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 Videotec news

Videotec added video analysis and advanced GeoMove features to NVX video cameras
Videotec added video analysis and advanced GeoMove features to NVX video cameras

With the goal of constantly improving the performance of its products, Videotec has now added the new video analysis and GeoMove functions to its NVX cameras. This versatile compact stainless-steel camera is already well known on the market for its exceptional corrosion resistance and for providing high image quality with Full HD, super low-light, 1080p and 30x zoom, with bright clear colours in even the poorest lighting conditions. The NVX camera is used in the maritime sector onboard vessels or as part of traffic control in ports, as well as on railways, transport and industrial process environments. Accurate detection The NVX has been enhanced with Videotec Analytics technology which integrates robust algorithms to ensure accurate detection in even the most adverse external environmental conditions. It offers the operator complete situational awareness at all times. The detection algorithm even works with rain, snow, or low contrast, camera vibrations, sudden changes in changes in light or shadows and in the presence of small animals or insects. Alarm activation Depending on the rules set up by the user, an alarm is generated if an item enters, exits, appears or stopsDepending on the rules set up by the user, an alarm is generated if an item enters, exits, appears or stops for too long within an area. Any violation of these rules will activate the alarm and the other programmed actions. Up to ten rules for each preset can be quickly and easily set up. GeoMove function A particularly interesting feature is the possibility of geo-localising the NVC video cameras on maps to support the new GeoMove and GeoMove&Track features in combination with one or more Videotec PTZ cameras. The GeoMove feature is very useful in perimeter surveillance systems and for port traffic monitoring because it lets the video cameras detect and capture any object through its geographic coordinates, even in critical visibility conditions. Integrated analytics The GeoMove function can be activated via an NVX camera with integrated Videotec Analytics which provides the target’s coordinates to one or more Videotec PTZ(s) and they, in turn, use the coordinates to frame the target. Coordinates can also be sent via third-party software, such as VMS (Video Management Software) or VTS (Vessel Tracking Service) for navigation control, or via radar control systems. GeoMove&Track function GeoMove&Track provides the advantage of having a turnkey detection, positioning, and tracking solution Furthermore, if the PTZ that receives the target’s coordinates has Videotec Analytics integrated, then it can also start the GeoMove&Track function, independently recognising and autonomously tracking the geolocated target. Thanks to GeoMove&Track, the system made up of Videotec fixed and PTZ cameras provide the advantage of having a complete, turnkey detection, positioning and tracking solution guaranteed by Videotec. Marine environment The NVX camera is Lloyd's Register Type Approval System Test Specification Number 1 certified and can therefore be used in marine environments. Such as on boats and ships on open decks, in enclosed spaces, in technical areas that are subject to the heat generated by other equipment or as visual support for docking manoeuvres. Weather protected The total protection against inclement weather and the option of cleaning the camera with high-pressure and high-temperature water jets is guaranteed by the IP66/IP67/IP68/IP69 protection grades. The NVX has been tested and certified from -40°C to +65°C. Models with an integrated wiper or with a polycarbonate window are available for use in the food industry. Design and integration Mounting an NVX is quick and easy, even in confined spaces, thanks to its compact design, lightweight, practical quick-fit connectors and versatile modular support for mounting on walls, ceilings or parapets. Developed entirely by the Videotec R&D team, NVX offers the Videotec guarantee of being a reliable, cyber-safe and future-proof platform that can be easily integrated with third-party products.

Videotec launches COMB, the new polycarbonate communication box
Videotec launches COMB, the new polycarbonate communication box

Videotec has expanded its range of communication boxes with the new COMB. This product has been designed for use in non-hazardous applications and is robust with its external polycarbonate and extraordinary resistance to external agents. COMB is much more than a simple junction box. It has everything that you need for a state-of-the-art installation and correct operation of one or more Videotec IP or analogue cameras. It provides local low voltage power to connected devices. Functions and features COMB enables fast Ethernet connection thanks to the integrated Ethernet switch equipped with three RJ45 ports and an SFP port (MSA compliant) for fibre optic connection. COMB comes with an extended/industrial range of electronics. The internal board offers 2 bypasses for analogue video signals and 2 bypasses for I/O signals with multipolar connectors. COMB can manage systems that consist of a Videotec PTZ camera with or without the Videotec washing kit; up to two Videotec fixed cameras with or without the Videotec washing kit; or one Videotec fixed camera and one Videotec PTZ without washing kits. Internally, the unit has been designed with easy cable access and convenient connection operations in mind. COMB guarantees maximum protection against impact (IK10) and weather (IP66/IP67/IP68/IP69, and NEMA TYPE 4X and TYPE 6P). Obtained Lloyd’s Register Marine Type Approval certification for the maritime and naval sector. It also complies with railway application standards. COMB is the competitive integrated solution for the professional installation of Videotec cameras in industrial and marine environments.

Videotec announces NXPTZ SERIES2, the new PTZ in stainless steel for corrosive environments
Videotec announces NXPTZ SERIES2, the new PTZ in stainless steel for corrosive environments

Videotec, a company with more than thirty years of experience in stainless steel product development for video surveillance in marine offshore/onshore and corrosive industrial environments, announces NXPTZ SERIES2, the new generation of PTZ Full HD video cameras with innovative and high-performance features for outdoor preventive security applications in the most difficult environmental conditions. PTZ product range The PTZ range has been completely revamped and expanded to include visible Day/Night Super low-light, FullHD 1080p-60fps video cameras with DELUX or SONY FCB-EV7520 technology, capable of producing impeccable image clarity even in the most difficult lighting conditions. New thermal PTZ or dual vision network PTZ models are also available for extreme precision in the detection and perimeter monitoring and high-risk environment monitoring and monitoring with poor lighting conditions. The integrated thermal video cameras also offer radiometry features for precise temperature readings, useful in monitoring industrial processes. Intrusion detection for outdoor applications Videotec analytics uses algorithms for accurate detection and precise auto-tracking in most adverse environmental conditions Advanced video analysis features are now available for these PTZ cameras, thanks to Videotec Analytics. This excellent new technology in preventive intrusion detection for outdoor applications, developed entirely by Videotec, uses very strong algorithms for highly accurate detection and precise and fluid auto-tracking even in the most adverse environmental conditions. The detection algorithm is particularly reliable even with the rain, snow, camera vibrations, low contrast, sudden changes in light or shadows and in the presence of small animals or insects. Perimeter surveillance systems The new NXPTZ SERIES2 PTZ video cameras can be geo-localised on the maps to support the GeoMove and GeoMove&Track features. The GeoMove feature is very useful in perimeter surveillance systems and for port traffic control because it lets you capture any target through geographic coordinates, even in critical visibility or offshore conditions. Video management software In a video surveillance system, the GeoMove feature can typically be activated using a camera with Videotec Analytics on board, or through third-party software such as Video Management Software (VMS), which provide the geographic coordinates of a target and use them to guide the Videotec PTZ cameras to capture the target. The coordinates can also be sent in the same way using Vessel Tracking Services (VTS - navigation control services) or using radar control systems. Video analytics SERIES2 video camera can connect the PTZ over fibre optics owing to the SFP module slot on the base unit Furthermore, PTZ video cameras with Videotec Analytics on board can activate the GeoMove&Track feature. In this case, the Videotec PTZ camera that receives the coordinates of the target, thanks to the video analytics, can also recognise and autonomously follow the geo-localised target. Compared to the previous generation, the SERIES2 video cameras can easily connect the PTZ over fibre optics, thanks to the SFP module slot installed directly on the base of the unit. Operating efficiency The NXPTZ SERIES2 PTZ cameras can operate in corrosive environments, thanks to their solid construction in AISI 316L stainless steel with micro shot-peened and electro-polished surfaces, and the extreme precision adopted during the construction processes. The IP66/IP67/IP68/IP69 grades, in addition, to guarantee total protection against inclement weather, allows the device to be cleaned with high-pressure jets of hot water and temporary submersion. NXPTZT SERIES2 maintains maximum operating efficiency with temperatures from -40°F to +149°F. Quality, cyber security, reliability Videotec owns the design know-how for all of its products and this allows total control of mechanics, electronics, positioning, networking, software and firmware. This represents a significant competitive advantage in meeting the needs of personalised solutions or integrations with third-party systems, all with the guarantee of Videotec quality, cyber security and reliability.