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40 years of communications, safety and security at CSi

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CSi does access-control installation for City Center Lehigh Valley in Allentown, Cetronia Ambulance
and Bethlehem Area School District, among other clients
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/ CSi does access-control installation for City Center Lehigh Valley in Allentown, Cetronia Ambulance and Bethlehem Area School District, among other clients

CSi Integrated Security & Communications Systems in Upper Macungie Township started in 1975 primarily as a communications contractor.

Forty years later, the company continues to provide communications but long ago added another layer of service: security. Its clientele are businesses, schools and colleges, government offices and those in health care.

“Today, we help to keep the community safe, developing systems that prevent intrusion or crime,” said Wayne Becker, vice president of business development for CSi.

Four decades as a company involved in technology means those who have worked there nearly from the start have been a part of quite an evolution in the business, too. Becker, for example, has been with CSi for 35 years.

“Life safety and security is our largest sector,” he said.

CSi initially specialized in professional sound systems for stadiums and auditoriums and also installed and managed intercom networks and audiovisual equipment. The company still does this work but now often integrates it with security components.

It focuses on buildings and outdoor equipment of clients, providing access control, video surveillance, intrusion and parameter protection, mass notification for fire alarms and breaches, system monitoring and general security and communication systems.

Since CSi manages public address, audiovisual and professional sound systems for its clients, camera views in a particular location often coincide to enhance security features, Becker said.

“The biggest change we’ve seen is that when we started, most systems were analog with literal wires and connections, and now it is software systems and often wireless,” he said. “Some systems are wired and wireless, or all wireless. It all depends.”

Access control of buildings, card swipes as well as retina, hand and facial recognition scanners, often used in combination, help personnel to safely enter offices.

Infrared detection and motion sensing, along with infrared curtains, are intrusion and parameter measurements often used for clients. Alerts are distributed by phone, email or text to offer immediate warnings to those in charge.

C.F. Martin & Co. Inc., based in Upper Nazareth Township, known for producing Martin-brand guitars since 1833, has been a client of CSi for several decades.

Fred Everett is operations manager of Martin Guitar, which uses CSi to help secure its five locations in the Nazareth area of Northampton County.

Its main headquarters has fire alarms as well as a comprehensive audiovisual system at its visitors’ center for those who take factory tours. Three facilities have fire alarm and security systems, and the final building incorporates a fire alarm system, all from CSi.

“Life safety and security are important to the employees and visitors at all of our business locations,” Everett said. “… We have close to 25,000 visitors to the Sycamore Street factory every year.”

As a manufacturer of guitars for almost 200 years, sharing the history of the company’s music industry efforts is crucial.

“The audiovisual system that CSi designed and installed when we opened our visitors’ center supports our mission to enhance our guests’ overall experience when they take a plant tour, pick up their custom Martin guitar or call on us for business,” Everett said.

“CSi recognizes our relationship as a partnership, something we place a lot of value in when selecting team members,” he said. “The success we have created and enjoyed through lots of hard work is a testament to their collaboration with us over the past several decades.”

According to the Allentown Police Department’s 2014 annual report, violent crime has decreased about 43 percent since the implementation of a citywide video surveillance system in 2007, Becker said about CSi’s work for the city.

“In 2006, before the system was implemented, there were 1,082 violent crimes reported. In 2014, there were 616 violent crimes reported,” Becker said.

“The mayor of Allentown [Ed Pawlowski] has gone on record saying, ‘Right after the first deployment, we knew they were successful,’ and ‘The cameras CSi deployed are a very effective part of Allentown’s overall crime-fighting strategy.’ ”

Mike Hilbert is superintendent of communications for Allentown and noted that the city uses telephone, surveillance and security systems from CSi.

A recent license plate recognition system also has been a great success for dealing with crime, Hilbert said.

“The LPR [license plate recognition] system is not only on certain traffic arms, but we also have them on numerous cruiser cars,” he said. “There have been crimes solved more quickly because of the data that the LPR systems were able to capture.”

Hilbert said CSi has been a great partner to the city.

“What CSi brings to the table is their ability to look at the systems, policies and procedures that the city is using, and they can offer integrated, very cost-effective solutions …,” he said.

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