CCTV camera mounts - Expert commentary

Making school safety a priority with smart technology
Making school safety a priority with smart technology

With pupils in the UK set to go back to school on 8 March, there are a number of safety measures schools need to implement to ensure the health and wellness of the staff, students, and school communities.  The first lockdown and closure of schools brought on by the coronavirus pandemic fired a “warning shot” for education facilities managers, forcing head-teachers to re-examine school safety standards. Now that a third lockdown is here and schools have been shut down for a second time, anyone behind the curve with the benefits of smart technology should get on board now before children return to the school environment. And with the ever-changing variants of the COVID-19 virus, schools can’t afford to be “late to class” when it comes to health and safety. Preventing the spread of disease Some schools in the US have been using smart technologies for a while to measure utility consumption and efficiency, streamline maintenance and enhance general school safety. These technologies are playing a significant role in keeping school buildings healthy and preventing the spread of disease. Let’s take a look at how smart technology can help schools to become safer, as well as more energy-efficient and cost-effective.   Thermal detection cameras  Smart cameras placed at entry points of a school can remove the manual task of temperature testing Smart cameras placed at entry points of a school can remove the manual task of temperature testing. These cameras provide medically-accurate, real-time temperatures of individuals in real-time. If a high temperature is detected, the software sends an instant alert to the relevant party. It can also be set to deny access to those with high temperatures or to people not wearing masks.  Safer water  As the coronavirus continues to sweep through the world’s population, healthcare providers should also be on heightened alert for Legionnaires’ disease, another potential cause of pneumonia with similar symptoms. Legionella is a potentially deadly bacteria that can infect a school’s water supply and cause an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease. It’s a school's duty of care to prevent Legionella infection by monitoring the risk of the bacteria proliferating.  Particularly as schools reopen and previously stagnant plumbing and cooling systems return to use, additional Legionella cases could rear their ugly head to emergency departments in the coming months. Traces of Legionella were recently found at a Worcestershire school. The school was forced to remain shut while treatment and testing took place. Automated flushing and temperature testing Instant alerts will notify relevant staff if water temperatures fall within “Legionella-friendly” parameters The Health and Safety Executive advises, “If your building was closed or has reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease… If the water system is still used regularly, maintain the appropriate measures to prevent legionella growth.” Typically, managing the risk of Legionella includes running all outlets for two minutes, taking and recording the temperature of the water to ensure that it’s not conducive to Legionella growth. This is a time-consuming process, which is why schools are looking for automated water temperature monitoring systems. This smart system with automated flushing and temperature testing reports and records water temperature data in real-time. Instant alerts will notify relevant staff if water temperatures fall within “Legionella-friendly” parameters.  Cleaner air  Advisers say that improving air filtration and ventilation in schools can help mitigate the potential airborne transmission of COVID-19. Strategies include: Increasing outdoor air ventilation Filtering indoor air Using portable air cleaners with HEPA filters  Smart building technologies such as advanced HVAC controls can help facilities managers promote cleaner air with less hassle. For example, smart HVAC systems use sensors to remotely monitor and control variables such as:  Humidity Temperature Indoor air quality The level of carbon dioxide and other pollutants The technology is also energy-efficient and cost-effective.  While these solutions may be key to the reopening of schools in the era of COVID-19, they also bring long-term benefits. Although COVID-19 may have accelerated the adoption of smart technology, many of these solutions are focused on health, wellness, and security in general; which have been needed in school systems for a long time.

Ergonomic standards increase control room productivity
Ergonomic standards increase control room productivity

  Ergonomics are a critical, but often misunderstood aspect of designing control rooms for security. Ergonomics have a deep impact on the integrity of an operation, and the issue goes beyond the control room furniture. Matko Papic, Chief Technology Officer of Evans Consoles, divides ergonomics into three areas: physical (reach zones, touch points, monitors); cognitive (the individual’s ability to process information without overlooking a critical element) and organisational (how the facility operates in various situations; e.g., is it adequately designed for an emergency event?). He says the Evans approach is to determine the precise placement required for each element an operator needs, and then to design and build console furniture to position it there. Basically, the idea is to tailor the control room to the operation. What tasks must an operator perform? Are they manageable or should they be divided up among several operators? Control room design should accommodate the need to collaborate, and be flexible enough to adapt to various situations. It all begins with understanding the information that needs to be processed, says Papic. Increased productivity in the workplace Because personnel are often stationed at a specific console, desk or workstation for long hours, physical problems and productivity issues can result, says Jim Coleman, National Sales Manager, AFC Industries. Ergonomically designed furniture and related products have been proven to increase productivity and alleviate physical stress in the workplace. Ergonomic furniture solutions are crafted for the ultimate in safety, adaptability, comfort and functionality. Coleman says AFC Industries can tailor furniture to specific needs and environment. For example, a height-adjustable workstation can be combined with adjustable monitor arm mounts to create a relaxed, comfortable environment. Furniture offers modern designs, comfortable ergonomics, and comprehensive features. Rugged materials withstand the 24/7 use of command control centres. Health benefits of ergonomic workstations A sedentary office environment is often an unhealthy one. “For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking,” says Martha Grogan, Cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic. Ongoing research and studies have shown that a change in posture (i.e., using ergonomic sit-to-stand workstations) is an effective means to combat these negative health issues. Using sit-to-stand workstations helps to eliminate musculoskeletal disorders caused by long-term sitting. They can also improve productivity and focus from the increased blood flow. Energy levels can rise and employees burn more calories. Control room design should accommodate the need to collaborate and be flexible enough to adapt to various situations “The ergonomic environment we create for control rooms involves considering every need of the staff at each workstation and their equipment, as well as workflow within the entire room,” says Coleman. “From the proper setting of screen focal lengths to sound absorption and glare reduction, each requirement and phase of a control room design is a necessary process to ensure the protection and safety of people and property.” Emergency operations centre “The military has figured out that you are more alert when you are standing,” says Randy Smith, President of Winsted, and the realisation is guiding emergency operations centre (EOC) design toward sit-stand. “As soon as there is an emergency, everybody stands up,” Smith adds. Designing EOC environments also requires systems be integrated with annunciating signal lights to facilitate communication among operators. Winsted’s sit-stand consoles can be combined with a motorised M-View monitor wall mount, enabling a 60-inch wall monitor to be raised and lowered to match the positioning of the sit-stand console. Larger, wall-mounted screens are easier to use for operators, since a larger monitor size can make it easier to read text on a screen, for example. Combining the larger monitor with sit-stand capabilities provides the best of both options. Many operators today stand for 50 percent of their day, says Smith. Ergonomic standards guide the design of Winsted’s control room consoles, including ISO 11064 standards for the design of control centres. The furniture also is designed to accommodate industrial wire management (larger wire bundles), unlike furniture that might be bought in an office supply store. Read part 3 of our Control Rooms series here {##Poll37 - How well do you incorporate ergonomics into your control rooms?##}

Improving security system installations with Acceptance Testing
Improving security system installations with Acceptance Testing

Significant technological advancements have created endless possibilities in how security is not only deployed, but also leveraged by the end user – the customer. For example, customers can now view surveillance at eight different offices in eight different states from a single, central location. A security director can manage an enterprise-wide access control system, including revoking or granting access control privileges, for 10,000 global employees from a company’s headquarters. However, with that increased level of system sophistication comes an added level of complexity. After successfully completing the installation of a security system, integrators are now expected to formally and contractually prove that the system works as outlined in the project specification document. Tom Feilen, Director of National Accounts for Koorsen Security Technology explains that this formal checks and balance process is gaining momentum in the security industry. The step-by-step process of Acceptance Testing is more commonly being written into bid specifications, especially for projects that require the expertise of an engineer and/or architect. Simply put, it is a way for the end user to make sure the system they paid for works properly and is delivered by the integrator as outlined in the project’s request for proposal. While Acceptance Testing can be a time consuming process, it is a valuable industry tool. It is estimated that at least 95 per cent of integrated security systems today have been brought through the Acceptance Testing process. Security systems have become more complicated in recent years. The introduction of IP-based, enterprise-wide and integrated solutions have all opened the door to more sophisticated access control and surveillance systems than ever thought possible. This process can vary depending upon the size of the project, but for a larger scale project, it is not uncommon for Acceptance Testing to take several weeks from start to finish. This timeline can be especially lengthy when the project involves hundreds of devices, such as access control readers, surveillance cameras, video recorders, intrusion sensors, and intercom systems. Most integrated security systems today have been brought through the Acceptance Testing process What is involved in the Acceptance Testing process? While the specific process can vary from integrator to integrator, many follow a similar process with their customer to ensure the system works accurately and that the customer has the proper certification documentation. The initial part of the process typically involves generating a report of each device installed as part of the system. This list enables the systems integrator to systematically test each device ensuring that individual devices are not specific points of failure for the overall system. For example, in a building equipped with a system that automatically releases the egress doors upon the fire alarm activation, it is important to make sure each door’s electro-magnetic locking system is operating properly. The systems integrator would not only test that a door releases when the fire alarm sounds, but also to make sure the access control system is notified if the door is propped open or held open longer than in normal usage parameters. For a door that is also monitored by a surveillance camera, part of the testing would also involve making sure that an image being transmitted to a video monitor is coming from the correct surveillance camera and that the actual angle of the image is what the customer has requested and is correctly labelled as such. If a device does not function as it should, it is then added to a punch list that would require the systems integrator to repair that device within a certain period of time. Once repairs are made, the system integrator would then submit a letter to the client stating that every device has been tested and works properly. It is also important for the integrator that once the testing process is complete to obtain a customer sign off (Certificate of Acceptance) on all systems tested and documentation provided. This limits liability once the system is turned over. From a safety perspective, Acceptance Testing is also used to verify that T-bars and safety chains are installed on cameras that are mounted in drop ceilings. It can confirm that panels are mounted in a room that is properly heated and cooled to avoid major temperature swings. Also, as part of the Acceptance Testing checklist, it can insure that power supplies that drive all the security systems are properly rated with the recommended batteries for back-up. And, that emergency exist devices or card readers are not mounted more than 48-inches above ground. An Acceptance Testing process serves to protect the end user's investment After the project is complete, Acceptance Testing protects both parties involved against liability issues. One example is if the building has a fire and the functionality of the life safety system comes into question. Acceptance Testing can be used to prove that the system was able to function as specified and dispel any concerns about its performance. At that time, all close out sheets are turned in, along with as-built drawings and a manual providing a complete listing of each device and system installed. Today, these manuals not only come in paper form as part of a large binder, but also digital files saved to a disc. The benefit of providing the customer with a binder or documentation of the system is that should the end user/customer replace the person who manages security at the company, valuable information will not leave with that former employee. While this checklist to close out a project may appear trivial at first, it is an important part of the security project process. By implementing an Acceptance Testing program, it serves to protect the end user’s investment, ensuring that the systems integrators hired for the project is knowledgeable and provides quality work. For the integrator, it helps towards the end goal of a satisfied customer.

Latest Altronix news

Altronix Trove seamlessly integrates with Swiftlane DCU 5 Door Controllers to enhance access control solutions
Altronix Trove seamlessly integrates with Swiftlane DCU 5 Door Controllers to enhance access control solutions

Altronix, the provider of power and data transmission products for professional security applications, continues to expand the company’s popular line of Trove™ Access and Power Integration Solutions. Altronix Trove™ now seamlessly integrates with Swiftlane DCU 5 Door Controllers, simplifying board layout and wire management. Systems integrators can now easily configure and deploy Swiftlane access control for up to 12 door systems. Companies are rapidly moving to cloud-based access control solutions in the remote first post COVID world. The Swiftlane and Altronix partnership now enables rapid deployment of contactless entry to offices through face recognition and mobile credentials. Remote access grants By using a combination of remote access grants for face recognition, mobile and PINs, and a cloud-based access control and wireless video intercom solution, companies can now manage primary and satellite offices remotely. Regarding multifamily buildings, package theft has become a major problem. Food deliveries are at an all-time high, increasing burden for property access. Food deliveries are at an all-time high, increasing burden for property access Technology like video-based wireless intercoms and remote unlock can now be deployed seamlessly using the Altronix-Swiftlane solution, creating user experiences that residents desire. “Our collaboration with Swiftlane streamlines the design and installation process, saving time and labour which ultimately makes projects more profitable,” said Alan Forman, President, Altronix Corporation. “In addition to the convenience and cost-efficiency these preconfigured Trove kits deliver, they can be further customised with a number of options including advanced network communications.” Access control solutions Altronix and Swiftlane pre-configured Trove kits support four and twelve door systems. Trove1 and Trove2 solutions provide scalable flexibility for custom applications, where specific power requirements are needed. “Our partnership with Altronix provides high degrees of efficiency and convenience to systems integrators and end users by expediting system deployment with assuring quality and performance.” “Altronix has a long history of delivering reliable, efficient and versatile power solutions. By combining Swiftlane's face recognition and mobile access control solutions with Altronix’s Trove solutions, we are able to deliver rapid deployment of touchless access control technology,” said Saurabh Bajaj, CEO and Founder, Swiftlane. “We look forward to further enhancing this combined offering as new products and solutions become available from our respective companies.” Altronix products are manufactured in the U.S.A. and backed by a lifetime warranty.

Altronix announces that NetWay4BT and NetWay8BT midspans are UL294 listed for access control systems
Altronix announces that NetWay4BT and NetWay8BT midspans are UL294 listed for access control systems

Altronix, the provider of power and data transmission products for the professional security industry, announces that their recently introduced NetWay4BT and NetWay8BT 802.3bt 4PPoE managed midspans are UL294 listed for access control systems. The UL294 listing reaffirms the high quality and performance of these solutions that end users, architects, and security consultants demand for mission critical access control applications. Data transmission solutions “Our new NetWay midspans provide the precise power for the latest 802.3bt compliant IP devices,” said Ronnie Pennington, Director of Sales for the Americas at Altronix. “Now UL294 listed, these versatile power and data transmission solutions provide the added assurance for optimum performance and reliability for access control applications. In addition, these units support high-powered surveillance devices such as IP cameras and illuminators.” Altronix NetWay8BT 8-port 802.3bt compliant managed midspan provides up to 90W per port (480W max). NetWay4BT is a 4-port version that also provides up to 90W per port (360W max). These new UL294 listed midspans pass data at 10/100/1000 Mbps, include a built-in battery charger, and embedded LINQ™ Technology to monitor, control, and report power and diagnostics from anywhere over the network. Altronix products are manufactured in the U.S.A. and backed by a lifetime warranty.

Altronix announces its Tango PoE Driven Power Supply/Chargers are now UL 294 listed for access control applications
Altronix announces its Tango PoE Driven Power Supply/Chargers are now UL 294 listed for access control applications

Altronix, the globally recognised company in power and data transmission solutions for the professional security industry, has announced that its award-winning Tango PoE Driven Power Supply/Chargers are now UL 294 listed for access control applications. This reaffirms the high quality and performance of Tango solutions that end-users, architects and security consultants demand for mission critical access control applications. Tango PoE Driven Power Supply/Chargers Tango leverages low-voltage installation methods, eliminating the need for an electrician and dedicated conduit and wire runs. This unique solution delivers 12VDC and 24VDC simultaneously from any 802.3bt PoE source up to 90W such as Altronix NetWay injectors. When combined with Altronix stackable sub-assemblies, Tango can support up to 8 locking devices with power for controllers and ancillary devices. A single Lithium Iron Phosphate battery (LiFePO4) provides backup for 12VDC and/or 24VDC systems, adding to the systems ROI. Plug-and-play option to deploy access control UL 294 listed for access control, Tango is documented to operate with the highest levels of reliability and safety" “Tango provides system designers and installers with a cost-effective and efficient means to power access control and security devices by employing the latest PoE technology,” said Ronnie Pennington, National Sales Engineer, Altronix Corporation. Ronnie adds, “Now UL 294 listed for access control, Tango is documented to operate with the highest levels of reliability and safety, providing a plug-and-play option for deploying access control systems.” Flexible to accommodate Altronix sub-assemblies The Tango Series is available in myriad configurations to meet a wide variety of system applications. All models are equipped with LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) battery backup. Tango solutions are flexible to accommodate Altronix sub-assemblies, including the Altronix PDS8 Dual Input Power Distribution Modules that distribute 12VDC and/or 24VDC over a total of eight (8) fuse or PTC protected selectable outputs and Altronix ACMS8 Dual Input Access Power Controllers that distribute power over a total of eight (8) fuse or PTC protected Fail-Safe, and/or Fail-Secured relayed outputs. Additionally, network versions of these boards with embedded remote power management. Altronix products are manufactured in the U.S.A. and backed by a lifetime warranty.