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 IDIS news

IDIS brings Solution Suite (ISS) version 3.5 with increased situational awareness and response
IDIS brings Solution Suite (ISS) version 3.5 with increased situational awareness and response

IDIS has released IDIS Solution Suite (ISS) version 3.5, its most powerful enterprise-class VMS yet. New features and service modules are designed around increased situational awareness, efficient response coordination, and sped-up investigations. A new Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) service enables seamless and stable video and voice relay to third-party devices and software without an SDK or API, increasing system flexibility and helping security teams coordinate responses to threats and incidents. Real-time monitoring Improving real-time monitoring, text-to-speech allows operators to pre-set verbal multi-lingual notifications to pre-determined events. Operatives can now also benefit from real-time pop-ups based on the GPS location of a triggered alarm, providing enhanced wide-area awareness from cameras ranging from a 10 to 100 kilometre radius. ISS v3.5 also includes instant synchronised playback, which presents operators with precisely time-synched screen views of video streams across single or multiple sites, removing the need for manual configuration, and reducing stress and complexity for operators, particularly during time-critical investigations. And the new Event Notification Center enables centralised control of multiple audio devices, giving security teams mass-and targeted-communications capabilities, which can help them to pre-empt security or safety breaches, or to issue warnings in the event of an emergency. Enterprise-class streaming IDIS person match speeds up investigations by extracting a person’s characteristics from multiple stream IDIS person match speeds up investigations by extracting a person’s characteristics from multiple streams to present a clear timeline of events and last known locations. All the new features work in harmony with enterprise-class streaming, recording, and administration functionality, and come with a fair pricing structure - no annual licence fees or OPEX burden - to make ISS significantly more affordable than traditional enterprise video management software. As a result, IDIS Solution Suite continues to cut annual costs for customers, making advanced video management available to more users, including medium-sized organisations and those with single sites. A modular solution, it allows users to choose the right service modules to meet their unique security, operational and compliance needs, meaning customers never pay for functionality they don’t use. Multi-layered failover The choice of modules includes federated architecture to manage an unlimited number of devices and sites using centralised and local command and control; multi-layered failover and redundancy offering protection against a range of fault conditions; video wall multi-stream management, and highly accurate IDIS Deep Learning Analytics (IDLA). “With our latest version of IDIS Solution Suite, we are making it easier than ever for users to manage an unlimited number of devices and sites, giving them enterprise-performance without the usual associated price tag or ongoing lifecycle costs,” says Andrew Myung, President, IDIS America.

IDIS provides dome cameras and network video records to enhance security at Canterbury Cathedral
IDIS provides dome cameras and network video records to enhance security at Canterbury Cathedral

IDIS end-to-end video is protecting a new, purpose-built visitor centre at Canterbury Cathedral, part of a $34 million renovation project transforming one of the UK’s most important UNESCO Heritage sites. The seven-year program, preserving and safeguarding the fifteen-centuries-old masterpiece of English Gothic architecture – and mother church of the worldwide Anglican communion - includes the addition of a new, purpose-built welcome centre for visitors. The centre, housing retail facilities, a viewing gallery, and community studio exhibition space, is protected with a best-in-class video solution which combines discrete monitoring with high-performance image capture. Real time monitoring Specialist systems integrator Hall & Kay Security Engineering was tasked with delivering a solution that would be affordable, easy-to-use, and allow for comprehensive real time monitoring, while ensuring reliable recording without data loss. And because this was part of a much wider project, the video technology also had to be fast and easy to install – essential for avoiding project overruns in this complex, multidisciplinary construction environment, and preventing any delays to the new welcome centre’s opening. This IDIS Korean-made tech also gives Canterbury assurance of trusted manufacturing origin Based on previous experience, Hall & Kay had no hesitation recommending IDIS end-to-end tech, incorporating cameras, recorders VMS, and essential peripherals. This IDIS Korean-made tech also gives Canterbury assurance of trusted manufacturing origin and high-level cybersecurity protection, with its inherent, multi-layered encryptions and proprietary protocols to safeguard sensitive video data. Variable lighting conditions To give high-definition video coverage of the Welcome Centre’s entrances, retail area and exhibition spaces, Hall & Kay installed IDIS Full HD DC-4223WRX IR dome cameras. These vandal-resistant models come equipped with varifocal lenses, true WDR and IR LED to deliver crisp, clear images even in challenging and variable lighting conditions. They connect to three 16-channel DD-1216 NVRs to handle recording and deliver 480ips live view with no visible latency. Easy plug-and-play allowed for seamless and rapid connectivity and mutual two-factor authentication of devices streamlined cybersecurity measures, the cornerstone of IDIS DirectIP® solutions. Specific user permissions The IDIS cameras, NVRs and VMS discretely blend with the centre’s architecture The licence-free IDIS Centre VMS gives the cathedral Constable and his security team complete visual awareness and easy control tools for efficient management, plus the ability to configure specific user permissions to give senior staff and system administrators timely access to video footage. The IDIS cameras, NVRs and VMS discretely blend with the centre’s architecture without detracting from the visitor experience, while providing effective real-time monitoring. “The solution is now protecting property, enhancing safety for visitors and staff, and providing a complete record of events at one of the UK’s busiest and most important heritage sites,” says David Stokes, Divisional Director, Hall & Kay Security Engineering. Compelling business case “The IDIS end-to-end solution allowed us to present this important customer with a compelling business case, with no up-front or ongoing licencing fees, extended warranties and a low total cost of ownership. The solution is also highly flexible and scalable, thanks to long-term hardware support and forward- and backward-compatibility, which future-proofs the cathedra’s investment.” “The choice of IDIS video for this most sensitive of sites is testament to the reliability, quality and cybersecurity of our Korean-made tech,” adds Jamie Barnfield, Senior Sales Director, IDIS Europe. “This is just one of many projects we are working on with Hall & Kay in-line with the IDIS philosophy of building sustainable strategic partnerships with integrators and end user customers.”

IDIS extends choice of NDAA-compliant cameras with high-definition launches
IDIS extends choice of NDAA-compliant cameras with high-definition launches

An extended range of HD and UHD video cameras from IDIS gives systems integrators and their end-user customer's affordable alternatives for NDAA-compliant video. The NDAA line-up now includes a range of 2MP, 5MP, and 8MP camera models, which are ideal for applications of any size from small to medium sites such as retail outlets, hotels, local government facilities, and offices through to enterprise users such as utilities, school, and university campuses, logistics, and large commercial buildings. Those sites needing ultra-high-definition (UHD) coverage will benefit especially from the 8MP models which deliver sharp image capture even in low light conditions. Plug-and-play connection The new lineup gives the benefits of IDIS’s signature DirectIP® plug-and-play connection to a choice of NVRs or servers and comes with IR, True WDR, IDIS Smart Failover, and alarm in/out, with options for two-way audio and vandal resistance. IDIS’s Korean-made cameras assure fast, seamless installation and low maintenance IDIS’s Korean-made cameras also assure fast, seamless installation and low maintenance, extended warranties, and a choice of license-free IDIS Centre for up to 1024 devices or the modular and scalable IDIS Solution Suite, which combine to give users a lower total cost of ownership (TCO). NDAA compliant technology For the growing number of projects which now require compliance with section 889 of the 2019 National Defense Authorisation Act, IDIS offers a safe choice and an alternative project route. The stringent requirements of the NDAA together with growing concerns about the manufacturing origin of video equipment are already starting to influence applications more widely, not just in the U.S. but in developed markets including Europe, the Middle East, Australasia, and parts of Asia. As Korea’s largest in-country video manufacturer with a track record of installations globally – from mission-critical sites to small businesses – IDIS promises to provide one of the most proven, dependable tech migration routes. IDIS video technology is a safe choice IDIS gives the assurance of Korean design and manufacturing, multi-layered cyber security protection “We are still seeing the problem of ghost-branding and hidden supply chains making it confusing for systems integrators who are trying to locate the best NDAA-compliant tech,” says James Min, Managing Director, IDIS Europe. “Leading manufacturers are still using OEM products or components from prohibited suppliers, and this is not always obvious.” He added that IDIS gives the assurance of Korean design and manufacturing, industry-leading warranties, multi-layered cyber security protection, inherent failover, and respect for international licenses and regulations. “This means that for many video projects such as those deployed at multi-national companies, and increasingly medium-sized companies with US connections or those with plans to expand into the U.S. market - IDIS video technology is now among the safest choices.”