services and quick responses to technical issues that arise.

— Cybersecurity Risks

As more security camera systems become connected to the internet, they also become potential targets for cyberattacks. Employing robust cybersecurity measures, such as secure networks, strong passwords, and regular software updates, can mitigate these risks. In addition, ensure that the security cameras and systems you choose have built-in security features such as data encryption and two-factor authentication.

As long as you understand and address these challenges proactively, you can make the most out of your commercial security camera system and create a safe and secure business environment. Remember, every challenge comes with a solution - and the benefits of a well-installed and maintained security system certainly outweigh these potential drawbacks.

commercial security camera system cybersecurity

Useful Integrations for Commercial Security Camera Systems

A commercial security camera system isn't limited to working in isolation. For enhanced functionality, these commercial surveillance systems can integrate with other business systems and devices to offer comprehensive security and operational solutions. Here are a few examples:

— Access Control Systems

Integration with access control systems can offer enhanced security by tying video footage to access events. For example, the system can pull up a video of the moment a particular door was accessed using a key card. This coupling of systems adds another layer of security, making it easier to manage and monitor access to your premises.

— Intrusion Detection Systems

By integrating with intrusion detection systems, your security camera system can begin recording the moment an alarm is triggered, providing valuable visual evidence of any incident. This real-time response can help identify potential threats and ensure that you take swift action as needed.

— Fire Alarm Systems

In the case of a fire alarm, the security cameras can help in assessing the situation and planning the evacuation or response, providing real-time insights to emergency responders. Coupling this with fire alarm systems can significantly enhance your ability to respond to emergencies, potentially saving lives and limiting property damage.

— Building Management Systems

Integrating your security camera system with your building management system offers operational benefits. For instance, it can help monitor and control lighting or HVAC systems based on occupancy, saving energy costs.

— Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems

For retail businesses, integrating security cameras with POS systems can help monitor transactions and deter potential fraudulent activity.

At Forbel, our turnkey solutions are designed with integration in mind, helping businesses make the most of their security investments. To learn more about how we can provide a tailored, integrated solution for your business, contact us today.

commercial security trends

The Future Is Now: Emerging Trends in Commercial Security Camera Systems

With advancements in technology and changing security needs, commercial security camera systems continue to evolve. The trends below showcase how these technologies are shaping the future of commercial security.

— Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has significantly transformed how security camera systems function. AI-enabled cameras can recognize faces, detect suspicious behavior, and even alert authorities, making security systems more efficient and effective. They can identify patterns, learn from them, and adapt to various scenarios, increasing both accuracy and reliability. As an added bonus, this trend significantly reduces false alarms and allows for a more proactive approach.

— Cloud Storage

Cloud storage has introduced a new way of managing and accessing security footage. Rather than storing data on local servers or hard drives, the footage is saved to the cloud, allowing for easier access from any location. This convenience extends to off-site security personnel who can view live footage and react quickly to incidents. Additionally, cloud storage provides additional backup to ensure data isn't lost in the case of hardware failure or damage, offering peace of mind.

— Cybersecurity for Security Cameras

As security camera systems become more interconnected, the risk of cyber threats increases. As a result, a growing trend in the industry is the focus on enhancing the cybersecurity features of security cameras and systems. Manufacturers are employing encryption, two-factor authentication, and regular software updates to ensure the security footage and system are protected against potential cyberattacks.

— Integration with Other Smart Systems

Today's commercial security camera systems are becoming a part of the larger Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem. The integration of security cameras with other systems like access control, fire alarms, or smart lighting can provide a more comprehensive security solution. This interoperability enables businesses to create a more efficient and effective security environment.

As we look ahead, these trends will continue to shape the future of commercial security camera systems, making them more reliable, efficient, and capable than ever before. To stay up-to-date with these advancements and implement them in your business, consider reaching out to a professional security provider like Forbel.

Conclusion: Building a Secure Future

As we’ve explored throughout this guide, a commercial security system isn't a one-size-fits-all solution, but rather a highly customizable asset that can significantly improve your business’s overall security. From understanding the basic components of business security camera systems to discerning between different types of cameras, storage options, and integration possibilities, these systems offer more than just surveillance — they offer peace of mind.

Equipped with this knowledge, you are now better prepared to make an informed decision about implementing a commercial security camera system in your business. Consider your needs, the nature of your industry, and the size and layout of your premises. Understand the power of integrating your camera system with access control, intrusion detection, and fire alarm systems, as well as the potential benefits of emerging technologies like AI and cloud storage.

However, remember that while this guide provides a solid starting point, there's no substitute for professional advice. For a solution tailored to your specific needs and a seamless, turnkey implementation process, consider enlisting the services of a professional security provider.

Remember, the best security is proactive, not reactive. Don't wait for a security breach to act – invest in a commercial security camera system today and build a secure future for your business.

For more advice or assistance in selecting and installing the perfect system, get in touch with us today.

Commercial Security Camera Systems: A Complete Guidance

Commercial Security Camera Systems: A Complete Guidance

Explore the realm of commercial security camera systems offered by Forbel. Gain insights into various camera types, installation methods, emerging trends, and customize security measures to align with your specific business requirements.

Construction sites require a high level of security to ensure the safety of workers, contractors, and visitors. Surveillance cameras provide real-time monitoring and quickly identify potential risks or threats.

They help construction companies and site managers prevent theft, vandalism, and other criminal activities; furthermore, the footage can be used to make insurance claims or support future legal proceedings.

Construction security solutions such as security camera installation undoubtedly provide improved protection, lower operational costs, boost productivity, and increase employee safety.

Is It Possible to Achieve Cost Savings with Surveillance Cameras for Construction Sites?

Construction site managers and companies face a difficult task - how can they reduce overheads without compromising building site security?

According to the National Equipment Register, construction site theft costs contractors between $300 million to $1 billion yearly.

Factors that contribute to construction sector criminal activity include:

  • A large number of people with access to construction sites
  • The easy availability of valuable assets like tools and machinery
  • The lack of security on many sites
  • The perception that construction theft is not a serious crime

Yet, a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) found that visible security cameras reduced crime by 65%.

Not only that, but construction site security systems, particularly video surveillance systems, also reduce the need to hire security personnel.

Cameras for Construction Site Security

Average Prices for Installing or Integrating Security Cameras on Different Construction Sites

Security camera installation has hidden costs like wiring, installation, and maintenance fees. That's why it's essential to research different vendors and understand associated prices.

We recommend selecting a vendor that offers comprehensive solutions such as maintenance and support to save money in the long run. You'll also want to evaluate the quality of the system, the level of customer service, and warranty offerings.

Not all surveillance cameras come with night vision or motion detection, so be sure your installer can provide cameras with those features. Sometimes, consulting a security planner is worthwhile to ensure you're getting the best value from your security system.

See average prices below:

Project Type Average Number of Security Cameras Average Cost (USD)
Small Residential Project 4-8 $2,000 - $5,000
Medium Residential Project 8-16 $5,000 - $10,000
Large Residential Project 16-32 $10,000 - $20,000
Small Commercial Project 8-16 $5,000 - $10,000
Medium Commercial Project 16-32 $10,000 - $20,000
Large Commercial Project 32-64 $20,000 - $50,000
Industrial Site 32-64 $20,000 - $50,000
Infrastructure Development 64+ $50,000+

10 Benefits of Surveillance Cameras for Construction Site Security

1. Enhance Worker Safety

Construction sites are often incredibly dangerous areas, and because of this, video surveillance systems serve two important purposes for keeping workers and managers safe when operating in a hazardous environment.

First, having the work zone surveilled means employers can monitor their workers and ensure they abide by the strict safety protocols that have been set and minimize the risk of injuries. Secondly, if an accident or injury occurs, construction site security camera systems will record what happened, and that video can be used later as proof.

2. Deter Theft

Including CCTV security systems on a construction job site is one of the best ways to reduce the chances of theft. With expensive machinery and equipment left unattended every night, these job sites are common victims of criminals looking to steal and sell valuable tools.

Criminals usually look for security cameras before they break in or steal anything. If they can clearly see the security system on the job site, they won’t want to risk the danger of getting caught and will be much less likely to follow through with their intentions.

3. Prevent Trespassing and Vandalism

With cameras, organizations can monitor and record suspicious behavior in real-time, allowing them to take quick action before any harm is done. Regular surveillance can deter potential trespassers, making it less likely for them to enter the construction site in the first place.

Furthermore, recordings of suspicious behavior can aid in identifying perpetrators in the event of vandalism or theft, helping organizations apprehend culprits and protect their work from further damage. Taking the right precautions can help ensure a safe and secure work environment, saving organizations from costly damages and ensuring their projects remain on track.

4. Minimize Liability

Poor job site security surveillance can lead to a number of issues, one of which is inadequate protection against liabilities and further damage and losses. Without construction site security, if a piece of heavy machinery were stolen and this allowed the thief access to a building, then any damage and losses that occur to that building could be costly.

The contractors can be held liable for accidents or injuries involving trespassers or caused by the actions of trespassers on their site. Having construction site CCTV security systems will help to better secure against these threats.

5. Monitor Construction Progress Effectively

Construction projects often come with tight deadlines and budgets, so having efficient security on construction sites is essential for success. Surveillance cameras are the perfect tool for visually tracking real-time construction projects.

They can provide the evidence needed to determine the workflow, resolve disputes and ensure work is completed on schedule. This documented proof is invaluable in verifying that the project goals are being met and helping to prevent problems down the line.  

In short, a robust building security system design is the perfect tool for construction site managers looking to ensure their projects are running smoothly.

Construction Site Security Cameras

6. Quickly Respond to Hazards

A construction site surveillance camera is designed to capture any event in real-time, allowing security guards or emergency responders to respond quickly to anything that goes wrong.

If a crime is committed or an injury occurs on a job site, the construction site security surveillance will be an indispensable asset in responding. If a crime is caught on video, it will be considered a Priority One response for police, and the authorities will immediately head to the scene to address the criminal behavior.

7. Reduce Insurance Premiums

Video surveillance footage is considered one of the best forms of evidence and can often provide more information than written witness accounts. With high-quality footage, investigators have the ability to review incidents from multiple angles, review the series of events leading up to the incident, and provide a clear and indisputable record of what transpired.

Insurance companies consider the safety measures of an insured site, which means that by installing surveillance cameras, construction site owners can often receive a reduced rate on their premiums. This cost-saving increases further if multiple cameras are installed throughout the site and can result in thousands of dollars or more in potential savings.

8. Facilitate Remote Site Management

With live streaming and recorded footage accessible from any web-enabled device, managers, and owners can view multiple sites in real-time from any location. Surveillance cameras provide an extra layer of oversight, allowing site managers to stay on top of any issues. With camera footage, managers can identify potential areas of concern, details of employees’ work processes, and note the completion of certain tasks or stages of the project.

Overall, video monitoring security solutions help to streamline the construction process by providing an invaluable tool for remote oversight, allowing site managers to observe the progress of multiple projects and ensure high standards of safety, quality, and efficiency. This ultimately helps increase productivity, profitability – and peace of mind.

9. Monitor Material Deliveries

Construction sites can be hectic, with the constant coordination of material deliveries for workers on the ground. Site managers and construction company owners face the daunting challenge of ensuring timely and accurate material deliveries for optimal project progress and cost management.

This is where construction site monitoring cameras can provide a helping hand. With features like high-definition video quality, remote access, and motion detection capabilities, site managers and company owners can keep tabs on material deliveries from wherever they are. They can ensure timely deliveries and orderly distribution of goods, helping avoid costly delays and optimize inventory management.

10. Support for Efficient Equipment Maintenance

As a construction manager or company owner, you know the importance of efficient equipment maintenance to ensure project progress and cost control. Unfortunately, this can be a challenge, as downtime caused by equipment or maintenance issues can have severe costs. Surveillance cameras can help with this.

By monitoring your equipment in real-time, you can proactively address any maintenance needs and spot any potential problems before they occur. With features including live video feeds, mobile notifications, and the ability to track usage patterns, surveillance cameras can give you unprecedented insight into your equipment and help you keep it running as efficiently as possible.

Surveillance cameras minimize system downtime, help you optimize your maintenance schedule and, most importantly, prolong the lifespan of your equipment. All this without having to monitor the equipment yourself manually.

Which Are the Best Security Cameras for Construction Sites?

With so many options on the market, how do you decide which surveillance camera works best?

As a site manager or construction company owner, you must consider durability, functionality, ease of use, and compatibility when selecting the best camera to protect your property and investments.

Well-thought-out camera surveillance can increase safety and security while providing reliable surveillance solutions.

Below you'll find a range of security cameras for construction sites with different features. It's also possible to purchase a combination of cameras to suit different construction site needs.

Camera Model Description Price Range Benefits for Site Manager/Construction Company Owner
XYZ Construction High-definition camera with night vision $500 - $700 1. Enhanced site security, deterring theft and vandalism.
2. Improved safety monitoring to prevent accidents and ensure compliance.
3. Remote access for real-time monitoring and peace of mind.
SiteSecure Pro Robust weatherproof camera with wide-angle $800 - $1000 1. Extensive coverage to monitor the entire construction site.
2. Quick and accurate identification of unauthorized access or safety breaches.
3. Effective risk management and reduced liability for the company.
ConstructionEye 360-degree panoramic camera $1200 - $1500 1. Comprehensive view to monitor multiple areas simultaneously.
2. Simplified installation and reduced need for multiple cameras.
3. Increased efficiency and productivity by minimizing blind spots.
HeavyGuard Vandal-proof camera with advanced motion $600 - $800 1. Durable and tamper-resistant, ensuring continuous surveillance.
2. Improved project management and reduced losses due to theft.
3. Quick detection and response to potential safety or security incidents.
ProWatch Mega Ultra-high-resolution camera for detailed $1500 - $2000 1. Clear and detailed footage for accurate incident investigations.
2. Improved monitoring of construction progress and worker activities.
3. Advanced analytics for data-driven decision-making and process optimization.

Elevate Construction Site Security: Install Surveillance Cameras with Forbel Alarms

Construction security is a critical element in maintaining efficient operations and ensuring the safety of personnel and property. Forbel Alarms provides a reliable solution for implementing camera surveillance systems that give managers an eye on the construction site at all times.

Surveillance cameras can benefit construction site managers or owners with increased safety, reduced supervision costs, improved tracking of materials, and enhanced security measures.

Contact us to learn more about how to utilize surveillance camera systems and elevate security levels on construction sites today.

Boosting Safety and Protection: How Surveillance Cameras Improve Construction Site Security?

Boosting Safety and Protection: How Surveillance Cameras Improve Construction Site Security?

As a warehouse owner, you know the importance of keeping your inventory safe. Whether it’s protecting expensive goods from theft or ensuring you’re only working with authorized personnel, safeguarding your warehouse is a crucial factor in running a successful business. But how do you ensure that security? 

From checking IDs on entry to installing alarm systems and surveillance cameras, there are a lot of effective measures that can be implemented to keep your goods secure and give you peace of mind when it comes to warehouse protection. 

In this blog post, we discuss eight essential warehouse security system measures for safeguarding your warehouse and helping manage potential risks.

Why Warehouse Security Is Crucial for Protecting Your Business

warehouse security system

Warehouse security is a key aspect of protecting your business from potential threats. You never know when an intruder may try to break into your warehouse, which is why it's important to invest in top-notch security measures to keep your business safe around the clock. 

Internal and external theft, vandalism, and other crimes can not only lead to financial losses but can also damage your reputation and customer trust. Implementing proper security measures such as warehouse security camera systems, motion detectors, security personnel, and access control systems can help deter potential intruders and prevent unauthorized access. 

When it comes to protecting your business, it's always better to be safe than sorry. So, take the necessary precautions to safeguard your warehouse against potential threats and ensure the future success of your business. The right security solution can make all of the difference.

Securing Your Facility: Comprehensive Protection Inside and Out

Warehouse security systems play a critical role in protecting a facility both inside and out. Access control systems can help to prevent unauthorized entry by requiring authentication, while surveillance systems can monitor the facility's interior and exterior for signs of security breaches.

Other physical security measures that can be implemented include fencing, locks, and security personnel. These measures can help to deter potential security threats and prevent theft or vandalism.

Employee training is also essential to maintaining security for the warehouse. Employees should be educated on proper security practices, including how to recognize and report suspicious activity and how to properly use security equipment.

Regular maintenance of warehouse security systems is necessary to ensure their effectiveness. Equipment should be inspected periodically to ensure that it's functioning correctly and updated as needed to maintain the latest security standards.

Overall, implementing a comprehensive warehouse security system is crucial to safeguarding employees, inventory, and assets from potential security breaches. By prioritizing warehouse security management and staying vigilant to potential threats, warehouse owners and managers can create a safe and secure environment for their business operations.

Key Warehouse Security Measures: Exploring 8 Essential Types

Warehouse Security Measures

1. Surveillance Solutions: Warehouse Security Cameras

Security is an essential aspect of any warehouse operation. It's crucial to have measures in place to safeguard the warehouse against theft, vandalism, and other security threats. One of the most fundamental security measures is surveillance. 

Security cameras can help to monitor the warehouse, deter theft or vandalism, and provide evidence in the event of an incident. Warehouse security cameras come in all shapes and sizes, from fixed cameras to pan-tilt-zoom cameras that can actively track movements. Additionally, advanced features such as facial recognition and license plate recognition can enhance the effectiveness of these cameras. 

Investing in a reliable surveillance solution with a quality warehouse security camera system is an essential step toward ensuring the safety and security of your warehouse and your warehouse managers.

2. Illuminating Your Warehouse: Importance of Lighting for Security

When it comes to security measures in any warehouse, lighting may not initially come to mind. However, it's a crucial aspect that has a significant impact on both employee safety and security. 

Poorly-lit areas can create hiding spots for potential thieves, making it more difficult for security to identify and catch them. Additionally, employees may struggle to navigate through dimly lit spaces, reducing warehouse safety and increasing the risk of accidents or injuries. 

Therefore, investing in high-quality and efficient lighting systems is essential for maintaining a safe and secure warehouse environment.

Good lighting not only enhances visibility but also serves as an effective deterrent for unwanted intruders. As the saying goes: "A well-lit warehouse is a secure warehouse."

3. Alerting to Threats: Alarm Systems for Warehouse Security

Protecting your home or business from potential theft is a top priority for any property owner. One of the best tools in your arsenal is an alarm system that pairs with your surveillance system.

Not only does it act as a deterrent to potential thieves, but it also minimizes the amount of goods stolen by imposing a tight time limit on the thief. If there's a breach, a silent alarm can alert security or the police quickly, giving them enough time to detain the thief and prevent them from escaping with your valuable possessions.

Ensuring that your property is equipped with an up-to-date alarm system is an investment in your peace of mind and the security of your assets.

Warehouse security is a top priority for any business owner. That's why it's essential to have on-site security staff tasked with making rounds to deter potential thieves and trespassers. 

Security patrols can significantly reduce the risk of large-scale theft by keeping an eye on blind spots that security cameras might miss. A human presence can also serve as a strong warning to anyone who might be considering breaking in. 

Manual security patrols are a crucial component in any comprehensive security plan, as they offer a level of protection that's impossible to achieve with technology alone. As a business owner, peace of mind is essential, and knowing that your warehouse is well-protected can help you sleep better at night.

5. Controlled Access: Access Control Systems and Security Cages for Warehouses

warehouse security system

As e-commerce and online shopping continue to grow, warehouses face an increasing challenge of keeping high-value merchandise secure. That's where security cages and access control systems come in. 

These warehouse security measures create a high level of security within the warehouse by restricting access to valuable items and making it harder for thieves to get to them. By limiting who can enter certain areas and requiring additional authentication measures, employees can effectively protect inventory from theft. 

With an access control system, the warehouse manager can monitor and control entry, ensuring that only authorized staff members can enter the warehouse and access valuable items. 

High-value merchandise can be securely stored, reducing the risk of theft and improving efficiency in the warehouse.

6. Efficient Management: Inventory Tracking for Warehouse Security

Inventory tracking is a crucial aspect of warehouse management. It involves monitoring the movement of products in and out of the storage facility, as well as keeping track of any missing items. 

In today's fast-paced e-commerce industry, inventory management systems are a must-have for any business that wants to stay competitive. Not only do they help to quickly identify shrinkage, but they also ensure that accurate inventory availability reports are generated for customers. 

A missing item can lead to a dissatisfied customer and loss of revenue. Therefore, it's important to check your inventory frequently to avoid any errors or discrepancies. In other words, inventory tracking is a basic and essential part of loss prevention.

7. Fortifying Your Entrances: Entryway Security Doors for Warehouses

warehouse security

When it comes to warehouse security, entryway doors hold a critical position. There's no point in having an automated locking system if the doors aren't sturdy enough to resist forceful entry. 

Thieves know how to bypass weak locks and doors, and they do it quickly. This is why entryway security doors can't be compromised. They should be built to withstand break-ins and make criminals hesitant to attempt any kind of theft. 

By having robust doorways, thieves are either delayed or given up altogether, which is great for the police or security personnel to apprehend these thieves. 

The security door is the first line of defense that any business should consider when it comes to preventing any unauthorized entry.

8. Shielding Against Intruders: Window Security for Warehouses

Protecting your warehouse from theft is of utmost importance, and one of the most vulnerable areas that require attention is your windows. Without proper security measures, ground-level windows can be an easy access point for burglars to break into your facility. 

It's crucial to strengthen your windows, especially those situated at low levels. Reinforcing windows with sturdy glass or fitting them with window locking mechanisms can be the first line of defense to safeguard against break-ins. 

For an extra layer of protection, steel bars or window covers can act as a visual deterrent to potential intruders, ultimately safeguarding your warehouse from theft. 

Don't wait for a break-in to occur, implement the right security measures now and invest in an integrated system to avoid any unwanted incidents.

Potential Risks to Consider When Implementing a New Security System

Implementing a security system can be overwhelming, so it's important to consider all potential risks involved. While a security system can provide peace of mind and protect against potential threats, it can also be vulnerable to hacking and other types of cyber attacks. 

This is especially important to keep in mind given the increasing sophistication of cyber criminals. Additionally, it's important to ensure that the security system isn't infringing on any privacy laws, as this can lead to legal repercussions. 

To avoid potential risks, it's important to work with a reputable security provider and conduct thorough research and testing before implementing any system. 

By taking these precautions, you can ensure that your security system is effective without putting your business or personal information at risk.

Strengthening Warehouse Security: Key Tips to Consider

Strengthening Warehouse Security

Warehouse security is crucial for protecting your business assets and ensuring the safety of your employees. Implementing effective security measures can help prevent theft, vandalism, and other security breaches. Here are some key tips to consider for improving warehouse security:

  1. Run Background Checks on All Warehouse Staff: Verify the trustworthiness of employees handling valuable inventory by running background checks on all warehouse staff.
  2. Reinforce Entryways: Install strong door locks, deadbolts, and long high-durability screws to reinforce doorframes. For rolling doors, use high-strength locking mechanisms and thicker-gauge steel. Reinforce and lock windows, and consider installing rolling steel shutters.
  3. Use Remote Camera Footage Backups: Subscribe to a service that backs up your security footage in real time for offsite storage. This ensures that thieves cannot destroy the footage by breaking into the security/AV room.
  4. Make Security Checks a Part of Closing Procedures: Supervisors and/or security should check all security cages and locks, patrol the facility to check for open windows/skylights/doors, and ensure the facility is empty before setting the alarm and leaving.
  5. Upgrade Your Security Measures: Review the list of warehouse security measures and identify which ones your facility is currently using. Consider upgrading or adding new measures to address any significant gaps in security.
  6. Outsource Distribution and Fulfillment: Consider outsourcing to a third-party logistics partner who can provide proven warehouse security solutions and warehouse management services, allowing you to focus on developing your business.

Implementing these tips can go a long way to improving warehouse security and protecting against potential security breaches. By staying vigilant and regularly evaluating security systems and practices, warehouse owners and managers can ensure a safe and secure environment for their business operations.

Forbel: Your One-Stop Destination for the Best Warehouse Security Systems

Safeguarding your warehouse is a critical step to ensure the success of any business. Implementing the above-discussed security measures can go a long way in minimizing potential losses that may be incurred as a result of theft, destruction, or other illegal activities.

Many companies struggle with warehouse protection and might require professional assistance from experienced security professionals to get everything set up properly. Forbel is here to help provide peace of mind when it comes to safeguarding your warehouse premises. From choosing warehouse cameras to helping you select the best security camera system for your needs, our team is here to guide you.

Contact us today so that our team can get started strategizing a secure plan tailored just for you!

Safeguarding Your Warehouse: 8 Essential Security Measures to Implement

Safeguarding Your Warehouse: 8 Essential Security Measures to Implement

Looking to enhance your warehouse security? Discover 8 effective measures, from access control to cybersecurity, to enhance your warehouse's protection!

Physical security is an essential aspect of any comprehensive security program. It involves the protection of physical assets from potential threats and risks, including theft, vandalism, and unauthorized access. Security measures can take many forms, from the access control system to video surveillance to security personnel. In today's increasingly connected world, our team at Forbel understands that site security is more important than ever, as organizations face a growing number of external threats and risks.

This article from our leading commercial security company will provide an overview of site security, including the importance of site security technology in protecting people, assets, and data. Our expert team will discuss the different types of site security measures, such as an access control system, video surveillance system, intrusion detection system, physical barriers, and security personnel.

Additionally, we will cover best practices for implementing site security measures, including how to select and deploy site security systems, the integration of security technologies, and the costs of implementation. Finally, we will explore emerging technologies in site security and the intersection of site security and cybersecurity.

By understanding the importance of site security and the different types of site security measures available, organizations can develop a comprehensive site security program that addresses all potential threats and vulnerabilities.

What Is Physical Security?

Physical security refers to the measures taken to protect physical assets, such as people, buildings, and equipment, from potential threats and risks. These measures can include policies, procedures, and technologies designed to prevent unauthorized access, theft, vandalism, or physical damage.

Physical security measures can take many forms, including an access control system, video surveillance system, intrusion detection system, physical barriers, and security personnel. The specific type of access control system and security countermeasures used will depend on the needs and vulnerabilities of the facility or property being secured.

The Critical Role of Physical Security in Protecting People, Assets, and Data

Physical security is essential in protecting people, assets, and data from potential threats and risks. Without effective physical and data security measures in place, your organization may be vulnerable to theft, vandalism, and other forms of unauthorized access.

For example, physical security measures can help prevent the theft of valuable equipment or sensitive data, protect employees and visitors from harm, and safeguard critical infrastructure from damage during natural disasters. We often work with clients such as medical facilities, schools, auto dealerships, multifamily complexes, and more to protect their people, assets, and data.

Differences Between Physical Security and Other Types of Security

physical security systems

Physical security is just one aspect of a comprehensive security program. Other types of security include information security and cybersecurity. At Forbel, we primarily focus on physical security.

Information security refers to the protection of data and information from unauthorized access, theft, or other forms of attack. This more advanced protection can include measures such as encryption, access controls, and firewalls.

Cybersecurity refers to the protection of computer systems, networks, data centers, and other digital assets from cyber threats, such as malware, phishing attacks, and hacking attempts.

While physical security, information security, and cybersecurity are all important aspects of a comprehensive security program, they are distinct and require different types of measures to be effective.

In conclusion, physical security is a critical component of any comprehensive security program. By understanding its importance of, organizations can develop effective strategies for protecting people, assets, and data from potential threats and risks.

Conducting a Physical Security Assessment

Before implementing any physical security controls and measures, it is important that we conduct a security assessment to identify potential vulnerabilities and risks. For testing physical security, we start by reviewing your physical assets and current physical security controls and measures and try to predict the potential external and internal threats to your property.

Identifying Potential Vulnerabilities

To identify potential vulnerabilities, organizations should consider the following factors:

  • Physical location and layout of the facility or property;
  • Access points and entry/exit points;
  • Types of assets being protected;
  • Employee and visitor behavior;
  • Current security measures and their effectiveness;
  • Local crime statistics and trends;

Once potential vulnerabilities and physical attacks have been identified, organizations can take steps to mitigate those risks through the implementation of both technology and physical security measures. Of course, our team is here to help you throughout this process as well.

Risk Assessments and Threat Modeling

A risk assessment involves identifying potential threats and assessing their likelihood and potential impact. This risk assessment process can help organizations prioritize their physical security measures based on the level of risk posed by different threats.

Threat modeling involves analyzing potential threats and vulnerabilities to determine how they might be exploited. This can help organizations to identify potential weaknesses in their physical security measures and take steps to address them.

As you can see, conducting a physical security assessment is an important step in developing a comprehensive physical security planning program. By identifying potential vulnerabilities and conducting risk assessments and threat modeling, organizations can prioritize their physical security measures and develop an effective strategy for protecting their physical assets.

Physical Security Measures

physical security systems

Physical security measures (or in some cases - countermeasures), are the policies, procedures, and practices put in place to protect physical assets from potential threats and risks. There are a variety of measures available, including the following:

Access Control Systems

An Electronic Access control system is a smart technology designed to regulate and monitor access to a facility or property, a specialty of ours at Forbel. These systems can include keypads, card readers, biometric scanners, and other technologies that require authentication to gain access.

Some features and benefits of an access control system include:

  • Restricting access to authorized individuals;
  • Creating an audit trail of who has accessed the facility or property;
  • Reducing the risk of theft, vandalism, or unauthorized access;
  • Providing real-time monitoring and alerts for potential security incidents;

Video Surveillance Systems

Video surveillance systems are another integral part of our services and they involve the use of CCTV cameras and video recording equipment to monitor physical spaces. These systems can be used for real-time monitoring, as well as for reviewing footage after a security incident.

Some features and benefits of video surveillance systems include:

  • Providing real-time monitoring of physical spaces;
  • Deterrent effect on potential criminals;
  • Creating a record of security incidents for review and investigation;
  • Providing evidence for legal or insurance purposes;

Intrusion Detection Systems

Intrusion detection systems are designed to detect unauthorized access or suspicious activity within a facility or property. These systems can include motion sensors, alarms, tripwires, and other technologies that trigger an alert when a security breach is detected and immediately alert your team.

Some features and benefits of intrusion detection systems include:

  • Detecting security breaches in real-time;
  • Providing an early warning system for potential security incidents;
  • Reducing the risk of theft or vandalism;
  • Integrating with other physical security components to create a more comprehensive security solution;

Physical Barriers

Physical barriers can be used to restrict access and prevent unauthorized access to a facility or property. These can include fencing, gates, walls, and other physical structures that create a boundary between the property and the surrounding environment.

Some features and benefits of physical barriers include:

  • Creating a visible and physical barrier to deter potential criminals;
  • Controlling access to the property by directing visitors to specific entry points;
  • Providing an additional layer of security beyond access control and surveillance systems;

Security Personnel

security guards

Security teams and personnel, including guards and patrols, can provide a physical presence to deter potential criminals and respond to security incidents on your property. The security team and personnel can also be trained in emergency response procedures, such as evacuation or first aid.

Some features and benefits of security personnel include:

  • Providing a visible and physical presence to deter potential criminals;
  • Responding to security incidents in real-time;
  • Providing emergency response services in the event of an emergency or natural disaster;
  • Enhancing the effectiveness of other physical security measures;

In summary, physical security measures are a critical component of a comprehensive security program. By understanding the different types of tools and measures available, as well as their features and benefits, organizations like yours can select and implement the most effective ones for their specific needs and vulnerabilities.

Implementing Physical Security Measures

Implementing the mentioned measures requires careful planning and execution to ensure the most effective and efficient use of resources, and this is where our team can come into play. Consider the following when implementing physical security components, and digital security measures:

Selecting and Deploying Physical Security Systems

When selecting and deploying physical security systems, it is important to consider the following:

  • The specific needs and vulnerabilities of the facility or property being secured;
  • The types of physical security measures already in place and their effectiveness;
  • The potential impact on operations and employees;
  • The costs of implementation and ongoing maintenance;

Before you make your physical security investment, we can help you evaluate your property to choose what's right for you.

Integration of Physical Security Technologies

Physical security technology and communication systems can be integrated with each other to provide a more comprehensive physical security technology solution. This can help to improve the effectiveness of physical security measures and reduce the risk of false alarms or alerts. This means that you'll only get alerted of physical security threats that are pertinent to your business.

Costs of Implementation

We understand that physical security measures can be a significant investment, especially for commercial properties. The costs of implementation of a physical security system investment, including hardware, software, and installation, should be carefully considered.

In addition to the above, it is also important to ensure that physical security measures are regularly evaluated and updated to address new threats and vulnerabilities.

Physical Security Guide: Best Practices for Implementing Physical Security Measures

Implementing measures to protect physical assets from potential threats and risks can be a complex process, requiring careful planning and consideration of a wide range of factors. To help organizations navigate this process, we encourage businesses to consider a comprehensive checklist of key steps. This checklist covers everything from conducting an assessment of security vulnerabilities to regularly reviewing and updating security measures. By following this checklist, organizations can develop an effective and efficient physical security planning program that protects against a wide range of threats and vulnerabilities.

We suggest that you:

  • Conduct a physical security assessment to identify potential vulnerabilities and risks;
  • Determine the specific measures needed to be based on the identified risks and vulnerabilities;
  • Consider a layered approach to the physical security system, using multiple security measures to create a comprehensive security solution;
  • Evaluate emerging technologies in physical security and determine their potential usefulness for your specific needs;
  • Integrate security measures with other security measures, such as information security and cybersecurity, to create a more effective and efficient security solution;
  • Train employees on physical security policies and procedures to ensure that they are aware of potential threats and understand how to respond to security incidents;
  • Develop and implement an emergency response plan to quickly respond to potential security incidents;
  • Regularly review and update security measures to ensure that they remain effective and up-to-date with evolving security threats;

Emerging Technologies and the Future of Physical Security

security guards

The whole physical security control industry is constantly evolving, with emerging technologies playing an increasingly important role in enhancing the effectiveness of physical security control measures. Rest assured that our dedicated company will keep you abreast of these changes and always help you re-evaluate your security needs.

Some of the key emerging technologies include:

  • Biometric access control systems;
  • Artificial intelligence (AI);
  • Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as smart cameras and sensors;

By integrating these advanced technologies with existing security systems, organizations like yours can create more connected and integrated solutions. This trend is expected to continue in the future, with data analytics and machine learning playing an increasingly important role in identifying potential threats and vulnerabilities and making security systems more responsive and adaptive.

We've noticed that another trend in the future of security is the use of automation and robotics to enhance the security system. Autonomous drones for perimeter security and robotic guards are just a few examples of the potential for automation and robotics to create more effective security solutions.

Finally, the convergence of physical security with other types of security, such as information security and cybersecurity, is likely to continue as organizations seek to create more integrated and comprehensive security solutions. The future of security is likely to be shaped by these emerging technologies and evolving security threats, and organizations must remain vigilant in adapting their security strategies to keep pace with these changes.

The Intersection of Physical Security and Cybersecurity

Physical security and cybersecurity are becoming increasingly interconnected as more systems are connected to the internet. This means that vulnerabilities in physical security systems can also create vulnerabilities in cybersecurity. Organizations should consider the following when integrating their physical security system and cybersecurity measures:

  • Ensuring that systems are protected from cyber threats;
  • Ensuring that cybersecurity systems are integrated with other systems to provide a comprehensive security solution;
  • Providing ongoing training to employees on the importance of physical security and cybersecurity;

In conclusion, implementing physical security measures requires careful planning and consideration of a variety of factors. Emerging technologies in physical security and the intersection of physical security and cybersecurity are also important considerations for organizations seeking to develop a comprehensive physical security program.

The Security Measures Layered Approach: 

security guards

Physical security is just one aspect of a comprehensive security program. Other types of security include information security and cybersecurity.

To provide more comprehensive security, it is important to integrate physical security with other security measures, such as information security and cybersecurity. This integration can help to bridge the gap between the right physical security measures, information and security, access controls, notification systems, and cybersecurity and create a more effective and efficient security solution.

For example, integrating access control systems with identity and access management (IAM) systems can help to ensure that only authorized users are able to access sensitive or confidential data on physical servers or systems. Additionally, integrating video surveillance systems with security information and event management (SIEM) systems can help to quickly identify potential security incidents and respond in real time.

By integrating physical security technologies with other security measures that we offer, organizations can create a more effective and efficient security solution that protects against a wide range of threats and vulnerabilities.

Importance of Employee Training in Physical Security

Effective physical security policies and measures require more than just the implementation of technologies and procedures. Employees at your organization also play a critical role in your physical and security strategy and plan, as they are often the first line of defense against potential threats.

Properly trained employees can help to identify potential physical security risks beforehand, respond appropriately to physical security breaches and incidents, and maintain the overall effectiveness of a company's physical security and measures.

Employee Training Plan for Physical Security

When developing an employee training plan for physical and security teams and staff, there are several key considerations that you should take into account:

  1. Identify potential threats and vulnerabilities: Before implementing any training program, it's important to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities specific to your organization or industry. For example, threats to commercial offices are different than those of medical facilities.
  2. Develop a comprehensive training program: A comprehensive training program should cover all aspects of physical security, including access control, video surveillance, and proactive intrusion detection, as well as emergency response procedures.
  3. Provide regular training sessions: Regular training sessions should be conducted to ensure that your employees are aware of potential threats and understand how to respond to security incidents.
  4. Include practical exercises: Practical exercises, such as simulated emergency drills or scenario-based training, can help employees to better understand physical security procedures and respond appropriately to real-world threats.
  5. Tailor training to specific roles and responsibilities: Training should be tailored to the specific roles and responsibilities of each employee. For example, security personnel may require more advanced training than administrative staff.

Weak Points in Employee Training for Physical Security

One common weak point in employee training for physical security is the lack of regular training and refreshers. If you're not consistent with your efforts, employees may forget the proper procedures over time or become complacent, leaving the organization vulnerable to potential threats.

Another weak point is the failure to integrate physical security training with other types of security training, such as information security or cybersecurity. By integrating physical security training with other types of security training, employees can better understand the overall security landscape and respond more effectively to potential threats.


Physical security is a critical component of any comprehensive security program. By understanding the importance of physical security, conducting physical security assessments, common physical security threats, and implementing physical security measures, organizations can protect their physical assets from potential threats and risks.

A layered approach to a building and general security plan, which involves using multiple layers of security measures, is essential for protecting against evolving and sophisticated physical threats now. Emerging technologies in physical security, such as biometric access control applications and artificial intelligence, can enhance the effectiveness of physical security measures and improve overall security.

Employee training is another critical component of an effective physical security program. By properly training employees, organizations can better protect their physical assets from potential physical security threats and risks. A comprehensive training program should cover all aspects of physical security, be tailored to specific roles and responsibilities, and include regular training sessions and practical exercises. Weak points in employee training, such as the lack of regular refreshers or failure to integrate physical security training with other types of security training, should be addressed to ensure that employees remain aware of potential physical security threats and understand how to respond to physical security failures or incidents.

Finally, integrating physical security measures with other security measures, such as information security and cybersecurity, is essential for effective physical security plans. By integrating their physical security plans and technologies with other security measures, organizations can create a more comprehensive physical security plan and solution that protects against a wide range of threats and vulnerabilities.

By prioritizing physical security, staying up-to-date on emerging technologies and best practices, and integrating physical security measures with other security measures, organizations can develop a comprehensive physical security program that reduces risk and increases overall security.

If you're feeling overwhelmed about how to properly protect your company from these various threats, know that our team at Forbel Custom Security Solutions is only a phone call away. We offer a full range of information technology consulting and can implement the most cutting-edge security solutions that your property needs. Contact us to see how we can assist you!

The Importance of Physical Security: Technologies, Systems, and Best Practices for Protecting Your Property

The Importance of Physical Security: Technologies, Systems, and Best Practices for Protecting Your Property

Wondering what is physical security, how does it differ from other security types and what measures should be considered to fully protect your property? In this guide you'll find all the answers!

When a fire occurs, it can engulf an entire building in just minutes. When you own a business that you’ve worked for your entire life, is this a chance you’re willing to take? A commercial fire alarm will alert you in case of a devastating fire and it will protect your assets. The cost of a fire alarm system and installation must be compared to how much it would cost you to lose it all if you don’t have one.

How Much Does a Fire Alarm System Cost?

Many factors will influence the bottom line cost of fire alarm systems such as whether it is a residential or commercial fire alarm. Typically commercial fire alarm systems will be more costly. The cost will vary depending on the size of the building, the fire requirements, and local codes, and the type of equipment needed. The older the building the installation cost will be more expensive than a newer structure due to the complexity of the project. A traditional fire alarm system will cost from $1 to $5 per square foot, however, a more complex system such as a sprinkler system can bring up the cost to up to $40 per square foot. It is important to also consider the fees that come from monitoring services, which can average around $55 a month. 

Commercial Fire Alarm System Cost per Square Foot

Component Estimated Cost
Design (according to facility requirements) $2,000.00 to $8,000.00
Control Panel $2,000.00 to $5,000.00
Initiating devices $100.00 to $200.00/unit
Notification appliances $100.00 to $200.00/unit
Suppression devices $1.00 to $2.00 per square foot

Average Cost of Components of Commercial Fire Alarm Systems

Building Size
(Sq. Ft.)
Cost Estimate (Avg.) Cost Estimate (Min.) Cost Estimate (Max.)
3,000 $9,000 $3,000 $36,000
5,000 $15,000 $5,000 $60,000
10,000 $30,000 $10,000 $100,000+
15,000 $45,000 $15,000 $100,000+

What Determines the Cost of a Commercial Fire Alarm System?

Every business owner must understand the costs involved in each purchase to operate a successful enterprise. So, what determines how much a fire alarm costs? Numerous factors can affect the price tag of your commercial fire alarm system. But is it worth it? If you ask anyone who has had the misfortune of dealing with a fire they will respond with a loud and resounding “yes!” The cost of a commercial fire alarm system will depend on the size of the building, the local building codes, the installation requirements for your building, the type of fire alarm system, and what features you will need.

1. The Building's Size and Complexity

  • Size and age of the building: Fire alarms for a commercial building are influenced by the size of the building. A smaller building’s fire alarm installation cost will be far smaller than the costs for a larger facility. In addition, the cost of installation of a commercial fire alarm system will be less expensive for more modern buildings. However, complex structures will cause the installation cost to increase.  
  • Facility requirements: Local building codes and fire department requirements play a key role when it comes to determining the cost of a commercial fire alarm system. The codes tend to be more rigid when it comes to fire safety for commercial properties. In general security systems are required to be more sophisticated for commercial properties in general. 
  • Cost for retrofitting: A business owner may also choose to connect a fire alarm system to other security solutions such a system will need to be retrofitted. Popularly, a security camera, HVAC system, and even access control systems can be linked to a commercial fire alarm system. 

Building design and future plans: To protect physical property, many business owners choose to put provisions in place for future expansions. This will add additional costs but at the time of the expansion, it may greatly reduce installation costs.

2. The Type of Equipment Needed

A lot of factors will affect the cost of the commercial fire alarm system but in addition to that, many components are needed to ensure that your building gets the best protection possible. Your commercial fire alarm system cost will be determined by the following:

  • Heat detector: It is often used in commercial buildings where the focus is on the building itself, such as warehouses. In those buildings, the goal is to protect the contents of these buildings and the structure itself. The cost can range from $15 to $160.
  • Smoke detector: It is a vital part of any commercial fire alarm system and the cost ranges from $15 to $70, depending on the brand and the model of the detector.
  • Carbon monoxide detector: It helps to monitor the air quality and is often used in commercial buildings that always have people inside like hotels, hospitals, stores, and factories. The price of a carbon detector can range from $15 to $170.
  • Flame detector: It is mainly used in places that are highly sensitive to flames to prevent explosions. This includes factories, oil refineries, and warehouses that store highly flammable products. The price for a flame detector can range from $2500 to $3100.
  • Biomimetic detector: Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, odorless, and invisible gas. Biomimetic sensor technology reproduces CO's effects on hemoglobin in the blood and its sensor detects the CO and causes a gel to change color. This prompts another sensor to detect the color change which then sounds the alarm. Biomimetic detectors save lives at a cost of $15 to $50 per device.  
  • Electrochemical detector: An electrochemical detector works in tandem with the biomimetic sensor to trigger the alarm once the system has detected CO on the premises. It uses platinum electrodes and acid inside the detectors to trigger the alarm using an electric current. This type of device averages between $50 to $130 per device. 

An overview of the prices of detectors in a table

Type Description Average Cost
Carbon monoxide detector Monitors carbon monoxide levels in the air $15 to $150
Smoke detector Installed on the ceiling with batteries to detect smoke $10 to $65
Heat detector Usually installed by heat sources and used to protect physical property or stored merchandise $11 to $150
Flame detector Alerts when there is a large-scale fire or explosion $2,800 to $3,000
Biomimetic detector Uses synthetic hemoglobin with Infrared light to detect carbon monoxide $15 to $50
Electrochemical detector Uses a combination of a platinum electrode and acid inside the detector to detect carbon monoxide $50 to $130

3. Design of Fire Alarm System

Designing a fire alarm system in an existing building requires professionalism and experience. The fire alarm system must reflect the business’s needs and the fire department’s requirements and it must be installed properly.

Addressable Panel System

An addressable panel system sends signals digitally using a binary code which differs from the traditional fire alarm system panel which uses electrical currents. This type of panel system functions by having every means of detection and notification connected. 

Four-Zone Commercial Fire Alarm System

Fire alarm system companies these days find great importance in a 4-zone commercial fire alarm system because it can cover a larger area than a one or two-zone system. This type of system enhances safety codes and is designed specifically for commercial buildings. 

4. The Monthly Monitoring Fees

Commercial fire alarm system cost depends on the installation fees which are linked to the fire alarm equipment being used, these costs are connected to whether it is new construction or not, multiple floors buildings and many other factors. Monthly monitoring costs will depend on the type of monitoring your business requires, the size of the building, and the number of sensors required. The monthly fire alarm system average ranges between $50 to $100 per month. These monthly monitoring costs typically include yearly inspections to make sure that the equipment is fully functioning. Monitoring fees are contract-based so you can always find the right deals that will best suit your business needs. Commercial fire alarm monitoring is a vital component of your commercial fire alarm system.

Ready to Install a Commercial Fire Alarm System in Chicago?

Fire alarm systems are the beating heart of your business. A large-scale fire can destroy a business’s entire infrastructure which is costly to repair. Fire doors can save the lives of your employees and stored merchandise. Please contact the most reliable and professional commercial fire alarm installers in Chicago to arm your business with top-of-the-line systems such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, heat detectors, emergency elevator recall systems and so much more. Contact our experts at Forbel and we will make sure your assets are protected. 

How Much Does a Commercial Fire Alarm System Cost?

How Much Does a Commercial Fire Alarm System Cost?

Commercial fire alarm system cost depends on number of factors. Learn the basic price factors in our fire alarm pricing guide.

When calculating the cost for commercial security systems, many factors must be considered. Read this post to learn about business security system cost! Security systems are an intricate part of owning a business today and business security needs vary from one business to another. Hence, companies involved in setting up business security systems must understand the needs of each business and how to meet them sufficiently. When calculating commercial security system costs, keep in mind a few things. The variation of cost mainly depends on whether the security system is for a small or medium-sized business and the needs of the business regarding security. Small business security systems cost significantly less than those for bigger businesses like hotels, malls, or office buildings.

Also, the components of the security system affect the total cost. In conversations with a service provider, a business owner would consider the types of business security systems they provide and which are necessary. Some of these systems include:

The components of business security systems will usually include the following:

  • The hardware for the security system can range from $1,000 to $3,000 depending on the number of component elements for the chosen security systems.
  • The installation fees range between $200 to $550 depending on the size of the business.
  • Monthly monitoring can range from $40 to $150 depending on size and the plan.
  • Cost of repairs on the hardware will vary on the wear and tear of the equipment over time.

These components influence the cost of security systems to varying degrees. They are dependent on factors particular to the business being secured such as its size and the number of visitors or clients received daily. Let’s take a deeper dive into what these components entail and how they affect the overall business security systems cost.


Companies must invest in adequate business security system hardware. These may include cameras, sensors, alarms, monitors, sprinkler systems, nuts, bolts, and many others depending on the security systems to be employed. The total hardware costs can vary, however, they usually range from $1,000 to $3,000 and even get up to as high as $10,000, depending on the system.

Intruder Detection Hardware

This type of hardware is a preemptive measure and a valuable necessity in every commercial security system. An Intrusion detection security system may include all types of sensors, motion detectors, control panels, alarm keypads, security fences, reinforced intruder-sensitive windows, and doors. This warns the company of any intrusion onto the property and into the business. The needs of every individual business will determine the costs. The components of the security system will affect the cost. For example, contacts go for as little as $30 while a control panel can cost about $150. Every business owner/manager must strategically plan and do a risk assessment to figure out what is their best fit.

The needs of every individual business will determine the costs. The components of the security system will affect the cost. For example, contacts go for as little as $30 while a control panel can cost about $150. Every business owner/manager must strategically plan and do a risk assessment to figure out their best fit.

Surveillance Systems

Cyber Security System Cost

Surveillance cameras allow a business to monitor and gather evidence in the unfortunate event of a crime or a liability issue. The price of a CCTV system depends on the size of the business, the number of cameras required to protect the establishment, and whether the cameras will monitor both the outdoors and indoors of the business. The average cost of a surveillance system can average around $500, depending on your security needs.

Access Control System

An access control system is typically linked to an existing network, or another network is created for this purpose. The goal of an access control system is to electronically secure doors to businesses that can only be opened by individuals who have a code, a key card, a smartphone, or even a certain fingerprint. Some access control systems are also equipped with cameras and recording devices. The average installation cost for an access control system is around $1000 per door.

Environmental Monitoring Systems

Cyber Security System Cost

There are 5 types of environmental monitoring:

  • Air quality control
  • Water monitoring
  • Waste monitoring
  • Remote monitoring
  • Cold storage/freezer monitoring

The purpose of such a system is to gauge the quality of the building and its suitability for business in different areas, as mentioned above. The systems come equipped with panels and sensors, and the cost of such a system can range from $150 to $300. It is an important tool and is mostly used in warehouses and IT facilities but applies to a wide range of businesses.

Cyber Security

Technology helps us in our day-to-day lives, and it helps businesses grow and get noticed. Unfortunately, criminals use technology to steal or damage businesses— which is why cyber security is important. It protects sensitive data, intellectual property, and personal information. The cost of cybersecurity for small and medium-sized businesses can range from $100 to $2,000 per month.


Small to medium sized businesses should anticipate spending anywhere between $1,000 and $3,000 for their security system hardware for one location. Here is a breakdown of common commercial security system pricing mentioned above:

Intruder Detection Hardware $150-$600 per item
Items include motion sensors, glass-break detectors, intrusion alarms, window and door monitors
Surveillance Systems ~ $500 per camera
Access Control System ~ $1000 per door
Including items like card readers, key cards or fobs, door locks, and more.
Environmental Monitoring Systems ~$150-$300 per system

Note: When it comes to commercial security system cost, bear in mind that larger spaces may require additional hardware, such as monitoring equipment and networking hardware. This can affect the overall price of your security system.


Business Security Installation Cost

Business security system installation cost is mainly driven by the size of the business. For smaller businesses that have 85 employees or less, the costs for installation will range from $100 to $300; for companies that employ 85 or more employees, the costs will range from $200 to $600.

When evaluating the cost of the installation fee for a security system, it is important to consider the type of system that will be installed and the scope and complexity of the security system. The installation cost will not be the same for a basic CCTV surveillance system and a complex security system, which includes fire alarms, a CCTV system, a burglar alarm, and control panels on exit doors.



Many large companies and corporations have a security team that monitors the activities within and around the facility. However, not every company is large enough or has a budget to hire a specific team to monitor their business site.

Monitoring is an integral part of a security system, without someone to evaluate the footage or situations, your security system is rendered moot. The cost can vary here depending on the size of the business and the type of monitoring required. The average monthly cost ranges from $35 to $155, and this number can also vary depending on what monitoring company you choose to go with.

Another factor that plays a role in the monitoring cost is whether it is a traditional landline or cellular system. Cellular is becoming more popular; a landline will be cheaper but also requires a phone line for alerts. It comes down to personal preference.

security system installation cost


  • The Age of the Building: This affects the security system installation cost for businesses. Older buildings usually require extensive changes to accommodate advanced business security systems. Most newer buildings are constructed to accommodate these security systems. At most, only small changes need to be made.
  • The Size of the Business Space: The larger the building or business space, the higher the commercial security system cost. One can expect that more hardware and labor would go into setting up proper business security systems in such spaces. Smaller spaces result in a reduced cost of security system hardware and installation.
  • The peculiarity of Space to be Secured: Where outdoor security is concerned, the service provider will consider making the security system resistant to damage caused by temperature changes, extreme weather, and vandalism. These might not be included where interior security is concerned. The added considerations could affect overall costs by as little as 30%.
  • The complexity of Security Requirements: The inclusion of sophisticated equipment, a video surveillance system, and analysis services will raise the cost of business security systems appreciably compared to a basic package. These sophisticated systems may allow you to monitor security with a mobile app or restrict access using biometrics. These are not necessary for every type of business.


When planning for a commercial security system, many factors can influence the cost of the system. It is important to have a professional that can guide you in making the right choices for security solutions you can trust. Forbel Alarms is your reliable security partner with the best prices in Chicago. Our security system design consultants design and integrate custom security system solutions for businesses in Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and Indianapolis. Contact us to discuss your project today!

How Much Does a Business Security System Cost?

How Much Does a Business Security System Cost?

When calculating the cost for commercial security systems many factors must be identified. Read this post to learn how much a business security system cost!

A powerful intercom system is one of the best ways to ensure the safety of your business. With the right intercom system, you can monitor visitors remotely and deter unauthorized entry into your office.

The bottom line: When criminals see a business using a video intercom system, they're less likely to vandalize, break in, or steal packages.

Modern commercial intercoms can seamlessly integrate into most environments thanks to their wide variety of styles and features. This in-depth guide discusses the five best intercom systems for commercial building security.

Best Commercial Intercom System for Your Business

Today's intercom systems come with an impressive array of options and supporting features that enhance everything from security and convenience to aesthetic considerations like the screen's layout. Below are some of the best commercial intercom systems:

1. ButterflyMX Intercoms

intercom system for office

Despite being a very young intercom system brand (founded in 2014), Butterfly MX seems motivated and ambitious to take a significant share of the US intercom market. A key feature of Butterfly MX is that it uses mobile devices instead of indoor phones or intercoms, making it easy for office and enterprise visitor management.

The company offers a mobile-first cloud-based video intercom solution with two-way video calling, elevator control, and remote access. ButterflyMX created its video intercom system to be compatible with major property management, access control, security, and lock systems.

ButterflyMX Pricing

ButterflyMX software is priced based on the number of units. Commercial pricing is based on the number of employees and starts at $2400/yr, according to pricing available in September 2020.

  • 7” Surface Intercom: $3995, with a 2-year warranty
  • 7” Recessed Intercom: $4150, with a 2-year warranty 
  • 11.6” Surface Intercom: $5650, with a 2-year warranty
  • 11.6” Recessed Intercom: $6995, with a 2-year warranty 

ButterflyMX Features

ButterflyMX has the following commercial intercom system features:

  • Easy installation next to the doors using DC power and CAT5 and CAT6 internet cables.
  • Remote access management.
  • Access to door-release event history for up to 365 days.
  • Virtual keys in the form of shareable QR codes.
  • Remote unlocking using the ButterflyMX mobile app.
  • Two-way video calling.

ButterflyMX Advantages

  • A leading security solutions provider for more than a decade.
  • Integration with multiple devices and property management software platforms.
  • Broad touchscreens with steel casings.
  • A 6-digit access PIN is available if keys or phones are inaccessible or misplaced.
  • Remote elevator access management through the mobile app.
  • AI-enabled voice controls.

ButterflyMX Disadvantages

  • Pricier than other options
  • Additional components, such as lock power supplies, increase installation costs.
  • Challenging to install large hardware panels in some locations, and intruders may see them as an easy target.
  • Impossible to embed QR codes in delivery instructions, which leads to lapses in delivery management.
  • Does not support cascade calling: multiple recipients cannot be added for call transfer if the first call is unanswered.

2. 2N Intercom Systems

commercial intercom system

2N® is a European company that manufactures and develops commercial intercom systems. A global leader in analog, IP, and LTE intercom systems, access control systems, elevator systems, and telecommunications equipment, the company is known for its tough, resilient products.

2N® offers robust, durable business intercom systems with many models and functionality. Its modular design provides a lot of customization and flexibility. 2N® can make your business better and safer with its best-in-class portfolio of commercial video intercom systems.

2N® Intercom Pricing

The company's website has no pricing information, but its modular design likely means varied costs. For the central unit, you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $1,500, excluding keypad modules, access readers and tokens, and mounting accessories sold separately.

2N® Intercom Features

Some of 2N®'s impressive features include:

  • The 2N® Mobile Video cloud service allows the 2N® IP Force intercom to call a mobile phone or tablet.
  • A 135° wide viewing angle and night vision.
  • Integration with existing CCTV or surveillance systems.
  • SIP protocol supports linking business intercom systems with IP phones and PBX from other producers without connecting to the server. 
  • A tamper switch that detects unauthorized opening of the device itself.

2N® Intercom Advantages

  • A 120-degree field of view camera can be paired with an external camera to cover blind spots.
  • Free remote configuration and technical support from 9 am-8 pm Eastern time.
  • Audio induction loop to enable visitors with hearing impairments to communicate.
  • Receive email snapshots of the visitors.
  • Highest coverage on the market according to the IP69K and IK10 standards.
  • Control access via a reader, keypad, or integrated camera.

2N® Intercom Disadvantages

  • Commercial video intercom systems are modular and must be ordered and assembled separately.
  • Design options are limited, with only black and housing finishes available.
  • Verso intercoms have an IP54 rating, which is lower than competitors with IP65 ratings.

3. DoorBird Intercom Systems

wireless intercom system for business

As Germany's leading manufacturer of IP Door Intercoms, DoorBird aims to combine an exclusive design with innovative technology. Its commercial video intercom system products are made from corrosion-resistant precious metals and are designed to be simple, sleek, and smooth.

DoorBird's product line isn't as extensive as some security camera companies, but that is because they manufacture doorbell replacements for households. Most of its intercom systems for offices and buildings have more or less the same features. Conveniently, DoorBird also builds custom units to match your business intercom requirements.

DoorBird Intercom Pricing

Doorbird’s price range reflects the number of commercial intercom system features and processing capabilities. Generally, prices are $384 and $2502.

DoorBird Intercom Features

DoorBird's wireless intercom systems provide modern, convenient, and fast communication. Notable features include:

  • Mobile access to all DoorBird products.
  • Connectivity over a Local Area Network (LAN).
  • Control building entry points remotely or from a central location.
  • Secure access with a password, Touch ID, or Face ID.
  • Live HD video with day and night vision.
  • Download events to smartphones and tablets.

DoorBird Intercom Advantages

  • Contact up to 8 smartphones or tablets via push notification with video and voice or IP phones via voice or video call.
  • Free Cloud recording with single images. No monthly fees. No hidden costs.
  • D Video. 180° Wide-Eye hemispheric lens. 4D Motion Sensor. RFID. API. PoE. SIP. IP65. Infrared Night-Vision. Bank-level encryption.
  • Open doors from anywhere in the world via smartphone.
  • Connect to existing door chimes, door openers, and garage openers.
  • Aesthetically appealing in up to 50 different shades.

DoorBird Intercom Disadvantages

  • Only send push notifications to non-IP phones.
  • Limited access control functionalities.
  • The camera lens should be at a minimum height of 57 inches, compared to the ADA compliance height of a maximum of 48 inches.
  • The noise cancellation function isn’t always effective.

4. Latch Intercom Systems

video intercom system for business

In 2014, Latch was founded in New York City to enable people to control their door locks from their smartphones. In addition to smart locks installed on apartment doors, Latch provides access solutions for residential and commercial buildings.

Latch simplifies delivery management and guest access with a single tap. Its Intercoms are available in one size and must be mounted on walls or pedestals.

Latch Intercom Pricing

Latch's intercom system for business starts at $2,999, plus $2 per month/per unit, and there is an installation fee. Their website states that the software pricing depends on the number of units and the length of the contract.

Latch Intercom Features

Latch intercoms have a modern design and water-resistant body, among other convenient features:

  • Intuitive user interface with tactile buttons.
  • Receive audio calls at any US phone number.
  • Receive video and audio calls in the Latch App (video requires an external camera)
  • Remote unlock.
  • Flexible connectivity options, including Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and cellular.
  • Made with stainless steel, glass fiber reinforced resin, and impact-resistant glass.

Latch Intercom Advantages

  • Easy to manage everything with Latch's fully integrated system.
  • Assign building staff different permission levels based on their responsibilities.
  • Designed with only four buttons for easy use.

Latch Intercom Disadvantages

  • Not possible to connect with other third-party systems.
  • External camera required for one-way video communications.
  • Only one size option, which is smaller than some competitors' 11.6-inch displays.
  • New to the market and lacks an established track record of success relative to some of its competitors.

5. Linear Intercom Systems

best intercom system for business

Linear has been a leader in security products and intercom systems for over 50 years. Linear is a member of Nortek Security & Control, which provides wired and wireless products that serve security, access control, health & wellness, and home technology markets.

Its intercom systems integrate high performance, reliability, and flexibility to prevent unauthorized access. Access controllers developed by Linear offer the broadest, most effective, and most durable range on the market.

Linear Intercom Pricing

Like its competitors, Linear doesn’t list pricing online. However, research indicates prices range from $1,299 to $3,816. Of course, it’s best to contact them directly for an accurate quote.

Linear Intercom Features

A Linear intercom is a reliable solution for commercial buildings with existing telephone lines. Its commercial intercom system features include:

  • Tenants answer visitors' calls from their phones.
  • Installs to regular telephone lines
  • Support from 2 doors to up to 64 doors or more. 
  • Compatible with commonly used long-range readers and VoIP adapters

Linear Intercom Advantages

  • Installation does not require an additional PC or software.
  • Displays with high brightness when in direct sunlight.
  • Custom reports and quick searches for commercial accounts, guests, and personnel access management.

Linear Intercom Disadvantages

  • Lack of integration options.
  • Need to have landlines installed in the whole building for connection.

Top Things to Consider When Buying an Intercom System for Business

best wireless intercom system for business

An intercom is an essential communication layer for many commercial settings, such as offices, warehouses, and industrial facilities. Today, there are a wide variety of styles and features, so it's essential to consider the following factors:

1. Wireless Intercom Systems vs. Wired Intercom Systems

A wired intercom has wires running between the base station and substations. They limit recipients to answering intercom calls from the hardware station to which the wiring is connected. Although wireless systems don’t require battery changes, installing them is time-consuming and expensive.

Wireless intercoms have gained a lot of popularity. In addition to being relatively quick to install, the best wireless intercom systems enable easier access to inaccessible areas, can be easily extended, and are suitable for connecting other wireless systems. A wireless intercom system for your business can also be connected through a phone or computer for remote monitoring.

2. Cost

Most intercom systems fall within the $500-$5000 price range, with the most expensive units exceeding $5,000. Choosing an intercom system's type, make, brand, and features will largely depend on your budget.

3. Audio vs. Video Intercom Systems

Audio intercom systems send and transmit only voice. A video and audio intercom include both a speaker and a camera, so tenants can hear voices and see who is speaking.

In addition to increasing tenant safety, a multi-unit video intercom system for businesses inspires confidence in building supervision to protect tenants' homes. A cutting-edge system allows you to see, speak, and let in visitors no matter where you are in the world!

Moreover, recording visitor data via video can be helpful if security threats occur in a business, such as theft and anti-social behavior. Identifying who is present in a building is essential to solve an assault or theft.

4. Integration with Other Security Systems

Integrating an intercom with access and security ensures a businessmen's security and improves communication. Video intercoms are usually compatible with other security equipment, meaning you can incorporate them into your current system for added security. For this reason, finding an intercom system compatible with your current security setup is best.

The Best Intercom System for Business: the Bottom Line

The best wireless intercom system for your business brings a host of benefits. Most importantly, it ensures you’re only allowing those people who belong to enter your business. If you’re unsure which brand to choose, we can help.

Forbel is a professional intercom system installer in Chicago, and what’s more, we can even help you design and improve your whole security system. Our security system design consultants service Chicago, Milwaukee, and Indianapolis. Contact us today to discuss your security options.

The 5 Best Intercom Systems for Business in 2023

The 5 Best Intercom Systems for Business in 2023

Are you looking for the best intercom system for business? We compare the leading intercom systems' core features, prices, pros, and cons.

The security of your property is a top priority, and the quality of the security system is ultimately determined by how well integrated the installed security devices are. Whether you own a multi-family complex or a warehouse and logistic property, you can always ensure optimum security for your property by choosing the right commercial security system integrator.

What Are Security Integrators?

A security integrator works to integrate security devices or subsystems into a single functional unit. The physical security devices that are integrated could range from video surveillance systems to access control, intrusion alarms, and any other kind of security solutions.

Note that security integrators sometimes may not be security equipment or device installers in themselves. Nevertheless, working with security integrators is an essential part of your commercial property security solution as they are responsible for helping security devices to function smoothly as a single system.

The primary function of a security systems integrator is to interconnect working security operations, whether new or old. This harmony is a very important feature in properties that employ more than one or two security solutions. It is therefore no surprise that more and more commercial property owners who naturally require some security devices in their properties are embracing the use of systems integrators.

While there are several types of security integrators working in different capacities, the best security system integrators are those that are capable of supporting your operations at every phase of the security system cycle.

What Can Security System Integrators Do for Your Business?

security solutions integrator

Often, business owners tend to underestimate the importance of working with security system integrators. As a commercial property owner, here are four ways a security systems integrator can help your business:

Create a Fully Customized Security System

Security solutions are most effective when they are customized to fit your unique needs. A security solutions integrator can help do the job of customizing all your security devices at once, such that they work together to achieve that common goal you desire. You can customize your security equipment with security technology trends such that they provide you with only the data that matters to you or such that they only alert you for certain kinds of security breaches.

There are no limits to the types of security solutions you can integrate upon installation. From video surveillance to access control and intercom systems, the choice is yours to determine what devices you would want to work in harmony.

Create a Stronger Physical Security System

With physical security threats becoming more frequent and with perpetrators becoming more innovative, one trick that will provide you with a stronger security system is to integrate available security solutions. Doing this allows for easy monitoring at a glance and makes breaches and device malfunctioning easier to detect.

Not only that, systems integrators can help you install protective devices that can help to strengthen your network against cyber breaches that may want to interfere with the whole system. Thus, a single protective device installed by your integrator provides protection for all your security devices.

Train It and Security Teams on Using the New Integrations

If you have been looking for a means to train your security team for optimum performance, your security systems integrator will be able to help you with this. Particularly, the integrator can guide your team to manage your newly integrated security system effectively. This is generally a procedure that opens after every integration service.

Integrators can also help your team set measures for easily accessing and retrieving security data, managing access control, and how to make do with whatever information they obtain.

This routine in turn provides an opportunity for your security team and IT members to scale up their procedures for the smooth running of your business' security system.

Provide Maintenance and Necessary Service

Needless to say, you will require periodic maintenance for your physical security solutions, whether or not they are integrated. While an installer can help you with maintenance for individual devices, the integrator can help with the maintenance of already integrated systems.

This may include checking the integrity of connections, identifying points of connection problems, and integrating newly added security devices. Software maintenance may be possible remotely too - however, the integrator may need to be physically present to perform maintenance on fully integrated hardware.

What Does a Full-Service Systems Integrator Look Like?

security system integrators
  • Risk Assessment

Perhaps, risk assessment is the most important step the security solutions integrator is available to guide you with. Your integrator should be able to help you identify assets and happening events in your property that are of high risk. This will be in accordance with the ASIS 7-step General security risk assessment guideline.

  • Financing Options

Your integrator works with your budget and financial abilities to help you choose integrations that will work for you without needing you to break the back.

Most system integrators have plans that make payment for services easier. Speaking with your integrator may enable you to get a discount, or you may be able to identify a plan that lets you pay less over time.

  • Design

A poor design will jeopardize your security irrespective of the quality of integration done. Your security systems integrator will help you to clearly define a design that is functional and best suits the structure of your commercial property, its location, and the kind of activities carried out there.

The design will also bear emergency events in mind and will provide a structure that is simple enough for your security and IT team to maintain.

Note that the job of ensuring quality security design is not for security system integrators alone. It is important to have this in mind at the point of installing all security components even before they are integrated. To achieve this, it is essential to work with security system design consultants at the point of installation.

  • Installation & Commissioning

Systems integrators work to ensure their installations and integrations meet regulatory compliance measures. While state regulation guidelines may differ from state to state, the federal guidelines are the same. All of these guidelines ensure that installations are safe, performed excellently, and done by experts. There should also be training for security team members after installation so they can carry on management procedures from there.

  • System Maintenance and Service

As you add more security devices or as certain components become outdated, you will require periodic maintenance for your security systems to continue to function effectively. Your integrator will be available to provide these repairs and tweaks as necessary.

How to Choose the Right Security Solutions Integrator

security solutions

Here's how to identify a security systems integrator who will be the best fit for you:

  • Knowledge and Expertise: You'd want to find out if a potential integrator is knowledgeable about the latest security products in the market, especially the ones you'd want or that you've already installed on your property. Testimonials from previous customers may also offer you insight into the quality of the services offered by the integrator.
  • Customized Services: A good security solutions integrator should be able to offer services that attend to each client's specific needs.
  • Proper Certification: The security of your business is a very delicate subject and you want to ensure it's in the right hands. It is important to find out if the integrator has the proper certification to work on your project and if the integrator is regulated to work in your location.
  • Maintenance and Management Services: What provisions does the integrator have for maintenance and upkeep after the initial integration? Will the integrator be offering training that will give your team members the necessary knowledge to manage the integrated system?

Forbel - Your Full-Service Security Integrator in Illinois and Wisconsin

Installing quality security services without integrating means you’re missing out on important benefits. You can maximize your security components the most when you integrate them into a single working system.

Forbel is that company that can help you with all of your securing needs, from consultation to installation, integration, and subsequent maintenance. We are available to render our services in Illinois, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, and other locations. Contact us today.

How to Choose the Best Security System Integrator

How to Choose the Best Security System Integrator

Security system integrators can bring your commercial building security to the next level! Read how they can help your business and how to choose the best security solution integrator!

One of the most challenging aspects of managing a commercial building is keeping it secure while ensuring access is simple and convenient for the intended occupants. One effective way to do this without getting overwhelmed is by employing security system integration. Doing this helps you deal with the nuances of having several key fobs, card readers, and so on.

If you're wondering, “what is an integrated security system?” Then this post is for you. Below, our experts at Forbel will explore what integrated security systems are, their benefits, and how to go about installing one.

What Is Security System Integration?

Security system integration is a technological innovation that helps to put all the security measures of a building in sync such that it's easy to control all security system components together. This allows you to manage all parts from one central hub. Integrated security system solutions also allow for the interconnection of devices, remote control from different points, if permitted, and the ability to connect technology devices to the central hub.

Although the names can be confusing, integrated security solutions differ from other security approaches, such as adding security systems piecemeal. Adding security systems piecemeal would more or less complicate the management process for your security system as several of your components will be operating on different software and network lines. This isn't the case with security system integration, which aims to make the maintenance and control of the security system more manageable.

What Are the Key Components of Commercial Security System?

What Are the Key Components of Commercial Security System?

Typically, integrated security systems include some or all of the following components:

Access Control Devices

Access control systems are one of the most important parts of commercial security. They control access to restricted areas through credentials like keycards, codes, and biometrics. Why is it important? Access control protects employees, assets, and information by only granting entry to those who are authorized. Having robust access control is crucial for monitoring traffic, maintaining compliance, and ensuring the security of your business.

Video Surveillance

Video surveillance with security cameras is another key component of commercial security systems. Cameras help monitor facilities, track activity, deter theft, and provide video evidence when needed. High-definition cameras give a clear view of interiors, exteriors, parking areas, and more. To optimize surveillance capabilities, proper camera placement and features like motion sensors are useful. Security camera systems are critical for oversight and incident response.

Video Monitoring

What Are the Key Components of Commercial Security System?

Video monitoring is a vital part of commercial security systems. Live video footage from security cameras must be actively monitored to identify suspicious activity or unauthorized access in real-time. Plus, video monitoring by qualified security personnel ensures that any threats to your property are recognized and addressed as quickly as possible. You can maintain privacy by restricting live feed viewing to only authorized personnel.

Video Review and Analysis

In many commercial scenarios, the ability to review and analyze recorded video and access reports is a key capability of commercial security systems. Investigating incidents, identifying vulnerabilities, and documenting compliance requires access to footage and logs. Having robust review features allows business owners to examine the data and use it accordingly. Video analysis offers businesses the opportunity for continual improvement, proactive protection, and maintenance of a secure environment.

Audio Warning Speaker

The audio warning speaker provides businesses with effective communication and situational awareness. Use it to broadcast emergency announcements, alert personnel of potential threats, and integrate with fire alarm systems for a comprehensive approach to safety measures.

License Plate Recognition

License plate recognition (LPR) offers advanced surveillance capabilities. If you're unsure what it does, it enables the automatic detection and identification of license plates. This provides valuable data for access control, parking management, and security investigations if needed.

How Can Integrated Security Systems Benefit Your Business?

How Can Integrated Security Systems Benefit Your Business?

Integrating several security components into one system has a lot of benefits to offer your commercial property. Of course, you could say it all boils down to ease. For specifics, however, below our team at Forbel has outlined some of the benefits of using integrated security systems.

1. Increase Building’s Safety and Security

Many security measures work in sync to achieve a common goal which offers top-level safety to property owners who use integrated security solutions. All components of the security system interact smoothly and can be monitored remotely with ease. Besides, the technology of integrated solutions makes clerical or managerial errors less likely to occur.

For example, the systems manager can deactivate the accessibility of a previous tenant in a couple of clicks without having to change locks or worry about duplicate keys that could result in security breaches.

Not to mention, integrated systems provide a highly secure means for multiple access, something that's often needed in residential buildings and shopping complexes. This also makes it easier for tenants to navigate security access to common areas of the building including the elevator and the main entrance.

2. Centralize Network Security

Integrated security systems are managed through centralized platforms. This gives the security manager an overview of all components at a glance and typically results in smoother operations. For example, the manager could initiate or disable an action across all system components at once and from one location. Also, security problems can be reviewed by one expert official and wouldn't require hiring multiple security service providers. In addition, the centralized security system integration makes it harder for the security system of such a building to be breached.

3. Reduce Security Costs

When you opt for security system integration, it's like buying commodities in sets rather than buying each piece individually. This saves you money in the long run as you get the benefit of installing in bulk. Also, there's only one workspace for monitoring components, so you don't have to hire different workers to install or maintain one part of your security system. In addition, the maintenance of an integrated security system can be done holistically rather than individually. All these contribute, in no small measure, to reducing installation and maintenance costs and offer you more value for your money.

4. Improve Emergency Response and Communication

An integrated security system is better at swift communication and real-time monitoring for your business. Aptness and precision are highly important factors where security is concerned, and every second counts. The integrated nature of these security systems makes communication of threats faster and can help you respond faster in emergency scenarios.

More often than not, integrated systems help detect threats and breaches immediately without affecting the activities going on the property.

5. Obtain Remote Access

Integrated security systems offer businesses the convenience and flexibility of remote monitoring and access. With remote access capabilities, businesses can monitor and control their security systems from anywhere, at any time. Whether it's reviewing security camera footage, adjusting access control settings, or receiving instant alerts, remote access empowers businesses to stay connected and in control. With the ability to remotely monitor and manage their existing security system, businesses can enjoy peace of mind and ensure responsiveness to any security issues, no matter where they are.

6. Meet Compliance Requirements

Integrated security systems can help businesses meet industry-specific compliance requirements, such as those related to data privacy and physical security. By consolidating existing disparate security and surveillance systems into a unified platform, businesses can more easily manage user access, monitor activity, and generate comprehensive reports. This helps demonstrate compliance with regulations governing facility access, video surveillance, and information security. Overall, the streamlined control and comprehensive visibility that integrated systems offer mean improved compliance. It's easier for your company to meet certification standards and reduce audit costs across security, IT, and operations.

7. Can Be Customized for Your Property

Integrated security solutions can be customized to meet your unique commercial system security needs. Whether it's a small business with a one-office setting, a company with several blocks of offices, or a residential property, you can incorporate the right security measures that'll work best for your specific property.

he warning speaker installed separately and running through a different network. You can always integrate it into other security measures like video surveillance and access control so you can have all of them managed from the same point. In other words, you can explore and incorporate all possible security measures into one system.

Who You Need to Integrate Security Systems on Your Property

Who You Need to Integrate Security Systems on Your Property

Installing integrated security solutions is a process that requires expert hands. If you're considering having one on your commercial property, it's important to seek professional help from the following parties:

Security Integrator

The security integrator is responsible for linking all existing security hardware components together. The job of the security integrator isn't to install new security equipment and systems. However, the integrator can help you utilize security components that are already on the ground by integrating them together. That way, you won't have to spend money on new ones.

At Forbel, our team of security integrators is available to help you with security camera installation and access control system installation.

Physical Security System Design Consultant

The physical security consultant is a professional who offers advice on integrating, installing, and upgrading new security systems. The professional isn't necessarily responsible for the installation process but can connect you to the right installers you need. Physical security consultants are required during the early stages of property construction or when considering an overall change in security systems.

Forbel also boasts of a team of professional security system design consultants available to help you make key decisions based on your security needs.

Security System Integration: A Real-World Case by Forbel

For years, Forbel has been helping commercial property owners address their security needs through integrated security systems installation. Our company offers numerous implementation ideas that have been successfully utilized for integrating security systems.

One of our solutions, an integrated security system for a trucking company in Chicago, was designed to serve the security needs of one of our client's new facilities. The trucking company requested that Forbel create a working security strategy that would monitor the company's operation process and protect company assets across the 128,000 sq ft facility.

We met the company's needs by designing an integrated system that featured over a hundred security devices. Our team of cabling technicians and installers installed and set up security components such as HD cameras, intrusion alarms, access control, and fire alarm systems. We also structured cabling for computers and phones and installed other needed infrastructure such as wireless access points.

Not only did our team install the integrated security system in accordance with the company's specifications, but we also completed the project without accruing unnecessary extra costs.

Commercial Security Integration & Consulting in Illinois and Wisconsin

Forbel is a top-rated security integration company located in Illinois. Our company proudly serves the security needs of commercial and residential properties within Illinois, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, and other locations.

Security system integration could be a complex process for property owners to wrap their heads around. At Forbel, we're more than eager to undertake the process for you. Our range of services includes consultation and advising, risk assessment, and hardware installation of security system components.

In the end, we create a wholesome security system with centralized management and offer the topmost security for our clients. Contact us today to begin your journey to holistic security system operations for your commercial facility.

Commercial Security System Integration: an Ultimate Guide

Commercial Security System Integration: an Ultimate Guide

Learn the benefits of integrated security systems and boost your business security with expert guidance.

Apartment security system design and installation is a rapidly growing industry. It is something landlords and homeowners must be intentional about installing apartment security systems in their homes. Not only that, it is important that these multi-family residential security systems are incorporated into the early stages of planning and designing a home.

The unique nature of multi-family complexes requires an equally unique security system design. These buildings typically feature a heavy population of residents, a high influx of guests, maintenance workers, and other third-party visitors. These put multi-family complexes at risk of security breaches unless the appropriate apartment security systems are installed.

Apartment Security System Design: Where to Start

The essence of this post is to serve as a basic guide for all multifamily complex homeowners who are intentional about incorporating the appropriate building security system design. You might want to start by doing the following:

Incorporate Apartment Security System Design Early in Your Planning: It is important that you do not wait until you are halfway done or already done with the construction process before putting security measures in view. Key structures like entrances, staircases, parking lots, and elevators ought to be designed with security in mind. Otherwise, incorporating security system design becomes harder later on.

Partner with Experienced Security System Design Consultants: Just as you would use a qualified construction company to build a home, it is important to also work closely with expert security system design consultants. This helps you install quality apartment security systems which will save you costs in the long run and ensure the safety of your property and the occupants.

Conduct Threat Assessments: Threat assessments conducted by experienced service providers can hint you on your location’s level of risk and security situation. This will in turn guide your security measures. You are sure of what exactly to secure against and this puts you at peace.

Develop a Working Security Plan: With the information you get from a detailed threat assessment, you can work with your security consultant to develop an effective plan for your multifamily security systems. This plan should include technologies to work with, what kind of security staff to employ if need be, and other details that are important to the security of your multifamily complex.

Choose the Right Security Solutions: From video surveillance to access control and key management systems, there are many security solutions available. Work with a security consultant to choose the best security system for your apartment.

Things to Consider During Apartment Security System Installation

apartment security systems

There are a couple of things to consider when installing security systems for apartments.

The Experience of the Security System Installers

You need to ask yourself: is the security system installation company experienced enough to install my choice apartment security system? You may also want to consider other features like the availability for system maintenance and attending to troubleshooting issues.

At Forbel, we are a professional security system integrator with adequate expertise and experience to care for all your technical security system needs.

Size of the Apartment Complex

The size of your home can determine what types of apartment security systems are most suitable for you and how robust the security system should be. Much more than that, it determines the type of security materials you will be investing in. For example, larger buildings will require more door looks and cameras and will spend more on wiring if needed.


Needless to say, the budget is also an important factor to consider when installing apartment security systems. Your budget should guide your options. You might want to explore these options with a security system consultant so you end up selecting measures that are not only cost-effective but also secure.

Post-Installation Management

Equally important, your choice of multifamily security systems should be those that are easy to maintain and troubleshoot. Usually, a good security systems installer will also provide post-installation management services. On the other hand, you may need to employ skilled persons who will be in charge of your security system after it is installed.

What Are the Components of Apartment Building Security?

There are several security components that make up a wholesome multifamily security system. Some of them are:

Apartment Building Security Camera Systems

security system design

From video surveillance to doorbell cameras, apartment complex security cameras are an effective multifamily complex security technology. You will likely need to retain the help of a security camera installation company to initiate this system, however. Major video surveillance typically requires management by professional personnel. As an added bonus, recordings can be sent to the cloud for remote access.

Alarm Systems for Apartment Complexes

It is important to have alarms installed on high-security doors such as apartment doors, bike rooms, and other key access points. Alarms will not only inform you of intrusions but can also ensure doors are opened only through access control. Alarm systems are often installed and managed by intrusion detection companies.

Apartment Building Access Control

Multifamily access control systems are an improvisation to the traditional key-lock and key card systems used in each family apartment. Access control systems now range from facial recognition systems to fingerprints and smartphone-accessed entrance mechanisms.

Intercom System

Intercom systems for apartments allow for versatile security options in your home. An intercom system typically includes doorbells, multi-tenant video intercoms, and access to a telephone line and SIP-based intercoms for tenants. It is important to employ professional access control installers when installing intercom systems.

Fire Alarm

Fire alarms are essential parts of apartment complex security systems. A good fire alarm system must offer the fastest response time with a highly sensitive central station monitoring system. The fire alarm system installation must also be properly done to prevent glitches during moments when the alarm is needed to function.

Key Security Points in the Apartment Complex

apartment building security system

While it is important for multifamily security systems to be wholesome, certain key areas in the building require top-notch security measures for topmost security. These points are typically the access points during security breaches and therefore require adequate security measures

Garage Security in Apartment Buildings

The garage is perhaps the most open part of a multifamily apartment. It is accessible to all and sundry and therefore is a very vulnerable point. Measures like apartment complex security cameras and intercom entry systems can help create an integrated security plan against car theft and other security issues of concern.

Elevator Security in Apartment Buildings

Amongst sites that are the major targets of a building security system design, the elevator should be one of them. As a high-traffic area, security measures like access control systems, cameras, video surveillance, and sometimes, intrusion detection systems are very appropriate.

Common Spaces Security in Apartment Buildings

Aside from the elevator and garage, other common spaces in multifamily complexes require special attention to security. Spots such as children's playgrounds, swimming pools, hallways, stairways, lobbies, fitness facilities, and fire escapes should be granted adequate attention.

Since each common spot is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all security measure for these locations. Usually, security cameras, intercoms, and video surveillance are effective security design measures for these areas.

Individual Unit Security in Apartment Buildings

It is important that individual units within a multifamily apartment are properly secured. Keyless access control measures are more effective and future-forward compared to traditional lock and key systems. Smart technologies ensure security is not sabotaged when old tenants move out and new ones move in.

Final Thoughts on Apartment Complex Security

building security system design

Security system design is a key aspect of an apartment’s construction process. It is incredibly important to give it an equal priority as other aspects of an apartment’s construction or maintenance. Also, it is essential to focus on the right things and work with professional multifamily security systems installers.

At Forbel, we offer professional consultation and installation services for clients who are particular about installing future-forward technical security systems in their multifamily complexes. We are not only a local integrator in Chicago, but our team of experts also provides security design consulting and installation services for projects in Milwaukee and Indianapolis.

To employ our services or make further inquiries, visit our website and contact us!

Apartment Security Systems Design and Installation: Key Factors to Consider

Apartment Security Systems Design and Installation: Key Factors to Consider

The apartment security system is crucial when designing apartment and multi-family complexes. Read our top things to consider at the early stage of planning.

Designing a security system must be carefully planned out so that the result will be fully compatible with the physical security needs of your facility. It is important to not get sidetracked when it comes to the purpose of a well-designed security system; it must protect your facility, your data, your assets, and your employees.

Stay clear of expensive gimmicks or time-consuming security projects that are not efficient. Fortunately, hiring a capable security system consultant team can aid you in finding the best solution for your facility or warehouse security to help you break down your security challenges.

Do Not Plan Building Security Design in the Early Stages

Once a crisis occurs, such as an act of theft or vandalism, it is natural to want to prevent this from happening again. The problem with this way of thinking is that decisions can then be made impulsively driven by an overreaction to the situation. This can consequently lead to a security system design that is not useful or appropriate and may be overkill.

Security system design consultants will make sure that the right security principles are being presented to you in real-time to make sure you make a calculated decision that will best serve your facility’s security needs.

Design Security System with Too Little Capacity

Designing a security system with too little capacity poses a potential security risk and can eventually become costly down the line.

For example, if your facility is designed to withstand a 45-card reader capacity because you only have 40 active card users at that given moment. When additional people join the facility over time, you may reach your capacity. This situation can lead to a restructuring of the security system throughout the facility because the current system may not be compatible with newer equipment.

Another situation can occur where facilities design a security system that complies with standard security regulations. Still, these don’t take into account the location of the facility, the goods warehoused, the data stored, or other factors which may require a facility to have a more robust security system in place to meet the challenges.

The solution rests within finding that balance that will safeguard your facility perfectly. It is key for your security system to rise to the challenge and be aware of potential threats or security breaches that may occur at any given time. A security system consultant can help you properly secure your facility with the most up-to-date and suitable security designs according to your facility’s unique needs. It is wise to remember that an inadequate security system can become a cumbersome burden financially and leave your business prone to unnecessary risks.

Design Security System with Too Much Capacity

Security design

Another common security system faux pas can be that the design is too complex or contains too much capacity— at which point it can be fiscally burdensome and unnecessary. When designing a security system, it is paramount to recognize your needs and understand that less is more.

For example, imagine a company head office requires an access control system for 40 employees. Then later the CEO of a said company decides that they want to leave room for potential new arrivals and overshoots and adds 1,000 card readers. When the number of people that require access never exceeds 100, this is a classic security mistake that can be costly and complicated in the long run. This type of mistake can then become a real financial crisis when it comes time to update the access controls and hundreds of readers are in excess.

Unfortunately, this issue can also open the door to poorly integrated systems that, when an upgrade needs to be made, makes it quasi-impossible and the whole system needs to be retrofitted or replaced. This can then lead to security breaches, threats, and risks that would never be present if the system had been properly designed to scale.

Poorly integrated security systems or security systems with too much capacity often go unnoticed by upper management until the situation has reached a critical boiling point. The solution is simply to implement a flexible security system platform that is integrated from the ground up from the start.

Ignore the Human Factor

A security design must also take into account the human factor that can play a great role in the implementation of a security system, while also weighing the risks that can occur at the hands of human error.

Many situations can arise from co-workers sharing keys, subsequently losing key cards, writing or sharing passwords in easy-to-find locations, or just accidentally leaving doors open for potential threats to just waltz in.

It is important to train your staff on the appropriate dos and don'ts when it comes to protecting your facility to ensure that no security breaches occur. This ties in directly with prevention and that can bolster your building’s safety by knowing that your staff is properly trained and vigilant to outside threats.

The solution boils down to proper, regular, and informative training sessions with your staff to ensure that everyone is in the know when it comes to safety and security practices. The training sessions must also include different types of scenarios that are directly linked to each specific field. For example, a nuclear facility will not require the same type of safety and security drill as a machinery warehouse.

Design a Security System that Is Too Complicated

This happens frequently, as building managers often opt for top-of-the-line security products that they are underutilized by the staff who may not fully understand the complicated equipment put in place.

A security consultant’s prime duty is to design a system that is efficient and user-friendly to avoid wasting resources. It is important to be sensitive in understanding that not every employee is tech-savvy and may require additional training hours for a system that is perhaps not entirely needed. A sophisticated security system must only be put in place if it falls in line with the building security design needs.

Underestimate Proper Security System Integration

physical security

A building security design must take into consideration the flexibility of the security system in terms of integration. When running two or more systems conformity issues can undoubtedly arise, which is why it is key to turn to experts. Security design consultants who can properly integrate a video surveillance system with an access control system seamlessly to ensure the best results.

Not Take Full Advantage of the Security System Installed

Building security design can transform your warehouse into a state-of-the-art secure facility, however, if the security products are not properly utilized then you may be throwing your money out of the window. It is important not to simply have a security system but rather have a security system that works for you to reap the benefits of this precious investment. It is important to make sure that your staff is well-versed in using the security system in place.


When it comes down to it, common mistakes in building security designs are easily prevented by choosing the right security system consultant team. When you need experts that can design the perfect security system and ensure smooth integration between all your different types of security systems, turn to our team at Forbel!

Building Security System Design: Common Mistakes to Avoid

Building Security System Design: Common Mistakes to Avoid

Designing a security system is an important step in ensuring physical security. Study common building security system errors to avoid them in your project.

The success of your company, business, enterprise, office building, or residential complex heavily relies on your security system. Security systems are not inexpensive, but they are necessary.

When it comes time to set up or upgrade your security system for your commercial property, it is essential to hire security system design consultants. You must have a team that can acknowledge your unique challenges and offers the correct course of action that would best benefit your commercial property.

These days, security technology is an integral part of a building’s electrical system, and many security devices must be built into that building’s architecture. When hiring a security consultant, you ensure that the product will be specifically designed to your property’s distinctive needs and according to a predesigned plan.

A security design consultant will guide you, advise you, and make sure that your plan will be correctly implemented. It is critical for business owners or property managers to protect their employees, customers, and buildings for the long term, so a security system is an important investment for the future.

What Are Security System Design Consultants?

Now that we understand the importance of a security system design consultant for a commercial property, it’s time to discuss what is a security consultant; it is a team or individual that works to advise a property manager or owner on what security measures are critical for ultimate security.

A security consultant also supervises the implementation of these effective measures laid out to maximize safety for the client. There are different types of security consultants. Security management consultants deal with the human side of threat assessment and security, such as hiring a security team and writing protocols in the event of a breach.

A technical security consultant handles the technical side of the security system. They design the security system and work alongside electricians and architects to implement the right security system for their clients according to their plans.

What Do Security Design Consulting Services Include?

commercial security cameras

Security consulting services encompass a wide range of services, from the assessment stage to the execution stage of a robust security system that caters to each client’s needs.

  • Security assessments: A security design consultant works in tandem with the client to gather information and assess the security situation. All this is for the eventual purpose of creating a design that would be efficient, prevent threats, and strengthen vulnerable points of entry.  
  • Layout the recommendations: A security consulting team will rely on combined expertise to offer valuable recommendations for any type of building to either design a security system that will be beneficial for years to come or a necessary upgrade to increase safety.
  • Design the security system plans: A security consultant will layout the design using a CAD drawing to ensure that the plan will be properly executed.
  • Manage the installation process: Security consultants work with architects and installers to ensure that no mistakes are made in this stage of the installation.

Building Security Systems Assessment

A building security system assessment is an important tool to clearly understand your security needs. This detailed evaluation will document, using a site survey of your current security system, threats, challenges, and vulnerabilities to help define whether your building requires any changes. You may need an upgraded security system or retrofitted security system to eliminate the risks of the numerous potential threats your building may encounter.

Design Planning & Recommendation

Once the assessment has been completed, the next stage is security planning and design; a critical component here is that the security consultant guides the clients. When creating a security system plan, a consultant will make recommendations on video surveillance, intercoms and door entry, fire alarms placement, electronic access control, commercial audio/video, and other systems that can protect your building.

When considering a security system layout plan, it is key to partner with a distributor and consultant team that works with well-known security brands and can procure all the necessary equipment. At Forbel, we offer professionalism, expertise, and security system knowledge, and we are also an official distributor of the most popular security brands in the industry.

Security Systems Design and Engineering: Drawings and Blueprints

CAD security drawings and security blueprints are key tools for designing a security system. Whether you are creating an alarm system design, access control system design, video surveillance system design, role-based access control system design, or a combination of some or all of these, you need to partner with a security consulting team that can offer you unmatched expertise.

Implementation, Installation, Integration

security consulting

Security system installation must be executed according to the plans agreed upon, and when last-minute changes are made, they must be immediately implemented. This is especially important when dealing with integrated security systems, where all components must function cohesively and all devices must communicate in unison.

Commissioning of Security Systems

Communication with installers, suppliers, electricians, and architects is an important role of a security design consultant. The successful implementation of the installation per the blueprints is necessary to obtain the desired result. Security systems are an integral part of any commercial property.

Who Needs Security Design Consulting and How Do They Benefit from It?

All commercial properties in a wide range of industries benefit from a security system design consultant, they can be a grand advantage. Let’s look at some of the benefits:

  • Project management: A security consultant will take on the role of a project manager to alleviate the stress and they will make sure that everything works according to plans.
  • Procurement: Security systems require many devices and communication with suppliers must be seamless.
  • Technology integration: All devices must work harmoniously together to form the best-suited security system, and a consultant will ensure that all integration is done.
  • Turnkey solutions: A consultant will ensure that the system is ready to use as soon as the project is completed, easy, and user-friendly.

Architects & Architectural Agencies

Architects and architectural agencies can highly benefit from a security design consultant when creating blueprints for future constructions that require a certain level of security. A security system design consultant is best equipped to aid in fire alarms, CCTV, smoke detectors, access control devices, and other security equipment placement.


It is important to note that developers benefit the most from security system design consultants, they manage the entire security system project for them. This includes all aspects of security systems such as alarm systems, fire alarms, access control systems, CCTV, and others.

At Forbel, our consultants take on all the technical security responsibilities; we will communicate with contractors, fire departments, security system suppliers, and installers. We provide the best quality services concerning security system projects. We will make sure that implementation, integration, and commissioning are done to ensure the best security systems for our clients in accordance with the layouts and security requirement standards.

Contractors & General Contractors

security consultants

Contractors and general contractors have a lot on their plate when starting a project. The sooner they hire a security system design consultant the better. This will allow them to delegate the security system to a consulting company like Forbel which specializes in turnkey security solutions from the ground up to the final commissioning.

Property Owners

Many property owners or managers hire subcontractors or do small projects on their own. When it comes to security, however, it is best to hire a company like Forbel, which specializes in security systems design. When it comes to security it is always best to not take any chances.

Which Buildings Need Security Design Consulting the Most?

Security system designs and security engineering are a complex but important part of owning a commercial property. The type of property, business, and the size of the building will determine how much you need a security systems design consultant, however, nowadays most buildings opt for security, and a consultant will help you figure out what type is best suited for your needs.

Vast Multifamily Complexes & Condos

Multifamily complexes require CCTV and access control that is user-friendly and efficient since people’s lives depend on it. Condo security system design is unique and it is always important to consult before investing in any kind of security system without adequate knowledge.

Commercial Office Buildings

Commercial building security systems are especially huge and complex. It is important to consult with a specialist to find the right security solution when it comes to office buildings. Commercial security camera placement can be especially challenging without the right design expertise. A security system design consultant is a perfect solution for developers and architects.  

Logistics & Distribution Centers, Warehouses

commercial security

Warehouse security systems are especially crucial for this industry and logistics security solutions can have a significant impact on a day-to-day operation.

Medical Facilities

Hospital security systems safeguard medicine, patients, staff, and medical documentation so it is extremely important for hospitals and healthcare facilities to have adequate security systems with a focus on CCTV and access control solutions.


Security technology has become embedded in a building’s infrastructure. Most commercial properties either already have security systems in place or are looking to obtain them, upgrade and retrofit their security systems. It is important when choosing a security system design consulting company that you choose one that is trustworthy, has unparalleled expertise, unmatched professionalism, and is suitable to tackle any project big or small in any industry type. If you own or manage a commercial property and you feel that you need to upgrade, please contact us at Forbel for exceptional service.

What Are the Benefits Of Hiring Security System Design Consultants?

What Are the Benefits Of Hiring Security System Design Consultants?

Who are the security system design consultants? Why are they important for new construction or existing commercial and residential properties like vast multifamily complexes?

A video surveillance system is often misunderstood and misused. It is a misconception that every piece of footage that is recorded by a surveillance system is useful and must be analyzed. This type of thinking can add to a company’s security cost and is often not a feasible long-term security solution. This is where video analytics software and video analytics companies play a crucial role in a business’ security needs.

The main purpose of video analytics is to automatically recognize suspicious or unacceptable behavior; the appearance of smoke in the footage, or someone skulking around suspiciously to name a few examples. In a nutshell, video analytics were specially designed to aid the security field for maximum results in identifying and tracking suspicious behavior.

What Is Video Analytics And How Does It Work?

What is video analytics? It is an intelligent video analytics program using sophisticated algorithms to process recorded video footage to monitor situations independently, without the need for human input. How video analytics works are that it simply extracts metadata from raw footage and through machine learning it analyses the footage autonomously. It will then use algorithms put in place to process the content and this allows for the recognition or identification of either people, suspicious behavior or trends, and even read license plates.

Video analytics is also known as VCA, which stands for video content analysis. Video analytics trends are driven by AI-based video analytics which uses deep learning systems for machines to enable them to recognize and analyze raw video footage before alerting humans when it is triggered.

Video Analytics Benefits for a Business

There are many benefits of video analytics, which is why this technology is currently used by retail stores, law enforcement agencies, and every industry in between. Its applications run the gamut from improving service to security.

Object Detection

One of the prime video analytics features is object detection in real-time. This technology was revolutionized by the introduction of algorithms that, through machine learning, have made object detection possible. These algorithms will enable CCTV camera footage to self-analyze and detect objects such as guns, people, vehicles, and suspicious behavior.

Here are the tasks AI video analytics can detect:

  • Create restricted zones
  • People count and crowd monitoring
  • Object detection such as guns, knives, or any other suspicious objects
  • Action detection such as loitering or skulking
  • Detecting violent or threatening actions
  • License plate recognition
  • Facial recognition for more advanced video analytics

Once the system was able to detect the object, it then also can track the same object.

object detection

Object Tracking

Object tracking is when, through a deep learning process, algorithms are employed to track movements and objects that have previously been detected by video analytics. Object tracking is the video analytics software’s ability to predict the position of certain objects, movements, or people in the footage. Object tracking is intricately linked to object detection since you cannot really have one without the other. A popular application of this type of technology is the use of traffic cameras, as seen below.

Facial Recognition

Facial recognition in video analytics uses biometrics and algorithms to study features and expressions from photos or videos to match an individual in front of the camera to a previously attained image. This practice is highly controversial because of privacy issues; however, it has many applications these days and will continue to grow in popularity, especially in the security and law enforcement arena.

Remote Tracking

Remote tracking is a key feature of AI video analytics, it allows managers and business owners to have more control over their employees and day-to-day business activities. This hands-on approach has grown in recent years with the unfortunate arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic with more and more people working remotely.

Remote tracking runs in the background and follows your employee’s work progress even when they are not in the office. This can significantly aid in business efficiency improvement in a wide range of industries. Remote tracking also plays an important role in security, especially with video analytics in airports, hospitals, schools, and other venues that require a higher level of security solutions.

This feature of AI video analytics software enables the users, especially in the field of security, to be more accurate and responsive in real-time devoid of human errors which may occur when several stations are being monitored by a single individual.

Security Costs Reduction

Security costs are always a great consideration for every business enterprise —  whether a small, medium or large business. Many companies find that the cost of paying a security team to monitor the facility is a heavy financial burden. The AI video analytics market has revolutionized the way business owners and managers view security and the costs involved.

Video analytics trends are increasing because of the cost efficiency and the more accurate results that arise from this new technology. Video analytics can improve security and safety while reducing the financial bottom line invested in security infrastructure for any type of business in any industry.

Business Efficiency Improvement

We live in an information economy and companies are looking toward technology to increase their profits while reducing the bottom line. Nowadays, business owners are laser-focused on business efficiency improvement and AI video analytics offer the solutions for a wide range of businesses in all industries.

For example, businesses will use video analytics software to predict customer needs before they arise to be able to service them in real-time. Video analytics systems are exceptional for security purposes but they can also be an outstanding tool for increasing your business’ revenues in addition to just keeping your facility safe.

Risk Management

Risk management is high on every business owner's priority list because without being able to properly manage your business, safety and profits may decline over time. Deep learning, AI video analytics, and cloud computing have enabled business owners to assess all risks involved in their business venture.

We no longer live in a world where video surveillance is merely used to monitor high-risk areas; rather, there is a growing need to use AI video analytics software beyond just the security realm and use it as an actual tool to increase your business’ efficiency. Intelligent camera systems enable you to have a better understanding of your business's day-to-day operations and will allow your managers to better manage the facilities.

Crimes and Incidents Detection or Prevention

Video analytics software has the capabilities to allow a business to anticipate potential crimes and detect the crimes before they come to fruition allowing for better prevention of said crime. Camera analytics will allow your system to trigger an alarm whenever a risk is in progress to help reduce criminal or illicit activities from happening.

The potential of video analytics coupled with a robust security system can enhance your business’ bottom line significantly in the long run. In addition, this type of system will also allow you to use and access the footage of the incident as evidence when prosecutions occur. When looking at your video analytics you can see a partner who will ensure your facility is always secured.  

facial recognition

Emotion Detection

Video analytics cameras can detect emotion —  this is how much technology has evolved since its genesis. Retail stores are taking advantage of emotion detection to better serve their customer’s needs. This type of technology will assist a business in predicting a customer’s wants and needs in real-time. Video analytics software increases accuracy when it comes to product testing and focus groups to aid marketing teams to develop more efficient products and campaigns to bolster sales and satisfaction.

Video Analytics Business Solutions

Video analytics systems are changing the way we view to commerce. Businesses have an opportunity to improve safety, efficiency, and profits but it is important to understand what type of system would be best suited for your establishment. For example, hospitals don’t have the same video analytics needs as retail stores and vice versa.

It is encouraged to reach out to a professional and consult with them to find out what is the best option for your business when it comes to video analytics solutions. Custom solutions may be a more accurate option than general video analytics software. This must be used as a tool to optimize your potential as a business and surpass your goals.


Now that we know how video analytics works and the wide-ranging benefits it offers to a plethora of industries with intelligent video analytics solutions your business can grow. As we have mentioned above, it is important to know what your business needs are and how AI video analytics can improve your bottom line.

For local businesses in the Chicago area, there is one reliable company that can help you on your way to the full potential of your business - this is Forbel. Do not hesitate to contact us today so that we can help you determine which type of video analytics can help your business rise to new heights.

Video Analytics: What Is It and How Can It Help Your Business?

Video Analytics: What Is It and How Can It Help Your Business?

Video analytics were specially designed to aid the security field for maximum results in identifying and tracking suspicious behavior.

Commercial properties heavily rely on access control systems, which is why proximity readers are becoming increasingly popular with all types of businesses. What is a proximity card access system? Proximity readers use wireless technology to allow access control devices to communicate with each other; they utilize low-frequency RFID (radio frequency identification) technology. 

Many businesses have already opted to use proximity access control systems to facilitate authorized personnel gaining access to their properties. This system is flexible and can be programmed to fit each business uniquely. 

What Is a Proximity Card?

A proximity card is a wireless and contactless card that allows the user to gain access to a building. This type of card can be read without sliding it into a card reader or positioning it onto a card reader. These kinds of fobs can even be inside wallets or purses — they just have to be within the activation radius of the card reader to unlock the doors. 

What Is a Proximity Card Reader?

Proximity card access reader systems allow the user to gain access with their credentials. A proximity card system is made up of three components: a proximity card, a token, and a physical fob that controls the software that will allow the user to unlock the door. A proximity card reader will wirelessly communicate using a metallic antenna coil embedded inside the card. 

Main Types of Proximity Cards Readers

There are many types of proximity card readers, and they often look the same to the naked eye. What separates them is their power supply and how they are connected to the access control system. 

  • Wired proximity reader: This wired reader uses the Wiegand protocol, which has been around for decades. This type of proximity card reader is a popular access reader because it is compatible with most commercial access control systems. However, because it has been around for a while it must be upgraded with advanced end-to-end encryption to ensure that it remains free from hacking. 
  • Wireless proximity reader: This type of reader is battery-powered, which eliminates the wires; however, a setback of this type of proximity card reader is that the batteries must be checked regularly. It’s often used in high-trafficked areas with a wide range of access points, such as hotels. 
  • IP-connected proximity readers: These are highly advanced readers that connect directly to the building’s IT system using an Ethernet connection. These types of proximity card readers must be encrypted to ensure that they can’t be hacked. Because of their connection they can be hacked if the building’s IP is compromised by cyber-criminals. 
  • Standalone proximity readers: As the name suggests, these types of card readers don’t connect to a control panel — they store sensitive information on the reader itself. These are more vulnerable readers and are recommended for either low-security facilities or as an additional security measure within a building. 

Advantages of Access Control Systems Based on Proximity Cards

Proximity card readers have become a permanent fixture of most commercial properties and office spaces. They have been considered top-notch industrial security solutions for decades and are still commonly used today throughout a wide range of industries. 

  • Harder to clone: Locks and keys can be easily copied, but proximity cards or fobs are harder to reproduce which adds a security element that is attractive to all businesses.
  • Easy to install and implement: These types of proximity card readers have been around for decades, and most people are familiar with them which means they require no staff training. They are also easy to install since security companies have been installing these types of readers for a long time. 
  • Easy to integrate: Proximity card readers easily integrate and are compatible with most security systems already in place. Coupled with CCTV security systems and other security measures, they can add an invaluable layer of safety for your commercial property. 
  • Reduces wear and tear: Because these types of proximity card readers are contactless, they aren’t prone to wear and tear damage which can be visible in a lock and key doors.
  • Hygienic: Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, most people have become more aware when needlessly touching door handles or keypads because of hygienic reasons.
  • Improves day-to-day operations: Proximity card readers can help ensure that less time is wasted and improve access control efficiency while promoting security. 

Disadvantages of Access Control Systems Based on Proximity Cards

Even though proximity card readers offer many benefits to any business, it is important to be fully aware of all of their limitations before choosing the access control system that will best suit your business.

  • Read range: This will vary from card reader to card reader, but the range is an important factor. If the range is too short, then it may be more challenging for the user to use the card comfortably in a contactless way. 
  • Hackable: End-to-end encryption is advised for all proximity card readers to avoid making them vulnerable targets for hackers. 
  • Power or internet outages: It is imperative when installing a proximity card reader to have a fail-safe backup in the event of a power or internet outage which may render the entire system mute in the event of an unforeseen emergency.
  • Key card security: Because key cards can be copied these days, it is important to choose the right key card and reader that will complement your existing security without being an additional security risk to your business.
  • Cards can be demagnetized: Proximity card readers require RFID technology, which means that the chip embedded within the card can be vulnerable to the elements and can get damaged over time. This means that employees who use these cards need to be informed about how to store them when the cards are not in use to prevent damage or demagnetization of the chip within the card.

Is Proximity Reader Access Control What You Need?

When deciding whether a proximity card reader access control system is good for your business, it is important to consider your needs. Proximity card readers are used in a wide range of fields such as medical and fitness facilities, residential buildings, corporate office spaces, parking garages, airports, stores and storage facilities, logistics, and more.

When deciding whether a proximity card reader could be beneficial, traffic must be considered, as well as the number of access points needed. It is advantageous to be informed and find the right access control system to best suit your type of business. 


Touchless and wireless proximity card readers are the way of the future. Individuals and businesses have found that the advantages of proximity card readers and the security they bring far outweigh the disadvantages. Proximity card readers are an excellent upgrade to an existing access control system that will offer flexibility and security to your business. 

Feel free to contact us at Forbel! Our expert professionals are ready to guide you in making the best choice for your business to ensure wireless, contactless security. The future is at your fingertips, and we will ensure you make the safest choice for your commercial property. 

Pros and Cons of Proximity Card Readers Systems for Access Control

Pros and Cons of Proximity Card Readers Systems for Access Control

Commercial properties heavily rely on access control systems, which is why proximity readers are becoming increasingly popular with all types of businesses.

What is Amazon key for business? It is a smart fob that allows Amazon delivery drivers to enter a building to deliver packages without the assistance of someone inside giving them access. In recent times, there has been a growing rise in online purchases and Amazon deliveries are common for private citizens and companies alike.

These types of electronic access control systems are installed for Amazon delivery drivers and they don’t interfere with the existing access control system in the building. Amazon key for business prevents the theft or destruction of packages.

What Is Amazon Key for Business?

With a growing demand for Amazon delivery services, the company brainstormed to simplify the process for customers, and delivery drivers and to maintain the integrity of the packages. Amazon key for business is a fob that is connected to the internet and placed above an existing access control system.  

Amazon has noticed that couriers wasted a lot of time waiting for doors to open to deliver packages and often these packages were left outside the buildings where they were prone to theft and damage from the elements. The key for business is the innovative solution for this issue. Today, it has become an indispensable tool for businesses across the board, especially for those who receive deliveries from Amazon on a regular basis.

How Does Amazon Key for Business Work?

Amazon key for business uses the latest technology to facilitate the delivery of packages. It is easy to use and below are the steps that are involved in getting the packages to your business.

  1. The courier arrives at the building with the packages that need to be delivered to your business.
  2. The driver uses the Amazon Flex app on their phone to unlock the gate or door that leads to your property.
  3. They can use the app to request access, or they can be granted automatic access depending on each business’ preference.
  4. Amazon then verifies the courier’s credentials and matches them to the package they are meant to deliver.
  5. Once Amazon has performed its security check, it will temporarily allow the courier access.
  6. The Amazon key for business is a device that is installed on top of the existing access control system.
  7. The key for business by Amazon will unlock the business’ access control system allowing the delivery personnel to gain access.
  8. The courier will then deliver the package to the correct location and exit the premises.

Key by Amazon: The Main Features

amazon key for business

The Amazon key’s commercial use is an efficient way for businesses to get their packages delivered safely and on time. Here are the key features of this innovative and smart fob:

  • Automated access for Amazon delivery personnel: Amazon key for business allows couriers to deliver your packages by gaining access through the key by Amazon which integrates with your existing access control systems.
  • Safety with a one-time entry allowance: Once the courier has gained access to the building and the package is delivered, the driver will have to confirm that the door or gate has been relocked.
  • No interference: While the courier is delivering the package, employees and residents can still use the access control systems naturally without interference.
  • Multi-factor authentication for security purposes: Amazon verifies the courier’s credentials before granting their delivery personnel access. They use GPS technology coupled with a delivery window to validate the delivery.
  • Delivery notification and video proof of delivery: An Amazon cloud cam can be added as an addition to the Amazon key for business, which allows the recipient to view a short video confirming the delivery of the package. After every delivery, a notification is sent to the recipient.
  • Compatibility: The Amazon key for business is compatible and can be integrated with most access control systems on the market today

Pros and Cons of the Key by Amazon

Just as with everything, there are advantages and disadvantages to all services, this includes the Amazon key for business. Let’s take a closer look:


  • Increases efficiency: This kind of delivery system reduces the workload for the company’s employees who don’t need to make themselves available to receive the packages.
  • Smart delivery: It automates all deliveries which is a step toward the future.
  • Decreases damage to deliveries: Packages don’t need to be left outside making them vulnerable to the elements.
  • Reduces theft: Amazon’s security protocol enhances your delivery experience by delivering your packages, so they are less prone to theft.
  • Installation and Compatibility: Easy to install and compatible with most access control systems


  • Limited access: The Amazon key for business can only be used by Amazon delivery personnel and can’t be used for other types of couriers.
  • Privacy and security concerns: Not all tenants or business owners tend to hesitate to use the Amazon key for business because they value their security and the building’s privacy.
  • Not full-proof: Even though this service is efficient, damage to packages can still occur and additional measures must be put in place to ensure smooth delivery; this can include an Amazon Cloud cam which can offer video footage of the delivery.
  • Not 100% compatible: Even though most access control systems are compatible with the Amazon key for business, earlier models of access control systems may require upgrades before installation.
  • No theft protection: It is less likely for packages to be stolen by outsiders, but anyone who has access to the building could potentially steal it and Amazon doesn’t offer theft protection.

Amazon Key for Business: Cost of Installation & Service

Amazon key installation and services are free of charge which is a great bonus for all businesses and multi-unit buildings. However, the amazon key for business cost will include cloud cams, locks, and other hardware which must be purchased.


When receiving a copious amount of packages daily, efficiency is key, however, it must be noted that there are liability issues with this type of service. Forbel sure Amazon key for business is a great tool for any business but to protect your deliveries from theft additional security measures are recommended. Please contact us so wcan guide you in security measures that would be good to implement for your building.

Amazon Key for Business: All You Need to Know

Amazon Key for Business: All You Need to Know

Nowadays has been a growing rise in online purchases and Amazon deliveries are common. Let's read in this post what is Amazon key for business and how does it work?

Security is one of the most significant priorities for all business owners. Most commercial property managers heavily rely on the latest, most efficient surveillance tools to protect commercial sites from vandals and intruders in Chicago. 

When you start designing your CCTV business security system, it’s essential to be aware of all the devices that can aid you in achieving the best results for your property. Fisheye security camera systems provide a superior level of safety and security. 

What Is a Fisheye Security Camera?

Fisheye security cameras offer 180 degrees and 360 degrees dynamic viewing angles that are much wider than most other cameras on the market. They come equipped with ultra-wide-angle lenses that can give the effect of a fisheye, hence their name. This unique feature allows for greater viewing angles, decreasing the chance of blind spots when recording. 

How Do Fisheye Cameras Work?

Fisheye security cameras offer a more comprehensive viewing range thanks to the composition of the lenses. The circular image lens of a fisheye camera rests in the film or sensor area. However, it will be different depending on what type of fisheye camera you get, and this will directly distort the image to increase the range of the footage that the camera will record. This wide-angle security camera will cover a greater area than the standard CCTV camera. 

Where Fisheye Cameras Can Be Used

Fisheye CCTV cameras cover larger areas than standard security cameras used in multiple industries and commercial properties. Here are some common examples of their commercial use:

In fact, fisheye security cameras are utilized in every industry and are an excellent security solution for a wide range of businesses. 

fisheye cctv camera

Benefits of Fisheye Cameras for commercial CCTV Systems

Fisheye security cameras offer many benefits to businesses, big and small. They are a versatile security solution that can complement and complete any commercial property’s security system. 

Panoramic Surveillance Reducing Blind Spots

Fisheye security cameras allow businesses to secure a larger perimeter with a single camera. They are often used in retail stores because they are discreet and don't give customers the impression that they are being surveyed. 

This type of camera will allow you to view the comings and goings in your establishment without a heavy security camera presence. For example, a fisheye CCTV camera will record multiple entrances and exits in a parking lot. 

Cost-Effective for small businesses

The previous point about monitoring a larger area with one fisheye security camera makes this an attractive option for smaller businesses. Instead of having an intricate system that requires multiple cameras or multi-sensor units, a fisheye camera will capture all the blind spots in one. 

Fisheye security cameras are also more straightforward in design than other cameras, making training staff on using them easier. Also, these types of cameras record panoramic footage that would be more costly with different types of cameras, such as multi-sensor ones. 

Live mode editing options.

Live mode editing options are an invaluable and unique tool for any business. To pan, tilt, and zoom in on live footage as recorded make fisheye security cameras a necessary investigative device. 

The wide-angle panoramic filming ability can accomplish this within a single frame, which allows a security team to look around and view details that a different type of camera may have missed. 

fisheye pros and cons

Disadvantages of a Fisheye Camera for Commercial Video Surveillance

Fisheye security cameras are an essential surveillance tool, but they also come with their own set of drawbacks. These must be considered before designing your security system for your commercial property. 

Fisheye Warping

Fisheye security cameras record a helpful panoramic view; however, the footage tends to be distorted or appear curved. To fix this issue, the network video recorder (NVR) will need to be equipped with a de-warping mechanism which will add to the cost of this type of security system. The software will flatten the recorded image to be viewed free of fisheye distortion. 

Lower resolution

Pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) is a key feature of fisheye security cameras. Because of their fisheye lens, recorded images may not be as clear as those recorded by a multi-sensor security camera. The footage at the far edges of the screen will also be more distorted. The video footage will still be viewed, but the image quality will be affected by the fisheye lens. 

Limited Installation options

Designing a security system that will protect your business requires planning. In the case of fisheye security cameras, placement and installation must be considered. Fisheye cameras offer a wide-angle panoramic feature that is unparalleled to other security cameras on the market. 

The only way to fully take advantage of this feature is to install your fisheye camera in the center of a room in plain view, which will reduce the level of discretion. However, hiding a fisheye camera in the corner of a room will significantly impact its effectiveness. 


A fisheye security camera system can be used in various industries. When designing a security system, consider whether a fisheye security camera would be the right choice for your business. Contact us today, and Forbel will help you make the right choice for your commercial property. 

The Pros & Cons of Fisheye Cameras for Your Business

The Pros & Cons of Fisheye Cameras for Your Business

Explore the benefits and drawbacks of using fisheye security cameras for your business. Learn about how they work and how they can help you protect your property.

Security cameras are an important component of a video surveillance system. What is the difference between a dome and a bullet camera? It’s all a question of angles. In a nutshell, bullet cameras are known for their range, while dome cameras are known for filming a wider view angle of the footage. Chicago businesses view video surveillance systems as an invaluable tool to protect their facilities. 

What Is a Dome Camera?

A dome camera system gets its name by its shape; dome cameras have a distinctive dome-like shape. With their ability to withstand the elements, they are sturdy enough to be both used indoors and outdoors. These types of cameras can also be used in daylight or low-light environments because they come equipped with infrared LEDs.

Dome camera systems are typically used in:

Other industries that utilize dome cameras are hospitals, storage facilities, schools, office buildings, and many other commercial industries. 

A dome security camera

Pros of Dome Camera

Dome CCTV cameras are a very popular CCTV camera because they offer a wide range of benefits. Many dome cameras also come equipped with features that make them a key element of the surveillance industry. 

  • They are discreet: All cameras are noticeable to a certain extent, but dome cameras are far less eye-catching than bullet-shaped cameras.
  • They are less prone to bird nests: Their shape prevents birds from perching on them, which may seem like a small thing, but many CCTV cameras can be destroyed in this way.
  • They are less prone to vandalism: Dome cameras can’t be tampered with easily or vandalized. 
  • Angle view: They can record at a wider angle. 

Cons of Dome Camera

Being aware of the cons of dome CCTV cameras can help you make the right decision when it comes time to choose the right type of camera for your business.

  • Harder to reposition: This is connected to the installation, which can be more challenging than the bullet-shaped camera. 
  • Require regular cleaning: Dust, dirt, and debris can easily accumulate on the dome affecting the footage it records, so regular cleaning is mandatory.
  • Limited range.

What Is a Bullet Camera?

Bullet security cameras are surveillance cameras that are bullet-shaped. Their cylindrical shape makes them highly visible, and they can record long-range footage, which is why they are sought-after cameras. These types of cameras are typically mounted on walls and tend to be used more outdoors however they can also be used indoors. Bullet security cameras are a visible deterrent to trespassers, vandals, or criminals. 

A bullet security camera

Pros of Bullet Camera

More than just being a visible deterrent because of their unique shape, bullet security cameras offer many advantages to commercial security.

  • Longer range: They are known for capturing long-range footage.
  • Easy installation: Bullet cameras are easy to install and, once installed, can also be repositioned with ease to capture any direction of your choosing.
  • Outdoor and indoor use: Even though they are more frequently used outside, they can be used indoors as well.
  • Weatherproof: Bullet cameras come enclosed in a strong protective casing that safeguards them from the elements.
  • Night vision capabilities: Many bullet cameras come equipped with IR (infrared) and are capable of recording footage in low light. 

Cons of Bullet Camera

Even though bullet security cameras offer many advantages, they do have some disadvantages that must be considered.

  • Not discreet: They are highly visible, which can be good, but this also means that they can be easily discovered.
  • Not tamperproof: Because they are visible, they can be easily found and tampered with or even moved. They are not as durable as dome cameras.
  • Prone to bird nests: Their shape is inviting for birds which over time can damage or affect the footage filmed by bullet CCTV cameras. 

What Is the difference between dome and bullet cameras?


Both bullet security cameras and dome CCTV cameras can be installed indoors and outdoors. Forbel knows the difference between the two is that dome cameras are hung on ceilings, and bullet cameras are mounted on walls, mainly because of their differing shapes. 

Bullet security cameras are easier to install and can be repositioned without having to be reinstalled, while dome cameras are more fixed into place. Repositioning a dome security camera requires its removal and reinstallation which can also add additional costs. 

Camera Range

Bullet cameras are known for their range. This is due to their shape, which allows them to accommodate larger lenses than dome cameras. Dome CCTV cameras, however, offer a wider viewing angle to the bullet security camera. 

Other factors can influence a camera’s range, such as sensor chips and the types of lenses that are used in the camera. The range of a camera will vary based on make and model and what features the specific camera has to offer. 

what is difference between dome and bullet camera


Camera technology has increased leaps and bounds from its original conception. Most modern cameras, both bullet, and dome come equipped with infrared LEDs, which allow them to record in any situation, day or night. 

Lighting used to be a challenging area for security cameras, but cameras today function as well in low-light environments as they do in very lit ones. The quality of the recorded image will not be affected by the infrared capability of the camera but rather on its other features, which can vary depending on make and model.  

Dome vs bullet camera: What to Choose for Your Business?

What’s better, dome or bullet cameras? There are minor differences between these two types of cameras. They each offer a certain level of security, and each has its strong features and drawbacks. 

Some will argue those dome cameras are better, but that is debatable, as dome CCTV cameras are more discreet, while bullet security cameras offer a more visual deterrent. Ideally, to protect your commercial property fully, the best choice is a hybrid option where your security system incorporates both dome and bullet cameras. 


Before designing or upgrading a security system, it is important to be well versed in the differences between dome CCTV cameras and bullet security cameras. Understanding the needs of your business’ security is a key factor. Forbel is ready to help. Contact us today for any questions or for video surveillance solutions in Chicago.

Dome vs Bullet Camera: What Is the Difference?

Dome vs Bullet Camera: What Is the Difference?

Knowing the difference between a dome and a bullet camera helps to understand which one to choose for your business. Do you know this difference? Let's know it!

No security system is complete without an access control card reader that best suits your commercial property. This is the ultimate device for any security system, as it allows you to manage access to a property safely.

Whether you’re managing properties like office buildings or other types of commercial properties in Chicago, an access control reader is indispensable to your security apparatus. There are many types of access controls, and it is important to find the right one for you. 

Key Card Readers

There are different types of access keycard reader systems, like key fob access, which is a magnetic stripe card that works similarly to credit cards. You swipe these cards onto a reader to gain access to a building. 

The proximity card reader system allows the card to communicate with the reader from a distance so there is no contact between the card and the reader. Once you have decided on a keycard reader system, the next step will be to decide whether you want a wired or wireless one. 

Wireless Key Card Readers

A wireless access control system will allow the user to gain access to a building by using wireless technology such as electronic locks and readers that don’t require installing wires or cables. This is a good option for smaller properties or historical properties that restrict architectural changes. 

Wired Key Card Readers

Biometric Fingertip Reader

Wired access control systems need to run wiring or cables from the power source to the locking mechanism and the readers. This is a common option today when building new properties, but it requires professional installation and can be a costly but necessary upgrade. 

Keypad and PIN Readers

An access control keypad is a security system that requires the user to enter a PIN or passcode to enter a door or gate. This type of system is frequently used in office buildings and apartment buildings. This in turn, means that no credentials need to be shown to access the building but rather just the code. 

Keypad access control systems are usually used in low security and high traffic buildings. This type of access control system is easy to use and convenient, but it does also have drawbacks. The biggest downside of this type of access control system is vulnerability since passcodes are easily passed on. 

Two-Factor or Multifactor Authentication Readers

As previously mentioned, keypad readers lack security since the passcodes can be easily transferred onto people who weren’t originally granted access or given the passcodes. One of the ways that this can be remedied when talking about door card readers or PIN readers is to implement a two-factor authentication method. 

This makes the card or passcode insufficient for gaining access, requiring an additional authentication method, such as other credentials, to gain access. Combining a card reader with a PIN reader together can strengthen security. In addition, multifactor authentication can also be implemented as an upgrade for buildings that require greater amounts of security measures. 

Biometric Fingerprint Readers

Fingerprints are unique, and a fingerprint reader is an electronic security system that will authenticate a fingerprint before granting someone access to the facility. Biometric readers access control systems can range from iris to facial recognition to allow someone access, but most commonly the biometric fingerprint is used. 

A biometric access card will combine a fingerprint reader with a card reader for ultimate security for buildings that require the strictest security measures. Biometric access card access control systems are mainly used for banks, research labs, military facilities, and other highly secure establishments where access must be restricted. 

Video Key Card Readers

An access control card reader with video allows every attempt to access a building using a keycard to be memorialized with a video recording. This is to ensure that the person using the keycard is the person who was originally given the card. 

This is the standard for most buildings that require an enhanced security measure. Many office buildings these days upgrade to this method of access control to monitor access and make sure that no cards were stolen. 

Forbel - your trusted Chicago Access Control Experts!

When it comes to access control systems there are sometimes too many to choose from! Often, finding the right fit and the right combination for your business can only be achieved by contacting your local security experts in Forbel, who can help make sure only the right people are walking through your doors. Contact us!

Types of Access Control Readers

Types of Access Control Readers

Access control readers provide security for companies all around the world. Find out more about access control readers and choose the best option for your business.

Our electronic access control systems experts have put up the best tips to manage access controls of your facilities for you. Read more in this article!

Locks and keys are outdated; electronic access control systems and keyless entry systems offer better ways to manage any business's access. Key fob door entry systems or key card entry systems are more secure than traditional lock and key systems.

Like all things, they have advantages and disadvantages, but our Chicago electronic access control systems experts are ready to help you find the best option to manage access controls of your facilities.

What Are Key Card and Key Fob Door Entry Systems?

Card access systems key card or a key fob to unlock electrically powered doors. They are typically used in hotels, apartment buildings, offices, hospitals, and other commercial facilities.

A key card entry system uses a card that is either tapped onto a reader or swiped through a reader to authenticate the credentials and allow access.

A key fob entry system for buildings works much like a key card system, but it uses wireless technology to communicate information to a reader in a touchless way to grant access.

How Do Key Fob and Card Access Systems Work?

Key card systems promote convenience and safety, whether used for apartments, offices, hospitals, or any other type of property requiring a certain level of privacy.

Both fob door and key card access systems work simply:

  • Access request: a user will tap his card or swipe the card onto an access control reader.
  • Access reader: it will process the credentials from the card that was either swiped or tapped and authenticate the person's credentials.
  • Access control lock: the electronic or magnetic lock will receive the reader's data and either grant or deny access according to the user's credentials.

Commercial key fob door entry systems work much in the same way. They are touchless systems that use RFID (radio frequency identification) and wireless technology to communicate the information from the card to the reader. A key fob door entry system has a short-range key that sends signals to a reader within short distances.

Types of Key Cards and Key Fobs

Electronic key fob

Different key cards and fob entry systems use different technology to communicate the data from the user's card to a reader that processes the credentials before granting access.

1. Wiegand Key Cards

Wiegand technology refers to a card reader and sensor technology frequently used in bank card numbers, credit card numbers, and access control cards. This keyless access system is a wired interface between a card reader and encoded data in binary code. When a user swipes their card through a reader, a magnetic field reads the data and sends it to the reader through wires. The reader will then process the information and verify the credentials before granting access. This technology was introduced in the 1970s and still plays a vital role in the access control industry.


  • Simplicity and ease of use.
  • Can't be easily duplicated or cloned.
  • Have a longer life than Magstripe and RFID cards.


  • Stores limited information.
  • Cannot be written or programmed by applying magnetic fields.
  • Wiegand Protocol does not encrypt the data, so any Wiegand reader in the vicinity of the card can read the data.

2. Magnetic Stripe Cards or Swipe Key Cards

A magnetic stripe card works differently from a Wiegand key card because it does not use wires. These two cards are encoded differently; a swipe card can be easily rewritten, a Wiegand card can’t. Swipe cards have a black stripe that runs on one side of the card, which needs to be swiped through the reader to either request access or complete a transaction. Other magnetic swipe cards are credit cards, bank cards, employee cards, gift cards, public transit cards, and hotel cards. They are becoming more popular in the card access control industry because they can be rewritten and repurposed easily.


  • Can still have data encoded on them after they're manufactured. 
  • Holds more data than Wiegand cards.
  • A swipe card can also store more data than a typical Wiegand card.


  • Requires physical insertion into the reader and are likely to wear out sooner than contactless cards.
  • Stray magnetic fields can damage the data on them.
  • Thieves can obtain the readers to decipher card data.

3. RFID Key Fobs and Cards

Card access system

RFID refers to “radio frequency identification”. There are 2 parts to RFID key fobs and cards: (1) the RFID key tag (commonly known as a key fob) and (2) the RFID reader. RFID can be either active, where it has its power source and a high range, or passive, in which it is powered by a reader and works at shorter distances. These tags can be detected from several feet away by the receiver, making them especially useful for access control in buildings with many cardholders.


  • Line of sight is not required for reading.
  • Multi-RFID readers are capable of reading multiple tags at once.
  • Readers don't require swiping or inserting cards. RFID cards, such as smart cards, can be contactless.


  • Can be encrypted.
  • RFID cards do not have mutual authentication, so anyone with a reader can read the key card's information if they are within range.
  • RFID cards are easy to clone.

4. Proximity Cards

Proximity cards are low-frequency RFID cards and badges like swipe cards. These are read-only, contactless cards or badges that can store limited information. A typical proximity card can be read from a distance of up to 15 inches (<50 cm). Their advantages, limitations, and the way they work are the same as RFID cards, except they don't require readers.

5. NFC Key Cards and Devices

Near Field Communication (NFC) Key Cards and Devices are contactless technology that allows for secure and convenient wireless communication between two NFC-enabled devices. Cards contain an NFC chip that can be read and stored using a smartphone that supports NFC. Because NFC works at a closer range than traditional RFID technology (less than 4cm), this lowers security risks that can become more significant at wider distances.


  • Can be read with NFC enabled smartphone or PC
  • Emulates access control cards.
  • High level of security since data exchange occurs only near two devices to each other.


  • Can be hacked if someone hacks into a phone or smartwatch.
  • Slower data transfer compared to Bluetooth, WiFi, and microprocessor-based, contactless smart cards.

6. Smart Cards

commercial key fob door entry systems

Smart cards are equipped with a microcontroller instead of an RFID interface, allowing them to be read from a distance of up to 4 inches (10 centimeters). They provide great versatility with 8k storage capacity and 8-bit computing power.

Smart cards are used for various uses that require enhanced security, such as banking, government IDs, passports, key cards, and fobs for entering secure locations. These cards can provide a higher level of information and communication security.


  • More secure than RFID and swipe cards due to encryption and mutual authentication features.
  • Provides touchless functionality.
  • Advanced types (such as optical cards) can store several MBs of data.


  • Can be expensive compared to other cards.
  • Due to the proprietary encryption used by these cards, they are tied to a specific card reader and provider. 

Types of Readers for Card and Key Fob Door Lock Systems

Commercial fob door entry systems are often referred to as smart locks due to their advanced technology, which allows them to be configured with various types of readers and locking mechanisms.

1. Keypad and PIN readers

For enhanced security, some access control systems use a combination of keypad readers and commercial key card door locks. Users must scan their key card or fob to gain entry and then enter a PIN code or passcode. This type of keyless locking system is convenient but requires users to remember a passcode and needs regular resetting to maintain building security.

2. RFID Proximity Key Fob Door Locks 

This type of keyless locking system uses a PIN code or passcode as the credential for convenience and security. Users will type in their code on a keypad to unlock the door. In areas with high security or restricted access, a combination of keypad access control readers and commercial key card door locks are sometimes used. This requires the user to scan their key card or fob and enter a passcode to gain entry.

3. Video Key Card Readers

Video key card readers let organizations view live video footage of each access event from its exact location. For the most efficient use of your funds, look for video and door intercom readers with high-resolution cameras that support all access methods, such as encrypted key cards, mobile credentials, and multi-technology support for both low- and high-frequency credentials.

4. Wireless Key Card Door Locks

A key card door lock is an electronic lock that tenants can open using a key card credential. Because they’ve been around for decades, key card locks are a popular keyless entry solution for commercial and multifamily buildings. Their function is identical to key fob door lock systems. The only difference is that tenants use a key card as a credential instead of a key fob. credential.

Benefits of Key Card Door Entry Systems for Your Business

key fob entry system for buildings

Numerous benefits can be attributed to commercial key card entry systems. Most people commonly think of security as the only advantage, but there are many more advantages for business owners.

Key Cards Increase Commercial Security

The safety of your employees and customers and your property's security are critical factors in every business. Commercial key fob door entry systems keep intruders outside your facility. They even allow you to restrict areas within your building to specifically authorized personnel only. This offers your business 24/7 protection against theft, vandalism, and other types of intrusion that may leave your business vulnerable.

Key Fobs Make Control Easier

A commercial key fob door lock system allows a business owner to control access to different areas within a building. Since fobs use wireless technology, it also enables tracking, adding an extra layer of security. You can monitor any employee or guest who has entered the building, which allows you to keep time-stamped records for better facility control.

Key Fob Systems Deliver High Efficiency

A key fob door entry system offers convenience and efficiency. The key fob can be coin-sized, or attached to an ID card. Fobs are easily reprogrammed, so if one is misplaced or an employee has left the company, they can be easily transferred to a different employee or guest.

Key Card Entry Systems Are Affordable

Traditional keys can get lost, duplicated, and vandalized. A key card access system allows for a safer and much more affordable security option for any business. Many commercial key fob door entry systems are affordable and hassle-free; in the long run, they are far superior in terms of cost.

Limitations of Key Fob Systems for Buildings

While card access and key fob security systems are affordable and sound choices for any commercial property, they are not without disadvantages.

Security Risks of Key Card Systems

Security Risks of Key Fobs

Key card systems are an increasingly popular form of security for businesses, hotels, and other establishments. However, they come with their own set of security risks. Key cards can be easily copied or stolen, allowing unauthorized individuals to gain access to a building. 

Additionally, if the security code is not regularly updated, they become outdated, reducing the effectiveness of the system. Furthermore, if the magnetic strip on the key card is damaged, it may no longer be able to open a door with the correct code. Because of these risks, it is important to regularly update security codes and replace any key cards that are damaged.

Key Cards Are Inconvenient to Use and Expensive to Manage

Key Fobs Systems

Keycard systems are generally considered inconvenient to use and expensive to manage due to their reliance on physical cards that require users to keep track of and replace when lost or stolen. Operating them also necessitates additional infrastructure, such as card readers, which can be costly to install and maintain. 

This system can be challenging to manage if it involves multiple locations or access points. It requires staff to monitor and control access to each site and replace lost or stolen cards, which can be time-consuming and costly. 

Key Card Door Access Systems Lack Scalability

Key Fob Systems Lack of Scalability

Managing multiple buildings is a challenge for legacy systems because they only operate inside a given network connection in a building. Key card systems cannot handle more than a few doors since they must run on the same network.

They are difficult to modify when changes need to be made to the system, such as adding or deleting users, changing access rights, or adding or removing doors. Additionally, key card systems are typically limited to one building or area, making them unable to be used across multiple locations. 

Finally, many of these systems are incompatible with other access control systems, making it difficult or impossible to integrate with existing systems.

How Much Does a Key Fob System for Buildings Cost?

Installing a key fob system for one door averages between $1,500 to $2,700. Naturally, the number of doors and entryways you wish to secure will affect the price. These systems also require professional installation, which is an added cost, so it's essential to contact a security specialist to get a more specific quote.

A key fob installation specialist costs anywhere from $50 to $400, depending on the make and model of the key fob door entry system. Their prices are calculated based on labor and the hardware and software of the system installed.

Keyless Alternatives to Key Card & Key Fob Entry Systems

Key cards aren't your only option if you want a keyless access control system. Some access control alternatives may be a better fit for your business. The following three are the most common keyless entry systems. 


A biometric device verifies a person's identity using their unique physical characteristics. These characteristics serve as the credential, which can be read from fingerprints, iris patterns, or other facial features. Biometric systems, specifically fingerprints, are not recommended for organizations looking to go touchless.

QR Codes

This system stores credentials in the form of a unique QR code. Once scanned, the reader will start the authentication process, and access is granted to the user upon confirmation. As QR codes are easily duplicated, sent, and/or copied, they should be used sparingly and/or updated regularly. For effective visitor management, QR codes are most helpful. You can provide visitors with one-time-use QR codes when they enter your building.

Mobile Credentials

Bluetooth or NFC technology transmits credentials from mobile devices to readers. They can be stored on mobile devices without buying an additional item. Both users and teams often favor a mobile access control system since phones are lost less often than cards, and credentials don't require a complete overhaul if compromised.

Commercial Key Fob Entry Systems: Final Thoughts

Commercial key card and door fob entry systems are unique tools to protect your building and staff. Not only can our professional team at Forbel install your key fob system, but we can also help you integrate several security solutions.

As security installers and text security system design consultations, we'll ensure your access control system works seamlessly. Over the years, we have made many buildings safer in Chicago and the Midwest. Contact us today.

Key Card and Key Fob Door Entry Systems: a Guide for Commercial Buildings

Key Card and Key Fob Door Entry Systems: a Guide for Commercial Buildings

Thinking about key fob entry system for your business? Learn all the basics of key cards and key fob door entry systems in our guide!

In 2020, Illinois became the 11th State in America to decriminalize recreational cannabis use. Facilities that grow, store, and sell cannabis are required by law to follow specific security regulations to ensure that their employees, customers, and their products are safe.

Security plan requirements for a marijuana dispensary will demand special planning to secure the facilities. Illinois cannabis security requirements must be followed to operate a marijuana dispensary in the State. We will attempt to break down cannabis security solutions to aid you in finding the information you may need.

Cannabis Dispensary Security​ in Illinois

Cannabis dispensary security plans are a minimal standardized requirement by the State, allowing dispensaries to operate freely. These measures must include the following:

  • Locked doors and barriers must be installed in the entrance to limit access to the premises to authorized personnel only.
  • Capacity control must be defined to regulate the right amount of people at any given time in the facility.
  • While the facility is operational, cannabis must be stored in enclosed cabinets behind lock and key and only accessible to authorized personnel.
  • When the dispensary is closed, the product must be stored in reinforced vaults, and access must be registered and restricted to prevent theft or loss.
  • Employees authorized to access the restricted vault must log the recorder on an electronic daily.
  • You must record what employees have the access code or combination lock codes to access the restricted vault area.
  • The firm must maintain access codes and locks in good condition.
  • It is important to ensure that no passwords or codes are leaked to individuals who have not authorized agents of the dispensary.
  • The security system must be functional 24/7.
  • Surveillance equipment must be installed and well-maintained, recording the inside and outside of the dispensary.

Restricted Access Areas at Cannabis Dispensaries

Cannabis security compliance is more than just following regulations. It ensures that your business, staff, customers, and product are secured. It is required to keep a log of all individuals who have access to restricted areas. The access codes and passwords must be tightly regulated and monitored daily with follow-up inventory logs to prevent and deter any criminal activity from taking place.

It is highly recommended for cannabis dispensaries also to have limits on the number of customers that can gain access to the premises at any given time to aid and facilitate the flow of people vs. the flow of products.

Cannabis dispensary

Security and Alarm at Cannabis Dispensaries

Hemp security plays an enormous role in the success of a cannabis dispensary. Having the right security plan and using adequate surveillance equipment is extremely important. Key elements of these security features are as follows:

  • Intrusion detection: A flashy digital alarm system will deter most criminals from attempting to steal a well-secured facility. Having intrusion detection at all exits can be especially helpful during off-hours when the dispensary is closed. The more bells and whistles you install, the less likely it is that your dispensary will fall victim to theft attempts.
  • Building security: Though most criminals may be scared away by a noisy alarm system, some professional thieves could see this as a challenge. It is not enough to ensure that your dispensary is locked up with an intrusion detection security system. Your dispensary is highly recommended to be as secure as a maximum-security facility to protect your product with electronic access control systems.
  • Security monitoring: Having a security company that remotely monitors activity at your cannabis dispensary and having a protocol in place that could help you get in touch with law enforcement rapidly and in real-time is a significant asset to ensuring your dispensary has that crucial layer of security it requires.
  • Panic button: A panic button is a critical security measure during the hours the cannabis dispensary is open. In the event of misfortune, an employee can press the panic button and alert the authorities.
  • Secure vault room: It is important to store excess merchandise in a safe vault room with more security to protect your product.

Video Surveillance at Cannabis Dispensaries

Cannabis security surveillance plays an essential role in a cannabis dispensary facility, and there are state-by-state requirements that must be adhered to for securing your dispensary lawfully. Security cameras in Illinois are a vital part of the whole security system required by the state for any dispensary. The video surveillance requirements are as follows:

  • Round-the-clock surveillance: There must be 24/7 surveillance. The firm must safeguard the footage for a minimum of 90 days.
  • Monitor size: The camera monitors must be equal to or greater than 19-inches to ensure that the video captured doesn’t have to be zoomed in too much when viewing in the event of an unfortunate incident.
  • Angled cameras: This is to capture the best footage that would aid in identifying individuals in case of an alleged crime.
  • Lighting: The camera covers areas must be well-lit day and night to allow for identification.
  • Unobstructed footage: when cameras record, they can see all the activity and that there are no blind spots that criminals could take advantage of in some instances.
  • Records: The footage must be time and date stamped. The dates and times must be accurate at all times.
  • Quality image: The camera used must have good zoom capabilities not to distort footage that may be needed in a case of an inquiry.
  • Power outage backup: It is important the cameras can still record even during power outages.
  • Immediate footage: Video footage must be easily accessed, transmitted, transferred, or printed to aid in investigations.

Cannabis Cultivation Security in Illinois

Cannabis grow facilities also require a certain level of security to be deemed lawfully operational as per the State of Illinois. A security plan that includes CCTV cameras and other security measures is a significant step in establishing a cannabis cultivation facility.

Cannabis security

CCTV for Cannabis Cultivation Security

Illinois marijuana cultivation centers need to adhere to a specified security plan that involves a regulated CCTV system with round-the-clock and seven days a week recording of the premises. The cameras also need to be functional during power outages.

The cameras must be in all areas of the cultivation center, including parking lots, storage areas, the farming area, offices, and any other areas affiliated with the center. The cameras must be placed at an angle to facilitate personnel identification, and their placement on the premises must be unobstructed.

The video footage must be transmitted onto a 12-inch or greater monitor, and there must be a 90-day backup of the footage. Cannabis security surveillance must be in a high-quality definition to aid in potential inquiries. The footage must be clear, and the surveillance system must have day and night capabilities to record the most accurate data.

The files must be easily backed up to be sent to the authorities during investigations. The recorded images must also display an accurate date and time stamp. There must be strict access control and restrictions to the surveillance operations room to ensure that no footage can be tampered with, manipulated, or erased.

Alarm system for Cannabis Cultivation Security

Cannabis security services in Illinois require marijuana cultivation centers to be up to date with the highest level of security to be deemed up to code. It is essential to have a cannabis security system to protect all exits, windows, and entry points and regulate access to authorized personnel. Areas that contain safes or storage areas must take additional precautions to ensure cannabis security compliance with the State’s regulations.

A Stealth duress alarm is a great way to protect your business in the event of an employee being forced to disarm the alarm system by force. A glass break protector alarm can ensure that if someone tries to break the windows at the facility, it will trigger an alarm. Panic button alarms must be installed throughout the facility in an unfortunate situation that may require the authorities to intervene.

A voice-activated alarm might also be a worthy investment in a cannabis cultivation center because these facilities tend to be larger, and triggering an alarm from a specific area might not always be possible during a crisis. Motion detectors must be placed on all the CCTV cameras to ensure all events are recorded before and after triggered alarms. A fire alarm and a carbon monoxide detector are essential elements of a marijuana security system plan.

Two additional factors must be considered when planning for this security system. Firstly, all systems must be compatible with each other to form a cohesive security strategy; secondly, it must send out a notification if one of these alarms is no longer functioning or has been tampered with. Cannabis grow facility requires the best security technology to protect your assets.

Cannabis Security services in Illinois

Marijuana cultivation and distribution is an ever-growing business with high opportunities for even more growth. If you are in that field or are planning to enter this field, you can trust your cannabis security solutions to professionals from Forbel who can guide you and help you build the most secure facility that follows the State of Illinois regulations. Contact us today!

Cannabis Security Requirements in Illinois

Cannabis Security Requirements in Illinois

In this article, we've put up the most necessary tools to ensure a high level of cannabis safety. Read further and find many valuable things for yourself!

A security system is a vital component of any business. It is no surprise that property managers, retail stores, and offices in Chicago are always looking for the most convenient and safest security system. The needs of most business owners often boil down to which is the best wired and wireless security system for their unique needs.

What Are the Types of Security Systems for Business?

What is a security system, you might ask, and why are we putting them up for debate as an important accessory for every business?

A security system is a device or set of devices designed to detect an intrusion or unauthorized access into a territory or workspace. Usually, they work by possessing sensors or alarms that will immediately inform their owners of intrusions.

Security devices are usually classified into the following types:

  • Access Control: Access control systems determine who may or may not gain entry into a commercial space. The data within these systems will be able to recognize certain sets of people and grant them authorized entry while any other person comes face to face with a locked door.
  • Security Cameras and Video Surveillance: Perhaps security cameras are the most common security systems you’ll find around. These systems monitor whatever is happening through video footage.
  • Alarm Systems: Alarm systems will blast off once they detect suspicious activity or any other kind of breach. They can be directly connected to doors or other areas that require high security.
  • Sensors: Sensors are installed on doors to detect when they are opened, closed, or left ajar. Business owners can use laser, infrared, or microwave sensors for more advanced security purposes.
  • Emergency and Fire Safety Systems: These are important security devices that can immediately alert people in the vicinity should a fire break out or an emergency event occur.
  • Cybersecurity Systems: With the world growing more digital and more information stored as computer data, cybersecurity systems might be the next big security system all businesses should consider. They protect digital data and prevent them from getting corrupted, stolen, or hacked. Examples of cybersecurity systems are data encryption, anti-virus software, and firewall protection.

What Is a Wired Commercial Security System?

Wired security system

A security system for commercial use could be wired or wireless. Wired security systems, such as wired security cameras, are connected from sensors to control panels using wires concealed in the wall or floor. They may also need to be connected to a power outlet to function.


  • Reliable: With wires to transmit signals from the sensor to the operating device, a wired security system hardly ever experiences interference caused by humans, the weather, or other forces, making data transmission more stable.
  • Perfect for Long-Term Business: Businesses in their permanent space could consider using a wired security system. The cable connection through walls is ideal for long-term use as they bring less risk of spoilage.
  • Ability to Support Large Systems: The bigger your store, office, or commercial property, the larger your security device will need to accommodate the size. Wired security systems are ideal for these types of settings.


  • Lack of Portability: A wired security system cannot be easily moved if the business relocates. It requires all the wires and cables to be disconnected and reconnected at the new facility.
  • Vulnerable to Electricity Shortages: Wired security systems are susceptible to power outages because of the wires and cables which require electrical currents to send signals from point to point.
  • Costly Installation: The installation fee for a wired security system is much greater than for wireless systems because the wires make the installation process more complex.

What Is a Wireless Commercial Security System?

Wireless technology has revolutionized the security field. Wireless security cameras require no hardwired connection. Instead, they are controlled through remote access and as a bonus they are less affected by power outages.


  • Scalable: Unlike a wired system, a wireless security system can easily scale to meet your business’ needs at every stage. For example, you could easily swap from a wired electronic access control security system to an intrusion detection system as your business requires.
  • Flexibility: Wireless systems allow you to move sensors easily, so you can always update which areas you want to secure more than others. This works when using video surveillance, intrusion detection, and electronic access control systems.
  • Smarter: Wireless security systems are more compatible with cutting-edge technology; they often offer more advanced features that some wired security systems may not be able to offer.
  • Quick Installation: The installation process for wireless security systems tends to be much simpler than wired systems because there are no cables to be run through the commercial property, which also reduces installation fees.


  • Prone to Interference: wireless security systems and sensors rely on radio frequency and are vulnerable to interference which can cause failures.
  • Limited Range: As flexible as these systems are, they are limited by distance, so this kind of security solution may be acceptable for small or medium-sized businesses but could be problematic for larger commercial spaces.
  • Vulnerable to Hackers: All wireless technology is at risk of hacking. Burglars can jam the wireless systems, preventing the wireless alarm system from going off. There are solutions to these problems, such as complicated passwords and strong encryption, to make hacking more challenging.

Are Home Security Systems and Commercial Security Systems the Same?

Wireless alarm system

While differences may not be obvious, home and commercial security systems are not the same. They both have the same basic function of ensuring security and alerting intrusions. However, certain features make them more applicable for home or business use than the other.

Most home security systems are cheaper motion detectors with fewer persons to recognize for entry authorization. On the other hand, business security cameras and other detected systems are costlier with higher functions.

Despite their differences, they also have some features in common. A home or commercial security system may be wired or wireless, depending on preference and suitability. Also, they both allow video surveillance, but video recordings are prohibited in private spaces like bedrooms and bathrooms, while audio recordings are not allowed in public spaces.

Wired vs. Wireless Security System: Which One Is Right for Your Business?

When you own a business, a security camera is required to safeguard and preserve your investment. There are many advantages and disadvantages to both wired and wireless alarm systems. Which one to choose depends greatly on your type of commercial property and your business's needs.

When choosing a security system, the most reliable choice is a hybrid solution. Hybrid security solutions are an effective measure to get the best of both worlds. Combining a hardwired security system as a backup to a wireless security system is the ultimate way to protect your commercial building.


Forbel knows all business owners want to have a hands-on approach to protecting their commercial property. It is important to have a partner who can guide you and find the right security solution for your business.

A wired or wireless alarm system can be a hard decision to make. For security solutions in Chicago, we offer you a helping hand in navigating this important decision to protect your investment, staff, customers, property, and business. Just contact us today!

Wired vs. Wireless Commercial Security System: Which One to Choose?

Wired vs. Wireless Commercial Security System: Which One to Choose?

Pay attention and check out more about the wired and wireless commercial security system in our new blog and find the most suitable decision for your business.

Marijuana dispensaries and cannabis grow facilities are becoming an ever-growing presence in the Chicago marketplace. This industry’s success relies heavily on strict cannabis security. It is a highly profitable industry that appeals to consumers and operators alike.

Marijuana industries must lay out a detailed business plan that includes cannabis security solutions to protect the business and its customers. With large amounts of product and cash, these businesses must adhere to local regulations to prevent abuses or crimes and ensure that the business grows successfully.

Cannabis Security Compliance

Few industries are required to adhere to strict security guidelines, but the cannabis industry falls under this category. Non-compliance with these security measures can be subject to legal penalties.

Federal Regulations for Cannabis Security

As of recently, there are still no federal regulations regarding cannabis grow facilities, cannabis storage facilities, or marijuana dispensaries because the government hasn’t yet legalized the use of cannabis products on a federal level.

The fact that there are no federal regulations may seem that operating in the cannabis industry on a state-by-state level is easier, but this is just an illusion. Adherence to cannabis security is still a serious matter in the eyes of the state.

State Regulations for Cannabis Security

The cannabis grows industry and marijuana dispensaries are subject to state regulations, and each state has a different array of laws and regulations required for this industry. It is essential to be well-versed in these requirements before embarking on this business venture. For example, Chicago cannabis requirements will widely differ from other states. These regulations must be followed on an individual state level.

Security plans for cannabis facilities

Cannabis grow facility

Cannabis security is an important part of the industry. There are different needs for cannabis grow facilities versus storage facilities versus marijuana dispensaries. Because of the diverse needs of cultivation and sales, unique security plans must be put in place.

Each facility must devise its security plan to adhere to the state’s regulations while still catering to its needs. The size of the business and the number of buildings must also play an intricate role when designing the right security plan.

Security for cannabis grow facility

Marijuana farming plays a key role in the cannabis industry for obvious reasons. The cannabis cultivation industry often overlooks security measures because of its remote location and the limit of people that access the site. However, because they grow a product that is highly sought after and valuable, they must adhere to the regulations to prevent theft or damage to the facility or the product.

A strict security plan can ensure that the cannabis grows facility avoids unnecessary legal entanglements. Security restrictions and close monitoring are essential to ensure that the cannabis grows facility prospers.

Security for cannabis dispensaries

A marijuana dispensary is a great start-up with a high revenue stream. However, this fast-paced and ever-growing industry is at high risk for theft because of its revenues. The risk of theft or robberies is significant in marijuana dispensaries, and this means having a heightened level of security for these distribution centers is essential.

A security plan for a dispensary must be thoroughly designed to protect the customers, staff, product, and overall business from all threats that it may face. A dispensary security system must include security cameras and door access restrictions to ensure everyone’s safety and prevent crimes from occurring.

Security for other cannabis facilities

The core of the cannabis industry lies with the marijuana farms and dispensaries, which is why they require a level of security that is superior to most other types of businesses. However, cannabis cultivation and marijuana dispensaries aren’t the only businesses that must adhere to stricter security regulations.

Any storage facility or transportation company connected to the cannabis grow facility or dispensary must align itself with the state regulations and adhere to the same cannabis security directives that involve the entire cannabis industry especially, its manufacturing and distribution.

Cannabis Security Solutions

The cannabis industry is a lucrative enterprise, but with that also comes many security risks. Security solutions must be put in place to ensure that no criminal activity is connected to your facility through theft of merchandise or money.

Video Surveillance for cannabis security

Cannabis security

Video surveillance for cannabis security plays a pivotal role in the set of requirements to lawfully operate a marijuana business. It doesn’t matter what type of cannabis facility you have. The regulations must be followed.

Cannabis security systems with cameras allow you to keep track of every aspect of your day-to-day business dealings within the cannabis industry. It is not only about compliance with state regulations but a way for you to ensure the constant prosperous growth of your business while detouring theft or other criminal acts from occurring.

Illinois State requirements for video surveillance for cannabis security are as follows:

  • The Illinois regulations require a 90-day video storage retention for storage.
  • The frame rate for the camera is eight frames per second to make sure that the video footage is clear enough to identify faces and even license plates.
  • All recordings must be date and time-stamped.
  • Clear photo stills can be captured from the video footage in the event of an investigation.
  • All cameras must be connected to the internet and be accessible to law enforcement in case of an incident.
  • The placement of the cameras must be unobstructed so that there must be no blind spots.

Access Control for cannabis security

Access control for marijuana businesses is a key element of the cannabis security requirements. Access control for this industry is far more reaching than just keypads or keycards. These updated access control systems will allow you to monitor and restrict access to sensitive areas and give you complete control of the premises and the amount of access each employee gets within the facility.

These types of security measures will reduce theft and vandalism. There are different types of access control: cloud-based, which allows you to monitor access remotely via the internet, and mobile-based, which enables you to use a mobile device to control access.

Access control for cannabis security is crucial in successfully maintaining a facility. The different access control methods include keypads, keycards, biometric fingerprint or iris, smartphones. Access monitoring is as important as a tool for cannabis security as security cameras. It is an integral part of the security system.

Intrusion Detection for cannabis security

Intrusion detection services for cannabis security will enhance your security system to comply with the state’s regulations fully. In addition, IDS will ensure that if there is an attempted break-in or intrusion of any kind, the sensors will be able to alert you, the right personnel, and even involve the authorities if the case is severe enough.

This is an ultimate addition to your cannabis security to ensure that everything from the cannabis grows facility, storage, testing lab, transportation, and marijuana dispensary will function safely under the proper regulations and requirements stated by the State of Illinois.


Cannabis security compliance is of the utmost importance when designing a security system for your cannabis facility. Entrust your business into the hands of professionals from Forbel, a leading commercial security company, who knows what kind of system is best for you and what the regulations require. Contact us for more information.

Cannabis Security Guide for Dispensaries & Grow Facilities

Cannabis Security Guide for Dispensaries & Grow Facilities

In this article, we've prepared a guide for successful business growth, containing the peculiarities of industry rules and the ensure of cannabis security.

A commercial door buzzer system is an indispensable tool for any type of business. This type of system will allow you to manage the access of your commercial property in real-time and will allow your employees better knowledge of who is standing at the door before they even knock or ring a doorbell. This allows you to ensure that whenever your office, store, or warehouse needs to be locked it will be locked, however, it can also be opened remotely if need be. Property management is key to a successful business enterprise, please read on for a detailed guide on how this technological marvel can enhance your business practices.

What Is a Commercial Door Buzzer System?

A commercial buzzer system is a building entry system that allows staff inside the building to screen guests and visitors before granting them access to the premises. This is an important part of the day-to-day mechanism that allows a building to remain secure and ensures safety for the employees and visitors alike. Property management and commercial security for businesses rely heavily on a commercial buzzer system.


There are many types and brands of commercial door buzzer systems on the market today, but the basic components of buzzer entry systems are common across the board. The general idea is that there is hardware on the outside and hardware on the inside. The outer hardware usually consists of a buzzer with which the guests will press like a doorbell, and this will then be answered by a person within the building who will subsequently press another button which will then open the door allowing the guest access to the building.

  • Camera: This feature will allow the tenants to be able to see the person requesting access at the door.
  • Mobile applications: Many commercial buzzer systems these days will be linked to an app allowing for remote opening of the door by a tenant using their smartphone or tablet.
  • Cloud-based software: This paired with a commercial door buzzer allows property management to safeguard data on the cloud and manage access control remotely.


Cost of a commercial door buzzer system

The cost of a commercial door buzzer system ranges from $1,000 to $10,000 but this fee is subject to change depending on the type of commercial door buzzer you purchase. For example, the price will significantly vary whether you purchase a wired or wireless system. Also, the total price will depend on the infrastructure of the property the buzzer is being installed on because the above-mentioned fee does not include installation charges which will vary from installer to installer. Then it is also important to consider monthly software fees that will be added for the more hi-tech systems that are cloud-based which are also not included in the above-mentioned price range because that will depend on your network provider. These are considerations to weigh before deciding on the type of commercial door buzzer that your business will require.

Types of Commercial Door Buzzers

There are 2 main categories of commercial door buzzer systems:

  • Wired: This means that wirings are involved in the hardware of the buzzer system and that these types of buzzer systems are the more traditional types that we see today outside of most apartment buildings.
  • Wireless: These types of buzzer systems are more cutting edge, advanced, and are cloud-based which allow for more flexible usage of the intercom system.

But within these 2 categories there are 3 types of commercial door buzzer systems:

  • Door buzzer system with access reader: These types of door buzzers are very convenient for commercial uses because they don’t just allow employees within a building to grant access to the visitors, but they allow all staff and people with authorized credentials such as fob cards or keycards to press them against the access reader to enter a building.
  • Commercial buzzer system with a camera: This enables the person within the building to see who is at the door before granting them access. There are 2 subtypes of these commercial door buzzers: one with a one-way camera or a 2-way camera. The one-way camera means that the person on the inside can see who is at the door, but the guest cannot see who is on the inside.
  • Smartphone or tablet enabled door buzzer system: This type of door buzzer is compatible with smartphones and tablets and allows tenants to grant access to the building via apps on their smartphone or tablet devices.

The wireless commercial buzzer system is a system as the name suggests which allows people on the outside and the inside to communicate via radio waves or Wi-Fi. This system will use smartphones or tablets to allow the people on the inside to grant access to the guests.

Whether you are looking into getting a wired or wireless commercial door buzzer it is important to note that wired systems tend to be more expensive since the installation and wiring of the buildings can be complex which will affect the price. However, wired systems don’t rely on Wi-Fi which makes them indispensable, especially in areas where Wi-Fi may not be as accessible.

It is important to remember that a commercial door buzzer system is put in place to ensure the safety of the property and the employees. Security buzzer systems alert property management if someone tries to breach the premises while not being granted access. This feature can play an important role in any business’ security system. Some of these can even alert the authorities in the event of a crisis.

How Does It Work?


A commercial buzzer system consists of hardware on the outside of the door entrance which would allow a guest to press a button and request access to the building. In many cases such as apartment buildings or office buildings, there can be a wide range of buttons to press depending on who you are visiting in the building. The other component is the hardware on the inside which would allow the tenant or employee to press another button to grant the visitor access. There are many variations of these types of buzzers which may require additional components such as intercoms or video cameras either one-way or two-way depending on the level of security that the building requires. It is key to remember that when it comes to an efficient commercial door buzzer communication is important. Technology has advanced leaps and bounds since the advent of the crude and basic intercom system which offers businesses a wide range of systems with different levels of security depending on the individual needs of each business. It is noteworthy to remember that if you choose a cloud-based or wireless commercial door buzzer that you have great access to Wi-Fi.

Benefits of Door Buzzer System for Business

Business door buzzer entry systems have evolved so much with the rise of technology. The security field is one of the arenas which has been well-served thus far by hi-tech progress. These days, businesses have access to all the tools and knowledge to ensure prosperous growth without fear. Commercial buzzer systems offer peace of mind that is priceless to all business owners but that is only one advantage. Let’s look at many more benefits that a commercial door buzzer system can offer your business:

  1. Reduce insurance fees: Having in place a security system or even just a door buzzer can lower your annual insurance fees.
  2. Reduce the risk of theft or vandalism: This is also an important benefit of a commercial door buzzer system.
  3. Protect your employees: We live in uncertain times and protecting one’s employees is a priority for every business owner.
  4. Restrict access: Commercial door buzzers can also allow you to restrict sensitive areas of your commercial property.
  5. Monitoring: Many entry buzzers today come equipped with security cameras which would enable 24/7 monitoring.
  6. Alert buzzer: There are many entry buzzers today that also come equipped with a panic button which would allow staff to quickly alert authorities in the event of a crisis.

All these benefits cannot be overlooked when thinking of the safety of your property. A business is an investment and being able to control access to the premises and therefore protect your property and your staff will enable you to protect your investment.


The benefits of commercial door buzzers are limitless but finding the perfect one that will suit your business may seem a bit overwhelming with all the different options on the market. Wired or wireless? A buzzer with or without a camera? Forbel here to help, please contact our experts who will help you find the right fit and setup that will protect your property, staff, and clients. It is time to buzz in the future.

Commercial Door Buzzer Systems - Guide for Business Owners

Commercial Door Buzzer Systems - Guide for Business Owners

What is a commercial door buzzer system and what does it include? How does it work in offices and other buildings? Let's find out information from this article!

Parking lots are a common place for violent crimes- in fact, they rank in the top 3 locations where most severe criminal activity occurs. Parking lots also tend to be darker places where vehicles can obstruct visibility to people within the lot.

Parking lot video surveillance is an extremely important investment for any business that offers its customers and staff a parking solution. It must be a place that is safe to use because businesses attached to a parking lot where a crime occurs may be liable. First and foremost, safety is key; then protecting your business from liability suits; finally, a parking lot security camera system can also reduce your costs for insurance in the long run.

The Importance of CCTV Cameras in Parking Lots

Parking lots are soft targets when it comes to crime. Thieves will seek out parking lots that are poorly lit and not well-equipped with CCTV cameras to strike. The importance of CCTV cameras in parking lots can’t be overstated.

Crime prevention is extremely important in areas such as parking lots. Having strategically placed CCTV cameras will deter the criminals. Car theft is a grave concern for criminal activity in parking lots, but security cameras can prevent theft and also a slew of other criminal activities.

A parking lot surveillance camera system can also be used to offer evidence once a crime has been committed, which is why the quality of the footage must be of the highest importance. Grainy, dark, unrecognizable footage may not be enough to identify the criminals.

CCTV Cameras in Parking Lots

Types of Parking Cameras

There are many features and types of parking lot security cameras that are on the market today. To ensure that your lot is safe from illicit activities, it is pivotal to choose the right option that will enhance security and reassure your patrons that they and their property are safe. Two of the principal options are the traditional analog CCTV camera and the more modern NVR camera which uses Ethernet and IP technology to record footage.

The CCTV analog camera sends video using a cable to a VCR or DVR recorder and footage can then be viewed and kept for evidence purposes. The recording space for these cameras is limited depending on the space on the VCR or DVR device.

IP cameras, on the other hand, are digital cameras that send a signal via an Ethernet cable to a network for storage.

These days, the more popular options tend to incorporate both analog and digital components for a hybrid security solution.

What to Look for When Choosing CCTV Cameras for Parking

CCTV cameras for parking lots are crucial tools to ensure safety. There are many factors to consider before investing in a parking lot security camera system to minimize the costs while optimizing security standards.


The parking lot surveillance camera system must be weatherproof since most parking lots are either outdoor or underground. Similarly to typical outdoor cameras, they must come equipped with a weatherproof cover or casing. This can keep moisture, dirt, or dust from damaging the internal components of the camera and therefore protect the integrity of the footage.

Motion Sensor

When choosing parking lot cameras, it is important to choose ones that have motion detector sensors that will either start recording or zooming in when the sensors are activated either by a loud change in volume or a sudden shift in temperature or a change in movement.

Motion detection cameras can be programmed to be triggered by a variety of things. Here are a few to consider when programming a parking lot camera:

  • When cars arrive or leave
  • When flood lights turn on
  • When an alarm is triggered

Having a motion detector built-in your parking lot security camera system set to only record when triggered can be useful when evidence is needed, or footage needs to be reviewed. This can save time, money, and space.

Night Vision

Parking lots tend to be equally busy day and night, but enhanced security may be needed during the darker periods of the day because that is typically when theft, vandalism, or any other illicit activity is more likely to occur.

Night vision features in CCTV cameras allow them to record footage in low light or no light conditions while not disrupting the image quality during light conditions or daylight hours. Night vision cameras come equipped with infra-red LEDs to ensure that no matter what time of day it is your parking lot will be safe. This is a prime feature for any parking lot video surveillance system.


Choosing CCTV Cameras for Parking

Footage quality can be valuable, especially when the footage is used as evidence. Because parking lots are ranked as high crime targets, it is important to invest in a high-resolution security camera. Unfortunately, the higher the resolution, the higher the price.

Can you put a price on security? Resolution is calculated by pixel dimensions (p); For security cameras, it is recommended to get a camera of 1440p or more for best image quality. Cameras with high resolution are a must for parking lots. However, if your parking lot is in a secure, low-crime area then perhaps a lower resolution camera can be acceptable.

Analog or Digital

There are major advantages and disadvantages to both types of CCTV cameras, whether it is an analog or digital IP CCTV camera system. This is the reason why more sophisticated security systems today use a hybrid system comprising both types of cameras.

Analog CCTV cameras send a signal to a DVR device using a coaxial cable and eventually, it is stored on a hard drive. This method is useful in on-site security monitoring. An IP security camera records the footage digitally and then it is stored on a computer network and can be accessed anytime from anywhere.


Camera placement is essential to ensure that you get the most out of your parking lot surveillance camera system. With the constant flow of cars coming and leaving a parking lot, tracking vehicles and interactions can be challenging.

Therefore, it is optimal to refer to a professional camera company that can have their experts guide you in the best placement for your video surveillance to make sure your parking lot is safe and secure.


Many factors can influence the cost of a parking lot security camera system. The number of cameras, the placement of the cameras, the type of cameras, etc. It is noteworthy to remember that security is a priority for any business or property owner and this includes parking lot managers especially.

High-quality parking lot cameras are essential to ensure safety and security for all the people that use the parking lot. It is important to always trust an expert because not all high-priced cameras will be the best suited for your parking lot.


Commercial parking lots must be safe places. A CCTV surveillance camera system is an important tool to ensure that everyone who parks their car in your lot feels protected and secure.

Do not hesitate to contact us. Our experts eagerly await to help you design a security system for your commercial parking lot that will keep your guests safe whilst keeping trouble at bay.

Parking Lot Video Surveillance - Guide for Property Owners

Parking Lot Video Surveillance - Guide for Property Owners

Buildings usually have more than one door, and to be able to secure your building fully, you must ensure that all entryways are protected equally. A multi-door access control system allows a property owner or manager to secure and manage all entry points into the building for maximum security.

What Is a Multi Door Access Control System?

Multi door access control systems allow for property managers to manage access points to multi-unit buildings with the use of 1 system for all doors. This is especially pertinent for commercial facilities such as hotels, hospitals, university campuses, government buildings, and large office buildings. There are many types of multi-door access control systems, but their components are generally the same:

  • Credentials: Access cards, fobs, mobile devices. Fingerprints and other forms of credentials.
  • Access reader: A component that will read the credentials and grant access.
  • Access control buzzer: For guests without credentials, to allow them to request access.
  • Electric lock hardware: a security mechanism that will keep the doors locked unless access was granted, or the right credential was submitted.
  • Access controllers within the buildings.

Multi Door vs Single Door Access Control

Single-door access control systems consist of one reader that is connected to one door. This means that the reader will only manage the access for that one location. These systems are usually smaller, however, up to 4 doors can be added onto that system, but it means that the reader will need to be reprogrammed. IP wireless technologies or Ethernet can be used to add on these additional doors.

On the other hand, multi-door systems provide a more centralized approach allowing better and easier access management for all entry points into the building. This kind of system will either use an on-site computer that will control all access or a cloud-based system that will utilize mobile apps and the web to allow you more comprehensive access control management. Multi-door systems are a flexible and secure method of protecting all entries, gates, and garages from unauthorized access attempts.

What Features to Look for When Choosing a Multi-Door Access Control System

Choices are abundant when it comes to multiple door access control systems and finding the one that will suit your business’ needs can seem complicated but let’s break down some of these to get a clearer picture.

Mobile App

Systems with mobile apps are a great option for buildings that require many people to have access, it allows staff or tenants to enter a building using an app on their phone, therefore eliminating keys, key cards, or fobs. This also allows for flexibility for granting access remotely even though nobody is in the building.


Cloud-based access control systems

Cloud-based access control systems allow property managers and staff to manage access with an off-site system. This system does not require additional storage space or in-person monitoring since everyone with credentials can access the system online.

Visitor Management

It is important when choosing an entry system that the visitors are not forgotten. A business priority is the guests that it attracts. Entry systems must be able to conveniently cater to the demands of individuals who don’t have credentials to be able to request access comfortably.


A multi-door access control system is incomplete without the video feature. A video entry system allows the people inside the building to see who is at the door before granting them access.

Touchless Access

Keyless access control systems have risen in popularity since Covid-19. It is a convenient feature to allow people to access the property with a touchless feature such as a smartphone.


Choose a multi-door access control system that has integration features that are compatible with the other security systems in the building. This ensures better management, and with wireless technologies, you can manage your systems online or via an app.


Forbel is a highly experienced security systems integrator. Contact us for the design and installation of a multi-door access control system on your commercial property. Isn’t it time to step into the future? Contact our access control specialists who will help you find the perfect multi-door access control system that will best suit your property.

Multi Door Access Control System - Guide for Property Owners

Multi Door Access Control System - Guide for Property Owners

In this article, we will take a closer look at what is multi-door access control systems and their features that will help secure your commercial property.

There is no denying the simple fact that violence is rising in our society. Schools are a particularly sensitive environment where emotions and tensions can arise amongst youths. This can sometimes escalate into dangerous behaviors such as bullying - which is becoming an increasingly widespread problem in schools worldwide.

The old days of locked doors and security personnel no longer measure up to the challenges the students, teachers, and staff encounter on school grounds. There are many pros of security cameras in schools; mainly they allow us to monitor schools in a way that would ensure the sanctity of these teaching environments in a way that the more outdated methods no longer satisfy.

Importance of Surveillance Cameras in Schools

Many people will ask, why do schools need video surveillance? There are many advantages of having security cameras on school grounds, especially, but not exclusively, in public schools. Here are some advantages:

  • Deter crime: In general, security cameras, just by their presence, have been shown to deter criminals in a variety of situations. This will prevent crime and ensure that students, their visiting families, the staff, and teachers will all feel safe on school campuses.
  • Monitor and enforce school rules and procedures: This is an efficient way to make sure that all safety rules on school grounds are being followed.
  • Provide evidence: In unfortunate cases, CCTV footage can be used as evidence.
  • Reduce security costs: In the long term, a surveillance system will be less expensive than a round-the-clock team of security personnel.
  • Reduce stress: Schools must promote a safe learning environment.

Places to Install

Security Camera in class

School cameras are usually placed in common areas that do not infringe on the students’ right to privacy. Putting cameras in bathrooms or changing areas is illegal. The places where cameras should be placed are as follows:

  • School grounds
  • Parking lots
  • All exits
  • Outside play areas or lounge areas
  • Outdoor playing fields
  • Hallways
  • All inner doors and entryways
  • Classrooms
  • Cafeterias
  • Libraries
  • Gyms
  • Office areas

When it comes to school safety it is paramount to not underestimate troublemakers who will look for blind spots in a school’s surveillance and attempt to circumvent it. Security cameras are only as good as their positions - it is important to build a school security system that is flexible and can easily be adjusted or upgraded as the needs arise.

Best Types of Security Camera Systems for Schools

In a perfect world, there would be no need for schools to have security cameras. However, in today’s climate schools must invest in the safety and well-being of their students.

All schools are different in size and layout so finding the right security system set-up is key to ensuring a safe learning environment. Many types of security cameras can aid schools so it's important to find the right solution.

Bullet Security Cameras

Surveillance cameras in schools must be mounted in the perfect area to capture the most footage possible. Bullet security cameras are great for exits, doors, outdoor areas, and parking lots because they are highly visible, and their presence often deters any suspicious activity. However, their flexibility is limited, and they only record in one direction which translates to many blind spots that can pose a risk.

Dome Security Cameras

Dome camera in school

An advantage to having CCTV cameras in school is that they can monitor students discreetly. The dome security camera has a dark covering around which makes it less visible than bullet cameras, so it is perfect for indoor areas. Dome cameras are flexible and can rotate to record footage. They are also less intimidating and intrusive which makes them an optimal choice.

PTZ Security Cameras

PTZ school surveillance cameras can pan and tilt automatically, which means they would be commonly installed in wide areas, but not exclusively. The pan-tilt-zoom camera is highly flexible, and its zoom feature is an indispensable tool in any school’s security system.

Similar to the dome camera, it is inconspicuous, allowing for non-threatening monitoring of students, staff, and teachers. The zoom features allow this camera to track motion and record footage that can be conveniently used for evidentiary purposes in the event of a school incident.


The question many people ask themselves: should schools have security cameras? The answer is simple: yes. Security cameras should not be seen as invasive, but rather as a comforting force for good to ensure that every student that attends can enjoy their scholastic experience. Make your schools a safe space for your children and contact us today.

Advantages of Security Cameras in Schools

Advantages of Security Cameras in Schools

School safety is very important. Find out how security cameras can help with it!

When it comes to installing an intercom system for your apartment complex, there are many options to choose from, but it will come down to whether you want an intercom system with electric strike locks or magnetic locks.

Every building is unique, and every apartment building has different needs. It’s important to examine the differences before making a decision on which type of lock will best suit you and your tenants’ needs.

What Are Electric Locks?

Electric locks, also known as electric strikes, are electromechanical door locking device that uses mechanical locks and electronic devices to lock and unlock doors. Electric strikes are used with locking devices such as locksets or panic bars; they are replacing the lock strike plate on the inside of doors.

Electricity supplies the power which allows the electric strike to function by latching or locking in place until the lock is released. Typically, electric locks only secure the outside of the door, allowing people to open it freely from the inside.

Door With Electric Lock

How Does It Work?

An electric strike device will replace the metal plate attached to a door to lock it. The electric strike’s surface moves away from the direction of the latch to unlock a door. Provided it has received the proper signal, this enables the door to be unlocked from the outside without needing to use a doorknob. The door can then be opened for a guest from the inside.

The door can also be unlocked from the outside using: keypads, electronic keycards, fob readers, and other wireless sensors. The lock or panic hardware is a stand-alone device that connects to the electric strike independently of the electric lock; in the event of any electrical failure, the door can still be opened from the inside by turning the door handle or pushing a touchpad button on the panic hardware.

This is a feature of the fail-safe function for these types of locks. Most electric strikes can be set to either fail-safe or fail-secure, depending on the application of the electric lock.


Electric locks are a perfect choice for any commercial building, banks, warehouses, apartment buildings, hotels, long-term care facilities; any building which needs to monitor its access will benefit from this type of lock.

  • Security: Because access must be granted, it provides a high level of protection.
  • Easy to install: The electric locks are mounted onto the door which makes installation easy and fast.
  • Affordable to install: Because it’s easy and takes less time to install, this reduces the installation expenses.
  • Convenient: Once the electric lock is connected to a wireless system, anyone can open the door remotely.


Before installing an electric strike, certain things must be considered:

  • Professional installation: Due to the complexity of the installation, a professional is required.
  • Compatibility: You must check that your lock and door will be compatible with the strike.
  • Visibility: It is easily visible therefore, it can be tampered with if not secured.
  • Don’t lose keycards: They are expensive to replace.

What Are Electromagnetic Locks?

Electromagnetic locks are also known as maglocks. They use a coil assembly that becomes magnetized when electricity passes through it. The magnetic field with the electronic controls locks and unlocks the door. Maglocks are fail-safe by design which means the doors are unlocked, and electrical power is required to lock them.

Electromagnetic Locks

How Does It Work?

The two main components of an electromagnetic lock are the armature plate and the magnet. The armature plate is essentially a piece of steel attached to the frame or the door itself, depending on where the maglock itself will be installed.

The plate will be perfectly fitted to the magnet to ensure that there are no gaps. There will be a smaller magnet called a thrusting magnet that will be installed into the armature plate which, when electrical pressure is applied, will de-energize the other magnet and unlock the door.


There are many benefits to electromagnetic locks, and they are especially useful in places such as office buildings and hotels. Let’s look at some of the benefits:

  • Easy to install: most contractors can install this.
  • Convenient: no keycards or other attachments are required which also saves you money in the long run.
  • Access control: They can be locked and unlocked at certain times.
  • Durability: Maglocks are almost unaffected by wear and tear.
  • Safety: In case of emergencies, the doors unlock, paramount in the case of a fire.


To consider when installing maglocks:

  • Expensive: Commercial-grade maglocks can be costly because they are sophisticated and powerful.
  • Reliant on electricity: Without power, the doors remain unlocked, not secured.
  • Backup battery required: In the event of a power outage or electrical failure.

Key Differences Between Electric Door Strike vs Magnetic Lock

Now let’s take a deeper dive into electric strike vs maglock and examine the differences:

  • Functionality: Both are powered by electricity, but the electric strike lock needs electricity to lock and unlock the doors whilst a maglock only needs an electrical current to lock the door.
  • Power fail-modes: In the event of a fire, maglocks are a safer option for they will remain unlocked whilst electric locks will need to be manually opened, which can pose a risk to life. On the other hand, if the maglock door must remain locked during a power failure, it will require a backup battery.
  • Installation: A maglock can be installed by any contractor, and this brings down the cost of installation whilst the electric lock will require a specialized contractor because the installation may require passcodes, keycards, or other methods which can bring up the cost of the installation.
Electric Unlock


Electric strike vs maglock is determined by the needs of your business, what locks to install depends entirely on what the door will be used for. You can contact us at Forbel and we will guide you in finding the best-suited locks to protect what matters to you.

Electric Strikes vs Maglocks: What’s the Difference?

Electric Strikes vs Maglocks: What’s the Difference?

Let's take a closer look at how electric strikes and magnetic locks differ from each other and what is better to choose for your business.

We are no longer looking to the future, we are living the future now. Due to the pandemic, the way we see security and access has forever been changed and it has propelled us more and more into the futuristic world of tomorrow. There are astonishing trends lined up for 2022 and it is sure to be the most exciting year in the access control technology world yet.

Mobile Access Control

Mobile technology has revolutionized every aspect of our lives: the way we eat, the way we meet people, the way we travel, the way we shop, and especially, the way we enter our homes. Virtual keys are increasingly replacing physical keys or key cards for homes, buildings, shops, and numerous amounts of commercial buildings and properties as well.

Access control technology will continue to advance over the years until it becomes the most popular way to enter our dwellings, and coupled with smart technology, it’s only a matter of time. This is, after all, the decade of mobile technology.

Cloud-Based Security

Cloud-based computing is constantly growing, almost like its own universe expanding in size as more and more information is floating into cyberspace. The cloud requires low infrastructure investments whilst offering many advantages to our daily lives, and especially, to businesses.

In the access control security field, cloud-based technology is growing widely with more and more access controls moving to virtual modes such as smartphones, tablets, biometric access controls, and so on, replaced by and large the physical key cards.

The kind of security that was once only reserved for high security facilities is increasingly becoming the norm in private homes and commercial buildings of all kinds. In the upcoming years, we will see cloud-based access controls changing our lives in every way, allowing us to store even more data over time.

Cloud-Based Security

Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication, also known as MFA, is becoming more and more prevalent, especially since 2020, with an increasing number of employees working from home rather than the office. MFA protects information by requiring 2 or more factors to identify whether a person can access certain data.

This has become progressively more visible as an access control trend. To enter a premise, a person needs to show or offer 2 or more types of identification before gaining access. An example of this in the access control world would be needing to use a smartphone and a fingerprint to gain entry.

Touchless Access

Even before the coronavirus, touchless everything was becoming a popular trend. Fewer people than ever would rather not have to press buttons or touch public doors to swipe keycards. Proximity card readers for access control systems are the access control trend of the decade.

In the near future, touching door handles or pressing elevator buttons will seem like an unnecessary risk. This technology is becoming less expensive and is therefore taking the access control security world by storm.

Biometric Access Control

Biometric access controls read biological data from humans to identify whether we are granted access or not. This is not just one of the most convenient access controls, but also the one that features the highest security level.

These readers will identify people using a variety of methods, most commonly fingerprint and iris recognition. This makes areas with a lot of foot traffic easy and fast to control such as doors, turnstiles, and elevators. This is the future of security technology and will become more popular in the next few years.

Biometric access controls

Subscription-Based Access control solutions

From Microsoft office to Netflix subscriptions, technology has set a stage where buying goods and services online has become as easy as possible. In the access control security world, cloud-based services offer enormous innovative packages at nominal monthly fees that allow any business to focus on their day-to-day and let the professionals monitor security remotely.

This allows for more control and flexibility for businesses when it comes to security solutions. This future security technology is available today and many industries are already taking advantage of it.

Integrations and Hybrid Solutions

The abilities that technological advancements have given us in recent decades are astounding. Nothing has revolutionized our world more than being able to connect devices to applications, data, files across the cloud, and back into the real world.

Hybrid integrated platforms, also known as a HIP, have paved the road to access control security due to the ease with which they let us communicate with devices and share data. Integrated control technology and access control systems walk hand in hand to ensure that we will enter a safer future.

Video access control

This is the most popular access control trend that we have all already experienced. 2022 will see the rise of video access control systems in private homes and commercial buildings alike.

This type of access control system allows every entry request to be recorded in real-time and visually before granting someone access to a property. We can see this type of system in cameras that come equipped with 2-way audio and video transmission allowing the 2 parties at opposite ends to communicate remotely before giving someone access.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence and machine learning were once part of the sci-fi world but are now becoming a real trend in our everyday lives. For example, an AI-powered access control system can identify threatening situations and hazards and react accordingly, as it is self-learning.

Internet of Things

The internet of things, also known as IoT, describes any object or device that has embedded sensors that can allow it to connect to the internet using software and other technologies. This is the latest access control technology advancement that will make security readily accessible to everyone everywhere. Intelligent door locking systems are the cornerstone of IoT access control systems.

Get Modern Access Control Security Solutions with Forbel

The future waits for no one, don’t be left behind in the past, walk into a future that offers security via technological advancements. There is no time to wait! We live in an ever-changing world, and we must protect what means the most to us. Please contact us at Forbel for the utmost security in the modern access control solutions that you deserve.

10 Access Control Technology Trends for Your Business in 2022

10 Access Control Technology Trends for Your Business in 2022

It can sometimes be difficult to discern the differences between optical and digital zoom when it comes to security cameras. There are CCTV cameras that offer one or the other and others that offer both. Which is better? That depends on the purpose of the CCTV camera and your needs. When purchasing a security system, it is important to be aware of these differences before finalizing your purchase.

What Is Optical Zoom?

Optical zoom is quite common, we have all seen and used it in a wide range of photography cameras, binoculars, and even CCTV cameras. Optical zoom is when you turn the lens to magnify the image and zoom in on objects in the distance. The more you zoom in, the less wide your view is, and the more you zoom out, the more you can see in the image.

With optical zoom, it moves in and out of the image like a telescope to magnify the image and fill the sensors of the camera lens. An optical zoom surveillance camera will ensure that the image sensors will zoom in on images and give you a clearer picture once the zoom is activated.

Advantages of Optical Zoom

Optical zoom in any camera allows you to bring an image closer before you capture it while not affecting the quality of the image. The camera zooms in by moving different lens parts relative to each other to give you the best results of what you want to capture. Security cameras with optical zoom can close in on and target key details at much longer distances while not deluding the quality of the image.

Disadvantages of Optical Zoom

Optical zoom lenses have some disadvantages in comparison to prime lenses in that usually the original lens quality will not be as sharp as it is with a prime lens. In addition, the zoom lens is slower in reaction to the motion of the camera.

An optical zoom security camera system will face additional challenges as well, such as a diminished viewing angle when zooming which can be critical in certain situations. Also, we must note that optical zoom cannot be added after the footage has already been recorded.

Types of Optical Zoom

There are different types of optical lenses and prior to purchasing a security camera, it is important to be well-versed in the different types of optical lenses that are available on the market today.

  • Varifocal lens: This will allow you to manually adjust the zoom so that you can focus on a specific target area whether close or far.
  • Motorized varifocal lens: The zoom on these cameras can be adjusted by simply clicking on a button on your surveillance app or NVR, however, you can zoom in or out to expand or reduce your viewing angle, but you won’t be able to change the actual angle of the camera.
  • PTZ lens: This rotating lens will allow you full control of the zoom and the direction of the camera, you can pan left to right and up and down freely.

What Is Digital Zoom?

Digital zoom is when a camera captures an image from a smaller area of the camera sensor and then blows up that specific image to regular size. This gives the illusion of zooming in when in reality the software manipulates the image and therefore the zoom comes from the software of the apparatus and not the lens or optics themselves. This means that the more you zoom in the more it will affect the quality of the image.

This process can make you lose details or turn the recorded footage into a grainy mess. It is the same as if you crop a picture on your phone and blow it up to poster size, the integrity of the image will be lost. Digital zoom is commonly found on smartphones or lower-grade cameras that don’t have the space to incorporate optical zoom.

Advantages of Digital Zoom

Even though it is common knowledge that optical lenses in cameras are far superior to digital lenses, there are still advantages with digital lenses that should not be overlooked. More commonly, footage or images recorded with this type of lens require less storage space.

In addition, there is a more accurate focus when using a digital lens. You can choose where you want the camera to focus, and it will direct its focus on that specific area. This allows you to keep the footage longer and crop the images you want to keep with ease.

Disadvantages of Digital Zoom

The main disadvantage as we already alluded to when using a digital zoom lens is that it will lower the quality of the image. By constantly zooming in on a picture or footage that same recorded footage will become blurrier and grainier with every zoom.

When using digital zoom, it is important to note that you are not increasing the number of pixels used to create the image, with the number of pixels remaining the same, they will spread, stretching out the image and creating footage that is not as clear as it ought to be.

Why Optical vs. Digital Zoom Is Important When Choosing Security Cameras

When choosing a security camera, it is important to choose one that best suits your business’ needs. The questions you’ll need to ask yourself is do I want a camera that will allow me a grander view and flexibility where details are maybe not so crucial or do I need a camera that will allow me the opportunity to focus on and capture details in the footage. So, optical zoom vs digital zoom is the real question.

For example, if you set up a security camera with the purpose of observing a warehouse. The details are not too important, but it is important for you to be able to see the number of people who have entered. So, a digital zoom lens camera might be a better option.

If, however, you are setting up a camera at a cash register of your store and it is important for you to be able to zoom in on the details, then an optical zoom lens camera might be a better choice. The problem that arises with an optical lens is that when you zoom in while recording the footage you can’t be sure if this is relevant to an incident. Therefore, figuring out what you want your security system to do will guide you in choosing the right camera.

Which Is Better: Optical Zoom or Digital Zoom?

Optical zoom vs digital zoom isn’t even a fair fight. Optical zoom will very often win. It is better because when the footage is zoomed in you can see the details and these details can become key points in the event of an incident. Being able to discover someone’s identity or have clear footage of the event can help you make your case.

In a security camera system, having that optical zoom can mean the difference between: “I was robbed” and “I know who robbed me”. A business must find any way it can to protect itself and as the saying goes: “the devil is in the details”.

Combining Optical & Digital Zoom Solutions

Many cameras and manufacturers today incorporate both optical and digital zoom lenses for a more powerful zoom feature. This can be a great option; the only problem is that even the combination of the 2 can still affect the footage quality.

When building a security system perhaps the best option would be a combination of security cameras with optical zoom and others with digital zoom to record the different target points. This also depends mainly on the purpose of these surveillance cameras and consulting an expert before making this crucial purchase may be best.

Combining Security Cameras


A zoom security camera is extremely important when purchasing a security system. You have to decide which option is best suited for you, whether it is an optical zoom lens camera, a digital one, a hybrid one, or even a system that would incorporate both separately. To know more about security cameras and how Forbel can help you, please contact us!

Optical vs Digital Zoom in Security Cameras: Which Is Better?

Optical vs Digital Zoom in Security Cameras: Which Is Better?

Motion detection cameras are a prime part of video surveillance of any commercial security system.

What Are Motion Detection Cameras?

A sensor camera detects heat or energy given off by living bodies, such as humans or animals, using a PIR sensor or passive infrared sensor. Any motion captured within about 15 feet of the vicinity of the camera will activate it and the camera will start recording. It is noteworthy that PIR sensor motion detectors should not be placed near windows or vents because they record heat changes in the environment and therefore can trigger false positives.

On the other hand, there are software-based detection cameras that analyze pixel changes from frame to frame to detect activity and start recording. Both types of motion detection cameras are invaluable tools that wholly complete a functional and powerful security system.

How Do Motion Sensor Cameras Work?

Before we jump into precisely how motion detection cameras work, we must first define the basic mechanics of a security camera. The lens of a security camera will start recording once the light hits it and the pixelated image crystallizes and forms video footage. Therefore, strategically placing a camera to capture the largest and widest area is always a primal goal when setting up a security camera.

A motion detection camera will have the added PIR or software-based sensors that will trigger the recording of the footage when it detects a certain level of energy emitted by either a human or animal. Most motion detection cameras can be programmed to send alerts once the recording has been triggered which adds to the efficacy of this type of camera.

It is, however, important to adjust sensitivity levels on the camera to avoid getting false positives that can be triggered by something as small as a rodent running too close or a gust of wind. The higher the sensitivity of these motion sensors, the more likely it will record even the smallest disturbances in its environment, which is why when installing these types of cameras, a professional should be consulted to achieve the best results.

Motion detection cameras are indispensable tools. A professional will help you find the right placing and sensitivity level for your commercial property to be fully guarded. This will enable you to always be present and notified of any disturbances and prevent break-ins.

Motion Detection Cameras!

Benefits For Businesses

There are tremendous benefits of motion detection cameras, especially during the off-hours or when foot traffic has slowed. Motion detection cameras will play a critical role in complementing your basic security system and upgrading it to a significantly safer level. Here are the main benefits:

  • They are highly dependable, when the motion sensors are triggered, you will be alerted and will have an opportunity to watch the footage recorded.
  • It will save you space when it comes to storing your footage.
  • It will save you loads of time and we understand in the business world that time is money. Motion detection cameras will enable you to watch relevant video footage and no longer waste your time going through empty video images.


Forbel specialists will help you to optimally configure the operation of your video surveillance system. Contact us for a consultation, there’s no time to wait. Get ready to move into the future and protect your commercial property with the latest in surveillance technology.

Motion Detection Cameras - A Guide for Property Owners

Motion Detection Cameras - A Guide for Property Owners

The biggest benefit of installing an intercom system in a multi-tenant apartment building is making your residents feel safe and secure in their homes.

The need for multi-tenant intercom systems has risen due to an increase in inbound packages and food deliveries that place greater scrutiny on apartment building security. Multi-tenant intercom entry systems make it easy for visitors to request access and for residents to identify them and grant them entry.

Because the technology for an apartment intercom system varies from simple buzzers to sophisticated video and phone systems, it's important to review key buying considerations. This article will help you confidently select the right apartment intercom system for your building.

What Is an Apartment-Building Intercom System?

An apartment intercom system, also called a buzzer, is a standalone two-way communication device used within apartment buildings or a small collection of buildings to grant access to tenants and visitors.

Installed at the entryway of a building, intercom systems typically include a microphone, a speaker, and occasionally a camera. The intercom captures audio and video and transmits them to tenants, which lets them verify visitors before granting them access.

If you have an intercom at the front desk, it'll be up to your front desk clerk to contact your tenants to verify their visitors.

Most apartment complexes have in-unit intercom systems. When a visitor presses the button at the main entrance, the intercom inside the corresponding unit notifies the resident. They can then press a button on their intercom and talk directly to the visitor at the front entrance without ever leaving their unit.

How Do Apartment Intercoms Work?

Video Intercoms

An intercom system is designed for communication. It consists of two monitors linked together that allow people to talk to each other. While different brands have different systems, the basic components are more or less the same.

The master station (central control panel) is the unit that controls the entire apartment building entry system. The substations are connected to the control panel and are usually placed in tenants' apartments.

A multi-tenant intercom system is more complex and involves more than just point-to-point communication. Typically, there's one main hub at the building's entrance that's linked to other monitors placed throughout the building. Depending on the type of intercom system, there might be interior monitors at the front desk or inside each unit.

If your system has in-unit monitors, the entrance hub acts as a directory. It'll have the names and unit numbers of all the residents. When a visitor reaches the entrance, they find the number of people they wish to visit in the directory and push the corresponding intercom button that opens a line of communication between them and the unit.

Types of Apartment Intercom Systems

Apartment intercom systems come in several forms — each with its own unique capabilities to meet the needs of different buildings.

1. Wired Apartment Intercoms

A wired intercom system is physically connected by wires that run through a building from the main entrance panel to each apartment unit receiver. They can have audio and/or video capabilities and are popular for small condo and apartment buildings.

Because the apartment unit is wired to the front entrance, tenants can only receive calls when they're in their apartments. Typically, they are installed during the construction of a building and can be harder to maintain and repair.

Benefits of a Wired Apartment Building Entry System

  • Reliable: Wired connections are more reliable as cellular or Wi-Fi systems can experience connectivity issues.

2. Wireless Intercom Systems

Touchless Access Control

A wireless apartment intercom system doesn't need a hard-wired connection between the front entrance intercom and the in-unit devices. Instead, it uses a Wi-Fi signal or cell service. This allows tenants to receive notifications either via the apartment unit or via a wireless device like a smartphone or tablet that's compatible with the system software.

You can also get a wireless intercom with a door release that unlocks doors with magnetic or electric locks. Some wireless systems allow tenants to release the door only when they're in their apartments, while others allow remote access.

Benefits of a Wireless Apartment Building Intercom

  • Fast and simple installation: There's no need to cut walls to run intercom wiring throughout your property. All you need to do is install the hardware.
  • Affordable: Due to a simpler installation, wireless intercom systems are cheaper.
  • Easier upgrades and maintenance: Again, you don't have to rewire the building to maintain or upgrade a wireless intercom system.

3. Telephone Entry System

Traditional telephone entry systems are connected to telephone lines that call landlines or cellphone numbers programmed into them when a visitor requests access. Nowadays, most telephone entry systems use smartphones.

To use, guests look up a tenant's number within the system's directory. Once they dial your unit code, the system connects to the tenant's in-door unit door phone. If the tenant is home, they answer their door phone or smartphones and speak with the visitor.

Benefits of Telephone Entry Systems

  • Convenience: A door station number lets you can give visitors access from anywhere in the world.

4. Video Intercom Systems for Apartments

Video intercom systems take security and access control to the next level by incorporating audio and video captured at the front entrance. This data is then transmitted to tenants to verify visitors and grant access. Newer technology enables tenants and building staff to use mobile apps to monitor and interact with video intercom systems.

Benefits of Video Intercom System

  • Extra security: Video intercom systems allow you to see who is at the door before answering it. This can be useful when identifying suppliers, customers, or anyone else entering your business.
  • Reduced vandalism: A video intercom system is equipped with cameras that can be a great deterrent for crime, especially vandalism.

How Much Does an Apartment Intercom System Cost?

An apartment intercom system can cost between $1,000 and $10,000, excluding installation and maintenance fees. Intercom hardware is more or less fixed in price and easier to cost; however, installation and maintenance depend on the company and apartment building size.

A building's installation cost depends on the materials required and the difficulty of the installation. Ongoing maintenance costs will vary based on the number of hardware devices purchased and how much wiring is used to install those devices. Because every building requires different hardware and wiring, it is important to consult a certified installer and compare your options.

Make sure you get a quote for both hardware and installation if you're replacing an apartment intercom system. The right company will not only provide you with the best hardware at the best price but will also connect you with a local installer that will complete the job professionally.

Benefits of Apartment Intercom Systems for Building Security

Intercom Systems

Apartment intercom systems provide enhanced communication between residents and guests, and better security, including a range of other benefits:

  • Reduce overheads: The best apartment intercom systems allow staff to manage visitor access from their desks. They're less disruptive, free up time to focus on other tasks, and reduce the need for a guard booth or gatehouse.
  • Convenient living: Most tenants want to live in buildings with added convenience. It's a mission if they have to go downstairs every time a guest visits. Naturally, an apartment building entry system is more convenient and can boost tenant retention and acquisition.
  • Easy package deliveries: Package management is often a bugbear for building staff. Having an intercom system in your building allows them to grant seamless access to couriers.
  • Better security: Safety is always a concern for tenants. An apartment entry system adds another layer of security and provides peace of mind that whoever visits the property has been properly screened and authorized.
    By the same token, modern intercom systems deter crime — especially those with cameras. Most criminals would rather not be caught on camera and are, therefore, likely to target a less secure block.
  • Security system integration: An apartment block security system can be integrated with a home intercom so that everything can be managed under a single control system, and you may not even have to install an entirely new system.
  • Lower insurance premiums: Having a home intercom system installed will increase the security of your home, resulting in lower insurance premiums. Just make sure it's effective against intrusions and burglaries and is regularly and properly maintained.

How to Choose an Apartment Intercom System — 10 Key Considerations

Your tenant community will benefit greatly from the right intercom system, so make sure you consider these factors:

1. Mobile App Compatibility

There is very little we can't do with our smartphones in today's hi-tech world; apps seem to have taken over every aspect of our lives, from ordering food and rides to getting information. It's no surprise you can connect your intercom system to an app.

This is highly recommended because it allows your tenants to get into your building with ease, open doors, and gates, and manage the building's overall access. As well as working well with audio intercom systems, apps can also be used with video intercom systems.

2. Wireless or Wired Intercom System

All intercom systems can be classified as either wired or wireless depending on their connectivity.

A wired intercom system is more reliable since it does not depend on Wi-Fi signal strength. However, older apartment buildings that require substantial wiring modifications can benefit from wireless systems because they have significantly lower installation costs, making them more cost-effective. 

Whether you opt for a wireless or wired system depends on your building’s requirements. Wireless intercoms tend to be better for smaller apartment complexes but can become an issue for larger ones.

3.  Apartment Intercom System with Door Release

Apartment Intercom System

A door release intercom system allows tenants and other authorized building staff to conveniently grant access to visitors. Almost every modern apartment intercom comes with this feature.

With the click of a button, the system unlocks the door, providing a convenient and secure way to manage who is coming and going from the apartment building.

A door intercom release can be triggered between electronic strikes or magnetic locks. Advantageously, a door release function is compatible with both wired and wireless intercom systems.

4. Video Intercoms

Apartment video intercom systems are far superior to old-fashioned intercoms in residential buildings. Modern technology has made them more affordable. And depending on the type, it may not cost all that much more. 

With video intercom systems, tenants are not only able to communicate in a two-way fashion, but can also see who is at the door, adding an extra layer of security.

Remember, it’s essential to mount a video intercom in such a way that the guest is clearly visible when the intercom rings; otherwise, there’s no benefit to having a video camera. 

Among the many advantages of these intercoms is the ability to monitor visitors seeking access as well as to report intruders discreetly. Therefore, video intercoms can be useful for improving building security and preventing/deterring criminal activity.

5. Access Control Integration

In residential buildings, convenience is a top priority for tenants. Providing safety for them, their guests and your property is one of the main goals of any property manager. Thankfully, apartment access control systems offer unparalleled levels of comfort for both managers and tenants. 

Apartment access control integration allows management and tenants to communicate directly. This is an invaluable tool to ease transitions when people are coming and going, and when tenants are moving in and out. 

Residential properties that promote safety with smart technology are more likely to generate high demand. Generally, people seek buildings that are safe and provide a high standard of living for themselves and their families. A smart lock and an access control system will be the standard in the future, especially in urban areas.

Although the cost of an apartment security system installation may be an obstacle, an integrated system gives control over all technology installed thereafter, making this a great option for property owners.

6. Touchless Access Control

Our everyday lives have been streamlined by technology, and security is no exception. We rely on door entry systems to secure our homes, buildings, shops, and other buildings.

In light of COVID-19, touchless technology has become more and more popular to minimize unnecessary physical contact to keep ourselves and others safe. With touchless access control systems, we can facilitate remote exchanges with maximum convenience and minimum cost.

A touchless access control system allows tenants to grant access to repair staff or receive deliveries without being physically present. When selecting an apart building intercom system, be sure to choose one that's compatible with touchless technology.

7. Multiple Entrance Support

Buildings generally have more than one entrance, and the main entrance is usually the most heavily trafficked. Apartment intercom systems with the best capabilities allow unrestricted control of each building entrance. For the convenience and safety of tenants and building managers, multiple building entrances should have the same intercom system as the main entrance.

A good apartment complex will grant tenants access to all the relevant doors in the building and give them full control over which doors they can open. This level of convenience is easily achieved with touchless intercom systems, which allow tenants to access control by merely pressing a button remotely.

8. Remote Calling and Access

Intercom Access by phone

Technology has made our lives easier, safer, and more convenient. The practice of ringing a doorbell when a tenant is not home and receiving silence is so outdated. Nowadays, visitors can ring a bell and have their calls answered regardless of whether their hosts are at home.

This is convenient, especially if a tenant is running late or forgot about a meeting. The visitor can then connect to its host via call and smartphone users via video call, much like a remote surveillance monitoring system.

9. Multiple Property Access Methods

In terms of intercom entry systems, many options encourage safety, quality, and a high standard of living. Combined with a surveillance system, they ensure that your property is a haven for your tenants. 

The following are a few widely used entry systems:

  • Keypads: Today, most buildings use this traditional method of entering a code into a keypad, which then grants access to anyone with the code.
  • Smartphones: Residents can gain access to the property using an app on their smartphones. As everything can now be done via apps, this method is becoming increasingly popular.
  • Bluetooth: Users with Bluetooth devices can use their phones or other Bluetooth-enabled devices to enter the building if they have the Bluetooth passkey.
  • QR codes: Anyone with the QR code can scan it at the entrance and enter.
  • Biometric Control Systems: These systems use facial recognition software or fingerprint recognition software to grant access to a building. Due to its complexity, the biometric system is not widely used in residential buildings. However, as biometric technology advances, this will most likely gain popularity.

11. Weatherproofing

Choosing an apartment building intercom system that is weatherproof is important. So many people get carried away with the bells and whistles and completely forget about the elements. There are many systems that aren't weatherproof and won't work in rainy or snowy weather. Therefore, apartment intercom systems tested and certified to work in extreme conditions are the best. If you're unsure, then ask your service provider for recommendations.

12. Your Budget


It's no secret that video intercoms have become increasingly popular, as they provide convenience and security unmatched by traditional intercoms. As such, the prices for these systems are starting to come down, and there are several different models to choose from.

Having said that, and to reiterate what we mentioned before, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how much an intercom system costs. There are various factors that affect the price, including the number of cameras, the features, and the manufacturer.

Keep in mind, however, that a more expensive system does not necessarily mean a better one. Quality systems don't have to break the bank. Comparing prices and features will help you determine which system is best suited for your needs. Thus, it is important to consider the features that are important for your apartment building when selecting an intercom system.

13. Multi-unit Intercom System Maintenance

So much time goes into picking an intercom system. While you want to avoid letting it fall out of date, you also need to consider maintenance costs when deciding on an apartment building entry system.

Apartment building intercom systems need regular servicing to guarantee:

  • Smooth system operation: Maintenance is essential to keep the equipment up and running. Technicians review system performance, clean out each camera component and monitor the equipment's installation area to make sure everything is working properly.
  • Maintain insurance standards: Security infrastructure discounts are offered by some insurance companies, and if you're taking advantage of this benefit, regular maintenance is necessary. The last thing you need is for a break-in to occur only to discover your camera system was down, resulting in insurance liability.
  • Reduce equipment costs: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You can prevent major expenses by regularly inspecting your equipment and finding solutions before problems arise.

Choose the Best Intercom System for Apartments with Forbel

These days, people are willing to spend a lot of money on things that truly matter. As a property manager or building owner, you have a responsibility to make sure your tenants and property are always protected. 

We are professional intercom installers in Chicago. As security design consultants, we can also design your entire security system for multifamily units with up to 6+ doors. Entrust the selection and installation of an intercom system for your apartment complex to professionals. Contact Forbel! The future is at your doorstep and your fingertips.

How to Choose an Apartment Intercom System — 13 Key Factors to Consider

How to Choose an Apartment Intercom System — 13 Key Factors to Consider

Choose the best apartment intercom system for your multifamily unit with our guide! Discover the basics and top factors to consider when choosing an apartment intercom.

There is a wide range of security cameras and finding the right one for you can get overwhelming. Because of the different types of security cameras on the market, it is important to remember the goal: you need a system that will protect your business, employees, and goods.

Indoor Cameras

Security cameras keep a watchful eye over your commercial space and serve as a deterrent to illicit activity. In the unfortunate event of a criminal act, indoor cameras can be used to gather evidence against the perpetrator whilst also helping in the recovery of the stolen goods.

For example, indoor dome cameras have features such as 360-degree camera rotation and are vandal resistant which makes these types of cameras a perfect fit for shops and restaurants.

Outdoor Cameras

Outdoor Security Cameras

Outdoor cameras outside of a business act as an effective deterrent for suspicious individuals like loiterers, burglars, or vandals. They can help in the investigatory stage after an alleged crime was committed to apprehending the culprits. Video surveillance is a must-have tool for every commercial property. Outdoor cameras often come equipped with a variety of features and are usually weather-resistant.

Bullet Cameras

Bullet CCTV cameras have a unique design: they are shaped like a rifle bullet or a lipstick case. This is due to their casings, which are made of special water-, dust-, dirt-, and weather-resistant materials. They work as binoculars, in the sense that they can capture video footage from far-ranging distances.

As mentioned above, they are sturdy cameras designed for outdoor use and their casing can protect the footage against glare or rain or anything that could tamper with the quality of the video. Bullet cameras work well in surveilling long distances which differentiate them from most other CCTV cameras on the market. Bullet cameras are ideal in challenging environments that can be afflicted by dirt and dust.

Also, due to their noticeable shape, they are highly visible and pose a significant challenge to criminals. These are some of the reasons why bullet cameras have always been a top option for commercial properties when it comes to a surveillance system. They can be used in a wide range of industries, but they are optimal choices for more isolated commercial properties such as factories or farms located in rural areas where surveillance is sparse.

Ceiling Cameras

There are a lot of similarities between a bullet camera and a dome camera, but there are many glaring differences as well. Dome cameras are more discreet due to their dome-shaped casing. This makes the dome camera hard to spot and it makes it difficult to see the direction where it points to.

Dome cameras, because of their design, are an easy fit in any type of building and they are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. They also cover all angles with their 360-degree rotation, which is a big feature in this type of camera. In addition, due to the protective dome of the camera, makes it difficult to access it and tamper with the footage.

Depending on the make and model of a dome camera, certain variations may apply, but most dome cameras offer high-resolution and have built-in night vision capabilities. Many dome cameras are also weather-resistant, which makes them a great option for outdoor uses as well, especially when coupled with night vision. Dome cameras are ideal for service industries such as shops, hotels, and restaurants, where you want to monitor for a heightened level of security, but you don’t want to be intrusive.

Smart Security Cameras with Voice Assistants

Smart voice integrated cameras are the newest arrival to the security camera family. These types of cameras allow you to control the device using your voice and smartphone apps. These highly intelligent cameras allow you to customize your settings and review footage using only your voice.

These cameras are the next generation and a leap forward in the security field. They integrate fully with other smart devices that are connected to your business or commercial property.

Voice Assistants Cameras

Motion Detector Cameras

Motion detection cameras use a PIR sensor that detects the warmth of a human body using a hidden infrared sensor. A motion detection camera gets activated the moment it senses a warm body crossing the secured area. The camera, once it detects this intrusion, will start recording and can even be programmed to send an alert.

It is recommended when setting up a motion detection camera, to keep it away from windows or vents because they can trigger false alarms due to the changes in temperature in those areas. These types of cameras are highly efficient because they save you an enormous amount of time, as they only record footage when triggered. For this same reason it also saves you storage space for actual relevant footage.

Adjustable Security Cameras

Adjustable cameras offer an additional layer of security in the sense that they allow you to customize what the camera will record: the angle, the range, and pinpoint areas of interest. They differ widely from traditional fixed cameras and achieve a greater level of security. These cameras use motor-driven actuators and adjustable lenses to record their footage.

Wireless Cameras

As the name states, a wireless security camera is wireless; it is easy to install and it doesn’t need a sophisticated cabling system to function nor does it need to be connected to a landline. Instead, it connects using Wi-Fi or can easily be connected to a smartphone via an app.

These types of cameras are very user-friendly, and the footage can be viewed from anywhere at any time. In addition, these cameras allow you to view previously recorded footage by selecting times and dates. The footage recorded by wireless cameras can also be downloaded and kept on a device, computer, or the cloud for extended periods.

Wireless cameras are also more technologically advanced and have a wide range of capabilities due to the innovative software that is programmed into them. Because they are easy to install, they are also easy to move around and be repositioned throughout the commercial space, as needed. They are a great solution because they don’t require professional installation.

Wireless Cameras

Cameras with a Security System

For some smaller businesses, having only one strategically placed camera may be enough, but that isn’t always the case. Many stores, businesses, and other types of commercial properties require a system of cameras linked together that communicate with each other and you can update you on the situation on your property 24/7.

Having an updated security system could save you and your business from theft or property damage. Cameras with a security system will offer you an unparalleled layer of security and ensure that every inch of your commercial property is being fully surveilled. It is an individual and important decision to make but depending on the size and type of your property, it may be an invaluable investment.

Contact our experts at Forbel to design a video surveillance system that will consist of the types of cameras that are ideal for your commercial building. There is no time like the present to find the security system that will best suit you. Contact us today!

9 Types of Security Cameras for Your Commercial Building

9 Types of Security Cameras for Your Commercial Building

A secure access control system is top of mind for businesses small and large. Access control security is especially critical when your business deals with confidential and sensitive data. Protecting your business from theft, break-ins, or damage to property and equipment is important for every type of business owner.

Physical security and preventing data breaches are integral parts of a successful business plan. The right access control system will benefit your business's bottom line, whether you have 5 employees or 5,000. There are so many benefits of the access control system for all types of businesses, especially warehouses where goods and equipment are stored for lengthy periods.

What Is Electronic Access Control?

Electronic access control is a type of access control that uses electrically powered locks and different types of credential readers. These kinds of modern access control systems utilize RFID technology, cellular networks, and the “internet of things” to revolutionize the world of access control. Innovations like magnetic strips will protect your property with secure doors.

How Does an Access Control System Work?

Access Control System

Controlling access is of key importance for every business to secure data, financial records, and even office supplies. Authorized users who want to gain access to the business must provide the right credentials either physically, or digitally with a key card, mobile device, fingerprint, or something similar.

The employee requests access at a card reader which sends the information to an access control unit, this then grants or refuses access according to the validity of the credentials. Once the ACU authorizes the user to enter the premises it will trigger the door to unlock allowing entrance.

IT managers, office administrators, or heads of security will define the access control parameters which will grant or refuse access to users via a management dashboard or portal. Managers can utilize discretionary access control to customize settings to control access based on time of day, employ rank, or based on shifts to limit access.

Components of Electronic Access Control System

An access control system is an invaluable tool to manage access and protect a business and its client data to ensure physical security. The different components play an integral part in the infrastructure of an access control system.

  • Electronic locks: Fail-safe locks that unlock when fed by power, typically used for spaces that need to remain secure even in the event of a power outage. These types of doors will need push bars to be used in case of emergencies. 
  • Card readers: These devices pick up a signal that reads data stored on the magnetic strip of a key card or chip.
  • Access control panel: This device is in a secure location, when the credentials are scanned to the control panel, its settings will grant or refuse access. 
  • Access control server: This component works in tandem with the access control panel to grant physical access. In addition, it tracks data and is often stored in a remote location or utilizes a cloud-based service. 

10 Benefits of Access Control Systems

1. Ease of Access for Employees

An access control system allows you to give your employees access to different areas with ease using a PIN input or a keycard scanner. Being able to “set and forget” access to these rooms will ensure employees are getting what they need to do their work, but only going where they are authorized.

2. Freedom from Traditional Keys

Access Control System For Your Business Benefits

Physical office door keys can be a pain, they can get lost, they can break, or they can just be difficult to immediately identify on your already full key ring. If they get lost, they pose a serious security threat to your business, and they can cost a lot of money to replace, especially if you also need to replace the locks in the office.

Access control systems are keyless door entry systems that will save you time, money, and frustration. A keycard or fob is more easily deactivated and replaced, allowing you to maintain a high level of security in your building.

3. Keep Track of Who Comes and Goes

Access control systems can add another level of security because tracking who enters and who exits the building or any specific room within it, as well as when they came and left, can be an advantage in the case of an accident or theft, as you can know who was in the area when the incident occurred. It can also be helpful in ensuring people are working when they should be.

4. Saving Money and Energy

Don’t underestimate the importance of access control systems. They’re an effective tool in saving your business money, energy, and manpower. Lock money in secure areas where only authorized personnel can access it, reducing the need for security guards.

You can also integrate an access control system with your lighting, cooling, and heating systems. Set the lights to only turn on when someone enters the room and set the temperatures to adjust when no one is around, reducing energy costs.

5. Setting Dates and Times of Access

Business Benefits Access Control

Access control systems have scheduling features, allowing you to give access to specific doors and rooms to specific people for specific days and times. That’s a lot of details that you can just set and forget about afterwards.

For example, if your business was holding a conference then many stakeholders, partners, and employees would be invited. An access control system makes it easy to give them access to the necessary rooms and offices for the duration of the conference, and remove it immediately after it ends.

6. Safe Working Environment

Maintain a safe work environment by restricting unauthorized people from entering. You can run background checks on anyone before allowing access, keeping your business safe from unwanted visitors.

Access control systems are also helpful in an emergency. In the case of a fire or other emergency, standard lock and key doors will stay locked, preventing a quick exit for your employees. Access control systems have fail safe locks that unlock doors when the power cuts out, so no one will waste time trying to manually unlock the door.

7. Flexibility

Organizing different levels of access with physical keys can be exhausting, time consuming, and confusing. An access control system offers flexibility for your security in that it’s an effective solution to almost all of your building's security needs. Allowing the particular programming of access to specific areas to certain employees, increases security.

Access can be easily restricted, added or adjusted to accommodate your business growth including new employees, as well as existing employee position changes, promotions, and departures. Access control systems make manual key systems obsolete, offering flexibility and ease of use.

8. Integration

Access Control Benefits for Business

Integration is another key benefit of an access control system, further layering protection over staff, equipment, and assets. Access control systems can be integrated with your existing security efforts, like alarms and CCTV. A good example of their cohesion is if an access control system detects someone entering a restricted area, a CCTV camera records who the intruder is, and the video can later be used as evidence, if necessary.

9. Reducing The Crime Rate

Access control systems can help reduce the crime rate, as they restrict access to buildings and offices. Effectively keeping potential offenders out will decrease the chances of theft of expensive equipment and supplies and damage to the property. It can also protect employees from possible violent crimes.

Intruder threats are not the only thing that you can protect against; since an access control system tracks staff movement through the building, it deters employee misconduct.

10. Remote Access

It’s expensive to staff your business 24/7. When contractors, delivery drivers, or suppliers show up at inopportune times, like after hours, allowing remote access to the building can be a lifesaver. Access control systems can include video intercoms in order to safely grant access.


At Forbel, we guide you to ensure that your access control security solutions will fit the needs of your business. Access control is an excellent way to guarantee the best form of physical security and the latest technology to protect you, your business, your staff, your clients, your client data, and your office supplies.

Among the many benefits of access control, it can save money and help your security personnel. If you are looking for reliable installers in Chicago or need help designing or integrating your security system for businesses in multiple locations, such as Milwaukee and Indianapolis, contact our experts for a free consultation.

Top 10 Benefits of an Access Control System for Your Business

Top 10 Benefits of an Access Control System for Your Business

Want to make sure your business is safe and secure? An access control system can help! Discover top benefits of access control systems for your business!

When deciding on their future apartment complex, many people consider security to be a determining factor. Installing security cameras at apartment complexes is a surefire way of ensuring people feel safe enough to live in your complex. We’ve listed a few reasons why video surveillance should be installed at your property.

Reduce Liability

When injuries or damage occur in an apartment complex, you as the property owner or landlord, can be held liable. Video evidence is your best defense in the case of an incident. If a tenant claims to have broken their leg slipping on ice on the steps, you can check to see if you should be held liable.

Investing in Your Current and Future Residents

Security Cameras For Your Apartment Complex

Installing security cameras can attract more new tenants, as well as keep the existing ones, than a good parking spot can. Cameras make people feel safe, and people are more likely to rent an apartment if they feel secure. Installing cameras demonstrates to both your current and future residents that they are your first priority.

Decrease Crime

It is well known that security cameras decrease crimes like theft, vandalism, trespassing, and loitering. If a potential offender sees that there will be a record of their behavior that can be used against them, they are more wary of committing the crime, ensuring a safer living environment for residents.

Control of the Use of Parking Lots

Another popular feature of apartment complexes is an on-site, secure parking spot. However, often, non-tenants will take these reserved parking spots. Security cameras allow the monitoring of parking lots to ensure that only vehicles that belong to residents can park there. Video surveillance will better ensure unauthorized vehicles are removed.

Security Cameras For Apartment Complex Benefits

Savings on Security Guards

Hiring security guards is a costly endeavor, but can make tenants feel that they are in a safe environment. However, for some, security guards might elicit the opposite feeling. Security guards can make people uncomfortable, which is a reason, along with the high price tag, that the best choice for safety is security cameras in apartment buildings.


If you are the owner of an apartment complex with 6+ units, increase the security of your property with a video surveillance system. Contact us at Forbel for advice.

5 Benefits of Security Cameras For Your Apartment Complex

5 Benefits of Security Cameras For Your Apartment Complex

Every business owner, especially retail store owners, understands that they must prepare for certain crimes, such as burglaries. Metropolitan areas tend to be high-risk locales for such crimes due to the density of the population, and Chicago is no exception. Retail security is at the forefront of any store management team and understanding the factors that contribute to these types of crimes is essential. It is important to have guidelines in place that can protect your staff, your property, and your goods.

Develop Protocols for Cash Register Monitoring

Improve Retail Store Security

Cash registers are a vital part of any store, and they control the lifeline of the business— the money. The most notable retail security tip must be to secure the cash registers and safes, as well as ensuring that all employees who deal with the money follow a uniform procedure for safety purposes. Thieves and robbers rarely attempt burglaries or the like if they see a small chance of reward. For the best retail security, reduce your risks by implementing the following:

  • Always have at least 2 employees during opening and closing.
  • Keep small amounts of money in the cash register and place the excess in a safe.
  • Bank deposits should be made regularly.
  • Limit visibility of the cash register.
  • When employees swap shifts make sure a manager witnesses the countdown to ensure that no money is missing.

Develop Protocols for The Sales Floor

The risk of burglary will vary depending on the location, opening hours, and the goods being sold. If your store is in a low-risk crime area or is heavily trafficked or sells goods that are less attractive to thieves, you may not encounter the same risk factor as another establishment that doesn’t fall under these criteria. It is worth mentioning that any store can potentially fall victim to burglary, which is why having the right measures in place is highly recommended. See below:

  • Properly train your staff to greet patrons and regularly ask them if they need help.
  • Don’t tempt potential thieves with easy access to pricier inventory.
  • Make cash registers and safes hidden and far from the reach of customers.
  • Keep the store clean and tidy so that every nook and cranny is visible by the employees.

Make Sure You Have More Than One Employee on Duty

As mentioned above, it is important to have, at the very least, 2 employees during closing and opening hours of the store. There is generally safety in numbers! Ideally, there should always be a pair of employees watching each other’s backs. The employees on duty should be in clear, constant communication with each other, whether it is verbal or not. If an employee must go into the backroom or storage room, the other employee must be aware of this. In addition, all employees must have a clear view of phones, panic buttons, and exits.

Instruct Employees How to Deal With Suspicious Customers

Improving Security of Retail Store

Retail security can be a challenging task when dealing with suspicious individuals, in the retail world they are identified as “external risks”. These types of threats may come in the form of shoplifters, credit card fraudsters, ORCs (organized retail crime syndicates), or even individuals casing your store for a potential robbery or burglary. Train your staff to deal with these risks:

  • Greet every customer and make eye contact.
  • Talk to every customer and find out if they are locals or new to the area.
  • In case of a suspicious individual, the employee must alert his coworkers.

Sketchy individuals will most likely leave if they feel that they have been spotted.

Don’t Forget About Managing Backrooms and Other Areas

A key retail store security procedure must be to do a regular inventory to identify what products are in the backroom or storage facility. This will help you run an efficient business and help you avoid overstocking your storage area, but it will also prevent or diminish employee theft. All employees must be fully aware of the dos and don’ts when it comes to a storage room. To enhance retail security, an employee must let his coworkers know if they need to go into the back room.

Invest in Quality Security System

The best way to secure your business is by investing in a security system. This will alert the authorities in the event of a break-in or vandalism that may occur after hours. This is an important tool to ensure your business remains safeguarded even when closed. The relevant employees must be trained on the ability to activate and deactivate the system during the opening and closing of the store.

Add Security Cameras

How to Improve Retail Store Security

Retail security is incomplete without a good camera security system. This level of security will protect your staff, your business and will act as the ultimate deterrent to anyone wishing to steal, shoplift, vandalize, or harm your store in any way. Good video surveillance is key in allowing you to track activity in your store. Do not hesitate or wait to get a surveillance system for your business, start protecting it today. In the event of an unfortunate situation, the footage from your security system can be used as evidence.

Integrate Electronic Access Control

Electronic access control can strengthen your business’ security. An electronic access control panel will allow you to grant customized access to staff to certain areas of the store whilst also tracking their comings and goings. In addition, this type of system will also be able to notify authorities immediately in the event of a forceable entry attempt after hours. This is an indispensable tool for any business, but essential for the types of commercial properties that deal in high-end inventory.

Install Intrusion Detection System

An intrusion detection system is a must-have for any business, especially the ones that carry high-priced items. This is of the utmost importance to receive help from the authorities when someone tries to enter your store uninvited after hours. This is a key for retail store security to ensure maximum property safety.

In our society, crime is not uncommon, it is important that if you are a business owner or store manager that you take security seriously. Crimes such as burglary, shoplifting, and vandalism can affect your bottom line. Don’t wait for something to happen, be proactive and ensure your business’s safety. If you are in the Chicago area, contact us at Forbel. We will protect you and your business.

9 Tips to Improve The Security of Your Retail Space

9 Tips to Improve The Security of Your Retail Space

Commercial fire alarm systems will protect your property from crippling damages that could destroy your business or investment. Fire is a serious threat to any commercial building, and it is important to properly design and create a fire alarm system that will wholly protect and alert you in the event of a fire.

There are numerous types of fire alarm systems and finding the right combination that will suit your commercial property may seem daunting. We will outline a guide to help you weed out the dos and don’ts. This comprehensive fire alarm systems 101 guide will highlight the basic requirements when it comes to commercial fire alarm systems.

What Is a Fire Alarm System?

The clear definition of a fire alarm system is a series of devices linked together that will detect a fire and be able to alert all the occupants of the real and present danger. The meaning behind this is that one alarm is often not sufficient; building codes and requirements are put into place to ensure the property and the safety of everyone inside a commercial building. The size of your fire alarm system will be linked to the size of the commercial property. The strategic placement of fire alarms and the additional devices connected to these alarms are the components of the fire alarm system. The main roles of this system are:

  • Monitor the premises
  • Detect the danger
  • Alert the occupants

What Devices Does a Fire Alarm System 101 Consist Of?

Fire alarm systems are a collection of components that monitor your property in case of a fire.

Fire Alarm Control Panel

Fire Alarm Control Panel

What is a fire alarm control panel? Simply put it is the brain of the system. A fire alarm control panel, also known as FACU will receive the input from all the devices connected to it and will process the data to alert in case of a fire incident. There are different types of fire alarm control panels, but they all operate in the same way. A fire control panel knows the state of each device that is connected to it and monitors each area of the building separately as well. The functions are:

  • It collects data from different devices connected to it.
  • It monitors the state of each area in the building.
  • It turns on alerting devices and notifications in case of an emergency.
  • It shuts down elevators.
  • It notifies the monitoring station and the proper authorities of an incident.

Smoke Detectors

Smoke Detectors

We have all heard of the expression: ‘where there's smoke, there’s fire’. Smoke detectors play a critical role in a fire alarm system because they alert of the dangers of a potential fire. This allows the occupants to evacuate the building. There are 3 types of smoke detectors used in commercial fire alarm systems:

  • Ionization smoke detectors, which are highly sensitive to the smaller particles of smoke, are the most used.
  • Optical smoke detectors or photoelectric smoke detectors are fast-acting in their detection, and they are sensitive to larger particles of smoke in the air.
  • Dual-sensor smoke detectors which is a combination of the 2 detectors.

CO Detectors

CO Detectors

Carbon monoxide poisoning is dangerous to employees who work in buildings with gas, oil heating systems, boilers, water heaters, or if they are close to parking garages. CO poisoning happens when excessive amounts of carbon monoxide are in the air; this can cause anything from headaches to death. What is a CO detector? It is a detector that will alert the occupants if they are being exposed to dangerous levels of CO.

Pull Stations

Pull Stations Fire Alarm

When most people think of fire alarms, the first image that swims into mind is the iconic pull station. A pull station is a manually operated fire alarm where anyone can pull the lever to alert people of fire. Every building is required to have a pull station, but it is encouraged to have several throughout, especially if your commercial property is large. The location of the pull stations must be easily accessible and never obstructed. When the lever is pulled it will send a signal to the fire control panel which will then transmit a message to the fire department.


Strobes and Horns Fire Alarm System

A fire strobe alarm is put into place to alert people with hearing disabilities that there is a fire. This alert comes in synchronized flashes of light to signal the need for immediate evacuation. Horn strobes combine audible and visual alerts which make them a powerful tool to ensure that all occupants can evacuate in the event of an emergency. A fire alarm horn and a strobe alarm are indispensable when it comes to an efficient fire alarm system.

When it comes to a fire strobe, it is important to consider two important factors. Firstly, these types of alarms must be mounted on walls or ceilings, they function much like sirens and can be far-reaching. Secondly, it is important to consider the candela rating when it comes to a strobe device, the higher its rating, the bigger the area that it will cover. It is noteworthy that strobe horns come in many sizes and colors.

A fire alarm horn has added features in case of an emergency. The horn part of its system will emit a synchronized sound with planned 1.5-second silences to ensure that people are aware that there is a danger.

Voice Evacuation Systems

Voice Evacuation Systems Fire Alarm

What is a voice evacuation system? It is a PA system that will alert people of a threat and give clear procedural instructions to limit and prevent a dangerous situation from getting worse. These public address systems are commonly used for fires. A voice evacuation system’s main purpose is to guide the population to safety in the event of a fire. Thankfully, fires don’t happen every day, meaning these PA systems can also be used on a day-to-day basis. For example, in shopping malls, they will be used for marketing purposes. Building managers can derive great value from a voice evacuation system because it gives you a clear line of communication with your staff when things can get chaotic during an emergency.

Some of the benefits of having a voice evacuation system in a time of crisis:

  • Clear instructions can diminish a state of panic in an emergency.
  • Control of the evacuation: phase-out evacuation, local only, floor by floor.
  • Highlight the seriousness, sometimes people freeze when they hear an alarm or brush it off as a glitch or malfunction which can cost lives.

This is an important addition to your commercial fire alarm system, especially if your building is large.

Water Sensors/Water Flow Switches

Water Flow Detector Fire Alarm

Water sensors are a useful addition to a fire alarm system because they can detect water in places where there shouldn’t be any and alert the system. In addition, certain water sensors can be programmed to shut off the water in case of a leak to prevent a damaging flood in the facility.

The role of a water flow switch is to detect the movement of the water in the pipes. This alerts the fire alarm system that there is water flowing in the sprinkler system which means that there must be a fire.

Heat Detectors

Heat Detectors Fire Alarm

Heat detectors are devices that can sense the heat, this is to alert the occupants that there is a fire before a fire becomes life-threatening. There are 2 types of heat detectors: Rate-of-rise thermal detector which measures the temperature change and how much the temperature rises at any given time. Fixed temperature heat detector which measures the rise of the temperature and sends an alert if the temperatures rise above a certain level.

Temperature sensors, also known as thermistors, work much the same way as heat detectors but they do have an added feature that they can detect a sudden change in the temperature of a room. Temperature sensors function differently from the other sensors or detectors in a fire alarm system which rely on many different factors before alerting the fire alarm system; thermistors rely solely on the heat to alert the fire alarm system of a potential fire.


There are many crippling losses after a fire starting with loss of lives and injuries, the loss of products or supplies, financial losses, and lost productivity. You work hard to establish your business and you want to protect it. Forbel has extensive experience in the design and installation of commercial fire alarm systems in Chicago. Every business is unique, you need an expert that can guide you and install a customized fire alarm system that will be best suited to keep your business safe. Contact us today!

Commercial Fire Alarm System - A Complete Guide for Business Owners

Commercial Fire Alarm System - A Complete Guide for Business Owners

Fires can devastate a business. Whether you own stores, warehouses, offices, garages, hospitals, and hotels, big or small; fires can be a great threat to a business’ livelihood. Having a fire alarm can protect not just your goods and your property but also your customers and staff.

There are many reasons why a fire can occur, the main causes are cooking or heating equipment going awry, an electrical or lighting equipment failure, or an intentional criminal act or vandalism. Due to the risks and the damage that can be caused by such an incident, fire alarms are of the utmost importance. Commercial fire alarms use sophisticated sensors that will detect excessive heat and rising levels of carbon monoxide to avoid poisonings and detect fire and smoke. Once the fire alarm has detected an issue, it will trigger an alarm warning the people in and directly outside of the building.

How Do Commercial Fire Alarm Systems Work? - 4 Steps

How Do Commercial Fire Alarm Systems Work

A fire alarm is vital for any commercial property. Let’s take a tour of the step by step of how commercial fire alarm systems work.

Step 1: Fire Alarm Is Triggered

When a fire alarm system is triggered, it is impossible to miss it; a loud siren will start blaring, alerting everyone in and around the premises of the danger. Something like smoke or fire can trigger the alarm, but it can also be activated manually by someone in the building by pulling on one of the many red levers designated for fire alarms.

Step 2: An Alarm Is Sent

Once the fire alarm is set off, it will automatically alert the authorities. Your fire alarm system will either send this SOS message via telephone or via a mobile network, depending on the original setup. This is when fire drills are activated, and having an established exit strategy is vital.

Step 3: Authorities Are Notified

When the monitoring center receives the distress message, they will immediately dispatch the appropriate resources. This means that the police, ambulance, and fire department will all be sent to your address.

Step 4: The Customer Is Notified

After the relevant authorities have been dispatched, there will be a signal for the monitoring center to notify the customers, to keep them informed regardless of whether they are at the scene or away.

How Do Commercial Fire Alarms Work

If There Is Phone Line Monitoring

A fire alarm system traditionally works with a POTS, which is a plain old telephone. This phone line must be strictly reserved for the fire alarm system and must not be shared under any circumstances. This edict comes directly from the NFPA 72, which is published by the National Fire Protection Association every 3 years to aid in the safe and uniform installation of fire alarms in the United States. Phone line monitorings are secure and stable because a copper line is used to send messages and communicate signals to the fire alarm monitoring company.

If There Is Cellular Monitoring

These days, many businesses are looking for convenience and to cut unnecessary costs; when a POTS is used to monitor the fire alarm system it can get costly. Thanks to technology and the increasingly popular wireless world, fire alarm systems can be set up to send a distress message via a wireless network using a cellular tower. Cellular monitoring is becoming the go-to option for commercial establishments everywhere.


Accidents and fires can be prevented, however, sometimes misfortune strikes. It is important to be prepared. Contact our specialists at Forbel Alarms for a free consultation on the installation of a fire alarm system on your commercial property.

How Do Fire Alarms Work in Commercial Buildings?

How Do Fire Alarms Work in Commercial Buildings?

When a fire ravages through a building, time is of the essence. Every second that ticks by can become more and more destructive. So, how many smoke detectors do you need for your commercial building? The answer is simple: the more, the better. During commercial fire alarm system installation, smoke detectors installed on the ceilings must be spread out to cover the entirety of the commercial building. The bigger the building, the more smoke alarms you may require.

Occupancy Types for Commercial Buildings

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) classifies commercial buildings into occupancy types based on the purpose for which the building was constructed. This may be slightly different from what is obtainable in the building’s hazard classification.

Where safety and fire alarm system requirements are concerned, occupancy is all about the availability and quality of exit points. According to the NFPA, the nature of the egress points determines the occupancy load of a commercial building.

The various occupancy types for commercial buildings are:

  • Group A: Assembly points such as restaurants, stadiums, and theaters with 50 or more possible occupants.
  • Group B: Service-providing buildings such as banks, government buildings, police stations, and insurance agencies.
  • Group E: Educational centers up to the 12th grade.
  • Group F: Factories and other places where items are manufactured or repaired. The only exemption from this group is high-hazard sites that belong to a group of their own.
  • Group H: Places where highly flammable or toxic materials such as explosives and hydrogen peroxide are stored.
  • Group I: Institutional buildings where occupants are unable to leave without physical assistance, such as hospitals, nursing homes, and prisons.
  • Group M: Mercantile buildings where goods are displayed and sold, such as grocery stores and gas stations.
  • Group R: Buildings providing accommodations with options for overnight stay. Examples are apartment buildings and hotels.
  • Group S: Storage facilities where non-high hazard items are stored.
  • Group U: Utility and miscellaneous buildings such as towers and water towers.

Note that a building may have sections with different occupancy types. Therefore, each section will need to meet the prescribed fire safety requirements.

Do Commercial Buildings Need Smoke Detectors?

Smoke Detector in Commercial Property

Very much so, yes. Smoke detectors play an important role in saving lives in the tragic event of a fire. Besides, commercial buildings are required by law to have modalities in place to detect and alert occupants should there be a fire occurrence. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to installing a fire alarm system in your building as it not only ensures safety but can also get you sued if you do otherwise.

The fire alarm system requirements for any commercial building would depend on factors like the type of commercial property and the nature of the activities taking place in the building. These are determined in accordance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order of 2005.

An efficient fire alarm system will consist of critical components like smoke detectors and smoke alarms that will ensure that all staff and goods remain as safe as they can be. Commercial buildings must strategically place their smoke detectors to ensure that all staff and occupants are alerted in time to either evacuate the building or put out the fire. This will also protect staff and customers from smoke inhalation, exposure to toxic gasses, stampedes, and other fire-related injuries.

How Many Smoke Detectors Should I Install?

As we have already outlined, how many smoke detectors you will incorporate into your fire alarm system would depend on how large your commercial property is. However, the Fire Regulatory Reform or Fire Safety Order may require you to have detection devices installed in every room or in every store.

The best way to determine how many smoke detectors are ideal for your building is to employ a professional fire alarm installation service. The company will carry out a risk assessment on the property, if that has not already been done, and also ensure your chosen fire safety measures meet the prescribed fire alarm requirements by law.

Ideally, fire alarms with smoke detectors should be placed in the following locations on commercial premises:

  • On every floor
  • In every hallway
  • In every office
  • In every storage area
  • In every bathroom
  • In every stairway
  • Indoor car parking area
  • In any other room where a fire could start.

Where to Locate the Hardwired Smoke Detector in Commercial Premises?

Smoke Detector in Commercial Premises

It is important to hardwire smoke detectors used in your fire alarm system as this prevents tampering and unauthorized movement during building fires.

Placing hardwired smoke detectors in commercial buildings needs to be done strategically and in accordance with building codes. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends hardwired smoke detectors on every floor of the building in addition to a smoke detector in each stairway of the building. According to the NFPA, a smoke detector will cover a radius of 21 square feet.

These are the minimal requirements for smoke detector placements. Is it enough? Can you ever be too safe? The amount of smoke detectors a business puts in place comes down to budget, but why gamble with your staff and your business? You’re required to follow the NFPA regulations, but to really protect what you care about, the more detectors, the better.

You should understand that the primary purpose of smoke detectors is to detect smoke early and therefore prevent a fire accident from occurring. Hence, it is important you make use of fire alarm systems with high smoke detector sensitivity.

Generally, you should take note of the following when deciding where to place smoke detectors:

  • Each room and hallway in your commercial property should have a working smoke detector and an audible fire alarm.
  • If a smoke detector is placed more than 10 feet high, it should have a remote alarm or indicator that will be easily noticed.
  • Place smoke detectors in stairways in a position where smoke will not be hard to reach.
  • Place smoke detectors no less than 10 feet away from natural smoke and moisture systems such as bathrooms and ovens to prevent false alarms.
  • Replace smoke detector batteries at least once a year. Meanwhile, it is ideal to change a fire alarm system every 10 years. However, you can always contact the manufacturer for precise maintenance instructions.

Do I Need Wireless Smoke Detectors?

fire alarm system

Traditionally, wired smoke detectors have been used. However, with the ever-growing emergence of wireless technologies, no field has been left untouched. Wireless smoke detectors are becoming increasingly popular because they are easy to install anywhere in an office building or any other commercial building.

Unlike wired detectors, they are not limited to a certain location and can be moved around. Wireless smoke detectors also use signal towers and radio frequencies to communicate emergencies, which can save time in the event of a fire. In addition, they could be more cost-effective than wired smoke detectors. This is especially true in large buildings where wired fire alarm system installation will be too extensive and will require a lot of concealing.

Ensure that you install wireless smoke detectors and other fire alarm system components in accordance with the occupancy type and stipulated NFPA requirements.

Here are some NFPA requirements for wireless smoke detectors and fire alarm systems:

  • The product used must be UL-listed or listed by another agency of comparable standard.
  • Wireless fire alarm systems and smoke detectors must be battery operated, with the batteries capable of powering operation for up to one year.
  • There must be a signal transmitted between fire alarm systems every 200 seconds or less.
  • The fire alarm system must be able to notify building occupants in the event of a battery or system failure.
  • The failure or battery glitch of one smoke detector unit should not disable the functioning of the other units in the fire safety system.
  • There must be regular fire alarm inspection and maintenance for the wireless fire alarm system installed.

Note that wireless smoke detectors do come with their own cons. For example, it is possible that the signal generated in a wireless system is not relayed as fast as in wired systems. Where signals are transmitted very quickly (in about 5 to 20 seconds), it impacts battery life, causing the battery to drain speedily. Most wireless fire alarm systems have a signal delay of up to two minutes for extended battery life. However, such delays could cause significant negative impacts as occupants may not be alerted in time to take necessary measures.

Final Thoughts

Fires are dangerous, but you can protect yourself and your business by consulting with the right service provider. Forbel has professional expertise in the field of fire systems installation in Chicago and surrounding areas. Our team of security system design consultants is readily available to offer advice to companies during the early stages of security system design. We also ensure only the best smoke detectors are used in the commercial properties of our clients. Contact us now for a free consultation.

How Many Smoke Detectors Do I Need in My Commercial Property?

How Many Smoke Detectors Do I Need in My Commercial Property?

How many smoke detectors do you need for your commercial building? Read this post to find out an answer and protect your business, staff, and clients!

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