CCTV camera mounts - Expert commentary

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.

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Functionality beyond security: The advent of open platform cameras
Functionality beyond security: The advent of open platform cameras

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic marks the biggest global disruption since World War II. While the ‘new normal’ after the crisis is still taking shape, consumers are apprehensive about the future. According to a recent survey, 60% of shoppers are afraid of going grocery shopping, with 73% making fewer trips to physical stores. Returning to the workplace is also causing unease, as 66% of employees report feeling uncomfortable about returning to work after COVID-19.  Businesses and employers are doing their best to alleviate these fears and create safe environments in and around their buildings. This also comes at tremendous costs for new safety measures and technologies – including updates to sanitation protocols and interior architecture – that protect against COVID-19. Costs in the billions that most businesses will face alone, without support from insurance and amidst larger macroeconomic challenges. Saving costs and increasing security But what if building operators, retail shop owners, and other stakeholders could save costs by leveraging new functionality from their existing security infrastructure? More specifically, expanding the use of current-generation security cameras – equipped with AI-driven image analysis capabilities – beyond the realm of security and into meeting new health regulations. This is exactly where video analytics algorithms come into play. And in the next step, a new evolutionary approach towards open security camera platforms promises new opportunities. Security cameras have evolved from mere image capturing devices into complex data sensors Over the past decade, security cameras have evolved from mere image capturing devices into complex data sensors. They provide valuable data that can be analysed and used in beneficial ways that are becoming the norm. Since 2016, Bosch has offered built-in Video Analytics as standard on all its IP cameras. On one hand, this enables automated detection of security threats more reliably than human operators. And on the other hand, video analytics collect rich metadata to help businesses improve safety, increase efficiency, reduce costs, and create new value beyond security. Expanding camera functionality beyond security Today, we have ‘smart’ security cameras with built-in video analytics to automatically warn operators of intruders, suspicious objects and dangerous behaviors. The rich metadata from several cameras on the same network can also be consolidated by making use of an intelligent software solution. It offers so-called pre-defined widgets to provide business intelligence by measuring area fill levels, counting building occupancy and detecting the formation of crowds. In combination with live video stream data, these insights enable heightened situational awareness to security operators. What’s more, operators are free to set their own parameters – like maximum number of occupants in a space and ‘off limit’ areas – to suit their needs. These user-centric widgets also come in handy in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Specific widgets can trigger an alarm, public announcement or trigger a 'traffic light' when the maximum number of people in a space is exceeded. Building operators can also use available intelligence such as foot traffic ‘heat maps’ to identify problem areas that tend to become congested and place hand sanitiser stations at heavily frequented hotspots. At the same time, the option to perform remote maintenance on these systems limits the exposure of technicians in the field during the pandemic. Again, the underlying camera hardware and software already exist. Cameras will be able to ‘learn’ future functionality to curb the spread of the coronavirus Looking ahead, cameras with video analytic and neural network-based analytic capabilities will be able to ‘learn’ future functionality to curb the spread of the coronavirus. For instance, cameras could monitor distances between individuals and trigger voice announcements when social distancing guidelines are violated. Facial recognition software can be trained to monitor personal protective equipment (PPE) compliance and sound alerts for persons entering buildings without masks. The technical requirements are already in place. The task at hand is to deliver these new functionalities to cameras at scale, which is where open camera platforms hold the key. Why open camera operating systems? When it comes to innovating future camera applications that extend beyond security, no hardware manufacturer should go at it alone. Instead, an open platform approach provides the environment for third-party developers to innovate and market new functions. In essence, an open platform principle allows customers and users to change the behavior of devices by adding software afterwards. This software can either be found in an app store or can be self-developed. For a precedent, we can look at the mobile phone industry. This is where software ecosystems like Android and Apple’s iOS have become the norm. They have also become major marketplaces, with the Apple App Store generating $519 billion in billings on 2019, as users use their phones for far more than just making phone calls. In the same way, intelligent cameras will be used far beyond classic video applications in the future. To get there, adopting an open platform principle is essential for a genuine transformation on an industry level. But establishing an open platform principle in the fragmented video security industry demands a cooperative approach. In 2018 Bosch started a fully owned start-up company, Security & Safety Things, and became one of five founding members of OSSA (Open Security & Safety Alliance). With more than 40 members, the Alliance has collectively created the first Technology Stack for “open” video security devices. This includes the OSSA Application Interface Specification and Compliant Device Definition Specification. An open camera platform for innovating future functionality  Based on OSSA’s common APIs, collective approach on data security and core system requirements for video security cameras, the first camera manufacturers were able to build video security cameras that adopt an open platform principle. Further fueling innovation, OSSA focused on driving the creation of one centralised marketplace to unite demand and supply in the market. Camera devices that are built in accordance with OSSA’s Technology Stack, so-called “Driven by OSSA” devices, can benefit from this marketplace which consists of three pillars: a development environment, an application store, and a device management portal. Security & Safety Things has advanced OSSA’s open camera platform concept, built this marketplace for the security and safety industry and has developed the open OS that powers the first “Driven by OSSA” devices. Making it quick and simple to customise security solutions by installing and executing multiple apps This year, Bosch, as one of the first camera manufacturers, introduces the new INTEOX generation of open platform cameras. To innovate a future beyond security functionality, INTEOX combines built-in Intelligent Video Analytics from Bosch, an open Operating System (OS), and the ability to securely add software apps as needed. Thanks to the fully open principle, system integrators are free to add apps available in the application store, making it quick and simple to customise security solutions by installing and executing multiple apps on the INTEOX platform. In turn, app developers can now focus on leveraging the intelligence and valuable data collected by analytics-equipped cameras for their own software developments to introduce new exciting possibilities of applying cameras. These possibilities are needed as smart buildings and IoT-connected technology platforms continue to evolve. And they will provide new answers to dealing with COVID-19. The aforementioned detection of face masks and PPE via facial detection algorithms is just one of manifold scenarios in which new apps could provide valuable functionality. Contact tracing is another field where a combination of access control and video analytics with rich metadata can make all the difference. Overall, open camera platforms open a future where new, complex functionality that can save lives, ensure business continuity and open new business opportunities will arrive via something as simple as a software update. And this is just the beginning.

Bosch introduces Access Management System 3.0 that integrates with other security solutions
Bosch introduces Access Management System 3.0 that integrates with other security solutions

Today’s market wants access control systems that are always available, scalable, and integrated with other security solutions like video and intrusion systems to ensure the highest security and safety levels. At the same time, these systems must be easy to configure and use. With the introduction of the Access Management System 3.0, Bosch meets all of these requirements. Always available for security Access Management System 3.0 is designed to be available at all times. Its resilient design includes a Master Access Controller (MAC) as an additional layer of defence between the server and the access controllers. If the server fails, the MAC takes over, ensuring continuous communication across controllers while sharing necessary information from the card readers. In addition, access control functionalities that involve multiple access readers, such as anti-passback and guard tour can continue to perform. The anti-passback functionality is an important feature to ensure a high level of security. It prevents a cardholder from passing a card to another person enabling an unauthorised entry. Guard tour is a safety functionality offered to security guards, which uses access readers as checkpoints along a defined route at specified times. Threat level management The different threat levels can make all doors open, or all doors blocked, or a mix of open and blocked Any deviation of sequence or timing causes an alarm in the Access Management System. Immediate notifications to colleagues or first responders increase the safety of security guards. In the rare event that both the Access Management System 3.0 server and the MAC fail, cardholders can still enter and leave areas with their badges because the database is stored directly on the Access Management Controllers (AMCs). Thanks to this offline capability, it is possible to save millions of events even during downtimes, ensuring the continuous availability of the system. Access Management System 3.0 offers up to 15 configurable threat levels such as lockdown, controlled lockdown, or evacuation, which means safety measures can be initiated quickly in critical situations such as fire or security breach. The threat level state is activated by one of three triggers: operator workstation, external contact such as an emergency button, or specially configured “emergency” cards that are presented to a reader. The different threat levels can make all doors open, or all doors blocked, or a mix of open and blocked. Scalable and future-proof Users can start small and add extra capacity whenever necessary. The Access Management System 3.0 software can be expanded up to 10,000 doors and 200,000 cardholders. The software is offered in three pre-configured software bundles from medium to large organisations: Lite (max. 144 doors), Plus (max. 512 doors), and Professional (max. 10,000 doors). All bundles support up to 200,000 cardholders. No hardware needs replacing when expanding; users only require software upgrades and possibly additional controllers, readers, and cards. So, increasing the system is also cost-efficient. Customers who work with the software solution Access Professional Edition (APE) from Bosch can migrate to the Access Management System 3.0 by using the new importer/exporter tool. Together with regular updates to data security enhancements, these features make the system a future-proof investment - suitable for office and government buildings, retail environments, educational institutions, and more. Easy configuration and operation Access Management System 3.0 also has trusted digital certificates for mutual authenticationConfiguration is easy: Users can import existing floor maps into the system, and drag and drop icons on the map to represent controllers, doors, and building objects. User onboarding is straightforward. For example, enrolment and assignment of access profiles are all implemented in one dialogue manager. Operation is smooth: The graphical user interface (GUI) is simple and easy to understand. The dark colour scheme of the GUI reduces eye-strain and fatigue, so operators stay fresh and alert. Access Management System 3.0 offers protection against cybercrime and loss of personal data. The database, as well as the communication between the server and access controllers, is encrypted at all stages through the support of the secure Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) v2 protocol. Access Management System 3.0 also has trusted digital certificates for mutual authentication between the server and client to prevent tampering by unauthorised clients and uses secure design principles such as “secure-by-default” and “principle of least privilege.” Integration with third-party solutions Access Management System 3.0 is ideal as a standalone solution to meet today’s access control needs. It integrates seamlessly with Bosch B Series and G Series intrusion control panels as well as with video systems such as Bosch Video Management System or third-party systems like Milestone’s XProtect for increased security and enhanced situational awareness. The integrated command and control functionality enables operators to arm and disarm intrusion panels directlyIntegration with Bosch Video Management System (version 10.1 and higher) offers manual video verification to increase the security level at doors. The operator can visually verify whether the person at the door matches the registered person in the database. If so, the operator allows the person to enter. Bosch Video Management System integration also enables searching for cardholder events and events at doors. With the searching functionality, it is possible to quickly check who has entered an area and at what time. Moreover, access commands and events can be handled in Bosch Video Management System, making the operation of the integrated system most efficient. Intrusion control panels integration B and G Series intrusion control panels integrate seamlessly into Access Management System 3.0 for efficient authorisation management and a central overview of all access and intrusion events. With central user management, operators can add, delete, and modify intrusion-related user passcodes and authorisations directly into the system, as well as organise users by groups or functionalities. The integrated command and control functionality enables operators to arm and disarm intrusion panels directly in the Access Management System 3.0 user interface as well as to see states of the areas (e.g. “armed”, “ready to arm”) and detectors (e.g. “motion detected”) on the system map. This provides operators with a central overview of all access and intrusion states, allowing them to easily and remotely handle intrusion events. Bosch Access Management System 3.0 is available for sale and makes access management simple, scalable, and always available.

Open Security and Safety Alliance announce commercial video security cameras and Application Interface Specification
Open Security and Safety Alliance announce commercial video security cameras and Application Interface Specification

The Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA), an industry body comprised of influencers and innovative organisations from all facets of the security, safety and building automation space, announced a series of milestones achieved in the past 20 months since the Alliance opened its doors. Significant markers include the OSSA common Technology Stack and two resulting specifications, the introduction of the first OSSA-inspired digital marketplace, and the newly unveiled “Driven by OSSA” designation for the first commercially available video security devices based on the Alliance philosophy and purpose. These accomplishments roll up into the organisation’s overall vision of ‘one global approach to fuel the creation of new value within the security and safety space.’ Consistency across video security devices The OSSA-orchestrated ecosystem is designed to enhance trust, and to enable innovation and opportunity for industry stakeholders and customers. The initiative is anchored by OSSA’s first Technology Stack, which describes the fundamental thoughts on how to create harmony across video security devices to enhance trust and enable innovation. Under the umbrella of this guiding document, and further solidifying it, the Alliance is now launching the first two in a series of technical specifications, being: OSSA Application Interface Specification This technical specification (available to OSSA members only) defines a set of four interfaces which collectively enable third-party software applications to run on video security cameras following the Technology Stack. The input stream describes the video frames and messages the applications can subscribe to. The web API describes how applications can make use of the camera’s webserver to support, configuration and data upload to the application. The system APIs provide system information regarding OS version, capabilities and information about the video security camera. This is needed to understand the features and APIs that are available on the cameras to make use of device-specific functionality. The streaming application model allows applications to interact with each other. Apps can share their results, such as events and scene descriptions, with other apps on the device or (video management) software in the network. OSSA Compliant Device Definition Specification This technical specification sets the core system requirements for video security cameras following the OSSA Technology Stack to provide a basis of trust and for app interoperability across vendors. This spec is publicly available. The First “Driven by OSSA” Commercial Cameras Camera manufacturers have started to introduce to the market, devices designed to reduce fragmentation and orchestrate harmony within an open ecosystem for the surveillance industry. The first manufacturers to launch cameras based on OSSA’s Technology Stack include Topview/Qisda, Ability/AndroVideo, Bosch (through their INTEOX camera line), VIVOTEK and Hanwha Techwin. The first commercially available products based on the specifications set forth by the Alliance, OSSA will receive a signage mark for video security cameras. Companies that use this “Driven by OSSA” signage: Are full OSSA members; have signed the OSSA by-laws guiding amongst other things minimum requirements regarding data security and privacy protection. Follow the OSSA Technology Stack for video security devices that prescribes the use of an open operating system (OS). Security & Safety Things, an OSSA member company, developed the open OS and made it available to OSSA members. Ensure seamless connectivity within one centralised digital marketplace. Offer the ability to install and execute third-party apps on their cameras. One Centralised Digital Marketplace OSSA is driving the creation of one centralised marketplace to unite demand and supply in the market. Camera devices that are built in accordance with OSSA’s Technology Stack, so-called “Driven by OSSA” devices, can benefit from this marketplace which consists of (1) a development environment (2) an application store and (3) a device management portal. System integrators, using the application store, can deploy available apps across devices, in a brand independent manner, to meet specific customer requirements. App developers will find in the development environment comprehensive tools, documentation and libraries to develop new software applications. These new apps can then be offered for sale through the application store. “This is an exciting time for security and safety professionals as the main industry players pivot together in a new direction based on digital connections afforded by the IoT,” said Johan Jubbega, President, Open Security & Safety Alliance. “In these current times of global change and uncertainty, it’s of vital importance that we persist in our quest for new market opportunities and current market efficiencies, and we’re proud to be facilitating this movement that is shaping the future of the security and safety systems environment.”