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 Hanwha Techwin Europe news

Hanwha Techwin announces the launch of new Wisenet P series Network Video Recorders (NVRs) with AI functionality
Hanwha Techwin announces the launch of new Wisenet P series Network Video Recorders (NVRs) with AI functionality

The 5 new Wisenet P series AI NVRs (Network Video Recorders) launched by Hanwha Techwin are able to apply AI metadata to images captured by most non-AI Wisenet cameras, allowing users to quickly and accurately search for people, and vehicles. Deep Learning AI video analytics The licence-free Deep Learning AI video analytics onboard the NDAA-compliant NVRs offer a wide range of search criteria, including, for example, looking for people of a certain age group or gender, as well as whether they are wearing glasses or carrying a bag. Similarly, a search for vehicles can be narrowed down to those of a particular colour and whether they are a bicycle, bus, car, motorbike or truck. The Network Video Recorders can also be set up to trigger real-time alarm notifications, if an object is detected. Support for wide range of cameras The new devices are able to support all the features built into the Wisenet P series AI cameras Selected bullet, fixed, PTZ, 360° fisheye, multi-directional and thermal cameras from the Wisenet X, P, Q and T series, are among the long list of cameras that are supported by the new Wisenet P series AI NVRs. In addition, as is the case with 32 and 64 channel Wisenet X NVRs, the new devices are able to support all the features built into the Wisenet P series AI cameras, including the classification and detection of faces and licence plates.   Operators can take full advantage of the Network Video Recorders’ functionality, with the help of UX 2.0, a brand-new user interface that offers zoom in/out and drag & drop support, and a timeline preview feature, as well as enabling all event settings to be edited in a single window. Wisenet P series AI NVRs Other key features shared by the Network Video Recorders (NVRs), include the following: Up to 400Mbps network camera recording, at up to 32MP recording resolution Up to 16 SATA HDD bays, each offer 10TB storage data capacity. RAID-5 and RAID-6 support Dual 4K and 1080p HDMI outputs Simultaneous playback across all channels Dynamic event support, including e-mail alerts, PTZ preset control of PTZ cameras, control room buzzer and monitor Support for Wisenet AI and 8K cameras, and improved compatibility with all Wisenet PTZ, multi-directional and thermal cameras ONVIF Profile S conformant WiseStream II complementary compression technology The NVRs feature WiseStream II complementary compression technology, which improves bandwidth efficiency by up to 75%, in comparison to current H.264 technology, when combined with H.265 compression. The ability of the NVRs to support cameras, which are dual streaming video at different resolutions, can further reduce bandwidth requirements. The Network Video Recorders’ SATA HDDs are supported by Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (S.M.A.R.T) The Network Video Recorders’ SATA HDDs are supported by Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (S.M.A.R.T), which detects and alerts operators, to any possible imminent hardware failures. Offering N+1 failover support, the NVRs also feature Automatic Recovery Back-up (ARB), to provide continuity of recording and remove the risk of video evidence being lost. Automatic Recovery Back-up (ARB) facilitates the transfer and seamless storage of the images stored on a camera’s SD card, if communication between one of the Network Video Recorders and a Wisenet camera is disrupted. In addition, the new PRN-6405DB4 NVR is equipped with a dual switched-mode power supply (SMPS), to provide continuity of recording for mission-critical applications. GDPR compliance support and easy configuration Security personnel can apply bookmarks, in order to prevent the important video from being overwritten, with the NVRs programmed to automatically delete the bookmarked video, after a defined time period, so as to ensure compliance with GDPR. The installation time of the new Network Video Recorders is minimised, by the ability of engineers to remotely connect to the NVRs. This is achieved via a smartphone or tablet, without having to set up a complex network, by using P2P and unique QR product codes. Furthermore, the NVRs can be easily configured to match an end user’s requirements, with the help of an intuitive interface and installation Wizard. The new Wisenet P AI network NVRs are as follows: PRN-1605B2: 16 channel AI NVR. Up to 8 channels providing AI support. 2 HHD bays PRN-3205B2: 32 channel AI NVR. Up to 16 channels providing AI support. 2 HHD bays PRN-3205B4: 32 channel AI NVR. Up to 16 channels providing AI support. 4 HHD bays PRN-6405B4: 64 channel AI NVR. Up to 32 channels providing AI support. 4 HHD bays PRN-6405DB4: 64 channel AI NVR. Up to 32 channels providing AI support. Dual switch mode power supply (SMPS). 4 HHD bays Powerful detection tool “The accuracy of the Deep Learning AI video analytics incorporated into these new NVRs provides security personnel with a powerful tool to detect and track people, or vehicles that may be involved in criminal activity,” said Uri Guterman, the Head of Product & Marketing for Hanwha Techwin Europe. Uri Guterman adds, “By eliminating false alarms, which can occur when standard motion detection technology or sensors are being used to detect activity, the NVRs significantly reduce time wasting and allow security personnel to focus on responding to real incidents and emergencies.”

Hanwha Techwin launches serverless Wisenet parking guidance solution
Hanwha Techwin launches serverless Wisenet parking guidance solution

The introduction of the Wisenet TNF-9010 360° Parking Guidance device could not perhaps come at a better time with city centre and office car parks once again often filling up to capacity. To maximise revenue for car park operators by optimising occupancy levels and reducing congestion and queues, the Wisenet Parking Guidance Solution is designed to help drivers quickly locate vacant car parking bays. AI-based vehicle detection With built-in AI-based vehicle detection functionality, the Wisenet Parking Guidance device only needs to utilise a single Wisenet TNF-9010 camera to monitor and analyse up to 16 parking bays to establish if they are occupied or vacant. Quick and easy to install, the device offers a highly cost-effective alternative to solutions that require multiple cameras to cover the same number of parking bays, as, in addition to lower initial capital costs, it also requires less maintenance.  The device’s built-in LEDs can be configured to display up to 7 different colours to provide real-time visual indicators on where drivers can find various categories of available parking spaces. These include those which have been allocated for the physically challenged, electric cars and parents with children, or those reserved for a company’s employees and visitors.  Keeping vehicles and people safe In addition to its parking guidance capabilities, the 12-megapixel 360° TNF-9010 can help deter and detect anti-social and criminal activity as it can be used to monitor large areas without any blind spots. The presence of the device will also enable car drivers to feel safe when they are leaving or returning to their cars. TNF-9010 can be configured to broadcast an alarm through connected speakers when integrated with alerts The 360° images captured by the TNF-9010 are enhanced at the edges with the help of a stereographic type lens, whilst onboard dewarping processing ensures that when the camera is in quad mode, there is no visible distortion of the captured images, such as straight lines of objects appearing to be curved, which normally occurs when 360° fisheye images are displayed. The TNF-9010 can be configured to broadcast an alarm through connected speakers when it is integrated with emergency alerts technology. Control room operators who receive alarms generated by the camera can easily retrieve the respective recorded video, allowing them to visually verify what may be occurring. Cyber secure Wisenet7 chipset The TNF-9010 camera is equipped with Wisenet7, Hanwha Techwin’s most powerful chipset to date. In addition to enabling it to capture clear, sharp images in all lighting conditions with the help of advanced noise reduction and WDR technology, Wisenet7’s industry pioneering cyber security functionality also ensures the camera’s firmware is protected from hackers and that drivers’ confidential data is safeguarded. Other key features of the Wisenet TNF-9010 Parking Guidance camera include: Simultaneous streaming of up to five channels offers 1 overview and 4 single views. An RJ-45 port facilitates the camera’s connection to a cable raceway. 'Direct Point' enables the vehicle detection area within each of the camera channel’s field of view to be precisely defined. Digital PTZ (DPTZ) functionality allows operators to precisely set the camera’s field of view. Audio, defocus, and tampering detection. Analytics and alarm input/output (I/O). Supported by Wisenet Wave, Milestone, and Genetec video management software platforms. Cost-effective The cost-effectiveness of the solution is enhanced as users do not have to incur the cost of the application As an edge-based solution with AI-based analytics onboard, the TNF-9010 does not need to be supported by a server. The cost-effectiveness of the solution is, therefore, further enhanced as users do not have to incur the cost of installing and maintaining additional hardware to run the application. “With COVID-19 lockdown restrictions eased, car parks will once again need to be managed to avoid queues and congestion caused by drivers trying to find a parking space”, said Uri Guterman, Head of Product & Marketing for Hanwha Techwin Europe. “In this respect, we are confident that the TNF-9010 will be able to help car park operators maximise revenue, with the bonus of improving the customer experience by ensuring drivers do not frustratingly waste time looking for a vacant parking bay”.

Hanwha Techwin Europe highlights the importance of high resolution cameras adhering to DORI specifications
Hanwha Techwin Europe highlights the importance of high resolution cameras adhering to DORI specifications

Uri Guterman, Head of Product & Marketing for Hanwha Techwin Europe, champions the use of the DORI standard, as the starting point for designing a video surveillance system and how in doing so, one can ensure that the specified cameras are able to cost-effectively meet the end-user’s expectations. The quality of the images that can be captured by many of the latest generations of super-high definition video surveillance cameras are simply breathtaking, allowing users to see ultra-sharp detail of objects and people within the field of view. 4K and 8K high-resolution cameras The resolution capabilities of 4K and 8K cameras, for example, enables operators to digitally zoom in to see a non-pixelated image of just a very small part of a scene, making them an ideal solution for large open area applications, where installing multiple cameras may be impractical or cost-prohibitive. The deployment of ultra-high-resolution cameras, however, comes at a price, in that they all capture large file size images which, when transmitted over the network, consume large amounts of bandwidth. They also have large data storage requirements.  Proprietary compression technologies Some camera manufacturers, such as Hanwha Techwin, have developed proprietary compression technologies Some camera manufacturers, such as Hanwha Techwin, have developed proprietary compression technologies which, when working in conjunction with H.265 compression, are able to reduce bandwidth and storage demands by up to 80%. It is, however, still wise for system designers to question, if it is really necessary to specify the highest resolution camera available, bearing in mind the higher initial capital cost, as well as ongoing network and storage requirements, even if they are reduced by complementary compression technology. DORI helps specify the ideal camera The phrase ‘horses for courses’ comes to mind, when thinking about what system designers need to take into consideration when deciding on the best camera model for each location and objective. In this respect, the design of the system must obviously reflect the finding of the risk assessment and take into account an end-user client’s operational requirements. They may, for example, need to capture high-quality, evidence-grade images, which will identify an individual or able to verify an intruder alarm event. DORI - Detection, Observation, Recognition and Identification While many system integrators will be familiar with DORI, installers who are relatively new to the world of video surveillance, perhaps do not know that the IEC EN62676-4 international standard provides time-saving guidance, as to which cameras should be specified. So, for those who are not familiar with the standard, listed below is an overview of what the DORI acronym stands for: Detection: The quality of images captured by a camera allows a user to determine, whether a person or vehicle is present. Observation: The captured images are able to provide characteristic details of an individual, such as their clothing. Recognition: The clarity of the images enables operators to see with a high level of certainty that an object or incident is the same as the one that an operator has seen before, e.g. it is a person, vehicle or a fire. Identification: The resolution and quality of the images enable an individual to be identified beyond a reasonable doubt. Cameras ability to achieve DORI defined objectives The ability of a camera to achieve these DORI-defined objectives will depend on a number of factors, such as the resolution, lighting and the amount of movement within the scene. In terms of ‘Observation’, it is worth noting that sequential low-resolution images can provide as much detail (albeit of a different nature) for the human brain to process, than high resolution still images, i.e. the movement of a vehicle is very different to that of someone walking. As an example, a 4-megapixel camera in daylight conditions should deliver the following: Objective 2.88mm lens 3.6mm lens 120 metres Detection 43 metres 80 metres 120 metres Observation 17 metres 32 metres 48 metres Recognition 9 metres 16 metres 24 metres Identification 4 metres 8 metres 12 metres However, the maximum distance that there can be between a camera and an object, in order to meet one of the above requirements, will vary depending on the lighting conditions, the compression format, camera locations and other factors. Sensitivity of the camera sensors The sensitivity of the camera sensors used by different camera manufacturers will also vary The sensitivity of the camera sensors used by different camera manufacturers will also vary and in this respect, Hanwha Techwin’s online Toolbox Plus enables system integrators to compare the specifications of its Wisenet cameras side-by-side and compile a list of the products required for a specific project. There is also the added benefit of being able to generate a report on the estimated bandwidth and storage requirements for the project. It seems almost too simple, but using DORI as a guide for designing a new video surveillance solution, will ensure no wastage of money, by over-specifying the cameras needed for the job in hand. Equally important, the reverse also applies in that the DORI standard will help to avoid experiencing ‘buyers’ remorse’, as a result of installing cameras that are not fit for purpose. Other key factors, such as IR illumination and WDR functionality It is important, however, to bear in mind that DORI is a guide to ensuring that an unsuitable camera is not specified, but on its own is not going to choose the perfect camera for a job. Other requirements need to be taken into consideration, such as if the camera will need to have built-in IR illumination and/or have good WDR functionality because it will be pointing towards an outside window and will have to deal with variable lighting conditions. As always, the best advice is therefore to work with manufacturers you believe you can trust and ask them to confirm that you have made the correct camera choice.