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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 JVC news

21st Century Distributing's Integration Innovation Roadshow
21st Century Distributing's Integration Innovation Roadshow

Wrapping the tour, 21st Century Distributing will head to Baltimore, MD to exhibit at Electronic Security Expo 21st Century Distributing, the premier consumer electronics distributor serving the Southeast, announced recently the schedule for their first-ever mobile demo, Integration Innovation Roadshow, which will hit six major regional cities before concluding with an exhibition at the Electronic Security Expo (ESX). "Each year we look forward to reconnecting with customers, while providing value-added resources that truly help our dealers and specialty professionals improve and organically grow their businesses," said Don Vincini, Owner of 21st Century Distributing. "The Integration Innovation Roadshow is taking this mission to a whole new level. Alongside the ability to share exciting new products and inventive installation techniques, this tour will provide the perfect atmosphere for a genuine discussion surrounding the benefits presented by the smart home and IoT - a major growth opportunity for the channel." Key vendors at the roadshows Beginning in May, the 21st Century Distributing team will take to the streets, alongside a specially-constructed demo station, that will serve up a comprehensive look at some of the hottest products and tech solutions shaping the CE marketplace. Consisting of ten, 4'x8' interactive side panels, the mobile demo unit will showcase a number of devices from key vendors including: Diamond Sponsors Vanco and CoreBrands as well as secondary sponsors 2GIG, Alarm.com, Elk, JVC, Kwikset, LiftMaster, Milestone, New Leaf Warranties, ProMounts, Resolution Products, RTI and Sonance. Together, the brands form a valuable ecosystem, while providing attendees with some valuable face time with major manufacturers. Most importantly, attendees will have the opportunity to test and handle the products first-hand, exploring their interoperability and uncovering new opportunities to supplement and bolster businesses. In an effort to enhance the dealer experience, 21st Century Distributing adjusted show hours and added a cocktail networking session to conclude each event. Demos will run from 2PM to 7PM EST each day, followed by the cocktail hour from 7PM to 9PM EST, allowing local dealers the flexibility to attend when it is most convenient to their schedules. The 21st Century Distributing 2015 Integration Innovation Roadshow will take place at the following locations: Orlando, FL -  May 28, 2015 Jacksonville, FL - May 29, 2015 Atlanta, GA - June 2, 2015 Nashville, TN - June 4, 2015 Charlotte, NC - June 9, 2015 Raleigh, NC - June 12, 2015 ESX, Baltimore, MD - June 25-26, 2015 Wrapping the tour, 21st Century Distributing will head to Baltimore, MD to exhibit at Electronic Security Expo (ESX). ESX presents multiple opportunities for the group to reach new dealers as well as a highly-trafficked platform to expose their vendors to a larger audience, encompassing the realm of security.  "We put a lot of thought into the creation of this roadshow," said Vanessa Zitzmann, Marketing and Sales Coordinator for 21st Century Distributing. "From adjusting the event times to be cognizant of career schedules, to partnering with some of the most popular brands, we've taken dealer feedback to heart and used customer insight to form this modular program. Dealers are the bread and butter of our business, we are dedicated to being a trusted partner and valuable resource."

Pro-Vision to supply Redvision’s 40x RVX-Series CCTV Domes
Pro-Vision to supply Redvision’s 40x RVX-Series CCTV Domes

The product is supplied ready to install as a dome but easily converts into a ball PTZ camera by removing the top cover Pro-Vision Distribution, the UK distributor of branded CCTV and access control equipment, is pleased to announce that it can now offer customers Redvision’s new 40x optical zoom domes. Simon Davies, Internal Sales Manager for Pro-Vision told us, “The new RVX40 has enhanced low-light performance and improved resolution whilst retaining the popular X-SERIES™ rugged, outdoor design. It is supplied ready to install as a dome but easily converts into a ball PTZ camera by removing the top cover. The RVX40-SERIES™ uses a 1/4" CCD sensor with exceptional low-light sensitivity and 670TVL resolution for clear, precise images. It has wiper, IR light and Dual Light (combined IR and white light) options. Night time surveillance is enabled with IR or white light, ultra-efficient, LED illumination. The IR illumination allows covert operation and the white light enables operators to identify, spotlight and track intruders.” Simon continued, “Each camera has 100 pre-sets, 8 tours and up to 24 privacy masks to meet application and legal requirements. The RVX40 camera’s impressive 40x optical and 12x digital zoom delivers effective long-range scene surveillance. The IR version can provide illumination up to 100m and facial recognition over 30m. The Dual Light IRWL version also has a 100m illumination range in both light modes and will toggle between IR and white light on alarm activation, pre-sets or manually.” Pro-Vision is a CCTV, access control and public address equipment distributor. Supplying the trade with branded equipment and associated security products. They are authorised distributors for AMG, Bosch, Dallmeier, Dedicated Micros, D-Link, Exacq, Fujinon, IDIS, JVC, LG, LiLin, Mirasys, Panasonic, Pelco, Pentax, Redvision, Samsung, Veracity, Xtralis, BPT, Nortech, PAC, Siemens and many other major manufacturers.

Judging quality and performance of video security systems by the (other) numbers
Judging quality and performance of video security systems by the (other) numbers

When comparing specifications among a range of similarly featured video surveillance cameras, NVRs or monitors, it can be difficult to ascertain which of the devices truly has the best performance and/or quality. John Grabowski, National Sales and Marketing Manager of JVC Security Division, poses some questions for consideration: Can the human eye actually see a difference in image quality between one camera that offers 700 lines of resolution and another that offers 600 lines? Or can it see the difference in image quality between a 3 megapixel camera and a 5 megapixel camera? What about performance characteristics such as latency or colour accuracy? In determining these specifications, one must also ask what has influenced or interfered with the measurement. Performance measurement through MTBF Today’s video surveillance components use highly advanced technology, making the evaluation process even more difficult. While impartial testing of the equipment on oscilloscopes and wave form monitors, shoot-outs or other side-by-side comparisons can help bring clarity to the evaluations, one solid metric for quality and performance is MTBF (mean time before failure) figures with failure rate (FR) data. These figures can help provide a clear guide for product lifetime expectations. For example, a surveillance camera with a published MTBF figure of 90,000 hours has more than 10 years of 24/7 usage. Engineered to a higher standard MTBF can be viewed as a quality standard as well as a planning metric. Although many companies build security products to meet specific price points, the best companies engineer their video surveillance products with robust designs that will endure and address the specific needs and conditions of the surveillance market. To a great extent, the longevity of key components such as integrated circuits and capacitors determines the MTBF of the products in which they are used. However, better parts only provide part of the key to better reliability. The internal temperature of products significantly affects MTBF as well. As electronic components have become more compact, the temperature of smaller, more constricted circuits and other components has become almost impossible to measure. Preventing thermal issues through thermal analysis and design requires careful electronic and mechanical engineering. This is accomplished early in development which makes it easier to visualise heat in every part of every component, thereby enabling engineers to prevent thermal issues and create products with significantly greater reliability. The best video surveillance products are designed to endure the specific needs of the surveillance market Companies that publish MTBF specifications generally arrive at those figures through extensive product testing, valuing the MTBF of individual components and by past experience with similar products. Some manufacturers elect to calculate MTBF based on strict military standards. Life-Cycle costs The initial cost of a video surveillance system is only a portion of the total cost of ownership (TCO). While a low price and warranty may make a camera with a lower MTBF seem attractive, this can be a mistake. Should the product fail within the warranty period, rather than repair the device, many manufacturers will simply replace a relatively low-priced item like a video surveillance camera. However, the process of replacing that camera can be very expensive for the end user or the system integrator. The cost of sending a technician up a ladder to replace a failed video surveillance camera often costs more than the camera itself. Plus, it is important to consider the potential damage or theft during downtime while the camera is not providing surveillance. High rated MTBFs can help reduce these replacement and maintenance costs over the life of a video surveillance system. The robust equipment can better withstand shock and vibration, extreme temperatures, moisture and dust, power fluctuations and offer significantly lower life-cycle costs through reduced down time. High rated MTBF products also create an improved overall value and a better return on the investment. For example, cameras can account for anywhere from 30 to 50% of the initial cost of a system and therefore should be selected with care. A camera’s proven reliability can help defer costly replacements during the system life cycle and improve utilisation. In short, product reliability can optimise capital, operations and maintenance expenditures while improving the safety and security of the environment. Today, there is an abundance of information available to help users make the best selections for their needs. By providing MTBF data, video surveillance manufacturers can make it easier for the user to make decisions.