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 Oncam news

Oncam announces updated firmware to provide 360-degree video surveillance cameras with multi-mode
Oncam announces updated firmware to provide 360-degree video surveillance cameras with multi-mode

Oncam, the provider of premium 360-degree video capture technologies, announces the release of updated firmware that transforms the already powerful and compact C-Series cameras into some of the most advanced and flexible cameras of their kind on the market. With the addition of multi-mode, users can choose from five different views and stream up to four of them simultaneously. Multi-mode adds flexibility, versatility and ultimately expands the use cases possible with 360-video technology. With the updated C-Series, stakeholders are empowered to record everything that happens within a scene with 360-degree video coverage and at the same time easily configure alternate and more natural looking views tailored to specific needs. Wall-mounted cameras The enhanced functionalities of the C-Series continue to be powered by the Qualcomm The enhanced functionalities of the C-Series continue to be powered by the Qualcomm® Vision Intelligence Platform, which spans a full range of system-on-chips (SoCs) designed for running compute-intensive workloads at the edge of the network. With multi-mode, users can stream four different views at any given time including: Fisheye: A standard 360-degree fisheye view that is ideal for total situational awareness. Panoramic+: A 5:2 pre-dewarped panoramic view best suited for wall-mounted cameras that use the center of the fisheye sensor to generate an actual 180-degree image. Panoramic+ also includes specifically designed accessories to help ensure the correct tilting of the camera at the desired angle. Created for both the Indoor and Outdoor Plus models, Panoramic+ accessories will be available to purchase from Q3. This 180-degree view can also be set for all streams in Panoramic+ Only Mode, providing a compelling replacement for popular Evolution 180 cameras, which are being placed in the end of life. Corridor+: A split 2-way corridor view, Corridor+ allows to see in two opposite directions of a 360-image at the same time, with no gap in between, so that objects move seamlessly from one section to the other. T Corridor+: A perfect 3-way junction view, T Corridor+ focuses on three chosen directions in the fisheye image without any gap so that what is directly in front can be monitored as well as what’s on either side. VCam: A user-defined dewarped view of a chosen area of the fisheye image, where users can decide which specific area of the scene is of interest and focus on it. Intelligent video solutions “Multi-mode delivers unrivalled camera flexibility, all from one camera,” said Dilen Thakrar, Product Manager, Oncam. “This camera solution can be tailored to many needs. Whether an operator requires a 360-degree camera, a panoramic camera, or both at the same time, the C-Series can exceed the expectations of 360-video today." Oncam and its partners have been pivotal in expanding the adoption of 360-degree video surveillance "Being able to offer this level of versatility all from the same camera ensures we can meet many more uses cases whilst providing simpler configuration, ordering and stocking processes for our partners.” Since launching the C-Series in 2020, Oncam and its partners have been pivotal in expanding the adoption of 360-degree video surveillance across the globe. These efforts have resulted in significant growth with enterprises turning to its intelligent video solutions to support mission-critical use cases. Digital transformation strategies “Video is a core data source generated from IoT deployments and 360-degree video is an integral part of this ecosystem,” said Jérôme Jacqmin, Senior Director Business Development, Qualcomm Communications S.A.R.L. “Our continued collaboration with Oncam contributes to the development of the innovative video solutions that enable organisations to enhance their digital transformation strategies. We believe that together, we are pushing the envelope of what is possible with video.” “We’re not just leading the way in 360-degree video. We’re redefining it for the next evolution of IoT and security solutions,” said Jon Marsh, SVP Technology, Oncam. “We’re dedicated to providing our strategic alliance partners and customers with the flexibility they need to achieve their ever-evolving operational and security requirements. This commitment is driven by our promise to continue to leverage our deep expertise in panoramic imaging and edge dewarping to push the envelopes of 360-video technology.”

Will the new decade represent a ‘Roaring Twenties’ for security?
Will the new decade represent a ‘Roaring Twenties’ for security?

The “Roaring Twenties” was a decade of economic growth and widespread prosperity, driven by recovery from devastation, a construction boom, and welcoming of new technologies such as automobiles and electricity. As we look ahead to the big picture of the 2020s, 100 years later, are there parallels that suggest a successful decade ahead? Might recovery from the devastation of COVID-19 help to drive even higher levels of economic growth and technical innovation? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: Does the new decade represent a new “Roaring Twenties” for the physical security market?

Oncam announces the launch of C-Series camera line, including C-12 Indoor and C-12 Outdoor Plus 360-degree video cameras
Oncam announces the launch of C-Series camera line, including C-12 Indoor and C-12 Outdoor Plus 360-degree video cameras

Oncam, the globally renowned provider of premium 360-degree video capture technologies, has announced the introduction of its powerful and compact C-Series camera line and the first two cameras of this line, the C-12 Indoor and the C-12 Outdoor Plus cameras, both featuring a 12 MP sensor and powered by advanced video technology from Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. 360-degree fisheye solutions Designed to support mission-critical video surveillance and security deployments, the Oncam C-Series camera line provides the performance, resilience, scalability and ease of use required of advanced 360-degree fisheye solutions. Built on Oncam's expertise spanning more than 15 years in 360-degree video technology, the C-Series delivers higher frame rates, crisp images and bandwidth reduction technology, increasing functionality, as well as ensuring the creation of products that are both intuitive and user-friendly.   C-12 cameras Oncam C-12 cameras feature the company’s award-winning de-warping technology The Oncam C-12 cameras feature the company’s award-winning de-warping technology, seamless ONVIF implementation, and integration with the major VMS (Video Management System) platforms, with superior processing power from Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. that enables this next generation of high-tech video surveillance solution from Oncam.   The company’s C-Series cameras use cutting-edge algorithms and advanced technology to deliver access to reliable, secure, and clear images that provide organisations and government agencies with enhanced situational awareness. Oncam's commitment to open solutions and the C-12 camera's advanced, intuitive user interface also delivers the freedom to configure and tailor the camera to specific requirements, making it ideal for a variety of markets. Harnessing the power of video Oncam’s C-12 cameras enable users to harness the power of video with innovations pioneered by the video surveillance company, including:   Market-renowned frame rates: Oncam C-12 cameras stream 55 fps at full resolution, significantly outperforming other 360-degree cameras in the market currently. This superior performance allows for the capability to maintain the chosen frame rate up to 30 fps on the primary stream, even with up to three other streams running. The benefit of this technology is that it offers full frame rate video without sacrificing the flexibility for secondary streams. Alternatively, users will get to experience best in class performance and image quality of 25 fps with TrueDetail HDR. StreamLite Compression: The C-series camera line comes integrated with advanced real-time adaptive video encoder enhancement technology, applied to both H.264 and H.265 video compression technologies. StreamLite reduces bandwidth and storage space required by the camera by more than 50% and in scenes with no motion, it minimises the encoded stream by more than 90%, with minimal impact on the final image quality. Additionally, the C-series does all this without compromising on the details that matter the most. Integrated VMS (Video Management System)/NVR (Network Video Recorder) partners have access to StreamLite+ technology and they can achieve an additional 20% compression, thanks to the advanced capabilities of Oncam’s ColourMap Compression technology. This patented pre-compression color optimisation technology works with other Oncam compression technologies to reduce bandwidth and storage, with no perceptible impact on the image quality. TrueDetail HDR: This feature allows both dark and light areas within the same image to be visible and captured, while also revealing critical details in both dark and bright areas of a scene. TrueDetail HDR feature facilitates capturing two frames concurrently and by minimising the time lag between short and long exposures, it delivers bright and sharp images with minimal motion blur. Advanced Light Management Technology: Integrated with advanced light management technology, the C-series camera dynamically manages the available light to achieve the best results, in every corner of every 360-degree scene. Whether it be extreme low light or a complex mixed lighting environment, it automatically optimises image quality with whatever light is available to produce clearer, full-colour, lower noise surveillance videos, while also maintaining the sharpness of static or moving objects, even in very low-light or dark conditions. C-Series Indoor and Outdoor Plus camera models Oncam's C-Series cameras are available in the market through a network of trusted Strategic Alliance Partners Oncam's C-Series cameras are available in the market through a network of trusted Strategic Alliance Partners, including some of the largest and trusted brands across the globe. The C-12 cameras are available with multiple accessories and mounting options for both the Indoor and Outdoor Plus models. “We are proud to be collaborating with Oncam on the launch of its C-Series cameras, their first portfolio of products powered by Qualcomm Technologies,” said Jeff Lorbeck, Senior Vice President and General Manager, IoT, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Jeff adds, “As the Oncam product portfolio grows, our shared vision of delivering innovative camera solutions will enable us to continue unlocking the ‘Internet of Things’ potential for a variety of applications from enterprise, education to smart cities and beyond.” Qualcomm Technologies chosen as Oncam’s SoC vendor Qualcomm Technologies, a globally renowned video technology solutions provider with innovation and collaboration at their core, was chosen as Oncam’s System on a chip (SoC) vendor to ensure the market-renowned performance of the C-Series and beyond. “We are entering a new era for our industry so we have focused our efforts on building and nurturing a world-class team that centers on innovation through collaboration both internally and externally with the C-Series being the first tangible result of that mindset and approach,” said Scott Brothers, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Oncam. Scott adds, “Qualcomm Technologies’ investment into IoT and the ever-increasing use of IP video as a key element within the IoT ecosystem makes the Oncam/Qualcomm Technologies relationship a fantastic fit both now and in the future as we build out our product roadmap.”