The following resource contains answers to some of the most common questions we get about PEPPM, one of our most popular procurement vehicles. PSX is a PEPPM vendor of electronic access control and video surveillance.

IDENTIFY GOALS

CONSULTATION

Q: What should I bring to our initial consultation?

A:  It’s usually best to start by bringing current drawings of your facilities and grounds.  Consider involving the people who oversee the security, IT, budgeting and purchasing functions.

Q:  What information does PSX need from the school?

A:  Ideally, we would like to know what prompted the district to consider a security project, what is already in place, what incidents have already occurred, the budget for the project, and who will be using the system(s) after completion.

Q: What security technology is available through PSX?

A:  PSX offers electronic access control, video surveillance, visitor management, public address, and mass notification systems.

Q: Is each system really custom-designed for each school?

A:  Definitely.  Every school, administrator, and school board is different.  Different students, buildings, goals, expectations, budgets…it’s nearly impossible for two systems to be alike.

INCIDENT RESPONSE

Q: What tools can we give law enforcement and first-responders to manage an incident?

A:  Generally, a school can share as much or as little as they choose to share.  Some schools choose to send alert emails in the event of a panic button, others choose to give system access to local law enforcement, and in the event of a major incident, full camera and lock control can be provided to the command post if necessary.

Q: Can building lockdown be automated?

A:  Absolutely.  All electronic door locks on campus can be locked or unlocked with one click, or any useful combination thereof.  We recommend the preparation of two or more pre-configured programs for use in different situations.

Q: Can PSX security systems be operated remotely in the event that the main control station is unreachable?

A:  Yes, and we recommend including this scenario as a possibility in regular emergency drills.

DEMONSTRATIONS

Q: How are product demonstrations scheduled?

A:  Product demos are usually brought to the school so all necessary personnel can attend, but can be arranged by web conference if necessary.  The in-person experience is preferred when possible, because it allows hands-on participation.

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Q:  What topics are covered during the demo?

A:  PSX project and product experts present the operation and administration of the hardware and software.  They will gather information on how the system will be used and supported over time, to help in the design of a system, a project plan, and a long-term support strategy for your school.

EXPERT DESIGN

PRODUCT SELECTION

Q:  Can we re-use any of the equipment we have now?

A:  If there is already security equipment in your school, it’s very likely that we can re-use some of it, if it is useful in meeting the goals laid out in the first phase.

Q:  Who selects the products that are available through PEPPM?

A:  You do!  The administrators of the PEPPM program bid the product lines that schools are requesting.

TECHNOLOGY

Q:  Can I log into a PSX security system from home?

A:  If you can log into the school’s network from home, then you can log into your PSX security system.

Q: Is it possible to limit a user’s privileges on a system based on their job role?

A:  Yes, and it’s a common request.  Be sure to mention your desire to do this when speaking with your PSX representative.

Q:  We have two separate campuses, miles apart.  Can they behave as one system?

A: They can, with the right network configuration.  We can work with your IT team to deliver this functionality.

Q:  I always have my smart phone with me.  Can I use it for security?

A:  Yes, this is a very popular request.  Some systems have dedicated iPhone or Android apps, and others use a web browser interface.  Be sure to take an inventory of the number of devices you would like to grant access to, so that the system can be properly sized.

Q: Can PSX integrate existing databases into the new system?

A:  Yes, very often an existing database can be integrated into a new security system.  There are many factors at play, however.  Closed systems, encrypted data, and proprietary formats are just some of the obstacles.  This can be assessed early in the process if desired. 

PERSONNEL CONSIDERATIONS

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Q:  Will we need to hire or contract a security guard service to work with a PSX system?

A:  Not at all.  The vast majority of our clients do not have on-site security.  The responsibilities and training of all users and personnel will be considered in the design of the system, and we pride ourselves on creating the simplest, most intuitive user experience possible for users of all skill levels.

Q: Will you work with our internal resources, like IT or facilities?

A:  Absolutely.  We prefer to engage these departments early in the project development process, so that we know what they are able to contribute and what PSX will need to provide.

Q: We already have photo badge access cards.  Can we use those in a new access system?

A:  Typically, yes.  Each case is different though, so please ask your PSX representative.

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Q: What training is necessary to operate a PSX security system?  How do we get that training?

A: PSX offers training for end users and administrators of each system, customized for each customer’s needs.  All training is conducted by PSX technical staff, and is planned using our established training curricula and the skill level of the users in attendance.

PLANNING THE INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE

Q:  How can I be sure that the project will be completed when I need it?

A:  Your deadlines are one of the first topics your PSX representative will ask you about in the initial consultation.  By working together – around the school’s schedule and deadlines – we can deliver on time in most cases.  The project’s size and complexity are the two variables that cause the most variation in delivery times.

Q: How do we minimize the maintenance that the system requires over time?

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A:  This is one of our top priorities in the design of any system.  We begin with low-maintenance components, and then lay out a recommended schedule of preventive maintenance tasks.  Whether performed by the school’s maintenance department or PSX technicians, a little bit goes a long way toward reducing the time and effort required to keep the system in service and protecting the school.

Q:  What services does PSX offer?

A: PSX field operations personnel are capable of installing equipment, performing backups, training system users, troubleshooting problems, integrating to outside systems and databases, and providing cleaning and adjustments for preventive maintenance. 

BID-PROTECTED PROCUREMENT

ORDERING THROUGH PEPPM

Q:  Who runs the PEPPM program?

A: The Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit (CSIU) in Pennsylvania operates the PEPPM program.  Purchase orders can be faxed in to PEPPM at 800-636-3779, or entered electronically by users of the Epylon e-commerce platform.  All purchase orders should be sent to PEPPM, accompanied by a copy of the PSX quote, and with PSX named as the PEPPM-awarded vendor in the body of the document.

Q:  Who is eligible to use PEPPM?  

A: All local & county schools and agencies, including K-12 districts, state-owned colleges, and municipal and county governments.

Q:  How do buyers outside PA use PEPPM?

A:  PEPPM is bid and awarded in PA and CA, so nothing extra needs to be done in those states.  Buyers outside those states simply need to confirm that their procurement rules allow piggybacking on a program like PEPPM, and that the product has been made available in their state by the PEPPM-awarded vendor.  School Districts in New Jersey, Ohio and Delaware are using the PEPPM program.

Q:  Is PEPPM like COSTARS?

A:  The two programs are similar, but PEPPM offers some advantages. For instance, only the products that are specifically requested by PEPPM users are selected for inclusion, so it’s not hard to find products that are appropriate for schools.  Another key advantage is that through PEPPM, a school district can purchase ancillary services – like installation or training – in addition to products.

Q:  Where does PEPPM pricing come from?  

A:  PEPPM is a state-recognized, bid-protected purchasing program that has saved schools hundreds of millions of dollars over the years by even the most conservative estimates.  When PEPPM selects a product for inclusion in its program, it runs a public bid for the entire product line and then posts the winning bidder’s per-item prices on its website at PEPPM.org.  Product lines are updates monthly by awarded vendors, and lines are re-bid on a regular schedule.
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Q:  Will my PEPPM quote from PSX include installation services?

A: PSX labor is made available through the “ancillary services” portion of our bid award from PEPPM.  Under this framework, PSX can provide installation, training and related services.

Q: Who can answer additional questions about the PEPPM procurement process?

A:  PEPPM.org is a good resource, and your PSX representative will be able to answer most questions.  The administrators of the PEPPM program are also available to answer questions.  If needed, your PSX representative can meet with administrators or even the school board.

EXPERIENCE

Q:  How many schools has PSX installed security systems in?

A:  Over just the past five years, PSX has installed security systems in over 100 schools throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Ohio.  The majority of these systems were procured through PEPPM.

Q:  What product lines does PSX offer through PEPPM?

A: At this time, PSX is a PEPPM-awarded vendor of electronic access control and video surveillance.

Q:  How long has PSX been in the systems integration business?

A:  PSX is now 45 years old, and has always focused on the design, implementation and support of industry leading control systems for large clients.

Q:  Can you provide references?

A:  Absolutely.  We’d love to.